Roscoff cycle tour route
About this cycle tour in France
Approximately 208 miles (total climb of 14,000 feet). This route can be reduced to approximately 150 miles by taking a short cut at Carhaix- Plouguer.
This is a fairly hilly route mostly on quiet country roads and cycle paths. Highlights include the picturesque towns of Pont Aven and Locronan and an unspoilt stretch of the River Aulne from Chateaulin.
The landscape can be wild and grandiose or fertile and picturesque. The eastern section of the route is mostly on a cycle path along a former railway line whose gentle gradients take you all the way from Morlaix to Scaer. On the way you detour to visit the romantic lakeside village of Huelgoat which claims some unusual natural features, not to be missed. A warm welcome awaits you in Brittany.
Getting to Roscoff
Brittany Ferries offers a regular ferry service from Plymouth to Roscoff.
View an interactive google map of this cycle tour on bikeroutetoaster.com.
Cycle tour details
This route can be reduced to approximately 150 miles by taking a short cut at Carhaix- Plouguer.
1. Roscoff - Characterful town. If you can, try to find some time to look around. A signed, on road cycle route takes you on a charming but wiggly tour of back gardens and stunning coast to St Pol de Leon. To find the start, leave the ferry port, turn left and immediately after crossing the railway, turn left, marked Veloroute V7. It is stony for the first 100 yards then takes quiet roads. The route is not always obvious so allow extra time. Tourist Information, hotels and campsite. 3.5 miles to St Pol de Leon
2. St Pol de Leon - small market town with grand, ornate church. If you wish to continue on the designated cycle route, follow signs for Morlaix and a short distance out of town, look for the cycle path sign to Milinou and turn left. This route is well signed, often confusing, sometimes annoying (due to its meanders) but always stunning. If on a road bike, avoid this bit and use the D769. Tourist Information, hotels, campsite. 16 miles to Morlaix
3. Morlaix - large town with medieval centre. You may be tempted to avoid towns at the bottom of a valley but Morlaix's square, at the foot of a massive granite railway viaduct, makes a dramatic setting for a pavement café stop. For the start of the cycle track on the disused railway, take Rue Bréhat, to the east but it is not easy to find so ask the TI for a map. Stock up on food and water in Morlaix as there is little on this stretch. There is water at a couple of former stations. Leave the cycle track at Kervallon for Huelgoat. Tourist Information, hotels and campsite. 24 miles to Huelgoat
4. Huelgoat - lakeside village set in huge ancient forest. Worth a visit to see its gigantic boulders at the walk from the north east end of the lake. Tourist Information, hotel, municipal campsite by lake. 15 miles to Carhaix -Plouguer
5. Carhaix-Plouguer - functional town with a tourist office in a superb old building. Pick up the cycle route by going south from the tourist office (map available there) on R.des Carmes, R. de la Magdelaine and Route de Kergalet. Tourist Information, hotels, campsite. 13 miles to Gourin
If you wish to shorten your route to approximately 150 miles and cut out a few hills, just south of Carhaix-Plouguer go west towards Pleyben on the Nantes-Brest canal towpath. Leave the canal (now the River Aulne) at Pont Coblant for Pleyben.
6. Gourin - small village with overnight facilities. Hotel, camping. 10 miles to Scaer
7. Scaer - village with Chambres d'hote and camping. Leave the voie verte cycle path here. 16 miles to Pont-Aven
If you fancy something different, south of Scaer in St Jacques is the Taverne de St Jacques (once in the village, look for the only building with a flag). Quirky and welcoming refreshment stop on the pilgrims' route with clog and beret wearing patron.
8. Pont-Aven - pleasure port and recommended overnight stop. Charming small town with art galleries, interesting water courses and water mills. Tourist Information, hotels, campsite. 10 miles to Concarneau
9. Concarneau - large town with all facilities. Cycle to the Ville Close, a fortified old city a few metres off shore and the highlight of Concarneau. It's a buzzing tourist spot. TI, hotels, campsite. 15 miles to Quimper
10. Quimper - large, charming, cobbled medieval old town. Good for sightseeing, shopping, a stroll along the river banks and café culture. Tourist Information, hotels, hostel, campsite. 13 miles to Locronan
11. Locronan - stunning medieval village, frozen in time and much used as a film set. Recommended for an overnight stop. Take a walk down Rue Morel for a lovely stone chapel and wash house. The road approaching Foret Fouesnant is hilly - you know this from the number of people wishing you "du courage". Tourist Information, hotel, campsite. 12 miles to Chateaulin.
12. Chateaulin - riverside town. Follow the well-surfaced and wide towpath which meanders for 11 miles along the north side of the beautiful River Aulne. Look for kilometre marker number 342, after 100 yards turn left at the picnic tables. Go up a short track and turn left at the road for Pleyben. Tourist Information, hotels, campsite. 16 miles to Pleben
13. Pleyben - pleasant village with large square and parish close (a walled churchyard incorporating a calvary, bone house and cemetery). Numerous shops for provisions. Tourist Information in Pleyben. Hotel and campsite in Pont Coblant, 2.5miles to the south. 25 miles to Guimiliau
14. Guimiliau - flower filled village with one of the best examples of a parish close, numerous in this area. The calvary has over 200 granite figures. Hotel in nearby St Thégonnec and Lampaul Guimiliau. 19 miles to Roscoff
Roscoff - departure port
Download route details
High visibility jackets - It is now a requirement for cyclists to wear a high visibility jacket when outside town at night or if the daytime visibility is poor.
Maps. Buy maps that are no more than 3 miles to one inch. 2 miles to 1 inch will make it much easier to find quiet country roads. Satellite navigation is useful and likely to be well used!
Cycle routes. France has many voies vertes (cycle routes). These are well marked (different signs for each French department) and can be paths or quiet roads shared with other vehicles. This link shows cycle routes in Brittany. The part of our route on the tow path of the River Aulne/Nantes Brest canal is not mapped on this web site but is good for cycling.
Roads. The main D roads are direct and very well signed and in rural Brittany are generally quiet. Un-numbered roads, or small D or C roads connecting small hamlets are even quieter. These are often shown as white roads on maps. Approach roads to any large town and main coast roads can be busy depending on the time of day and year. Drivers are generally courteous.
Bikes. The cycle tracks are suitable for mountain bikes, hybrids and tourers but possibly not for narrow tyre road bikes. There are good alternative D roads for road bikes.
Touring tips. Tourist information offices have town plans to help you find the start of cycle paths and can advise on accommodation. Visit here for some great cycle touring tips.
Accommodation. If cycling this route over 5 days, suitable overnight stops for the first 3 nights are Huelgoat, Pont-Aven and Locronan. Search for hotels in Brittany.
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