During our two-week road trip along Brittany’s coast, we explored the Gulf of Morbihan and Côtes-d’Armor. The hilly peninsula of Brittany extends out toward the Atlantic Ocean and has a unique rugged coastline, such as the Pink Granite Coast, which is famed for its unusual, blush-hued sand and rocks. Brittany is known for its abundant prehistoric megalith.
Where we stayed
In the first week our family stayed in a holiday house in Sarzeau. Our accommodation for the second week was a holiday house in Trélévern, north of Brittany.
Mont St. Michel was on the itinerary of our road trip along Brittany’s Coast, and it would take two driving hours from Trélévern. Therefore, we decided to stay six nights in Trélévern instead of the seven days planned originally and booked one night in the Mercure Hotel near Mont St. Michel. As a result of this adjustment, we had plenty of time to explore Mont St. Michel.
Before heading back to Germany, we stayed in IBIS at Chalon en Champagne for another night to reduce potential stress.
Itinerary for our road trip along Brittany’s coast
Our itinerary for road trip along the Brittany’s coast includes two parts: one week for Gulf of Morbihan and the other week for Côtes-d’Armor.
First week itinerary (Gulf of Morbihan)
- 1st Day: Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys market, Cliff walking at Saint-Gildas, Port Navalo’s coastal path, Arzon, Moulin De Pen Castel, and Oyster farm (Pointe de I’Ours, Sarzeau)
- 2ed Day: Carnac standing stones and Quiberon peninsular round trip
- 3rd Day: Belle‑Ile, the beautiful island
- 4th Day: La Belle-Iloise fish cannery, Saint-Cado Islet, Swim at Plage Des Govelins
- 5th Day: Domaine de Suscinio, Salt Museum, and Salt marshes around Guerande
- 6th Day: Vannes old town
Second week itinerary (Côtes-d’Armor)
1st Day: Rhuys Peninsular
The seafood offered by the locals had a large selection, such as oysters, shrimp, mussels, clams, crabs, periwinkles, and whelks. In addition to the seafood, local people could also buy other daily products such as clothes and bags.
Cliff walking at Saint-Gildas
Saint-Gildas has many well-developed walking paths throughout the peninsular. After a quick visit to the market, we hiked the beautiful cliff walking trail at the Pointe Du Gran Mont.
Port Navalo’s coastal path
Port Navalo’s coastal path passes around the headland near the restaurant Côté Mer. The moderately trafficked walking trail offers views of the Quiberon peninsular and the rocky coastline.
After lunch at Port Navalo, on the way back to our holiday house in Sarzeau, we stopped at Arzon for a short break.
Moulin De Pen Castel
We continued driving along the northeast of the peninsular and passed a small windmill house, Moulin De Pen Castel (a tidal power station). Inside the building, there is an art gallery.
Oyster farm (Pointe de I’Ours, Sarzeau)
The landlord of our holiday house told us about Les Fruits De Mer, an oyster farm near Pointe de l’Ours, Sarzeau. Unfortunately, the factory and its restaurant do not open until 18:00. Nevertheless, the sunset views at the Pointe de l’Ours were the best for the end of that day.
2ed Day: Carnac Stone and Quiberon peninsula
Carnac standing stones
Carnac is known for its unique rows of some 3000 ancient standing stones placed in descending order, and each alignment ends on a megalithic stone circle.
Quiberon peninsula round trip
Our Quiberon peninsula round trip started with the visit of the headland of the peninsula. Then, after a short walk around the Port Maria, we popped into a harbour front restaurant and had a 3-course menu for 25 Euros.
Not far from Port Maria is the Chateau Turpault, a private manor with a great photo opportunity during the high tides. After Port Guibello and Plage Port Bara, finally we reached our highlight of the day, Arche De Port Blanc Roche Percée.
