Brittany has some of the most charming towns in France. Wandering along the streets of the walled city of Saint-Malo or medieval city of Dinan, you can’t help but be charmed. With one of the longest coastline in France, Brittany offers the perfect spot for beach and nature lovers. Whether you like posh resort towns like Dinard or simple, unspoiled beach like Carnac, you will be in your element.
Getting there and around
Air – Brittany has several regional airports where you can fly from London or Paris and other European cities. The airports of Nantes, Rennes, and Dinard served by big airlines like Air France or low cost like Ryanair.
Boat – If you are travelling from the UK, Brittany Ferries sails from Portsmouth to Saint-Malo or Plymouth to Roscoff.
Train – With the high-speed TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes or Nantes, the region is nicely covered and accessible. The rail network is excellent in France, so many trains run from other cities to the area. However, some towns like the book town of Becherel will need a car or bus to reach them.
Bus – Once in Brittany, getting around is easy thanks to a vast range of networks. For trip within Rennes and the Ile-et-Vilaine region, Illenoo is a great option; for Cotes d’Armor region and Saint-Malo, use Tibus and Keolis; and for Morbihan area, check out Keolis.
Car – Travelling to Brittany by car is a good option as the road doesn’t have tolls (peage) and some of the smaller towns can be difficult to reach by public transport.
Best things to do
Brittany for Kids
Brittany is an excellent destination for families and kids will love the beaches, exploring the castles, ramparts, and forts. The town of Saint-Malo offers all of the above! Not technically in Brittany but Nantes also provides some of the best activities for children. Kids and adults will love Les Machines de l’Ile. This attraction located on an old shipyard takes inspiration from the work of hometown writer Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days”. Kids will love riding on the mechanical animals like the heron or the massive Carrousel des Mondes Marins (Marine Worlds Carousel) that takes “voyagers” on a trip through its three levels representing the ocean, seabed, an abyss.
Brittany for History lovers
Brittany is a vibrant region with a well-preserved cultural and architectural heritage. Each of the cities, towns, and villages have a “je ne sais quoi”, an authentic feel that makes them both different and similar at the same time. In my opinion, Brittany has some of the most charming towns in France, and all have forged their characters. From picturesque villages, like Auray/St Goustan, to medieval Dinan and historic towns, like Carnac where stone monuments like menhirs and dolmens still stand, Brittany has it all.
Between earth and ocean
With four departments, each with a coast; Brittany is an excellent destination if you are looking for a seaside destination without the big crowds of the Mediterranean. The landscape is very different from the North to the South or within departments.
In the Cotes d’Armor, for example, has rugged coasts some only accessible through footpaths and sandy beaches. In contrast, the beaches of Ille-et-Vilaine, in the heart of Cote d’Emeraude offer beautiful beaches with fantastic views over the Art Epoque villas (posh seaside town of Dinard). For a stunning stretch of sandy beach, head to the South of Brittany where Morbihan and south Finistere offer just that.
Continue to the Gulf of Morbihan, the peninsula of Quiberon and the different islands surrounding it for even beautiful wild beaches.
If you like sports, then you will love the variety of water sports on offer too: sailing, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, sand yachting and kite surfing.
Finest Foodie Escape
Like most of France, Brittany has fantastic dishes. Who has not tried the famous crêpe? Most people don’t know its savoury version called galette. They are both traditional Breton food that you can find everywhere, but nothing beats the authentic taste of crêpe made in Brittany.
With its long coastline, there is no wonder that fish and especially seafood are an essential part of Breton diet. You can’t travel to Brittany without enjoying a plate of moules marinière or moules-frites ( mussels served with fries) or oysters. In my opinion, restaurants in towns like Saint-Malo, Quiberon and Cancale offer the best seafood. If you have a sweet tooth, you will enjoy the kouign amann or far Breton.
Where to stay in Brittany
With so many departments, towns and villages, the choice of accommodation are endless. Whether you are one for a hotel stay, Airbnb, bed & breakfast, hostels, camping-caravaning, there is something for all budget and likes. I have in my youth stayed at campsites and hostels like Patrick Varangot Center in Saint-Malo.
For a detailed list of accommodation in Brittany, please check out Booking.com’s website.
Have you been to Brittany? What are your best attractions and things to do?
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