A bit of history

This castle was built at the request of Antoine d’Abbadie, born in 1810, who had two very different cultural backgrounds, with an Irish mother and a Basque father.

A great scholar, he was passionate about geography, astronomy, and Oriental culture. He turned his castle into a truly unique museum. He was also an extensive traveler, particularly to Eastern countries, as he created the first map of Ethiopia, where he stayed for eleven years. Greatly influenced by this journey, a large part of his castle is dedicated to it.

As an astronomer, his castle houses an astronomical observatory, which operated until 1975! You can still see some very rare pieces inside the castle.

In 1892, he became the president of the Academy of Sciences, to which he bequeathed his castle upon his death in 1897.

Influenced by his dual heritage, the castle is an architectural blend of Ireland and the Basque Country.

Practical Information, Hours, and Rates for Abbadia Castle

Opening Hours:

  • January to March: Open from 2 PM to 6 PM, Tuesday to Sunday
  • April to June: Open from 10 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 6 PM, Monday to Sunday
  • July and August: Open every day from 10 AM to 7 PM
  • September to November: Open from 10:30 AM to 6 PM, Monday to Sunday
  • November to December: Open from 2 PM to 6 PM, Tuesday to Sunday


  • Guided Tour:
    • Full price: €11.90
    • Ages 14-18: €8.90
    • Ages 6-13: €5.90
    • Free for children under 6
  • Self-Guided Tour:
    • Full price: €10.50
    • Ages 14-18: €7.50
    • Ages 6-13: €5.30
    • Free for children under 6

Visiting Abbadia castle

As soon as you arrive at the castle, you will be struck by its distinctly English architecture! You might even wonder why it’s there, as it stands out so much in the Basque landscape!

We highly recommend the guided tour, which is very pleasant and full of anecdotes. The guide is humorous and makes the visit more engaging and enjoyable for children.

The tour begins in the park, which you can explore freely, and then continues inside the castle, with or without a guide.

The interior of the castle is even more astonishing than its exterior architecture. With various souvenirs from Antoine d’Abbadie’s travels in Ethiopia, decorations reminiscent of Africa, classic styles, Irish influences, and the observatory, there’s so much to see that you won’t know where to look first!

The observatory tour is particularly interesting, and the guide will show you some rare, perfectly preserved objects and documents from the era.

Where to park when visiting Abbadia castle

You will find two large free parking lots about a 10-minute walk from the castle. These parking lots are only accessible to cars, as they have height barriers.

If you’re traveling by motorhome, your only option is to park in the bus parking lot. There are no other parking options in the vicinity. To avoid obstructing the buses, we recommend parking on the side. After contacting the castle, we can confirm that there are no restrictions for parking there.

What to do around Abbadia castle

Once you’ve finished your visit to the castle, we highly recommend taking the seaside hike located just a 5-minute walk from the castle entrance. The access is very easy, and the hike is suitable even for young children. The views of the ocean and the castle are stunning.

Continue your journey through the Basque Country by visiting these must-see towns:

  • Saint-Jean-de-Luz : enjoy the beautiful seafront and the charming city center. Don’t miss the chance to taste a delicious Basque cake at a terrace café or bring one home in your suitcase! Special mention goes to the pastries from Maison Adam!
  • Biarritz : admire the magnificent seafront! We recommend the hike from the lighthouse to the Rocher de la Vierge. If you have children, be sure to visit the Cité de l’Océan.
  • Espelette : explore this charming and authentic village with its colorful house façades and drying peppers—truly a postcard scene. Don’t miss the Bipertegia grocery store, which offers delicious artisanal products. Special mention for the Espelette pepper fleur de sel!
  • San Sebastián : just a few minutes across the border into Spain, visit the beautiful city of San Sebastián. The old town and the seaside promenade are worth the trip. For those with a sweet tooth, we recommend the delicious pastries from Oiartzun in the old town, which can be enjoyed on the spot or taken to go.

About Author

We are Sophie, Adrien, and our two adorable little ones. Passionate about travel, discovery, and gastronomy, we bought a 2007 Rapido camper van to travel differently, travel more, and introduce our children to the world. Here, we share our wonderful discoveries and tips for activities to do with children in France and beyond ! Welcome !

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