Today, I’ll share with you 15 ideas to think about if you want to visit Brittany in France and if you don’t know where to go. The region is full of beautiful cities and whether you are looking for a spa weekend in Brittany, a seaside getaway to relax, a cocooning weekend or a cheap trip, you can find what you are looking for in a refreshing setting.
Brittany has magnificent landscapes but also an inimitable gastronomy (beyond the crêpes, galettes and kouign-amann, you can taste the seafood and fish freshly brought back by the trawlers, the good andouilles de Guémené, the salted butter and the equally salted caramel!).
There are many hotels with spa if you want to focus on your well-being, I give you some good spots in the article to prepare your future trip to Brittany!
- Comment aller en Bretagne ?
- 1. Visit Brittany: the lovely Carnac
- 2. Visit Quiberon
- 3. Discover Belle-Ile-en-Mer during your visit to Brittany
- 4. Visit Brittany in Rochefort-en-Terre
- 5. Spend time at Dinard in Brittany
- 6. Explore Perros-Guirec and Ploumanac’h
- 7. Spend time in Vannes
- 8. Visit Roscoff in Brittany
- 9. A couple of days in Quimper
- 10. Visit Lorient in Brittany
- 11. Visit Brittany and have a break in Cancale
- 12. Getaway in Saint-Malo in Brittany
- 13. Discovering Concarneau and Pont-Aven
- 14. Explore Douarnenez during your trip to Brittany
- 15. A couple of days in Dinan in Brittany
Comment aller en Bretagne ?
Depending on where you arrive from, it is possible to come to Brittany by boat, plane or train.
By boat, I advise you to look at the trips available on the DirectFerries website: it is possible to find boats to Roscoff and Saint-Malo, the two big ports in the north of Brittany, especially if you arrive from England.
By plane, there are a few small airports (Dinard, Quimper, Brest, Rennes) which offer connections to some cities abroad. Nearby, Nantes Atlantique airport is larger and offers more flights, but you will need to take the train or a car afterwards.
Some cities in Brittany have good train connections, such as Rennes, Saint-Malo, Lorient, Quimper… So you can come from another big French city like Paris and then hire a car to get around.
You can use a website such as Omio to find the cheapest and/or shortest solution from your own city, whether it is a train or a flight.
Here is a map of all the cities I will talk about in this article! As you can see, Brittany is the Western part of France.
1. Visit Brittany: the lovely Carnac
Carnac is famous for its alignments of megaliths (dolmens, menhirs) which form the largest group of this type in the world: you can explore the alignments of Ménec, Petit Ménec, Kermario, Kerlescan and Manio. The whole site is listed as a historical monument and a beautiful 7 km walk can be made there, the Megalith Trail.
These megaliths are said to have been placed here around 4500 years before our era, the reason for their presence remains mysterious and surrounded by legends.
History buffs will be pleased with a visit to the Museum of Prehistory and the opportunity to discover several monuments: Mané Kerionned dolmen, Saint-Michel tumulus… With a pretty seafront and a vast sandy beach, Carnac is a pleasant town.
Its visit can easily be combined with that of Quiberon, 19 km to the south and, during a longer stay, with a visit to Belle-Île-en-Mer or the nearby islands of Houat and Hoëdic.
If you’re looking for a cheap yet convenient accommodation to visit Brittany, you can have a look at the 2-star hotel La Licorne. It is located a few minutes walk from the beach.
If you have a bit more budget, look at the 4 star Le Churchill hotel (with heated pool, hammam, sauna, 1 minute walk from the main beach of Carnac).
Carnac also has a Nuxe spa hotel, Le Diana, with sea views, and a thalasso & spa hotel run by Thalazur on the edge of the salt marshes. So there’s plenty to choose from if you want to experience a thalasso trip or spa weekend in Brittany.
2. Visit Quiberon
Quiberon is, as I said, south of Carnac… and a visit to the two towns can be combined over a long weekend or a couple of week days. If you want to visit Brittany in France without knowing where to go, this is the opportunity to discover a nice area, without the risk of getting bored.
