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France: Guéthary (Southwest Coast)

99 Coastal Destinations Rated: Doing Well

Score: 65

Basque culture is thriving, historical buildings are well preserved, and new development either conforms to or complements traditional architectural styles. A small village, it sometimes suffers from peak-season overcrowding.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"It is developed but still holds the charm of the Basque culture. Most of the urban development and modern architecture has been done with respect to the old way of building so it is consistent."

"Character of development seems to fit with the community. It is a popular destination, and there is overcrowding during high season."

"Offers the visitor lovely indigenous architecture, unrivaled cuisine, incredible cultural pride, wonderful folklore, and a fun surfing scene. The region's political tensions are always hovering in the background, but for those who are interested in combining beach and culture, few regions of Europe can compete."

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