I’m staying at Natural Surf Lodge, a relaxed eco surfing retreat a short drive from the beach at Seignosse. My mission for the trip is to have a crack at surfing the area’s famous beachbreak swells. In fact, you can’t visit Hossegor and its surrounds without at least attempting to ride the waves. The town’s population doubles in spring and summer with visiting surfers who come for the world-famous conditions, many camping in vans in beach car parks and strumming away on acoustic guitars.
If the powerful waves are too daunting, try idyllic Lake Hossegor for sailing or fishing. Or explore the pine forests that back on to the beach and have walking and cycling tracks.
Further south, the beaches of Capbreton will please anyone hunting a tan. Interestingly, you can also see the remains of World War II bunkers that were occupied by the Nazis and used to defend the beaches from invasion.
Hossegor is home to a lively strip of cafés, surf shops and bars as well, with a piazza on the beach. Stop in at Rockfood or The Beach Hotel for a cold pint and a fresh crusty baguette, or try the hot waffles served from street vendors while you watch the waves roll in.
Don’t try to cram too much activity into your day, though. A leisurely breakfast followed by a good stint down at the beach and an afternoon siesta in a hammock should leave you feeling pretty damn content – and a very, very long way from London.
Around the region
Don’t spend all day on the beach: there are plenty of things to see on the Basque coast.
The cultural capital of the Basque people hosts fascinating music festivals and events.
St Jean de Luz
This relaxed beach-side resort is also home to a bustling fishing port – perfect for picking up some fresh fillets to sling on the barbie for dinner.
The closest major airport and the region’s glitzy beach resort gets flooded with surfers and sun seekers in peak season, with plenty of options for a big night on the town.
St Jean Pied de Port
A good base for an excursion into the valleys and quaint villages of the Pyrenees.
» Trevor Paddenburg travelled with Natural Surf Lodge (+33 674 160 228). A six-night stay including B&B accommodation, surf equipment, lessons and transfers is €499