The coastline is particularly beautiful around Quiberon and if you like photography, you’ll be happy to go and watch the waves crashing on the rocks of the Pointe du Percho or take the beautiful walk to the Pointe du Conguel, without forgetting to see the Château Turpault, nicknamed the “Château de la Mer” (“Castle of the Sea”).
It is a private residence, a superb 550 m² (5920 square feet) manor surrounded by a park of almost 5000 m² (5980 square yard), overlooking the ocean, which feeds the imagination.
There is little to visit in Quiberon itself, it is rather a town where you take the time to enjoy nature and breathe the fresh air during a trip by the sea in Brittany.
On the other hand, it is the perfect starting point for visiting other emblematic places in Brittany, such as Belle-Île-en-Mer or the islands of Houat and Hoëdic. Compagnie Océane takes you there and offers passes combining several islands to save money.
The accommodation offer is, in my opinion, better in Carnac than in Quiberon itself… but you can find some nice hotels there:
- Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa – The hotel, with a view of the ocean, offers a complete thalassotherapy centre with a wellness and slimming offer… without forgetting a beauty salon, a hairdresser/barber, several restaurants, everything to be pampered during your stay in Brittany!
- Europa Hotel – Overlooking the ocean, it offers a sauna, a hammam and an indoor heated swimming pool, ideal for enjoying the pleasures of swimming whatever the season and the weather. Massages can also be booked here.
- Ibis Styles Quiberon Centre offers good value for money for those on a budget: located a few minutes’ walk from the beach, it features a Jacuzzi, a heated swimming pool and a sauna.
3. Discover Belle-Ile-en-Mer during your visit to Brittany
Let’s continue our journey down to the south of Brittany, with Belle-Ile-en-Mer, aka “Belle-Île” for short! In addition to having been the subject of a Laurent Voulzy song, the island can pride itself on being the largest of the Ponant islands.
85 km² (21000 acres) of splendid landscapes to contemplate the waves on Donnant beach or the ridges of the “Aiguilles de Port Coton” (sea rocks which inspired the painter Claude Monet), to marvel at the colour of the water which sometimes has nothing to envy to more “exotic” destinations. You can stroll near the fishing port of Sauzon, visit the island’s forts (Vauban citadel, Sarah Bernhardt’s fort), take a deep breath between the moor and the wild beaches, climb 52 metres high (170 feet) in the Grand Phare de Kervilahouen. ..
Belle-Ile will appeal to those looking for a trip by the sea in Brittany to take time to breathe, rest and recharge their batteries. Here, we are far from stress, we eat VERY well: from the tasty crêpes and galettes (sort of “large pancakes”) of the Coton crêperie or the restaurant Les Embruns to the refined gastronomic cuisine of Roz Avel and the Table de la Désirade or the good products of l’Abri Côtier, you will enjoy yourself and at prices that are often very reasonable considering the quality offered.
And to complete the experience, Belle-Ile offers quality accommodation, especially if you are looking for a wellness trip in Brittany:
- Castel Clara Thalasso & Spa – Facing the ocean, it is the reference thalassotherapy centre in Belle-Ile-en-Mer, with heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, massages and treatments… A 4-star hotel that also offers a fine restaurant (gastronomic restaurant, seafood buffet).
- Le Grand Large Hotel – Set in a dream setting between the lighthouse, the moor and the ocean with the Aiguilles de Port Coton, this 3-star hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and is a 5-minute walk from the Castel Clara thalassotherapy centre.
- Corto Maltese Hotel – For a lower budget and a quality welcome, this hotel is worth a visit. It is located 5 minutes walk from the port of Le Palais.
- Hotel Atlantique – Also located on the port of Le Palais, it often offers budget rooms.
4. Visit Brittany in Rochefort-en-Terre
Rochefort-en-Terre is one of the most beautiful villages in France. Beyond the stone that characterises it, it is a concentrate of architectural influences, where the Gothic style rubs shoulders with the Renaissance, where timber-framed houses mix with 19th century buildings.
Rochefort-en-Terre can be visited quickly, but there are other activities nearby if you want an active weekend. You can visit the Yves Rocher House in La Gacilly, the village itself is very pretty and it’s a great opportunity to learn about the history of the beauty brand and buy products at reduced prices (more information here).
