Walking and cycle routes to explore in Brittany

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There are so many ways to explore Brittany - because there are so many places to visit across Brittany! With a rugged coastline, charming towns and cities, picturesque forests and windswept moors, there are lots of things to see and do in Brittany.

But if you’re looking for something in particular, whether that’s a themed cultural tour of Brittany’s sights or an active adventure through Brittany’s landscapes, there's a host of route options for you. Hike, cycle or drive, the choice is yours to discover the Brittany that you want easily with these scenic and tourist friendly routes.

Here are just some ideas for a unique look at Brittany focusing on your favourite things about the region.

Brittany by bike - cycle routes in Brittany

One of the best ways to discover Brittany is by bike. There are several cycle routes that criss-cross Brittany whether you want a coastal tour or one inland that connects various towns that you can visit along the way. The many Brittany cycle routes make it the perfect destination for family cycling holidays too!

You can enjoy a cycling holiday in Brittany or simply go for a bike ride as a day trip. Taking your bikes on the back of your car when you travel with Brittany Ferries makes this a great option.

If you’re travelling with children, or just looking for an easy ride, then the sections on the greenways (called ‘voies vertes’ in France) are your best bet. Often set out on former railway lines, towpaths and forest tracks, these greenways are reserved for non-motorized traffic so are perfect for cyclists and walkers. A great way to explore the landscape of Brittany! 

Walking & hiking routes in Brittany

Put your best foot forward with a walking holiday in Brittany. With 10,000 km of signposted routes through the region, it’s time to get your hiking boots on and enjoy the fresh air. If you are looking to walk along Brittany’s coastal path then Brittany’s most famous route, the GR34 hiking trail, is what you're looking for.

This 2,000 km route, also known as the customs path, follows Brittany’s coastline from the bay of Mont St Michel to Saint Nazaire. Originally customs officers patrolled the path to prevent smugglers landing on the coast, today walkers get to enjoy the path for the stunning views. 

Inland, explore Brittany’s dramatic landscape of verdant forests and wide, open moorland. Head to the Monts d’Arrée for incredible vistas of the moors and marshes or take the trail through Brocéliande, the forest of Arthurian myth, and see what magical stories you can discover. All across Brittany there are plenty of mystical places to discover as well as stunning areas of natural beauty!

Visiting the Lighthouses of Brittany 

Love the sea but want some landmarks to visit as well as enjoying Brittany’s stunning coastline? Then discover some of Brittany’s most famous lighthouses. With a craggy coastline full of perilous rocks and secret coves, Brittany is home to the highest concentration of lighthouses in the world. 

These lonely giants will capture kids’ imagination and they will love the spiral staircases to the top in the lighthouses that are open to visitors. Some of the best known include the Ile Vierge lighthouse. With a mammoth 365 steps to the top, it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world. Or head west to the Saint-Mathieu lighthouse that rises out of the ruins of a former abbey. Exploring the lighthouses of Brittany is a great walk to experience!

The Churches Route

Brittany is an eclectic region with lots of little quirks - and the characterful inhabitants are one of them! Bretons have been particularly competitive with each other over the years and thankfully for us, this competitiveness has led to something truly unique in Breton culture - their parish closes (enclos paroissiaux). 

You’ll find these rustic, rural churches throughout Brittany but some of the most amazing examples are in the department of Finistére and especially in the towns and villages around the Monts d’Arrée. Determined to outdo each other, Breton parishes decorated their churches in increasingly ornate style.

Outside many of them you’ll find elaborately-carved calvaries depicting the Easter story. If you only visit one of these parish closes, make it Pleyben Saint-Thégonnec - the church and the calvary are both intricately decorated with fascinating motifs and figures. It’s one of the parts of Brittany culture not to be missed!

The Gardens to Visit in Brittany 

If you enjoy the peace and tranquillity of nature and are green-fingered then head to some of Brittany’s best gardens. They are easy to get to and perfect if you don’t want to explore the rugged terrain of some of Brittany’s natural landscapes but want to enjoy the outdoors nevertheless. They are also great for exploring with little ones.

There are a huge range of gardens to visit in Brittany. Choose from a variety of styles - French, English, Italian and Exotique to name a few. Many will have a selection of different styles and may even have water gardens and greenhouses. Marvel at the topiary art of La Ballue or go on a voyage of discovery to far-away lands at the Jardin Exotique on Ile de Batz off the coast of Roscoff.

Whatever your favoured mode of transport, Brittany is sure to have something for you! Sailing with Brittany Ferries means you can travel easily with your car, bike or motorcycle - so you can travel the region with ease! Looking for more inspiration of places to explore in France explore our list of Brittany’s islands!

If you can’t wait to travel again and get exploring, then know that you can holiday with confidence with Brittany Ferries. Our 2021 selection of ferry-inclusive holidays come with free Covid-19 cover and free amendments too.

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