St Malo travel guide

Cities and towns

About St Malo

The beautiful city of St Malo in Brittany curves out to sea on a stunning natural harbour that has created some of the best sandy beaches on the Emerald Coast.

Rising out of the granite rock, St Malo is a maze of medieval streets bursting with history and culture. The legacy of the dastardly pirates of the 19th century and the siege during the Second World War entwines with the bustling array of arty shops and the delicious smells from restaurants, outdoor markets and cafes, for a romantic atmosphere. Oysters and crêpes are local delicacies to be enjoyed throughout the restaurants and markets of the town. 

Intra-Muros, the ancient walled town, forms the heart of St Malo where the stunning Gothic and Romanesque Cathédrale de St Malo dominates the skyline. Walking along its ramparts, visitors can see spectacular views of the town and harbour, including the islands and forts scattered just out at sea. The pretty islands of Grand Be and Petit Be can be visited on foot at low tide, with the Fort National reachable on foot from St Malo's longest beach, the Grand Plage. If you enjoy hiking, the GR 34 coastal path travels right around the Emeral Coast and extends across most of Brittany's coast from Mont St Michel to Le Tour-de-Parc. 

Just outside of the city is the town of St Servan where the imposing Tour Solidor contains a museum dedicated to the French sailors who first negotiated Cape Horn. The Grand Aquarium is home to the Shark's Ring, an immense tank containing 3 metre long sharks, and the Nautibus submersible and is also not to be missed. Travel a little further out from the town into the surrounding countryside and you'll find the Malouinières, the mansions of the shipbuilders and corsairs who made the town rich and famous in the 18th century.

With so many crêperies in the town, you'll be sure to find somewhere to try Brittany's famous galettes, savoury pancakes made with buckwheat and filled with ham, sausage, cheese, scallops and whatever you else might choose, as well as the sweet crêpes. Thin and crispy gavottes covered in chocolate and caramel au beurre salé are also popular tasty treats. Don't forget to try some locally brewed cidre!

Why visit St Malo?

  • Intra-Muros
  • Beaches and Islands
  • The Architecture
  • Grand Aquarium

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Brittany
  • Department: Ile-et-Vilaine
  • Population: 47,000
  • Coordinates: 48.651964,-2.024746

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

The city's impressive medieval castle, the Château de St Malo, was once owned by the Dukes of Brittany. Today, it houses the town museum in its great keep.

This small sandy beach is sheltered by the magnificent ramparts of St Malo, and at low tide you can walk from here to the Fort National. Supervised by a lifeguard, the beach is great for swimming and family fun.

The medieval heart of the city, Intra Muros means 'within the walls' and is the ancient walled town of St Malo.

St Malo cathedral has undergone several renovations and repairs over the centuries, particularly after it was bombed during the Second World War.

Places to visit nearby

Dinard in Brittany is a fashionable seaside resort that first came to popularity during the Belle Epoque of the 19th century.

Dinan in Brittany is a charming riverside town, full of medieval history, with a 13th century castle and ramparts that encircle this well-preserved sanctuary where time has stood still.

Dol-de-Bretagne in Brittany is a quaint medieval town close to the rugged Mont Dol that overlooks the bay of Mont St Michel.

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