Brittany tips: The most important information and the best recommendations for a holiday in Brittany / Brittany Travel Guide
Endless coasts, imposing cliffs, picturesque harbor towns and diverse natural landscapes line the picture of the holiday region of Brittany. If you’re looking to spend your next vacation in France, then you should consider visiting the rugged and diverse province. Here you will make numerous discoveries on hiking trails, on the beach or in dreamy places and get to know France from a special side.
As soon as you arrive in Brittany, you will be immersed in rough and at the same time idyllic atmospheres. If you want to learn more about this unique region, then you should not miss the following Brittany tips. Start dreaming!
The best Brittany tips / Facts about Brittany
If you are going to spend your next holiday in Brittany, you obviously want to be well informed about this region, right? First of all, it is of course important to know that the province is located on the largest peninsula in France, in the west of the country and juts out into the Atlantic. Surrounded by rugged coasts and beautiful hilly landscapes, the legacy of the Celts is particularly large.
Brittany is divided into 4 departments. Also, by far the largest city in Brittany, Rennes, is in the east of the region. It is also interesting that the fictional Gallic village from the comic series Asterix and Obelix was located in the “land by the sea”, as it was called in ancient times.
Breizh, as the province is affectionately known by the locals, is home to unspoilt coastal landscapes and a rich cultural heritage that you will take to your heart in no time. The landscapes of Brittany are characterized by striking contrasts.
Best travel time Brittany
How is the climate in Brittany? When is the best time to travel to Brittany? Questions that should not remain unanswered on the list of Brittany tips. The climate in Brittany is mainly influenced by the Gulf Stream and has a mild, oceanic climate. The weather can often be changeable at any time of the year and you must always be prepared for rapid changes.
Overall, the south coast is milder and less rainy than the north coast. The least precipitation falls in July. In addition, the most pleasant temperatures await you in June, July and August with an average of 20 °C. For many holidaymakers, summer is the best time to travel to Brittany. Because then the region shows itself from its most beautiful side and you can experience an unforgettable summer holiday.
If you want to experience the culture of this area in addition to an active holiday in Brittany, then the months of April and May are particularly suitable for a visit. At this time there are still no large tourist crowds in the region and you can experience an extraordinary play of colors of nature.
In September and October you also have the chance to explore the romantic areas when the weather is wonderful. My tip: A look at the weather map or weather forecasts are usually not very meaningful in Brittany. Because, as already mentioned, the climate is characterized by rapid weather changes.
Holiday destinations in Brittany / north coast of Brittany
Numerous sights, breathtaking cliffs and cozy holiday resorts line the north coast of Brittany. Before making your way to Brittany, you should pay a visit to the famous Mont-Saint-Michel. The enchanting Klosterberg creates unique scenery and is one of the highlights of the French Atlantic coast.
Continue to the port city of St. Malo. The city, surrounded by an imposing fortress wall, not only impresses with an incredible old town, but is also home to numerous beautiful sandy beaches. Further along the Emerald Coast, your next stop should be the seaside resort of Dinard. The picturesque town with the imposing Art Nouveau villas invites you to linger and relax. The next stop will take you to the impressive Cap Fréhel. On site you will experience pure nature.
The breathtaking cliffs are home to numerous animal species and form an incredible backdrop with the lighthouse. In the same train you should definitely visit the impressive castle Fort la Latte. The medieval building blends beautifully into the landscape and should not be missing from the list of Brittany tips.
The historic city of Saint-Brieuc inspires with a breathtaking old town and an equally impressive bay. Cliffs, dunes and heath landscapes line the picture of this area and create unique light effects. On the Goëlo coast, the seaside resorts of Binic and Saint-Quay-Portrieux are particularly noteworthy. In addition, the former episcopal city of Tréguir should not be ignored. Here you can stroll through numerous alleys and marvel at the impressive half-timbered houses.
The Pink Granti Coast with the beautiful port of Ploumanac’h near Lannion will certainly enchant you. This natural paradise along the coast is a true paradise for birds and hikers. Idyllic stretches of coast and dreamy towns await you in Locquémeau and Le-Yaudet. You should also be familiar with the beautiful coastal town of Carantec. If you are in the vicinity, you have the option of making a stopover in the old town of Roscoff. On site, the special and unique ambience of this city will immediately cast a spell on you.
