Brittany is a wildly beautiful area of France, featuring more than 1,600 miles of rugged coastline. Dramatic cliffs punctuated with pristine beaches make up the seascapes, along with plenty of pretty islands. On the inland, the landscapes are filled with forests, castles, medieval towns and mysterious monuments from prehistoric times. Here are the best spots for those seeking nature, history and adventure.
Mont-Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight | Courtesy of Brittany Tourism
This extraordinary island commune looks like it’s been plucked straight from a fairytale. The enormous abbey that dominates the top of the mound dates back more than a thousand years, and you could spend a day exploring that alone. The settlement cascades down from the abbey into a web of quaint streets worth a wander.
Josselin Castle is one of many exquisite medieval fortresses in Brittany, notable for its impressive round towers that loom over its canal-side location. If you can drag yourself away from the external view, you’ll find an amazing interior inside and stunning grounds.
Picturesque Dinan is known for its medieval ramparts | Courtesy of Brittany Tourism
The pretty walled town of Dinan, whose medieval buildings and cobbled streets crowd around the banks of the Rance river, hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages. As such, it’s one of Brittany’s most atmospheric and attractive settlements.
Take a dip in the azure waters along the Crozon Peninsula | Courtesy of Brittany Tourism
Arguably the most impressive stretch of Brittany’s coastline, the rocky promontory of Crozon is famed for its secluded coves, lovely beaches and sheer cliffs, some of which tower more than 100 metres from the azure ocean. The ports of Camaret and Morgat are good places to base yourself for a day of exploring.
Unlike many of Brittany’s settlements, Brest is a place that looks excitedly to the future, rather than fondly at the past. Located in a spectacular natural harbour, the town has a series of notable landmarks, including the Pont de l’Iroise bridge. Perhaps the best way to admire it all is from the urban cable car – the first of its kind in France.
The Carnac Stones form an exceptionally well-preserved megalithic site (they predate The Great Pyramid of Giza by a whopping 2,000 years), and are by far the world’s largest collection of prehistoric standing stones.
Locronan is renowned as one of Brittany’s prettiest villages, with cobblestone streets and granite homes. Most of the buildings are unchanged from the 18th century when the town’s merchants fuelled the local economy by trading hemp sails to the French Navy. Head to the top of the hill for the views.
Saint-Malo is a popular holiday destination | Courtesy of Brittany Tourism
Saint-Malo is a handsome port city on Brittany’s north coast. Its most scenic part can be found inside the old city walls, where the narrow streets twist past inviting restaurants, shops and cosy hotels. Beyond the city itself, sandy beaches and the glittering sea beckons holidaymakers during the summer months.
Access Île Milliau on foot at low-tide | Courtesy of Brittany Tourism
One of more than 800 islands and islets dotted around the Brittany coast, Île Milliau is a stunning mass of land accessible via foot at low tide from the port at Trébeurden. At just a kilometre (just over half mile) in length, it’s easily explorable, with exceptional views of the surrounding scenery from its highest point.