3rd Day: Belle‑Ile, the beautiful island
Belle-Île-en-Mer is the largest island in Brittany on the French Atlantic coast. Around the island are tiny harbours and pretty beaches connected to sheltered coves and cliffs. In the off-season, we had to take the earliest ferry on that day, departure at 8:15 and arriving at the island in 45 minutes. As planned, we rented an electric car to explore the island.
Around lunchtime, we arrived at Port de Sauzon, a small fishing port. In the distance, and saw the restaurant Creperie Les Embruns was just open. It offers an immense variety of Galletes (a typical Breton food) in sweet and salty versions.
4th Day: La Belle-Iloise fish cannery, Saint-Calo Islet, Swim at Plage Des Govelins
La Belle-Iloise fish cannery
The fish cannery at Quiberon has hundreds of years of history. It produces mainly sardine and tuna products. Most products are only sold directly from the factory or its outlets. We joined a quick guided tour and bought nearly 200 Euros of canned fish products.
Saint-Cado (Île de Saint-Cado)
Saint-Cado islet (Île de Saint-Cado) in Morbihan lies a few kilometres from Lorient. In the heart of the Etel river, connected to the land via a legendary stone bridge, the village is a hidden treasure of Brittany. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk around the Saint-Cado islet. However, as the magical setting of the landscape had attracted us so much, we finally spent two hours on the tiny islet.
Swim at Plage Des Govelins
The weather was pleasant, and it was still quite early in the afternoon. Some local people were swimming near the beach. The air temperature was high in the autumn, but the water was not. We stayed in the water for only five minutes, but the water was too cold for a swim!
5th Day: Domaine de Suscinio, Salt Marshes Museum, and Salt marshes around Guerande
Domaine de Suscinio
The path from Suscinio Castle to the Atlantic Coast passes a protected natural space, including the Suscinio Castle, birdwatching platform, an Atlantic coastal view, and a colourful lagoon.
Salt Marshes Museum
The Salt Marshes Museum in Batz-sur-Mer has immense information about how salt-pans operate, the history of Guerande salt, and shares the life of a salt worker in the 19th century.
Salt marshes around Guerande
Salt marshes around Guerande are huge! Streets across the salt marshes, making visitors explore the area conveniently. We parked our car somewhere in the centre and captured the sunset scenes of the salt marshes, a fabulous experience for us! In summer, visitors can join a tour to learn about salt harvesting and visit a salt pond with a paludier (salt harvester).
6th Day: Vannes old town
After several days of nature exploration following our road trip itinerary for Brittany, we felt exhausted and longed for a leisurely outing in Vannes Old Town. Being the capital of Morbihan, Vannes old town has a pretty port, medieval architecture, beautiful gardens, squares, food scene to discover.
7th Day: Ville Close (Concarneau), Trélévern
Ville Close (Concarneau)
On the way to the next house in Trélévern, we made our stopover at Concarneau and visited its fortified island, the Ville Close. Ville Close stands on a long island in the centre of Concarneau harbour. The walled town has only a few narrow streets and is just a short distance from the city and port.
As planned, we arrived at the holiday house around 17:00.
8th Day: Ploumanac’h pink rock hiking trail, Port de Trébeurden, and Île-Grande
Ploumanac’h pink rock hiking trail
One of my best memories from our road trip along the Brittany’s coast is the hiking experience at the Ploumanac’h on the Pink Granite Coast. We started from the lighthouse to the Dragon’s Head and the Côte de granite rose parking lot. Along the trail, there are several viewpoints where visitors can observe eccentric rocks rising from the sea.
Port de Trébeurden
After lunch at Plage de Trestraou, the beach of Perros-Guirec, we went to Port de Trébeurden, west of the small island l’Île Milliau. When it is low tide, visitors can walk to the island. But as we arrived there in the afternoon, the water had already flooded the walkway.
It was still quite early in the afternoon, to make up for our disappointment, we visited Île-Grande (Enez-Veur in Breton), an island on the north coast of Brittany, France, linked to the mainland by a road.