East of Brittany
Of course, East Brittany should not be missing from the list of Brittany tips. Here, too, you will find breathtaking opportunities to experience an unforgettable holiday. Numerous places worth seeing and buildings steeped in history line the landscape of this region in north-western France.
During your stay in this diverse and multifaceted holiday region, you should take the opportunity and make a stopover in the capital of Brittany, Rennes. The bustling university town shows itself from a warm-hearted and historic side. On site you can not only marvel at breathtaking half-timbered houses, but also let yourself be pampered to your heart’s content and immerse yourself in everyday French life. Not far from Rennes is the city of Vitré, which will delight you with its incredible charm.
As soon as you arrive in the city, you will have the feeling that time has stood still and you are walking in the footsteps of bygone times. Above all, the narrow, winding streets and the medieval castle bear witness to a formative past. If you continue north, you will come to the historic fortified town of Fougères. If you have enough time, you should definitely visit this impressive city of beautiful half-timbered houses and alleys. The imposing fortress towers majestically in the region and will immediately inspire you.
Most recently, you should have heard of the beautiful small town of Rochefort-en-Terre. This is one of the most beautiful cities in Brittany and inspires with breathtaking half-timbered houses, granite facades and a colorful splendor of flowers. On site you can stroll through numerous handicraft shops, boutiques and galleries and experience an unforgettable day.
South of Brittany
In the south of Brittany you will find one of the most beautiful Brittany tips, the Gulf of Morbihan. The inland sea combines numerous dreamlike landscapes. A diverse flora and fauna and beautiful sandy beaches make this area a true paradise.
In addition, the many islands in the Gulf are one of the highlights of this region. Most of the island is privately owned. However, you can visit the largest islands, the Ile aux Moines and the Ile d’Arz.
My tip: Take the opportunity and explore the region on a relaxed boat tour. If you are in the Gulf of Morbihan, you cannot ignore the multifaceted city of Vannes. The city of art and culture lies in front of the incredible backdrop of the inland sea and inspires with a wide range of leisure activities. Not far from Vannes are the famous Carnac Stone Fields, which bear witness to the human past.
Attention all art lovers! Another Breton city not to be missed is the creative town of Pont-Aven. The town, which is characterized by numerous artists, lies in the midst of idyllic landscapes and inspires with galleries and studios. After you have also got to know this place in detail, your path should lead further to the city of Concarneau.
Here you can not only be inspired by the breathtaking and historic fortress walls, but also soak up the special maritime ambience. At the fishing port you have the opportunity to watch the locals at work and taste the delicious and freshly caught fish.
West coast of Brittany
The rough and stormy west coast of Brittany inspires with long sandy beaches, enchanting bays, bizarre rocky coasts and picturesque villages. The city of Quimper, located a little inland, makes the start. Narrow streets and beautiful architecture give the place an incredible charm.
During your stay in the west of the province, you should definitely take the opportunity to visit one of the most popular sights in Brittany, the Pointe du Raz.
The westernmost point of mainland France juts out into the Atlantic in an impressive manner and forms an unreal picture book backdrop with the rugged cliffs, a barren landscape and the nearby lighthouse. Continue to the port city of Douarnenez. One of the Brittany tips inspires with its location in a sheltered bay and the beautiful fishermen’s houses.
You will encounter the maritime flair of this city on every corner. Set off and explore the Gothic church, chapels and the historic harbor on the trail of the past.
Finally, before visiting the village of Le Conquet, you should visit the seaside resort of Plougonvelin and the Saint Mathieu headland. Steep cliffs, beautiful beaches and picturesque buildings characterize this area. You will take this authentic region into your heart in no time.
Islands of Brittany
Numerous small and large islands surround the coastal landscapes of Brittany. You can definitely experience an adventure during your trip to one of the numerous islands.
You will also be pleasantly surprised, because the islands are bursting with wild and blooming nature. During your holiday in Brittany, you should definitely consider visiting the diverse gems of the region.
The flower island of Bréhat, in the northern waters of Brittany, is only a few nautical miles away from the mainland and is therefore easy for you to reach. On the enchanting island, the Gulf Stream creates wonderful climatic conditions and lets the cute houses and dreamy bays shine in a special light.
Another holiday island in Brittany is Batz Island, not far from Roscoff. Pure authenticity awaits you here. Numerous beaches, hiking opportunities and good accessibility make it a popular travel destination. Finally, you should find out more about the paradise island of Ouessant.
