Straddling both France and Spain, this region has long been synonymous with glamorous beaches, great food and hard-to-pronounce wines. In recent years, the area has also become known for its waves; both Mundaka and Biarritz are now destinations on the world surf circuit.
- When to Visit: Summer is the time for sunbathing, but the world’s best surfers congregate in the fall (see Mundaka).
El Callejón, France
Star chef Alain Ducasse is a fan of this café, which serves Basque lamb and more than 30 Spanish wines.
El Rompeolas, Spain
This is one of winemaker Telmo Rodriguez’s favorite post-surf lunch spots. He orders local spider crab and fried anglerfish called pixín.
Domaine Abotia, France
This small winery makes an Irouléguy (pronounced ear-RULE-eh-ree), a rare blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu.
Marqués de Riscal, Spain
Its winery in the Frank Gehry–designed wine-tourism center produces an excellent Rioja Riserva. Francis Paniego, Rioja’s great chef, has a restaurant on-site.
This winery is owned by the family of the prolific Basque winemaker Telmo Rodriguez. It is believed to be the highest-elevation vineyard in Rioja and is known for its Remelluri Blanco, a complex blend of seven white grapes.
Txomin Etxaniz, Spain
This small winery is a top Basque producer of Txakoli, the region’s dry, slightly sparkling white wine, which is made from the native grapes Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza.
Hôtel Arraya, France
This hotel in the village of Sare is 10 miles from the sea. Its restaurant serves regional dishes and a small shop sells Basque cakes, wines and linens.
Atalaya Hotel, Spain
Côtes des Basques, France
Napoleon III and his wife, Eugenie, were among the first big-name vacationers at this popular beach in France’s glitzy seaside resort town, Biarritz. biarritz.fr.
Less than two hours from Rioja, it has the longest left-breaking wave in Europe. “This is the Montrachet of surf: powerful, elegant, fine, consistent,” says winemaker Telmo Rodriguez. The world’s best surfers compete here October 5–17 in the Billabong Pro (billabongpro.com).