The stunning Brittany coastline - Image by Flickr user Javier Vieras
With such a rich history, fantastic food and a close proximity to the UK, Brittany has long been a favourite holiday destination for families and solo travellers alike. Along the Emerald Coast, places such as Saint-Malo boast grand cathedrals and world-class aquariums, and there are countless other things to see and do here, particularly during the months of autumn.
To help you dig a little deeper into the culture of Brittany, we've come up with some of our favourite hidden gems for you to visit around this beautiful region, as well as some treasures inland for you to discover.
Brittany's best preserved town, Dinan, can be found just to the south of Saint-Malo and is an incredibly pretty sight. Cobbled streets, colourful houses and the Château de Dinan all make it a charming place to visit. Find antiquated half-timbered houses in Dinan's old town, surrounding the medieval square, Place des Merciers.
Dinan is a picture-perfect medieval town.
Explore the many arts and craft shops, and peruse some local art at a nearby gallery. Cross the 15th century stone bridge and take the kids to the Maison de la Rance discovery centre, where they can learn about the thriving wildlife in the river Rance.
Cairn of Barnenez
Stand in awe as you witness one of the oldest structures in the world, the
Cairn of Barnenez
. Sidestepped by many on their way to the beach, this neolithic monument exists just outside of Plouezoc'h in northern Brittany. Europe's oldest and largest mausoleum, Barnenez dates back to around 4800 BC.
The ancient Cairn of Barnenez
The level of preservation and size of Barnenez is incredible, and you can try spotting the various different types of megalithic art that have been carved into the stone. The structure sits at the top of a hill in the bay of Morlaix, and you can enjoy exploring the rest of the bay's sights and activities. Try taking a boat out to one of the little surrounding islets, and see other sites such as the Castle of Taureau.
If you're looking for a scenic walk along the Emerald Coast, head to Cap Frehel. About an hour's drive west of Saint-Malo, this is a popular place for walkers, however if you continue to follow the path along the coast to the west, you'll find that the numbers soon dwindle.
The scenic view over Cap Frehel
The 70 metre-high cliffs are rugged, and provide a magnificent backdrop for a family walk, with plenty of photo opportunities. As a protected area, you'll be able to spot lots of wildlife too, particularly birds, and some visitors choose to take a boat trip from Saint-Malo to get even more spectacular views of the coastline.
Finistère Cider Trail
When in Brittany, you simply must travel to Finistère to try some of the area's local cider. Finistère is famous for making the best bubbly and fruity cider, and there are several places in Finistère where you can enjoy the famous Cornouaille cider. Whenever you see a sign saying "Route du cidre AOC Cornouaille", you know you're in the right place.
There's plenty to see in Finistère, as well as tasting the local cider
Cider enthusiasts and experts give talks on how and where local cider is produced, and you'll get the chance to taste some for yourself! Seven varieties of handpicked apples are used to create this cider, which is 100% natural, and has a light refreshing taste. Remember to drink responsibly, and stay overnight if you're planning on enjoying Finistère's cider culture to its fullest.
Near to the city of Rennes in central Brittany lies Paimpont Forest, which according to legend, is also the location of Brocéliande, the mythical forest of King Arthur. Paimpont Forest is a delightful place to take the family, as they will learn about ancient Breton life, and let their imaginations run wild in Arthurian tales at the idyllic Château de Comper.
Paimpont Forest is a mythical place
Late summer to autumn is a wonderful time to visit the forest, as the changing colours of the leaves fill the atmosphere with mystery. Dare the little ones to walk with you down the Valley of No Return, and tell them about the magical healing properties of the Fontaine de Barenton.
Feeling inspired to visit Brittany?
Getting across the channel is simple when you travel with
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
. You can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, and after that you're well on your way to Brittany's hidden gems.
The stunning Brittany coastline by Flickr user Javier Vieras
Dinan by Flickr user Benh LIEU SONG
The ancient Cairn of Barnenez by Flickr user Groman123
The scenic view over Cap Frehel by Flickr userJean-Marie Hullot
Finistère by Flickr user jmt-29
Paimpont Forest by Flickr user Brieuc DANIEL