Beautiful Brittany: 12 Adventures Across the Channel

Beautiful Brittany: 12 Adventures Across the Channel

Seeking tranquillity amid lush green landscapes and emerald shores? Make a beeline for Brittany by ferry, uncover its secret spots and enjoy a micro-adventure against the backdrop of breathtaking nature.

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off the usual French tourist hotspots and seeking a fun
alternative? If you’re on the hunt for an authentic destination
packed with surprises, it’s time to bask in the glory of Brittany. It’s practically on our doorstep, but
can easily fly under the radar. Yet it’s an activity-packed
destination with seafood joints lining the shores, hidden caves
housing crystal-clear waters, plus world-class surf and secret

12 bite-sized adventures in Brittany, France

A sunset over Pissot Cove in Brittany, France
Photo credit: Thibault Poriel

Get lost in Pissot Cove

A heavenly beach where your pedi glistens beneath the clear sea?
Count us in. In this (almost) secret paradise, tranquil shores are
fringed by lush greenery and you’re far from the crowds. Nestled
between the port of Dahouët and the large sandy beach of Val-André,
this is the under-the-radar place for taking a dip and basking in
sunshine, before pottering along the Douaniers path down to the
little Dahouët marina to toast a day well spent. Zip across the
channel via Brittany Ferries to Saint Malo and embark on a
leisurely one-hour drive to this glittering seaside escape.

Photo credit: BestJobers

Coast along the canal

Swap the coast for the canal and venture through 48 locks from
the medieval town of Dinan to the tavern-filled Breton capital of
Rennes. There’s plenty to soak up along the way, including Combourg
Castle, where writer Châteaubriand was born, and the photogenic
town of Hédé-Bazouges. Hire a bike from lockkeeper’s house L’Ille
Flottante and pedal along the Ille-et-Rance canal to Bazouges

Photo credit: Bernard Galéron

Meet the makers in Quimper

Packed with history, artisans and movie-star quality, Quimper
may well look familiar. The neighbourhood of Locronan has been the
setting for more than 30 films thanks to its picture-perfect
streets, granite houses and bustling main square – it’s little
wonder so many craftspeople have settled here. The Locmaria
district is a hotspot for creators and makers, from embroiderers to
brewers, many of whom will welcome you into their studios. Kick
things off in this creative hub with brunch on the quays at
Le Sistrot.
The restaurant, run by brothers Erwan and Ronan Gire, who returned
to their home town following six years in Montréal, is known for
its sublime seasonal cuisine and cider.

Immerse yourself in art and craftsmanship

There’s plenty of art and culture to enjoy in Brittany, and
combining this experience with the great outdoors is a joy. In
Piré-Chancé, a 25-minute drive from Rennes, lies Château des
– a manor-turned-gallery with delightful gardens to
frolic in. A day spent enjoying its sculpture park and grounds is
one well spent. You can immerse yourself further by trying a
pottery class or dabbling in a spot of woodworking or paper craft.
There are even stonework and metalsmith classes on offer. Spend the
night in the newly opened tree-shaped on-site hotel, which is an
architectural feat in itself. Indulge in the avant garde flavours
of the two new restaurants on this magnificent estate to seal the
deal on your cultural extravaganza.

Photo credit: Teddy Verneuil

Find an enchanted forest

Channel your own David Attenborough moment at Huelgoat forest in
Finistère. Home to Celtic legends and jaw-dropping rock formations,
with The Argent river meandering through, it makes for a mystical
day out. The nearby village has a cute café-bookshop called
Sur La Route and a summer venue for art and culture in
the former Girls’ School.

Surfing at La Torche, Brittany

Soak up the surf

Fancy a 48-hour surf break? We’ve got you. Apparently,
kitesurfing first kicked off in Douarnenez Bay in the 1980s so
boardsports reign strong here. La Torche in South Finistère is a
hotspot for surfers: At the foot of Quiberon’s Wild Coast, this is
where you will unearth a powerful swell and strong waves while in
Santec, North Finistère, Dossen beach is a windsurfers’ retreat.
Grab a bite at the ESB Shop & Café in Plouharnel afterwards.
As the sun goes down there is live music at Coota in Erdeven
(Morbihan) with its kitesurf-sail decor or Le Café Local in Combrit (Finistère) where all
the surfers hang out.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock / Mescioglu

