The French coast of Brittany – or Breizh, as it’s known to the locals – is as diverse and storied as they come. With nearly 2,000mi (3,218km) of coastline and more than 700,000 years of human history, this ancient land is best seen by sea. The little-visited region has captured the imaginations of those who happen upon her windswept shores for generations. Whether you prefer sailing or yachting, these are our top picks of the best day trips from Brittany by boat.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The Glénan Archipelago
Located 10mi (16km) off the coast of Finistère, the Glénan archipelago is a collection of nine main islands and one idyllic lagoon. These isles are known for diving – in fact, it’s one of the best spots in the Atlantic to do so. Onshore, you’re likely to find an unusual flower carpeting the land. These tiny blossoms are the protected Glénan Narcissus and they’re only found here. Coupled with glassine waters and powder-fine sand, it’s no wonder locals have dubbed Glénan the “Tahiti of Breton”.
La Trinité-sur-Mer is famous for sailing. Year-round, skippers and sailors flock to its docks to take part in all manner of seaside activities, including some of the most renowned races and regattas – like the Spi Ouest France in May and the Multihull Trophy in August. But there’s more to La Trinité than simply its sails. Here, you’ll find farmed oyster beds off the Crac’h River, beautiful beaches like Kervillen and Men-Dû and the ancient stone megaliths of Carnac – erected stones called menhirs, even older than Stonehenge.
The Gulf of Morbihan
Covering some 11,500 hectares (28,417-acres), the Gulf of Morbihan is one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Filled with more than 40 small islands, the Gulf is perfect for a day on its inland sea – hopping from one little landmass to the next. All along the coast, you’ll find seaside villages and wildlife reserves like the medieval town of Vannes – one of the prestigious “Cities of Art and History in France” – or the nature reserve of the Séné Marshland.
Often simply referred to as Belle-Île, Bronze Age finds suggest it’s been inhabited for thousands of years. Today, it’s a popular haven for artists and sun-lovers – with a warm climate much more like the Mediterranean than the rest of Atlantic-facing Brittany. No less than Monet, Rodin, Van Gogh and Matisse were fans. Less well-known, though, are its culinary contributions to local fare: barnacles – a rare delicacy in Europe – are plentiful here, alongside a rare lamb and honey-making black bee.
Dubbed the “Wild Coast”, the Quiberon peninsula has a rich history, rugged coastline, sandy beaches and old fishing villages, like Saint-Pierre-Quiberon. Most of the coast on its eastern side is off-limits for swimmers – the Atlantic can get quite rough – but it hosts some of the most incredible sunsets, which more than makes up for it. The west is a popular surfing hotspot and hides many mysterious caves and coves. For the intrepid and adventurous, Quiberon is unmissable.
This tiny speck in the Atlantic is home to some of the prettiest views in Brittany. With just under 5mi (8km) of coastline, cars are unnecessary as everything is accessible by foot. That’s a very good thing, too, since hiking trails abound and they’re the best way to see all that Hoedic has on offers – like its prehistoric menhirs or ancient stone fort. You’ll even find a small village with floral facades, inhabited by just 120 people.
The Channel Islands
Most famous of the Channels, Jersey and Guernsey are well known for their high-end boutiques and luxury shopping, but they’re just the biggest of the islets and reefs that make up this archipelago. Neither truly British nor French, they are in fact Bailiwicks of the Crown – meaning they fall under the jurisdiction of a bailiff appointed by the English monarchy. Much of these islands are unspoiled – we recommend Herm for its flowery splendour, or Alderney, for its old-world fisherman charm.
La Roche Bernard via Damgan
La Roche Bernard was founded by a Viking lord around 1,000AD. Thanks to its location on the River Vilaine, it became a bustling port – making the town quite wealthy indeed. Today, it’s best known for its Michelin-starred restaurant, l’Auberge Bretonne and its lively Thursday morning market. The port is also a popular spot for heritage boat owners whose rigs are labelled with the prestigious Bateau d’Intérêt Patrimonial – or “Boat of Heritage Interest” – awarded for their contribution to French maritime history.
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