For the French, Brittany remains a symbolic vacation spot for families and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a seaside escape. The region is marked by dramatic coastlines shaped by crashing waves and beautiful wildlife inland. Anywhere in Brittany you are sure to find picturesque landscapes and quaint towns exuding charm. Outdoor activities are in abundance in Brittany, from land to sea, making it the perfect spot for an active holiday with the family.
When to go?
Though Brittany is well known for its rainy days, clouds and blustery weather, the months of June to August bring warmer weather and sunshine, showcasing the best the region has to offer.
Where to stay?
If you’re looking spend your holidays in Brittany, staying in hotels at each stop along the way can often weigh heavily on your budget. Enjoy the beauty of northwestern France from the homes of locals with home exchange! With GuestToGuest you can exchange your home for free to create your perfect summer holiday in the region. Questions on how it works? There are currently over 4,800 homes available for exchange in Brittany.
The westernmost region in France is characterized by a striking coastline, historic towns, and quaint fishing villages. With over 1,000 km of coastline and an array of beaches, we’ve listed a few of our favorites we hope you’ll enjoy!
Summer temperatures in Finistère: The highest temperatures in the region occur during the summer season, and range between highs of 50°F lows of 60°F.
1. Ile Ouessant (Ushant)
One of the two small inhabited islands that make up the Regional Park of Armorique, Ile Ouessant has been listed as a World Biosphere Reserve for the diversity of its wildlife.
How to get there? The island can be reached by ferry from Le Conquet or Brest.
Activities in Ouessant:
Things to do in Ouessant:
- Active excursions: The rock formations and amazing scenery make cycling the ideal way to explore the island in its entirety. Many come to the island for scenic rides and the feel of being on the last French outpost.
- For more experienced adventurers, scuba diving is another activity to be enjoyed on the island. Divers can explore the underwater treasures at the Natural Marine Park of Iroise.
2. Presqu’île de Crozon
Situated on the western tip of Finistère, the town of Crozon is much like the rest of Brittany. It features a picturesque coastline, quaint villages, and historic towns.
How to get there? Regular ferries depart from Brest, where the TGV arrives from Paris.
Activities in Crozon:
Things to do in Crozon:
- Relaxing activities: Morgat beach is an absolute must when visiting the town, popularly considered as the best beach on the western coast, it is conveniently sheltered from the strong westerly winds.
- If you happpen to visit in August, be sure to catch the “Festival du bout du monde,” a world music festival that takes place on the beach each year.
- Favorite beach activities include boogie boarding and kayaking. On land, cycling is ideal for discovering the dramatic coastline.
- Active excursions: What draws most crowds to Crozon is the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit the dramatic cliffs. Recommended spots include: Pointe de Penhir, well known for its rock formations, Pointe de Dinan, Pointe du Toulinguet, and Pointe des Espagnols, which all provide great views from the peninsula. An afternoon spent watching seabirds and crashing waves will interest adventurists of all ages.
Located in the southeastern part of Finistère, this port is now known as the “city of artists” as its previous reliance on watermills attracted many artists to the area.
How to get there? Pont-Aven is half an hour from Quimper by car, where the TGV arrives from Paris.
Activities in Pont-Aven:
Things to do in Pont-Aven:
- Cultural activities: Along the banks of the river Aven lie the historic watermills that characterize the town. The tourist office provides regular tours of the mill ruins.
- Rue des Meunières features many traditional granite and whitewashed homes making the area ideal for a pleasant stroll through town.
- Art lovers might appreaciate tours that trace Gauguin’s footsteps through the town and discover the inspiration behind one of his most famous paintings, The Yellow Christ. The Pont-Aven Museum of Fine Arts features many of his paintings and other Pont-Aven inspired art.
Where to stay for less:
Katell & Nico’s home is entirely equipped for the perfect family holiday! From children’s rooms to a trampoline in the garden, your little ones are well taken care of in Brittany.
Summer temperatures in Côte d’Armour: The highest temperatures in the region occur during the summer season, and range between highs of 50°F and lows of 60°F.
1. Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast)
How to get there? The Côte de Granit Rose is reachable by car from Morlaix, where the TGV arrives from Paris.
Activities in Côte de Granit Rose:
Things to do in Côte de Granit Rose:
- Active excursions: To observe the dramatic coasts shaped by wind and heavy tides, venture along the footpath that stretches along Perros-Guirec.
- In the low hills, hydrangeas, pine trees, lavender and an array of other wildflowers make for a lovely afternoon stroll.
- For fun by the water, consider Testratou Beach which features children’s clubs, diving platforms, and fresh water showers.
- Cultural activities: To experience the small towns of the Pink Granite Coast, we recommend you spend some time in Lannion and Treguier. You can enjoy lunch from the markets, discover their rich history and influence in the region.
This coastal town in northern Brittany was once famous for its cod fishing industry that took many fisherman to Iceland.
How to get there? Paimpol has its own TGV station accessible from Paris.
Activities in Paimpol:
Things to do in Paimpol:
- Cultural activities: The most pleasant walks can be had on Place du Martray, Rue des Huit Patriotes and Rue des Islandais which are all known for their fantastic showcase of cobbled streets and wood homes.
- Maison Jezequel, one of the oldest homes in Paimpol, was once a shop that supplied locals with cod.
- Musée de la Mer commemorates the history of the cod fishing port and the lives of the “Icelanders,” the French fisherman of Paimpol who ventured on long voyages to Iceland.
