8 road trip gems in Brittany, France

Brittany, France's westernmost region, makes for a spectacular road trip – and it's only an easy hop away from the UK with Brittany Ferries

Belle Ile en Mer, Brittany, Fance (Shutterstock: see credit below)

In association with Brittany Ferries


With its beautiful secluded beaches, wildlife-rich moorlands and tales of myths and legends, Brittany offers an invigorating dose of sea-scented fresh air and great outdoor adventures. Better yet, it's now even more accessible thanks to Brittany Ferries' direct sailings from the UK in just 3 hours. Pack up the car with all you need for an action-packed road trip, and head to France's glorious north...

1. Discover natural parks

Spot otters, dolphins and puffins in Armorique Regional Natural Park, a protected area of marshland and moorland which extends from the sandy coves of the coastline to the craggy Arrée mountains. The park actually includes 150,000 acres of sea, protecting the marine life that thrives in the Channel. The towns of Brest, Landerneau, Carhaix, Châteauneuf du Faou and Le Conquet are actually part of the park, so you can drive easily between each one – and there are plenty of secluded hotels to stay in, too.

2. Climb the Monts d'Arrée

Scale this spine of granite rock formations and moorland hills for vast views over some of Brittany's most spectacular protected parkland. If you're looking for a breath-taking picnic spot, this is it. Look up to see Montagu's Harrier birds of prey wheeling overhead, or towards the horizon to spot wild boar roaming – they're just some of the protected species that call the Armorique Regional Natural Park home.

Rouzig island, part of Les Sept Iles (Shutterstock)
Rouzig island, part of Les Sept Iles (Shutterstock)

3. Meet puffins on Les Sept Iles

You can only reach these 7 uninhabited isles by small boat, so leave the car on mainland Perros-Guirec or Port-Blanc and hop on board a sailing trip. You'll feel like an explorer, heading out to discover this curious archipelago – it's only home to a rowdy crowd of sea birds, including puffins (spring-summer), guillemots, kittiwakes and manx shearwaters. They thrive on this wind-whipped remote outpost, which feels unlike anywhere else in France. 

4. Take your pick from 60 beaches, Belle-Ile

This tiny isle is cute and compact – so how on earth does it squeeze in 60 beaches, you ask? Almost every inch of this little gem's coastline is covered in sandy coves – so if you're up for a day on the beach, you can spend all summer trying different ones! It's a speedy trip from mainland France (take a local boat from Quiberon), and you can bring the car too – very handy for touring all of those beaches...

Port of Sauzon at island Belle Ile en Mer (Shutterstock)
Port of Sauzon at island Belle Ile en Mer (Shutterstock)

5. Feast on the spoils of the Bay of Mont St Michel

Spanning the border between Brittany and Normandy, this vast Unesco-listed bay is brimming with locally-produced foodie treats – if you're hoping to sample some of France's finest grub, you'll want to stay for a few days at least. Slurp just-caught mussels, tuck into langoustines, and finally feast on the local pièce de résistance: salt marsh lamb.

6. Tell fairytales in Forêt de Paimpont

According to legend, this beautiful stretch of ancient forest also contains the mythical forest of King Arthur: Brocéliande. Under this emerald blanket of towering trees it's easy to let your imagination run wild... Could you find the mythical Fountain of Pure Youth? Where is the Valley of No Return? An Arthurian Trail map (available from tourist offices) will help you on your quest, skipping over mossy streams, along tree-lined pathways, and deep into the fairytale forest.

Huelgoat, Brittany (Shutterstock)
Huelgoat, Brittany (Shutterstock)

7. Chase giants in Huelgoat

The sleepy village of Huelgoat has a real-life fairytale forest on its doorstep: spend the day here discovering leafy grottoes, meandering trails and dozens of bizarrely-shaped rock boulders – one legend claims they were thrown into the forest by an angry giant. There's plenty to see in the village, too: head to the nearby lake to discover an 18th-century watermill, sink your teeth into chocolate crêpes in a pavement café, or catch one of the many festivals and events that are held in the area all summer.

8. Unwind with thalassotherapy 

You've treated your body to fresh air, walking and sunshine aplenty – but if you really want to top off an invigorating Brittany break, try thalassotherapy. With its sea mud and seaweed spa treatments, this recharging therapy might not sound too enticing, but it'll leave you feeling even more refreshed – we promise! Thalassotherapy was first developed in Brittany over 200 years ago, thanks to the area's natural benefits – take your pick from treatments in local spa centres to reap the rewards for yourself.

Brittany Ferries operates some of the nicest ferries to Brittany – perfect if you fancy taking the car to discover all that this area of northern France has to offer. For more information on all of the above attractions, visit Brittany Ferries' guide to the best of this adventure-packed region.

Main image: Belle Ile en Mer, Brittany, France (Shutterstock)