9th Day: Trélévern
It was a rainy day. We stayed in the holiday house, played board games, read books, and enjoyed the fantastic sea view in front of the living room.
10th Day: Plougrescant peninsula, Treguier, La Roche‑Derrien, and Plage de Trestel
Le gouffre de Plougrescant
Plougrescant peninsula is at Brittany’s most northerly point on the mainland. The area is also part of the Pink Granite Coast. An interesting site is a small house, Petite Maison du Gouffre (also called Castel Meur), a well-known photo object in Brittany. The small house, constructed in 1861, is between two jagged rocks that seem to crush the stone house. The front of the house faces the saltwater pond.
The little town is the birthplace of St Yves, the patron saint of lawyers. Besides, it has a splendid cathedral, a pretty harbour, and half-timbered houses dating from the 15th century. We had a simple lunch in a local restaurant. Our friend ordered the Chef’s Recommendation, and it turned out to be the Andouille, a traditional sausage whose ingredients are pig chitterlings, tripe, onions, wine, and seasoning. It had such a distinctive odor that none of us could bear it!
The centre of La Roche-Derren is attractive with several interesting medieval half-timbered houses. La Roche‑Derrien’s highest point is the Chapel of the Calvary.
Plage de Trestel
The beach of Plage de Trestel is flat with white sands. Some people were playing with kites. Others were jogging. Without a second thought, we rushed to the beach but were shocked by many weird “sandworms” on the beach. Having had a closed look, we realized those were the sands pushed out by the worms below the sands.
11th Day: Lannion and Château de la Roche-Jagu
Squares, cobbled alleyways, half-timbered houses, or slate houses with sculpted decorations in Lannion present the atmosphere of the former medieval city. Later, I learned that around one hundred high-tech companies and research centres are in Lannion.
Château de la Roche–Jagu (Domaine de la roche jagu)
The Château de la Roche-Jagu is a 15th-century fortified house surrounded by many parks and gardens. Dedicated walkways pass sites such as a forest area, an oak grove, vegetable garden, medicinal plant garden, a fishpond, etc.
12th Day: Paimpol, Abbaye de Beauport
The pretty parts of Paimpol are around the harbour and the streets of the historic centre. Restaurants at the harbour front offer delicious seafood. Our lunch was a seafood plate, including crab, oyster, langoustines, clams, etc. It cost only 38 Euros.
Abbaye de Beauport
Abbaye de Beauport bears witness to 600 years of religious history. It covers over 100 hectares of shoreline, composed of many natural habitats: reed beds, rocky shores, salt marshes, and marshland. Further inland, the estate is a patchwork of woods, streams, and lakes.
13th Day: Dinan, Mont St. Michel
On the way to Mont St. Michel, we took the chance to visit Dinan, a picturesque trading town known for its medieval ramparts, cobblestone streets, and half-timbered houses. The ramparts are the oldest and most impressive in Brittany. Unfortunately, part of the ramparts was undergoing repair work and therefore closed to the public.
Mont St. Michel
In the late afternoon of that day, we arrived at the Mercure Hotel near Mont St. Michel. The weather was not so pleasant. Nevertheless, we still spent the rest of the day on that magic island.
14th Day: Mont St. Michel
In the early morning, we hurried to catch the morning scenes of the Mont St. Michel. After breakfast, we went to the island and visited the abbey. There are many photographic spots around and on the island. We stayed on the island longer than expected and checked-in IBIS at Chalon en Champagne very late.
Brittany Travel tips
How to get around
To have a road trip along the Brittany’s coast, one needs a car since many places are easy reachable by car. Parking is not a problem during the autumn seasons, and in most sites, parking is free. Make sure to obey speed limits as otherwise, the holiday could be expensive.
Where to stay
There are plenty of lovely holiday houses in the coastal area. But if you prefer to use buses and trains as the mean of transportation, then it is better to stay in the major towns, such as Vannes, Dinan, Concarneau, and Saint-Malo.