One life is not enough to visit all of Brittany’s places…
You can start with the 3 major cities, Nantes, Rennes and Brest, arguably its economic, political and maritime capitals. Each of them is home to many landmarks, cultural activities and a vibrant social life.
Or you can explore the coast (the coast trail, the GR34, is one of Europe’s longest), the islands of the gulf of Morbihan and Vannes, the peninsula of Quiberon, the walled city of Concarneau, the wild headland of Pointe du Raz, Quimper and its half timbered town houses, the Pointe de Crozon (part of Armorica’s natural regional park), the coast of pink granite in the north, the medieval city of Dinan and the fantastic walled city of Saint Malo, before entering the bay of Mont Saint-Michel. But if your list only includes these, you would have missed many great spots along the coastline!
Starting with the islands: the famous Belle Ile, Sein, Bréhat, Ouessant (Ushant), Molesne, the Glénans, Groix are only a handful out of hundreds, with seabirds, seals and other multiple forms of wildlife. The estuaries also, called abers, are unique in France and specific to Brittany, and constitute a mini-replica of Northern Europe’s fjords. Even the bottom of the sea is worth exploring: multiple wrecks are evidence of countless battles and extensive maritime activities during the past centuries (leading to the building of dozens of lighthouses such as the famous Phare de la Jument).
Anyone interested in castles could also spend years visiting them in Brittany, a simple list of the most famous would already include tens of them, among which the castle of Fougères, quite simply the largest medieval fortress in Europe, the castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes, Keriolet, Kerjean, Tonquédec, Trévarez, Vitré, Clisson, Ranroët… The castle of Gomper, in the woods of Brocéliande, is also interesting, because it is linked to the legend of king Arthur, his sword Excalibur, the quest of the holy Grail and the Knights of the Round Table.
Then there would be the megalithic tombs such as the cairn of Barnenez (built with over 13,000 tons of stones), the 5 millenia-old rows of hundreds of stones in Carnac, the salt marsh of Guérande, the Monts d’Arrée, lakes, lighthouses, museums, Quimper, Rochefort-en-Terre, etc.
Other extraordinary places are easy to reach nearby:
- The world-renowned Mont Saint Michel, only separated from Brittany by a river
- The Anglo-Norman islands (Jersey, Guernesey…), just 1.5 h away from Saint Malo
- The castles of the Loire river, upstream Nantes
- The landing beaches of Normandy, less than 1.5 h from Brittany…