The westernmost point of France is surrounded by the raging Atlantic and is also called the island of lighthouses. Here nature determines the rhythm of life.
Of course, during your stay in the north-west of France you also want to know where the most beautiful beaches in Brittany are, right? Here you are spoiled for choice. At every corner you have the opportunity to discover a true natural spectacle. From wild, rough stretches of beach to quiet sandy beaches, you will find the right place to relax or let off steam in Brittany for every taste.
If you are a surf lover, Brittany will have you covered. The supervised beach Plage de Pors Carn or the beach Plage de Lostmarc’h offer optimal conditions for unforgettable fun in the waves of the Atlantic. Other beautiful beaches where you can enjoy a fantastic seaside holiday are Sables-d’Or-les-Pins beach, Bertheaume beach, Blancs Sablons beach, Pénestin gold mines beach or Les Grèves beach the Bas.
Other activities in Brittany
The contrasting landscapes in Brittany allow you to experience a varied and exciting holiday. Brittany offers true natural spectacles, especially for those of you who want to explore the area on exciting hiking trails during your stay.
Especially the coastal hiking trail GR 34, the customs officer’s path, always inspires numerous holidaymakers.
Here you have the opportunity to explore the diverse coastal regions from Mont-Saint-Michel to southern Saint-Nazaire. You will be led through rugged coastal landscapes, secluded bays or picturesque villages over a distance of around 1800 kilometers.
Another highlight are undoubtedly hikes through the Enchanted Forest of Huelgoat, where you can explore legendary and mystical areas.
Another hiker’s paradise are the mountains of the Monts d’Arrée with their incomparable heathland. If you prefer to travel by bike, you have numerous opportunities to discover beautiful corners of Brittany away from the coastal roads. The perfectly signposted routes run through the entire province and offer you the best conditions for a successful holiday.
If you want to discover the Breton landscapes in a different way, then the best thing to do is to take a boat trip through the Iroise Marine Park. The Iroise, a lake area, was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO and is home to a diverse flora and fauna due to its oxygen-rich water.
During your stay you will have the opportunity, among other things, to observe seals or dolphins in the water. You should definitely plan a canoe or boat tour on the Odet River. Here you can marvel at the incredible regions of Brittany from a completely different perspective.
Finally, the specialties of Breton cuisine should not be missing from the list of Brittany tips. After all, you want to know what delicacies await you during your vacation, don’t you? As soon as you arrive in the province, you will notice that Brittany’s cuisine is characterized by rustic, fresh and high-quality dishes.
Of course, it is not surprising that various fish dishes fill the menus of restaurants. In addition, the rural cuisine draws on the numerous regional products of the region. Culinary highlights of Breton cuisine are definitely the popular crêpes. On site you will be offered a wide variety of creations, whether hearty or sweet.
You should also try the traditional farmer’s stew, Kig ha farz. Or how about the fish soup Cotriade? For those of you who prefer something sweet, you should definitely try the custard-like Far Breton cake. And, of course, every good meal needs the right drinks. You should definitely taste both the cider and the apple wine Chouchen during your holiday.
The Emerald Coast is a special coastline stretching for about 40 kilometers in the Bretonnia region of France, where the green turns into a symphony. This beach, which hosted both pirates and artists in the past, decorated with historical cities, dense vegetation, steep cliffs and beaches stirred by the tide, is one of the most unique corners of France with its culture.
As we set off from central Bretonnia’s Rennes to the north towards the English Channel, the vast plains gradually turn sloping, the moss-green broad hills shimmering with the sun’s rays penetrating through the gray clouds. While the bagpipe and diatonic accordion tones of the Breton music that I have been listening to for a few days continue in my ears, I pass through the chateaus with their conical domed towers and make my way towards Cancale, which is considered the beginning of the Emerald Coast. This road ends in an old neighborhood consisting of two-storey houses that expand on a high plain above the sea. When the road comes to an end, I realize that I have arrived at the Emerald Coast when I see the silvery shimmer of the Mont Saint-Michel Bay with its large and small islands, the oyster farms on the tidal sea, and the riot of colors that emerge from the unique combination of green and blue.
