If you’re looking for advice on how to organize your backpacking trip to Brittany, you’re definitely in the right place!
I have walked Brittany’s coasts from South to North, with my dear backpack. When I think back to that trip, it’s always a mixture of nostalgia and enthusiasm: nostalgia because I’d want to go back and enthusiasm because I feel like I’m still there, with my trekking boots on, walking among hidden beaches and high cliffs, exploring that wild and delightful peninsula at the very edge of Europe.
Are you on foot, like me, by bike, car or motorhome? In any case, here you’ll find some interesting tips about famous places to visit, until you touch the extreme border with Normandy.
I went to Brittany in the first half of September, with just my backpack and my trekking boots. The weather and the temperatures were nice, I rarely put on my windstopper jacket and I often had lunch looking over a cliff, only wearing a t-shirt.
I think that June and September are the best months to visit Brittany, because the weather is good, and it’s not too overcrowded like in the Summer. I prefer it this way.
The places you’ll visit are popular resorts in France, and lots of people are on holiday during the Summer months. So the long white beaches and the hidden shores could be far away from the heaven I saw in peaceful loneliness. But, if you want to have a swim into the deep blue ocean… maybe it’s better to go in July or August, when the water is warmer.
Always consult the weather forecasts before starting your daily trip: some remote places don’t offer any shelter and being in the middle of nowhere while pouring with rain puts a damper on the day… so to speak!
Brittany is well equipped with a lot of places to sleep, I tried these ones:
- Hotel Les Grands Voyageurs in Concarneau. Its position on the main square, just in front of the old city, is very convenient. The staff were truly kind, although I arrived there completely wet from head to toe, asking to store my backpack in reception and then immediately running out to take the bus leaving just a minute afterwards!
- Hotel de la Gare in Quimper. A perfect solution just in front of the railway station and the bus terminal. I had a very small but perfectly clean room, and the staff were really kind and spoke English.
- Logis Hotel Vent d’Iroise on the Pointe de Saint Mathieu. In this amazing place, you’ll only find 2 places to sleep: a 3* hotel, the one where I stayed, and another one with 4*. This one has a very elegant restaurant that is also open to non-residents, but I don’t think they would have let me in in my trekking outfit! I strongly recommend to spend a night in Saint Mathieu, because enjoying the sunset and the sunrise from the lighthouse is a priceless experience!
- Cerise Lannion, obviously in Lannion, a small quiet village in the North. The apartment was comfortable and the kitchen well equipped. The staff were kind, but they didn’t know that the buses didn’t work on Sundays. It’s near the railway station, although not very central.
- Chambres d’Hôtes Au Clos du Lit, 6 kilometres from Lamballe, so recommended! Information here.
- Cafe Hotel du Theatre in Dinan, worth a stay because of its position, as a jewel set into the crown of the beautiful Dinan.
I strongly suggest you to stay at least one night in a Chambre d’Hôtes, a kind of a little French airbnb.
They’re sometimes elegant farmhouses lost in the countryside, sometimes private houses that open their doors to tourists, offering a room to sleep and a delicious breakfast. Eat together with your host, while chatting about beauties and traditions of Brittany.
A doozy that will make your trip even more special!
Brittany is well equipped with campsites and rest areas for motorhomes, the roads have a perfect surface, good for cycling!, and motorways are free of charge. And if you go on foot… what can I say? GR34 is a majestic route, full of amazing landscapes and experiences such as boat trips and birdwatching to try! If you want to take a look at my backpacking trip itinerary, click here.
During my trip, I walked the majority of the road on foot, while I used buses and trains for the longest journeys.
I rented a car to travel the northernmost part of Brittany because I couldn’t find any detailed info about public transport in that area; when I was there, I saw that there’re some buses e.g. from Lannion to Trégastel, but they don’t work on Sundays. This rent was a real odyssey, as I mentioned here.
Pay attention to the TAD bus service, that allows you to connect with some small villages, but only if you book in advance. If you’re traveling on a main bus route, you can get off at certain stops and take a pre-booked taxi to reach some of the most remote destinations. You can only book by phone so, if you don’t speak much French, ask a tourist office to call for you. You’ll find working tourist offices in lots of small and non touristic places, too.
For example, to go to Roscanvel, you have to take the bus from Brest to Camaret and get off at Crozon Gare, where a taxi awaits you and drives you to the far away Roscanvel. The cost of this service is the same as a normal bus ticket.
Brittany looks like a small region, but it’s so full of things to see that you’d need a very long stay to see everything. The most famous things to see are:
– Concarneau, with its maritime old town surrounded by the ancient walls
– Quimper, the most authentic gothic town
– The artistic village of Camaret-Sur-Mer
– The pink granite coast and the house between the rocks in the North
– Saint-Malo, the pirate town
If you love lighthouses, don’t miss Saint Mathieu and the other lighthouses of Finistére. Info here.
If you’re looking for hidden shores, write down these names: Plage de la Grève Bleue and its neighbours between Saint Mathieu and Le Conquet; Plage de Port Pabu, just beside Kermorvan; Plage de la Bastille in Saint Guirec, and all the minuscule shores I mentioned in the article about Concarneau and the surrounding area.
But if you prefer the long white beaches, these ones are for you: Plage de Kerleven and Plage du Cap Coz in the South, Plage de Pen Hat and Plage de Blanc Sablons in the West, Plage de Trestraou in the North, where the pink granite coast’s trekking starts.
But Brittany isn’t only beaches: you have also high cliffs over the deep blue ocean around Pen Hir, or looking over the beautiful landscapes between Pointe de Kermorvan and the Blanc Sablons, or painted by yellow and violet flowers of the spontaneous garden of Cap Fréhel.
If history is your biggest passion, let the picturesque castle of Fort La Latte take you back to Medieval times, and walk among the narrow alleys in the village of Dinan, that looks like a set of a historical period drama.
If you’d like more info, you can go to my article about 6 very unusual things to do in Brittany, that you may not find anywhere else!
Once visited Brittany, it’s perfectly normal not to feel ready to go home.
So, what do you think about going on over Saint Malo and seeing the most famous tides in the world, the ones that wrap and shake Mont-Saint-Michel?
Otherwise, continue your trip down to Nantes and explore the Loire Valley, with its legendary castles.
Let me know what you decided to do in Comments below.
Ciao! Sono Claudia, la fondatrice di getgoingirl.it, lo spazio web dove unisco le mie più grandi passioni: i viaggi e la scrittura. É sempre il momento buono per un’avventura zaino in spalla, per un trekking al ritmo che senti tuo, per una visuale insolita e alternativa da scovare in giro per il mondo. Naviga per argomento, destinazione o tipo di viaggio e lasciati ispirare!
Also available in: Italiano