3. Île de Bréhat
The warm micro-climate on the southern portion of the island has earned it the nickname “Island of Flowers.” In stark contrast to the northern portion of the island which is characterized by shrubs, many exotic plants grow on the southern portion of the island.
How to get there? Ferries to the island leave from Ploubazlanec, not far from Paimpol, and take 10 minutes.
Activities in Île de Bréhat:
Things to do in Île de Bréhat:
- Active excursions: Bicyling is a popular method for exploring the island, and even by foot it can be done in under 3 hours!
- Guerzido Beach is quite well known and attracts many visitors due to it being sheltered from the strong winds that characterize the region.
Where to stay for less:
Estelle’s charming home with a pool is conveniently located near all of the most frequented stops along the Côtes-d’Armor. Equipped with a children’s bedroom and American style kitchen, this home is perfect for any family holiday.
Summer temperatures in Île-et-Vilaine: This region’s summer temperatures are slightly higher than others, where they range from a high of 50°F to mid-60°F.
How to get there? The TGV runs directly from Paris, and there are also ferries that arrive from the UK.
Activities in St.Malo:
Things to do in St. Malo:
- Cultural activities: Take a walk around the high ramparts that surround the town and showcase great views of the beaches and coast. Along the way, you’ll find granite houses that date back to the days of pirates that lived in the city that seized ships in the 16th to 18th centuries.
- Exploring the old-town can be done by a little train, a perfect activity for children, which will take you on a tour of all the main sites.
- Active excursions: Further along the coast, you can reach Mont-Saint-Michel by shuttle or car from St. Malo. The island and abbey are one of the most recognized and photographed landmarks in France.
Famous for being a 19th century luxury seaside resort town, Dinard brings a unique air of upscale charm to the coast.
How to get there? Saint-Malo can be reached by TGV from Paris, and then Dinard is just 20 minutes across the bridge by car.
Activities in Dinard:
- Active excursions: Saint-Enogat beach is ideal for swimming, and includes a backdrop of the town’s most imposing villas, and the beach of l’Ecluse has a number of activities suited for the whole family.
- Relaxing activities: If you prefer quieter beaches away from the crowds, find relaxation by Port Blanc.
- A great walk can be had along Promenade du Clair de Lune (Moonlight Walk) which runs along the beach and will take you through gardens which are ideally lit up in the evening and play wonderful music.
How to get there? Cancale is half an hour from Saint-Malo by car.
Activities in Cancale:
Things to do in Cancale:
- Cultural activities: Built on its reputation of oysters, a visit to Cancale is not complete without sampling this famous oversized shellfish. Thought to be one of the best available, the town was classified as a “Site remarquable du goût” meaning a town with exceptional taste.
- The harbour of La Houle contains many old fishing houses and numerous restaurants for you to take in the magic of the sea town.
Where to stay for less:
The Bohecs’ family home is perfect for discovering the magic of Brittany’s main attractions. Located in a small village just an hour from the beaches on each coast.
Summer temperatures in Morbihan: This region’s summer temperatures are slightly higher than others, where they range from a high of 50°F to mid-60°F.
Situated on the southeast coast of Brittany, it is an important site as it contains a high number of impressive prehistoric monuments.
How to get there? Cancale is half an hour from Vannes by car, which is accessible by TGV.
Activities in Carnac:
Things to do in Carnac:
- Cultural activities: You can view a substantial amount of the remaining prehistoric structures at the Prehistoric Musuem in Carnac. Just outside of the town is the famous alignment of Le Menech and Kermario.
- The Church of St. Cornely provides an interesting glimpse into a Renaissance style architecture.
How to get there? Accessible directly from Paris in TGV.
Activities in Vannes:
Things to do in Vannes:
- Cultural activities: Take a walking tour of the old town to discover charming streets, half-timbered houses and brightly painted 15th century homes. One of the homes features a famous wooden carving of Vannes and his wife .
- Find your way to Rue Porte Prison to walk among the ramparts that once protected medieval Vannes. To continue your walking tour, follow the Promenade de la Garenne which features nicely maintained gardens and buildings along the river which once used to be “lavoirs,” or washhouses.
3. Belle-Île-En-Mer (Beautiful Island)
How to get there? The main ferry service runs year round and departs from Quiberon on the mainland to the main port of Le Palais.
Activities in Belle-Île:
Things to do in Belle-Île:
- Active excursions: The magic of the islands in Brittany is their accessibility by bicycle. Belle-Île is no different in this regard, the island can be easily cycled in a day. The main road is La Dorsale which runs to the top of the island, making it perfect for experienced cyclists looking for a hilly adventure. We recommend renting bicycles from Roue Libre in Le Palais.
- Cultural activities: To view more of the island’s nature in a more intimate setting, check out the Grotte de L’Apothecaire.
- Northwest of Le Palais, discover the small town of Sauzon where you can cross the Quiberon Peninsula to view its dramatic cliffs and crashing waves.
- Built in 1835 The Grand Phare is a lighthouse on the island that contains one of the strongest beacons in all of Europe that can be viewed 75 miles across the Atlantic. It stands 275 feet tall and if the keeper is present you may have the opportunity to climb to the top.
Where to stay for less:
Olivier’s home boasts grand views and rests in a calm village minutes away from outdoor activities ranging from hiking to golf. Perfect for families with children, their home sits on a large plot of land allowing your little ones to run free and enjoy Brittany’s fresh air!