Crystal-clear waters, lush nature, historic towns, savory crêpes, raincoats, and bikinis – Brittany is more than just a region to discover; it's a state of mind! While some predict it to be the future French Riviera, Brittany already has its own devoted fanbase. From Saint-Brieuc to Brest, from Saint-Malo to Quimper, from Ploumanac'h to Vannes, this beautiful region unfurls its charms between land and sea, between tales and legends. Tinged with blue and green, this land of fairies and pirates stands as an ideal destination for a getaway, a chance to literally breathe in the air during a long weekend. As the locals say, "In Brittany, you have your nose in the wind and your heart at high tide!" To guide you through this wave of beauty and ensure you don't miss a thing while visiting Brittany, follow our guide... Your Campanile hotels await you along the way to rejuvenate and recharge your energy between stops in the west! Degemer mat e Breizh! (Welcome to Brittany!)
With its 27,208 km2, the Brittany region is vast, covering four departments. To savor its enchantments during a short stay, choices must be made. With this first itinerary, it's the seaside that reveals stunning and invigorating landscapes.
Nestled between land and sea, Saint-Brieuc serves as the perfect starting point to explore Northern Brittany. Renovated in July 2022, your Campanile Saint-Brieuc hotel awaits to kickstart your journey! With its lounge area, spa with sauna and fitness room, rooftop, and nature-inspired decor, the hotel is a true haven of peace. On-site, your Campanile restaurant offers a diverse menu rich in local products. Plenty to indulge in before surrendering to the gentle Breton breeze in a comfortable room!
Upon arriving in Saint-Brieuc's city center, you'll be charmed by the authenticity of its historic district. Half-timbered houses, stone buildings, cathedral fortress, and charming terraces welcome you for a cultural stroll. Along its cobblestone streets dating back to the 15th century, you'll immerse yourself in Breton gastronomy. Here, the stars are salted butter and freshly caught scallops.
Your digestive stroll will lead you to the Port de Légué, the city's nerve center. Magnificent, this place reveals a breathtaking view of Saint-Brieuc Bay, the fifth-largest bay in the world by tidal range. The more adventurous can hike along the Customs Officers' Trail, GR34, which overlooks the sea and stretches from the cliffs of Pointe du Bec to Pointe des Guettes, offering breathtaking views! At low tide, the nature reserve, with its 7 km of beaches and 112 bird species, welcomes you for a family afternoon. Be mindful of the tides, keep an eye on your watch!
Saint-Malo & the Emerald Coast
Refreshed like never before, you head towards the Emerald Coast to extend your iodine bath. Often, it all begins in Saint-Malo. Dubbed the Corsair City, the town is famous for its ramparts, architecture, and boats, all testifying to its turbulent past. Open to the sea, this seaside resort offers easy access to beautiful beaches and delicious chocolate crêpes! If you have sea legs, embark on an afternoon cruise. Petit Bé or Grand Bé, for a trial run, or Cap Fréhel for experienced sailors, you'll surely be captivated by the prevailing calm at sea.
While you can stop by its famous Aquarium, the city of Saint-Malo is also an opportunity to explore the Rance estuary or the Chemin des Rondes with their decidedly soothing views. Just a short distance away, take the time to discover Dinard, the Breton Deauville! With its casino, vast beach, and Belle Époque villas, this seaside resort deserves a stopover for a glass of cider. Along the way, Cancale invites you to contemplate the horizon, be surprised by its blue waters, and relish in a plate of oysters, equally renowned as the beauty of its landscapes. The atmosphere here is so sweet that even dolphins have made it their home!
Then, head straight to Dinan, a medieval town. With its castle, Clock Tower, narrow cobblestone streets, and a suspended-in-time atmosphere, Dinan is ideal for a beautiful evening before reaching your Campanile Dinan hotel, whether with family, as a couple, or solo!
The Pink Granite Coast
If you lean more towards the west, departing from Saint-Brieuc, you'll encounter the Pink Granite Coast. More rugged, more natural, the Pink Granite Coast delights hiking enthusiasts with its subtle chromatic palette, evolving over the hours to offer an incomparable panorama. Starting from Lannion, a charming medieval town, embark on a journey towards the Seven Marvels of the Coast. From Paimpol to Trégor, you'll traverse the bocages that overlook the sea. Here and there, along the GR34, you'll find castles, Small Towns of Character, blue, green, and a lot of granite!
