Driving guides

Driving Tour in Brittany

Brittany is a well-travelled part of France, but even here, there are new places for you to discover. Plan a driving tour to help you see them all.

Brimming with culture at every stop, this is our guide to the best of Brittany by car. A popular camping destination with a rich history, fantastic food and proximity to the UK, Brittany has long been a favourite holiday destination for families and solo travellers alike.

Driving to Brittany from Calais

If you were to drive with no stops, from Calais it would take you around 6 hours to reach Brittany via A29. You can of course plan some stops en route such as Abbeville, Le Havre, or Caen are excellent choices, or you can head straight to the first point on our recommended road trip.

Our first destination on your road trip through Brittany is roughly 5 hours from Calais, then you can meander through at your own pace, soaking up the sights and sounds.

A guide to the best of Brittany

To help you dig a little deeper into the culture of Brittany and make the most of your road trip, we are sharing some of our favourite locations for you to visit around this beautiful region. Along the Emerald Coast, there are countless things to see and do, particularly during the months of autumn, as well as some treasures for you to discover.

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 pleasant stop. You can take scenic walks along the coastline and you're 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 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.

Visit Cap Frehel

Driving for around an hour via the D786 you will find Cap Frehel, a cliff range that extends off the Côte d'Émeraude into the Golfe de Saint-Malo, making it an ideal place to build a lighthouse. In fact, here you will find two.

The taller one, built in 1950 is 98ft high, with 145 steps and its beam can reach up to 68 miles. The smaller one, no longer in use, was constructed in 1685 by the renowned architect-engineer Simon Garangeau.

The area around the lighthouses is wonderful for bracing sea walks but note that there are no towns or villages on the peninsula itself as the cliffs make it difficult to reach. 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.

St-Malo to Dinard

It will take you around 20 minutes by 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 lot 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 Harbour 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. 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.

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.

Visit 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. Europe's oldest and largest mausoleum, Barnenez, dates to around 4800 BC.

The level of preservation and size of Barnenez is incredible, try spotting the various 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, so 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.

Ploumanac'h to Roscoff

Roscoff is a charming destination just over an hour's drive from Ploumanac’h. 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 fishing industry.

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 within the scenic port. There are a handful 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 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 numerous 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, 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 the region is famous for. Over 2,000 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 many 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 and 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.

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. This scenic area will give you a peaceful break from the busier destinations on your trip. 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 Rennes, 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 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, sitting on the border of both Brittany and Normandy, 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, wake up refreshed and ready for a four-and-a half-hour-drive that will take you back to Calais.

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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.

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