There is also a prehistoric park in Malansac (see here), with “life-size” dinosaurs and scenes of prehistoric life, within a 25 hectare park (62 acres). I went there when I was a child and I really enjoyed it. Since then, the park has aged, adults seem to have a more “critical” look on it but young children often like it so it can be an outing to do during a family trip to Brittany!
As far as accommodation is concerned, Rochefort-en-Terre is a very small town so you won’t find a big hotel there, so it’s a good opportunity to try a bed and breakfast, authentic and pleasant. Look at the Vingt Vieux Bourg and the Parc de Lywel, a few minutes walk from the town centre.
5. Spend time at Dinard in Brittany
Dinard is a really nice town for a relaxing or thalasso getaway in Brittany! A sumptuous coastal path, beautiful villas overlooking sandy beaches, good restaurants, a film festival (British Film Festival)… not to mention the proximity of Saint-Malo which makes it possible to organise a long weekend in Brittany without the risk of getting bored!
The city is rich in quality accommodation, here are some recommendations:
- Royal Emeraude Hotel – A 20-second walk from the beach, the hotel is decorated in a Belle Epoque style and has a magnificent glass roof. It offers a warm welcome in a cosy environment in the heart of Dinard.
- Altair Hotel – For those on a tighter budget, this 2 star hotel is simple but well located, giving the impression of being in a “family home” and the warm welcome only reinforces this impression.
- Le Castelbrac – A few minutes walk from the beach, this 5 star hotel combines charm and discretion. There is a spa, you can eat in front of large windows that open onto the ocean and, in the summer, the hotel has an outdoor swimming pool so you can enjoy a relaxing stay in Brittany!
- Le Grand Hôtel de Dinard – It’s impossible not to mention this institution! What’s more, this legendary hotel was recently renovated. You can walk to the beach in a few minutes, the sea views make you forget everything, the spa treatments, the indoor pool, the sauna and the hammam allow you to take time for yourself whatever the season.
6. Explore Perros-Guirec and Ploumanac’h
Located in the north of Brittany, Perros-Guirec is a place for nature lovers. There are beautiful beaches – Plage de Trestrignel, Plage de Trestraou – but also an exceptional coastal path, the Sentier des Douaniers. In winter, it is the spectacle of the ocean whose waves break on the rocks; in summer or in good weather, the reflections of the water, the sunsets which magnify the landscape.
Off the coast of Perros-Guirec is the Seven Islands Nature Reserve: it is known for its great ornithological wealth, as the seven islands in question are home to around 27 species and more than 20,000 pairs, which makes it quite simply the largest coastal reserve in France. You can get there by boat via Armor Navigation.
Via Armor Navigation, you can also take a day trip to the island of Bréhat.
And just a stone’s throw away from Perros-Guirec (you can even walk there for 4 km – 2.5 miles) is Ploumanac’h, a village attached to Perros-Guirec. There are beautiful beaches, including the Anse Saint-Guirec, a beautiful port… and the pink granite coast reveals all its splendour, especially at the Pointe Ar Skewell.
There are some quality hotels on site:
- L’hôtel des Rochers – A 3 star hotel located on the Ploumanac’h side, which offers a view of the sea, an excellent welcome and good food, especially if you like seafood!
- L’hôtel du Parc – Also located on the Ploumanac’h side, a stone’s throw from the Saint-Guirec beach, it offers a quality service and is also 3 stars.
- Hotel Spa Castel Beau Site – For those looking for more upmarket accommodation, this 4-star hotel is located opposite Saint-Guirec beach (on the Ploumanac’h side!) and offers a restaurant based on local products, a champagne bar, an outdoor Jacuzzi facing the ocean and the possibility of having an in-room massage
- Hotel Agapa – This 5-star hotel on the Perros-Guirec side of the island has a magnificent swimming pool and a Nuxe spa with sauna, hammam and jacuzzi. Ideal for a romantic or well-being stay in Brittany!
7. Spend time in Vannes
I discovered Vannes for a friend’s wedding, proof that Brittany knows how to seduce lovers ;) It is a relatively large city (more than 50,000 inhabitants) where there is no risk of getting bored.