Next, head towards Perros-Guirec, a paradise for families in search of adrenaline! In this former fishing village, water activities are always on the agenda. Sailing, paddleboarding, kite surfing, or simply strolling on its beaches lined with granite sculpted by the wind, the seaside town is refreshing! It's also the ideal spot for a birdwatching cruise around the 7 islands. Just a bit further, the village of Ploumanac'h showcases an almost unreal landscape and sublime sunsets. Legend even has it that singles flock here to pin a statue erected on the beach and, in doing so, find a spouse within the year!
Finally, Trégastel and its 12 beaches welcome you to conclude this escapade on a megalithic note. Here, between the tide mill, Tortoise Rocks, and Head of Death, and the Island of Rabbits, you won't know where to look!
The Morlaix Bay
After a restful night in your Campanile hotel in Saint Martin des Champs, it's now time to explore the Morlaix Bay. Still immersed in the unique Breton ambiance, you head westward. Starting from Morlaix, begin with a pause! The city center with its uniquely designed houses deserves your attention before delving deeper into this bay, nicknamed the "Roof of Brittany" because the sea and mountains meet at Mont d'Arrhées.
From there, your options are endless. Children will love playing Robinson Crusoe by walking to Callot Island in Carantec, accessible on foot twice a day when the sea opens a passage. But beware, it's the tide that decides! You can also head towards Château du Taureau, known as the Breton Fort Boyard, as its visit combines a sea outing with a 360-degree view of Morlaix Bay.
Another must is discovering the islands, each with poetic names. Ladies' Island, Green Island, Hell or Paradise, Tahiti... The coast is an invitation to travel. Upon arrival, there's an added layer of sweetness as you arrive at Europe's largest bird reserve for an educational and relaxing visit.
Change of scenery, you're now in Brest! While the city is decidedly focused on the sea, it also offers a more urban pause at the western tip of Brittany. Nestled in the harbor, Brest is undergoing a transformation. After reinventing itself with a lot of concrete following World War II, the maritime city is returning to its essence.
You'll appreciate its upper town and its castle, the Capuchins Workshop, a hub for Brest's innovations and home to an excellent brewery! But there's also its lively and dynamic quays where you can observe magnificent boats and take a dip at the shipyard. Don't forget the cable car, which, for a handful of euros, offers a dizzying panorama of the city.
Before returning to the cozy comfort of your room at the Campanile Brest hotel, don't forget the Lighthouse Route, offering a more bucolic view from the Petit Minou Fort. If the Breton mist sets in, Océanopolis and its 10,000 underwater species are a perfect refuge to see the sea, but from below!
At the western tip of France, Brest is perfect for exploring Brittany from the south, discovering the Gulf of Morbihan. Along this second itinerary, the sea continues to guide your steps, unless history and its giant rocks win you over...
Quimper & the Crozon Peninsula
It's impossible to leave Brest without taking a detour to the Crozon Peninsula. Embark on a mini-cruise and venture out with your family for a bike ride along the GR34. In the heart of the Armorique Regional Nature Park, the view is simply exceptional, and the energy invigorating. The wind stirs the crystal-clear waters, the cliffs exhibit their power, and the rocks reveal astonishing faces. Not to be missed is the village of Camaret, a small fishing port straight out of a postcard, where time seems to stand still.
Then head towards Quimper! A city of art and history, it instantly immerses you in the heart of the Middle Ages, as its architecture remains intact. Lovers of old stones will make a stop at Saint-Corentin Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic art, and Locmaria Church, less impressive but equally charming. Others will delight in local craftsmanship while wandering through streets with evocative names – "Butter Street," "Butcher Street,"... Of course, you won't leave without a detour to the Faience Museum to find an authentic Breton bowl with your name on it! You can try it the next day with the delicious breakfast served at your Campanile Quimper hotel!
Lorient & the Island of Groix
Your road trip continues towards Lorient, well-known for its Interceltic Festival, football team, and offshore races. Lorient is decidedly a maritime city. Born from a long tradition of trade with the Indies, the city is friendly and human-sized. Now the second-largest fishing port in France, it shares its heritage during walks, preferably by boat, like the locals! Not to be missed, the fish auction is a spectacle that ends with a good seafood platter. On the cultural side, you can visit the City of Sailing; on the natural side, you can relax on one of its beaches, all while wearing your precious raincoat!
This is the perfect opportunity to embark again, this time in search of the Island of Groix! After a 45-minute boat ride, you'll experience a natural miracle, a mineral paradise, measuring about 8 km long by 3 km wide. Perfect for cycling, the spot is rich in megalithic sites, legends, and typical houses. Dotted with coves and beaches, the Island of Groix boasts a wild and preserved environment, far from everyday life. Upon arrival, a cocoon of sweetness awaits you at your Campanile Lorient hotel to recharge your batteries and relax.
