Halfway up the Basque Coast, stretching along 5km of coastline, Bidart is ideally located for discovering or revisiting the Basque country and soaking up the particular lifestyle specific to our destination.
Let’s meet at the crossroads
The etymology of Bidart, the contraction of the words "bide" (path) and "artean" (at the crossroads) clearly defines the village as “at the crossing of roads”, where the coastal path meets the mouth of the Uhabia river, on the cliffside. Its motto "Bidartean zuzena onena" which means "at the crossroads, the straightest path is the best", says a lot about the strong character intrinsic to the people of Bidart.
In Bidart, you come to someone's home
Bidart has not avoided the development associated with the attractiveness of the Basque Country and, over time, it has transformed into a small town that has kept its village-like soul. Recently renovated Sauveur Atchoarena Square is an example of this; it is also the beating heart of the village where you can feel a local, natural, genuine atmosphere.
Here, a good number of establishments are family run, sometimes passed down from generation to generation, each firmly anchored in their particular epoch while respecting the work of their elders.
Walks in Bidart
The heritage walk
The Heritage Walk is a 6.5km loop to be done on foot in Bidart for an average duration of 2 hours.
This itinerary, whose starting point is located at the parking lot of the Washhouse, allows you to discover the village center, its viewpoints, and then invites you to discover lesser known districts such as the Ur Onea chapel, the banks of the Uhabia river or the Parlementia district. The walk ends on the esplanade of the Sainte-Madeleine chapel before returning to the center of Bidart.
All along this itinerary, plaques are affixed on the elements of heritage to tell you the history of the monument and anecdotes.
The coastal path
It starts at the beach of Erretagia in Bidart and can lead you to San Sebastian. 54 km of path near the ocean which passes by Guéthary, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Ciboure, Hendaye...
In Bidart, the village being built on high cliffs, the panoramic views are magnificent. On the way, you can discover the creeks and the wild beaches which make the charm of the Basque coast. Do not miss the esplanade of the Sainte-Madeleine chapel in Bidart.
The Green Way
It is a pedestrian and cycling route along the river Uhabia.
This 6 km walk begins at the Uhabia estuary, runs along its banks, bypasses the Ur Onea retention basin and continues to the Bassilour mill. It is then extended by a bicycle path to the Izarbel technology park.
Map of the route on sale at the Bidart tourist office at 1 €.
Hunting took place between the 2 autumn and spring equinoxes, from September to March, when "Right" or "Basque" whales came to the Bay of Biscay to feed on krill and plankton. Harpooners, from Uhabia harbour confronted these monsters thanks to the strong arms of the rowers on board the many open whaleboats which, at great effort, perilously crossed the strong waves close to the shore, locally known as the “barre” and which today is greatly appreciated by surfers.
Once killed, the still floating animals would be washed on to the shore of the harbour, to be cut into large pieces of fat for lighting oil obtained by melting it in cauldrons on stone ovens, some remains of which can be seen at the foot of Parliamentia hill on a footpath behind the current life-guards’ first-aid post.
From the 15th century, shore whale-hunting declined because the decimated cetaceans were becoming scarcer along this coastline. So the whaling activity then moved to northern Europe and northeastern North America. The Basque people and citizens of Bidart remained great whale hunters and also become long-distance sailors able to offer their skills in all other sea voyages, on trade, war or exploration ships.
There are still some visible remnants from this fishing village’s past, such as the Koskenia watchtower in the Parlementia district to the south of Bidart, Saint Joseph and Saint Madeleine clifftop chapels or the votive model suspended from the church ceiling.
Bidart harbour located at the mouth of the Uhabia river has since disappeared. Today you will find the beach of Uhabia with its swimmers and its surfers.