In Vannes itself, you can enjoy walking through the historic centre, where you will find all the charm of a medieval town with its timber-framed houses. You can walk around the city walls and visit the French gardens (ideas for tours are available here), stroll along the harbour, or walk along the Garenne promenade to enjoy a beautiful view of Vannes.
The food is also very good: La Tête en l’Air, L’Annexe, Le temps d’une crêpe, there is no shortage of good spots to have lunch or dinner!
If you have the time and the desire to change air, you can spend the day in Auray: it is a small town of barely 15,000 inhabitants, with a pretty port. It is located 19 km west of Vannes and is full of charm.
Another nice excursion is to take a boat to visit the islands of Houat and Hoëdic. Les Vedettes du Golfe take you there and these islands can be discovered on foot, promising a good breath of fresh air!
As for accommodation, here are a few good ideas:
- The Escale Oceania Hotel – If you are looking for proximity to the centre of Vannes, this 3-star hotel offers good value for money as it is literally a minute’s walk from the historic centre.
- Best Western Plus Vannes Centre Ville – This 4-star hotel combines good decoration, quality services and a good location in relation to the city centre (2 minutes walk from the historic centre). It also has a sauna and a gym.
- The Originals City, Hôtel Manche-Océan – A 2-star hotel for budget travellers who want a good location (1 minute walk from the historic centre) and a quiet sleep!
- Best Western Plus Le Roof – This 3 star hotel has an original location; slightly off the port of Vannes (3.5km), it is situated on the Conleau peninsula, a pretty strip of land with a beach, a pine forest and a natural swimming pool. The hotel offers a quiet setting, with a terrace overlooking the water.
8. Visit Roscoff in Brittany
Roscoff, like many of the towns I have shortlisted in this article, is not a big town… but it is also what’s inspiring when you visit Brittany in France: you want places to get some fresh air, to go for nice walks, to eat well, to relax.
Roscoff is located in Finistere and offers everything you need for a change of scenery! You can go for a walk by the ocean, discover a splendid exotic and botanical garden (my passion!), stroll around the “small port” and observe the “big port” with the ballet of boats leaving for Ireland or England.
Roscoff is also the opportunity to go to the island of Batz in 15 minutes (more information here)… a godsend even if, like me, you suffer terribly from sea sickness (in 15 minutes, you can survive ^^). It’s a paradise that you can easily visit on foot, especially if you like walking.
Roscoff offers a thalassotherapy centre but it is not where I would advise you to go for a thalasso stay in Brittany (Dinard, Quiberon, Saint-Malo, Pléneuf-Val-André with its Marine Spa or the Miramar La Cigale hotel in Arzon are, in my opinion, better in terms of services and location).
As for accommodation, the offer is modest but there are some good places:
- Hotel Aux Tamaris – For small budgets, this 3 star hotel is very well placed, a few minutes walk from the port and many small restaurants!
- Mercure Roscoff Bord De Mer Hotel – This 4 star hotel allows you to do everything on foot, whether you are arriving from the station, joining the ferry terminal or visiting the centre of Roscoff! It is also very close to the town’s thalassotherapy centre.
- Kersaliou Residence – For those with a car, it is a little more out of the way but offers gites with access to the barbecue and outdoor swimming pool. It is a good option for those coming to Brittany with their families, as the holiday homes in the residence can accommodate up to 6 people.
9. A couple of days in Quimper
Quimper is located inland, northwest of Concarneau, in Finistere. The city is crossed by the charming river Odet. Its centre offers a beautiful cathedral, a fine Fine Arts Museum and a Museum of Faience, a charming old town and green spaces worth a visit, such as the Jardin de la Retraite.
A little further out, the Stangala gorges will please walkers: a wooded place, in the middle of nature, where the river can be very turbulent at times – especially in winter…
If you have a car, you can easily go and explore some of the pretty towns in the area… in particular Locronan: Locronan is one of the most beautiful villages in France and is only 15 km from Quimper.
Also 15 km away is Benodet, a pretty seaside resort with beautiful beaches and great walks.