Head to the charming seaside town of Quiberon and its peninsula. Renowned as one of Brittany's jewels, Quiberon is peaceful and connected to nature. While the city center invites you to stroll, the town's assets are revealed in the periphery. To reach it, take the Tire-Bouchon, a train that runs by the water, connecting the Quiberon peninsula to neighboring towns.
You can then have another taste of megaliths with the Goalennec menhirs, or be charmed by the medieval appearance of Turpault Castle, which actually dates back to 1904. Don't miss the Pointe du Conguel, with its strip of land just 200 meters wide, offering an exhilarating feeling of being at the edge of the world...
For this final stage, open the gates to Vannes! A change of scenery awaits, as here, it's medieval Brittany that welcomes you. Greeted by a group of knights in armor, you'll be drawn into its alleys and ramparts, promising a historic walk with gastronomic accents. Crêpes, of course, but also beer, produced in the Awen microbrewery. To digest, head to Saint Pattern Church, and then to Saint Vincent Gate.
Finally, leave Vannes Intra-Muros to reach the harbor. Here, the atmosphere is relaxed and seaside. You can take a terrace break, deciding whether or not to embark on a cruise to discover the Gulf of Morbihan, before heading to your Campanile Vannes hotel, conveniently located nearby.
Third option, more unusual: explore Brittany from the inside. Farewell to beaches, sea, and horizon; with this itinerary, it's the greenery and mystical legends that will pique your curiosity!
The Gorges of Corong
In the heart of the Côtes d'Armor, the Gorges of Corong open the doors to another world, likely to seduce both children and fans of tales and legends. Crossed by the Follezou River, the Gorges of Corong offer an almost sacred spectacle to hikers who venture there. In the midst of flourishing and preserved nature, rock formations invite you on your journey, carrying with them the wildest stories. You'll certainly come across the famous Chaos de Corong, a huge granite block that legend says is a pebble that fell from a giant's shoe!
Also, discover a flourishing fauna and flora, among which live more than a third of the otters still counted in France. To catch a glimpse of them, bring good binoculars, a dose of patience, and a touch of luck! In any case, it's great motivation to encourage the youngest to have a picnic along the trails...
Atypical, the town of Pontivy is a real double agent! With its rich history, the city truly offers two very different faces, just a few meters apart. Therefore, out of respect for chronological order, start your visit with the Medieval City and its half-timbered houses, before heading to the Rohan Castle, an architectural legacy of a wealthy local family.
Then, with a historical turn, immerse yourself in Napoléonville. A tribute to Napoleon I and Napoleon III, the district is more rectilinear, more neoclassical, and more military. In stark contrast to the rest of the city, Napoleon City remains one of the Emperor's major works. As you venture further into the surrounding countryside, you'll be charmed by the Chapels Route, which inevitably calls for a pause!
The Brocéliande Forest
It's hard to cross Brittany by land without delving into the world of the Brocéliande Forest and its array of legends. Just as mystical for children as for their parents, this marvelous world where Merlin the Enchanter, Knight Lancelot, King Arthur, and the Fairy Viviane (almost!) crossed paths can be discovered alone or, even better, by following the footsteps of a costumed storyteller guide who shares the myths that abound in this extraordinary site.
Along your journey, the Secrets Gate, the Giants' Tomb, the Golden Tree, the Fairies' Mirror, Trécasson Castle, the Fountain of Magical Bubbles (which is also said to help singles find love)... In total, 11 km of fully immersive hiking!
And because all good things must come to an end, your Breton adventure concludes in Rennes. Don't worry, once again, a cozy room awaits you at your Campanile Rennes hotel to finish this journey in style! Perfect for transitioning back to city life, Rennes is a dynamic city where past and present coexist harmoniously.
In the historic center, half-timbered houses line cobblestone streets that lead to the Parlement de Bretagne. With its French formal gardens, the Place des Lices is a must-see in Rennes. In this location steeped in history, take the time to taste a galette saucisse, a true Breton specialty. To enjoy it, head to the nearby Thabor Park or to your cozy hotel room.
And so ends this beautiful trip, full of authenticity, flavors, and surprises. In Brittany, nature reigns supreme, legends whisper through the trees, and the sea stands guard. All that's left is to wish you "mat ar jeu," or "bon voyage"! As you head home, don't forget to take with you the memories of this charming region, both wild and endearing.
So, who are you going to take on this beautiful journey through Brittany? Friends, family, or just yourself? Whatever your choice, the road awaits, and Brittany is there to offer you its best!