Calais to Cancale
Your first destination is Cancale, a foodie heaven due to its abundance in oysters. The oyster beds here have been harvested for years, and this quaint fishing town is a wonderfully pleasant first stop on your trip. Scenic walks can be had along the coastline, and you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where to eat lunch. If you're feeling active, there's a great walk to the north of Cancale that takes you to the Pointe du Grouin headland, where you'll have superb views of the Normandy coast.
Cancale to St-Malo
The ferry port of St-Malo is just a 25 minute drive from Cancale, and is the perfect place to stop for dinner, as it has the highest concentration of restaurants in Europe! There's an element of fantasy here, felt through the changing weather and powerful tides, in addition to the town's historic reputation as a secretive walled citadel. St-Malo has a lovely selection of hotels, and a walk through the town to the coast will land you on a beautiful beach. Highlights are the town's aquarium, the Cathedral St Vincent, and the Fort National military base, which can be accessed across the beach when the tide is low.
St-Malo to Dinard
It will take you around 20 minutes in the car to get to Dinard, the stylish seaside town that was a popular spot for the chic and creative types during the Belle Epoque. Now protected buildings, these gorgeous villas were once holiday homes for wealthy aristocrats. The commune has a number of large, flat beaches, all equally beautiful. Dinard sits at the mouth of the River Rance, and it's a great idea to rent some canoes or kayaks and explore the water for yourself. You can trek through the 5 acre Park Habour Breton, challenge family and friends to a game of mini golf, or take the kids for a pony ride.
Dinard to Dinan
Just over a 20 minute drive from Dinard is the beautiful town of Dinan. Venture down the cobbled streets of the historical centre and pop into the many arts and crafts shops here, or lose yourself in the town's 13th century castle, which today contains the town museum. If you're willing to walk the 158 steps to the top of the Tour de l'Horloge, you'll find fantastic views over the roofs of the old town, but make sure you're wearing appropriate footwear. Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to La Bourbansais – the town zoo – which houses an eclectic collection of wildlife.
Dinan to Ploumanac'h
Also known as the 'Pink Granate Coast', Ploumanac'h is a wonderful place for exploring Brittany's natural habitat. Having driven one and a half hours from Dinan, you'll probably want to spend some time exploring the rose-coloured coastline here, its beaches make it great for families with children, and fans of water sports. The ocean has shaped the pink rocks into almost ethereal formations, which get their hue from a high potassium content. A walk along the coast will lead you to Perros-Guirec, where you can enjoy shops, restaurants and cafés.
Ploumanac'h to Roscoff
Roscoff is just over an hour's drive from Ploumanac'h, and is a charming destination. 16th century houses line the port, and are all carefully decorated with flowers. The surrounding farmlands produce an array of vegetables, and the area is known for its heavy fishing. Roscoff has a fantastic selection of campsites, some of which have their own pools and waterslides that are great for kids in the summer. If you have a couple of hours spare, take a 15 minute boat trip to the nearby island of Batz.
Roscoff to Camaret
Drive to the Crozon peninsula to Camaret, where the old Tour Vauban defence tower stands at 18m high and sits within the scenic port. There are handfuls of great beaches, some of which are dotted with old boats that serve as a visual memory of the area's history as a crayfish port. Over the years, Camaret has attracted many artists who were drawn to the picturesque scenery, and across town, you'll find a number of galleries and art shops. An hour and a half from Roscoff, this area is a wonderful addition to your trip.
Camaret to Quimper
Drive for another hour from Camaret, passing through Le Cornouaille, and stop in Quimper. Home to Brittany's largest cathedral, Cathédrale de St Corentin, Quimper is an idyllic city nestled in a valley at the meeting point of the rivers Steir and Odet. The city is famous for its pottery, which has been created here for centuries, and there are a number of workshops and museums to explore. During July, the city plays host to a fun festival that celebrates Breton culture – Festival de Cornouaille.
Quimper to Carnac
Made up of two parts, city and beach, Carnac is famous for having the most substantial collection of Neolithic standing stones in the world, with more than 10,000. The beaches here are incredibly popular with visitors in the summer, and if you're a surfer or enjoy boating, the tidal currents and coastal winds make it a great spot for water sports. There are some fantastic campsites nearby, so it's a good place to stop over if you're in need of a break from driving.
Carnac to Vannes
Just 25 minutes in the car from Carnac and you'll end up in Vannes. This citadel is one of the most popular places in Brittany for visitors, as it encompasses many of the traditions that Brittany is famous for. Over 2000 years old, the commune boasts its own harbour and old town, and you can get lost exploring Vannes' many medieval alleyways. You might want to stop here for the night, as there are a number of sites within an hour's drive, from oyster farms to sandy beaches. If you want to explore the nearby islands, hop on a boat from the Marine Station for a fun day trip.
Vannes to Forêt de Paimpont
One hour east of Vannes stands Forêt de Paimpont, or Broceliande. This scenic area will give you a peaceful break from the busier destinations on your trip, and you can enjoy a good few hours of rambling through the scenic woods here. Be sure to pick up some lunch from nearby town of Mauron.
Forêt de Paimpont to Vitré
Drive just over an hour to the east, through Rannes, and visit the town of Vitré. Another of Brittany's medieval citadels, Vitré is home to a chateau, medieval cottages, a 13th century castle and the Church of Notre-Dame. The entire town is a protected historical site, and is a superb example of Gothic architecture. Within the castle you'll find the museum, and there are a range of restaurants and bars where you can grab a bite to eat.
Vitré to Mont Saint Michel
North of Vitré is the idyllic Mont Saint Michel, and the last spot to visit on your road trip through Brittany. Sitting on top of a granite island, the wonderful town of Saint Michel is for many a symbol of spirituality. At the peak of the island there is the old abbey, and one main street is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants and cafés. We really recommend an overnight stay here if possible, as after sunset the area is lit up and becomes a completely different experience. The next morning, a four and a half hour drive will take you back to Calais.
Calais is just a 35 minute journey From Folkestone, so start your road trip today! It’s important to remember the French laws for motorists, check out our guide to driving in France for information on what to bring.
Getting there and around
Our first destination on your road trip through Brittany is roughly 5 hours from Calais, which can be easily accessed in just 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.
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