Buckwheat the trend

When it comes to Brittany’s signature produce, butter tends to
steal the spotlight, but buckwheat is our secret foodie favourite.
Not only is it highly nutritious, but super-tasty, too. Head to
Fougères and step into La Maison du Sarrasin (the House of Buckwheat)
to savour the flavours of organic buckwheat flour. This powerful
plant is used to great effect in salted-butter caramel, standout
coffee, homemade ice cream, biscuits, pasta and pancakes – all
ready to enjoy on the spot or pop in your shopping bag. After
getting your buckwheat fix, take a stroll around the town, which is
nestled at the foot of the largest fortified château in Europe, to
enjoy the charm of the half-timbered houses and cobbled

Photo credit: Alexandre Lamoureux

Go gourmet in Guérande

Guérande and its peninsula is a haven for foodies. We are
talking seaweed caviar from Croisic, Breton lobster, kouign-amann
(butter cake) with Guérande salt, crispy crêpes… Is your mouth
watering yet? Start with a culinary-themed trek through the marshes
of Brière and Guérande then saunter to La Baule. This chic beach
town is dotted with Belle Epoque villas, cute boutiques and a
picturesque embankment next to a long sandy beach. Le Billot and La Table de Saint-Christophe are local dinner

Photo credit: Alexandre Lamoureux

Seek out the sparkling lighthouse

For a magical maritime micro-adventure, it’s all about the Côte
des Abers. The dramatic coastline, with its sprawling greenery,
will take you back to nature in the most beautiful way. A clifftop
walk along the coastline blends rocks, sand dunes and creeks, while
majestic lighthouses make the panoramic views sparkle. Looking out
onto the waters, dotted with colourful boats and yachts, you’ll
feel a world away from city life. It’s worth the 365 steps to reach
the top of the Île Vierge lighthouse; an 82.5m-tall granite tower
embellished with opaline glass. You’ll be rewarded with the best

Photo credit: Emmanuel Berthier

Take it slow from Quimper to Bénodet

Relax alongside the peaceful banks of the Odet River whose
waterways, from Quimper to Bénodet, are lined with history-rich
castles, avant-garde mansions and sun-dappled forests. Earning the
moniker of “most beautiful river in France”, we recommend hiring a
paddleboard to cruise down the estuary. Make sure to stop by the
maritime town of Quimper. Situated at the bottom of the estuary
and born from its link with the sea, here you’ll immerse yourself
in the importance of the River Odet. After a day spent splashing
around, pitch up at cute-as-a-button guesthouse, 46 Bretagne.
Located in the small village of Bénodet, it’s an ideal stopover for
those seeking a slice of the slow life. The zero-waste bolthole has
also earned the coveted European Ecolabel, an accolade that
celebrates the hotel’s commitment to green initiatives.

Photo credit: Alexandre Lamoureux

Go kayaking in Île-aux-Pies

A mosaic of marshes and islands named after birds awaits at Ile
aux Pies, 10km from La Gacilly. Bathed in light with views of the
cliffs plunging into the River Oust, this gem on the Nantes-Brest
canal is a protected site that packs a punch. It’s ideal for
rock-climbing and kayak outings so makes a fun spot for holidaying
with pals who love the great outdoors. Cycling, canoeing, treetop
adventures and a day at the beach are all up for grabs.

Photo credit: Eugenie Ragot

Seek out culture at Saint-Brieuc

Saint-Brieuc offers a winning blend of culture and coast. In the
historic town centre, the stone and half-timbered houses surround
the fortress cathedral. Narrow streets are kitted out with 30s art
deco mosaic facades by Odorico alongside modern-day street art, all
set against the backdrop of cliff faces, slipways, dunes and moors.
The showstopper is the Saint-Yves Chapel, where cubist forms,
intricate mosaics and fresco paintings come together in a
magnificent display.

Know before you go

Where to stay: From chic, eco-friendly hotels
to slow-travel surf camps, fabulous villas and glamping, there is
plenty of characterful accommodation available. For a comprehensive
list, browse

When to visit: We recommend straying from the
obvious months and heading to Brittany in spring or autumn, when
there’s a more tranquil ambience and the light is at its best over
this glorious coastline.

How to get there: Hop aboard Brittany Ferries
for an adventure that starts the moment you set sail. Soak up the
views, spot dolphins from the deck, then walk, cycle or drive
straight from the ferry into the heart of Brittany to continue your

The Lowdown

For more information, visit

The half-timbered architecture of Rennes, Brittany

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