By the way, when it comes to accommodation, you have a choice.
- You can stay near Quimper – the Gingko hotel-spa is a reference with massages on reservation, a hammam, a sauna and a Jacuzzi. If you’re looking for a budget hotel that’s close to the city centre, check out the Escale Oceania Quimper Centre hotel, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the city.
- You can also stay in Benodet – Citotel Le Cornouaille has an indoor swimming pool and sauna and is within walking distance of the beaches. Also check out the Villa Ti An Amiral, especially in the summer months: it’s a beautiful 4-star hotel residence, just a few minutes walk from the port and the beach, with a large heated swimming pool, a spa and self-contained flats.
10. Visit Lorient in Brittany
Lorient is a city turned towards the sea… and you can feel it in the places of interest that you can visit during a weekend! A port city in Morbihan, it is located at the mouth of the Blavet, Scorff and Ter rivers and has several ports as well as a submarine base. This Keroman base is one of the most exciting visits to make on site.
You can also discover the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, which tells the story of sailing in a playful way: the place offers a simulator to project yourself in the piloting of a trimaran, and there are many workshops for children to familiarise themselves with the world of sailing. There is also a small museum in Lorient, the Davis Tower, set up in what was once a training ground for submariners in shipwrecks.
Near Lorient, you can take a boat trip to the island of Groix, the Compagnie Océane takes you there in 45 minutes, the time to cross the harbour of Lorient and then travel the few kilometres out to sea that lead to Groix.
The island is known for its mineralogical heritage, minerals that give fairy-tale colours to the landscape (such as the “Plage des Sables Rouges” – “Beach of the Red Sands”). It is also known for its coffee, which is happily shared with the inhabitants: they owe it their nickname of “greks” (coffee pots in Breton).
To go all the way around the island of Groix is 30 km long and 4 km wide and can be explored on foot.
For accommodation in Lorient, you can take a look at the following addresses:
- The Originals City Les Océanes – Not far from the Cité de la Voile and the Base sous-marine, this 2-star hotel offers decent services and good value for money.
- Mercure Lorient Centre – Close to the Jules Ferry Park, near the departure point of the Compagnie Océane boats, this 4-star hotel is a good choice especially if you plan to visit the island of Groix.
- Victor Hugo Hotel – Also very close to the Compagnie Océane boats, this 2-star hotel is well placed in relation to the city centre and allows easy access.
11. Visit Brittany and have a break in Cancale
Cancale is famous for its oysters, of course, and the oyster market will not disappoint you if you are an amateur! But Cancale also offers splendid walks: follow the “Douaniers” path, go to the Pointe de Grouin or the Pointe de la Chaîne, admire the oyster beds…
It is an ideal destination for a seaside trip to Brittany where you will enjoy the fresh air of the ocean!
As far as accommodation is concerned, I recommend the Manoir Des Douets Fleuris, a very beautiful building with a swimming pool which exudes authenticity. It is slightly out of the way (5 km – 3 miles from the Pointe du Grouin). Just a stone’s throw away, you will also find the Hotel Le Chatellier, a 2-star hotel with a swimming pool which offers very good value for money.
12. Getaway in Saint-Malo in Brittany
There is a lot to say about Saint-Malo, a city where you can easily come back several times without feeling that you have done the whole thing.
Saint-Malo has ramparts which are pleasant to walk around, beautiful beaches to take a breath of fresh air (Bon-Secours beach with its seawater pool, Sillon beach), the fort of the city of Aleth which can be visited and was part of the fortification system of Saint-Malo…
At low tide, you can also access the tiny island of Grand Bé where Chateaubriand is buried. A getaway in Brittany in Saint-Malo is also an opportunity to get close to the numerous fortifications and architectural curiosities of the city – such as the fort of Petit Bé – or to discover the history of Saint-Malo through the Demeure de Corsaire.
If you have already explored the city’s must-sees, you can also easily get out of it! During the summer months, there is a “sea bus” which allows you to easily reach Dinard, which I have already mentioned in the article.
And if you want to continue your stay, there are also boats leaving for England!