Cancale is a town located in the Ille-et-Vilaine department within the borders of the Brittany region of France, making its living from tourism and world-famous oysters. Oyster beds are located around La Houle Harbor. With the flat-bottomed barges stranded on land, tractors navigating between oyster beds, sea people pulling oysters out of their beds and loading them into trailers with baskets, the Cancale coast is bustling when the tides allow. The maritime history of Cancale, which the locals call “the pearl of the Emerald Coast” in reference to its famous oysters, dates back to ancient times. The deep-rooted history of cod fishing and oyster production, along with Saint-Malo in the Brittany region to the west, is also evident from the medieval shipyard ruins. Oysters get their quality and flavor from the plankton richness of the Mont Saint-Michel Bay. Two years before the French Revolution, in 1787, XVI. It is known that a decree was issued by Louis to protect oysters and prevent the depletion of natural sediment on the seabed. The cultivation of flat and cup oysters unique to Cancale was also included in the UNESCO list in 2019 as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Emerald Coast covers about 40 kilometers of coastline from Cancale in the north of the Bretonian region to the west to the Cap Fréhel Peninsula in Plévenon. The historian Eugène Herpin (1860-1942), who lived in this region, made this coastline known as the “Côte d’Émeraude”, that is, the Emerald Coast in France. Herpin explains this analogy in his book La côte d’émeraude: Saint-Malo, sound souvenirs: “The color of the sea, the greenery of the trees reflecting on it, all this strange symphony of different greens made me call our beach Côte d’Émeraude.”
The more I follow the coastline west from Cancale, the more I realize how right Herpin was. Various shades of green are reflected in the English Channel, with meadows descending from steep slopes to the sea, squat oaks, blackberries, reeds stretching around streams that make small cavities from beaches and merge into the sea. I prefer to walk on the paths when crossing Cape Grouin, another important point of the Emerald Coast, in the northwest of Cancale. The bay I am on is also the starting point of France’s famous GR34 “Grande Randonnée”, that is, the “Great Walk” course. The GR34 starts from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and continues along the English Channel, winding south from the Atlantic Ocean and winding all over Brittany from the coast, ending at Saint-Nazaire at the end of 1,700 kilometers.
While taking a breather in a cafeteria overlooking the panorama, I meet Romain (Delcrot), Mathilde (Desprez) and their children, Hector, who live in Rennes and often prefer this region for daily walks. Together, we start to step the Emerald Coast to the west, again on the same track. The path we are on sometimes turns into a steep slope, and sometimes it descends from the cliffs to massive valleys and passes through hidden beaches. Leaving the wide Saussaye Beach, where transportation is possible only by footpaths, and completing the steep slope, we arrive at Cape Moulière. We talk about the unique culture and history of Brittany as we take a breather and watch the unique landscape.
Part of the conversation, Romain and Mathilde point to the cultural richness and the ongoing resistance character of Brittany. Mathilde, who is also a Breton, begins her speech with a sentence that has become an idiom in France: “If France says ‘yes’ to something, Bretonnia would say ‘no’ or vice versa. Although the upper identity is French, Bretons keep themselves apart and protect their existence when it comes to their cultural structure and nature. The most recent example is the nuclear power plant resistance in Plogoff in 1980. After a long resistance, the Bretons prevented the plant from being built.”
We leave Moulière Cape and continue on the path that goes down to Verger Beach, and head to Guesclin Beach through the rugged slopes. Thus, we leave Cancale behind and cross the borders of Saint-Coulomb, another settlement of the Emerald Coast. Romain foretells the unique landscape that will come upon us after we cross the flat hill ahead. He is right: When we arrive at Guesclin Beach, I am fascinated to see Guesclin Island, located a short distance from the land, with the castle on it. Just beyond the beach covered with fine dunes, the islet consisting of granite rocks can be reached on foot as long as the tides allow. The history of the construction on the island, which has an area of 7 thousand 300 square meters, goes back to the Middle Ages. The island, which was used as a small and sheltered castle for a long time, was turned into a private property with an auction in 1826. The last owner of the island, the Porcher Family, wants to make the island open to artistic activities in the near future.
I learn from Romain that the anarchist poet and singer Léo Ferré, whose songs I listen to from time to time, and who was quite famous in France for a while, lived on Guesclin Island from 1959 to 1969: “Léo Ferré is a person on this island with his family and his own. He lived with his chimpanzee, Pépée, whom he thought was It is said that when Léo Ferré first visited the island, he burst into tears of emotion and immediately decided to buy this place. Because he didn’t have enough financial resources, he asked the record company for a loan for his next album. It is said that Léo Ferré wrote his best-known songs and poems while living on this island. In particular, the most well-known is La Mémoire et La Mer (Memory and the Sea).