Saint-Malo is very rich in quality hotels, you are spoilt for choice and I advise you to have a look at Booking.com with this selection of hotels very well rated by travellers.
As for my favourites, I can mention the Nouveau Monde hotel, a 4-star hotel facing the sea with a spa and indoor swimming pool, perfect for a well-being stay in Brittany.
13. Discovering Concarneau and Pont-Aven
Pont-Aven, in Finistere, is famous for its butter cakes, which even inspired a film by Joel Seria. You can visit the biscuit factory in Pont-Aven.
The historic centre of the town is charming with its harbour and the Musée de Pont-Aven, a small painting museum that tells the story of the Pont-Aven school, the name given to a group of painters who came to draw inspiration from the local landscapes, such as Gauguin and Sérusier. You can also take advantage of the visit to stroll through the Bois d’Amour or take a trip on the river Aven.
Pont-Aven has some very nice accommodation, and I would recommend staying there if you have a car: as it’s a very small town, those who like a busy trip will certainly feel the need to expand their horizons!
And just around the corner (or more exactly 16 km – 10 miles away) is the town of Concarneau, on the edge of the ocean. There are beaches but also a very nice fishing museum: on 16150 square feet, you can discover the different fishing techniques as well as the shipbuilding and the conservation of fish. One part of the museum is on land, the other in a trawler.
Concarneau is also a fortified city built on an islet in the 15th and 16th centuries: the present-day town of Concarneau gradually developed around this initial islet.
But to find my favourite accommodation, it is better to go a little further away from the historic centre towards the Plage des Sables Blancs (20 minutes walk from the walled city). There you will find two very nice hotels.
- Hotel Les Sables Blancs (4 stars) – It is located at the foot of the beach and the rooms have a balcony with a view of the sea, perfect to relax and admire the sunrise or sunset.
- Hotel Kermor (3 stars) – cosy accommodation, where most of the furniture comes from old cargo ships.
This corner of the town is also home to the Concarneau thalasso, if you fancy a weekend of wellbeing in Brittany!
14. Explore Douarnenez during your trip to Brittany
Douarnenez is also in Finistere and is situated on the seafront halfway between Quimper and the Crozon peninsula. If you have a car, you can easily go and visit the Regional Natural Park of Armorique.
And without a car, you can visit Douarnenez, its port and its natural site, the Plomarc’h. A nice walk by the sea, Gallo-Roman remains to observe, and 20 hectares of natural areas with small gardens, an educational farm (perfect for families with children!), the large wash house of Plomarc’h…
I also highly recommend a visit to the Port-Musée de Douarnenez. It presents a beautiful collection of boats and 5 of them can be visited.
If you have the soul of an explorer (at least vaguely!), I advise you to go and discover Tristan Island, so close to the coast that you can go there on foot when the tide allows it. The tourist office offers a lot of options to visit, on foot or by boat.
For accommodation, take a look at the Valdys La Baie: it has thalasso facilities (heated seawater pool, spa area, hammam, whirlpool baths, etc.) and is located facing the sea, very close to Tristan Island.
15. A couple of days in Dinan in Brittany
To visit Dinan in Brittany is to succumb to the incredible beauty of this town, located inland south of Saint-Malo. I must admit, I am weak in front of medieval cities… and Dinan is all about magnificent ramparts, a castle (it was necessary to defend the place, located in a strategic point to circulate between Normandy and Brittany), half-timbered houses, a basilica Saint-Sauveur not to be missed…
If you have a car at your disposal, you can easily reach Dinard and Saint-Malo in half an hour, but also visit the castle of La Hunaudaye, a medieval castle which offers a very modern tour (with tablets), which will win the favour of the youngest ;)
To take advantage of all the charms of Dinan, you can stay at La Maison Pavie, a half-timbered house dating from the 11th century, or at La Villa Côté Cour & Côté Spa, which offers rooms with a balneotherapy bathtub to enjoy moments of well-being.
If you prefer hotels to B&Bs, there is a very good Mercure hotel (Port Le Jerzual) in Dinan.
This is the end of this (perfectly subjective) list of ideas! I hope it will inspire you to visit Brittany in France, whether it is for a long weekend or a longer stay in the region.