The pink cliffs of the Côtes d'Armor, the turquoise waters of the Finistère beaches and the beautiful bays of the Côte d'Émeraude (Emerald Coast) are just some of the reasons why it is worth discovering the region of galettes and sailor shirts. Lovers of seafood, a fresh sea breeze and charming coastal villages will quickly see why Brittany is one of the most popular regions for caravanning.
Our route starts on the south coast of Brittany and heads to the north coast, where we treat ourselves to a final detour into Normandy to the famous Mont Saint-Michel, the crème de la crème.
Depending on which direction you arrive from by motorhome, or if you arrive by plane and rent a camper, you can of course do the tour the other way round and explore the capital of Brittany, Rennes, with its medieval half-timbered houses and magnificent cathedral, beforehand.
In the following, we will introduce you to the best camper van sites in Brittany and places of interest, and give you some travel tips for this enchanting stretch of land.
Brittany is located in the north-west of France and consists of the 4 departments of Ille-et-Vilaine with the capital Rennes, Morbihan, Finistère and Côtes-d'Armor. The most beautiful stretches of coastline include the Gulf of Morbihan, the Crozon Peninsula with the Armorique Regional Park, the Pink Granite Coast, and the Emerald Coast with Cap Fréhel and Saint-Malo. Mont Saint-Michel is just a few kilometres east of Brittany in Normandy and is also a must on this motorhome tour.
Type of route: Holiday route
Theme: Landscape, beaches, culinary, culture
Start / Finish: Pointe de Penvins / Mont Saint-Michel
Length: 916 km / 569 miles
Province: Brittany, Normandy
Departments: Morbihan, Finistère, Côtes-d-Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine
Holiday regions: Gulf of Morbihan, Armorique Nature Park & Crozon Peninsula, La Côte de Granit Rose, Côte d'Émeraude
Explore one of the most beautiful bays in the world, wander through half-timbered villages, medieval walls and castles.
What is there to visit?
We start our route in Penvins, a small Breton town where you can enjoy the beach, walk along the Pointe de Penvins peninsula and end the day with a delicious crêpe at the Les Salines crêperie. Nearby is also the Manoir de Ker an Poul campsite with swimming pools, water slides and all the amenities for a fun family day out.
7 km from Penvins is Suscinio Castle near Sarzeau, built in the 13th century and formerly the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. The castle is in a unique location where you can go bird watching and 10 minutes walk away you can spend a relaxing afternoon on the beach. (Sarzeau camper van site).
Our next stop is Vannes, a small medieval town that looks like something out of a fairytale with its picturesque half-timbered houses and medieval city walls. Here it is worth visiting La Cohue, which houses the Vannes Fine Arts Museum with numerous contemporary works, and the Gothic Saint-Pierre Cathedral.
About 60 km north of Vannes is the famous Brocéliande Forest (Paimpont Forest), where there are countless places to discover, such as the Fountain of Youth, Merlin's Tomb and the Golden Tree.
Once in Auray, take the opportunity to visit the port of St Goustan, the Place de la Republique and the church of Sainte-Anne d'Auray, a 10-minute drive away, which is visited by millions of pilgrims every year.
On the way to the pink granite coast, be sure to stop at Carnac, where there are numerous dolmens and megaliths, and another at Pont l'Abbé, a small town of great historical value, described by Maupassant as the most Breton of all Breton towns. Nearby, at Saint-Jean-Trolimon, is also the Plage de Tronoën, one of the most beautiful beaches in Brittany and, at over 10 km, also one of the longest.
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Megalithic culture is present everywhere on a motorhome tour in Brittany. Many of the Neolithic monuments have survived the millennia and can still be admired today. These include long graves, allées couvertes, dolmens, menhirs, cairns and stone enclosures.
The stone fields of Carnac are the largest of their kind in the world.
The menhir of Champ-Dolent, together with the menhir of Kerloas of about the same height, is the largest upright megalithic stone monument in France dating from the Neolithic period.
Our next stop on our Brittany road trip is Crozon, a peninsula known for its incredible cliffs and bays with turquoise waters. Hiking enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to walk along the Cap de la Chèvre, because hidden all along the coast are small beaches that require a bit of an adventurous spirit and long walks - do you dare to discover them?
From Crozon, we take a detour to Brest, a charming town that is considered the gateway to the beautiful Armorique Regional Natural Park. In principle, this is an ideal place to relax, spend an afternoon on the beach and sample the local fish specialities. Note, however, that parking in the area can be difficult, so it's best to arrive early.
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From Brest, we continue to Tonquédec to visit the fantastic castle. Be impressed by the imposing medieval remains and take advantage of the coolness of the forest for a short walk in the midst of nature.
Just a few kilometres away is Lannion, whose houses are a little reminiscent of Harry Potter's Angular Alley and is another place worth visiting if you want to take a break from the beach and spend an afternoon with something different.
We continue towards Trégastel and reach the pink granite coast, which owes its name to the characteristic colour of its rocks. The contrast between the rocks and the blue of the sea is a natural spectacle. Take your time to explore all that this area has to offer: the pink sandy beach of Saint-Guirec, the pink lighthouse of Men Ruz, the Château de Costaérès Stephen Abragan and the various signposted hiking trails between Trégastel and Trébeurden.
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We continue our journey along the Côtes d'Armor and stop in the small village of Plougrescant: an impressive place where the surf has strangely shaped the cliffs over the years. Here, a small house is hidden between two huge rocks, an unusual and at the same time magical place. The house between the rocks is also known as the Gorge House or "La Maison du Gouffre".
We take the road to Plouézec, the home of moules-frites and also a place with a magnificent panoramic view. In this area, we recommend a visit to the Pointe de Plouézec, the abbey of Beauport and the Cap de Bréhat campsite, located in a peaceful setting surrounded by trees and overlooking the sea.
In this area, you will always come across a signposted path, the GR34 long-distance hiking trail, "Sentier des douaniers", or customs officers' path, which runs for a total of almost 2000 km along the coast to Mont Saint-Michel. You may not feel like hiking the whole way, but it's an incredible route that you can do at your own pace, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views that the French Emerald Coast has to offer.
We continue to Plevenon to visit Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte, an extraordinary cliff-top fortress where scenes from films such as Richard Fleischer's 'The Vikings' have been filmed.
There is plenty to see in the area: Make a quick stop in Dinan to see the cobbled streets and half-timbered facades, or head to the beaches of Saint-Briac and Saint-Sieuc.
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The fortified town of Saint-Malo is located on the Côte d'Émeraude (Emerald Coast) at the mouth of the River Rance opposite the seaside resort of Dinard. With over 1 million visitors a year, the town is one of the most important sights in Brittany and France. The historic town centre within the imposing city walls accounts for about 20 % of the total area of the town and is washed by water on three sides. The Plage du Sillon is the largest beach in Saint-Malo and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Brittany. The town beach, which is over 3 km long, is not only ideal for swimming, but also for kite flying or beach sailing.
The highlight among Saint-Malo's sights, apart from Saint Vicent Cathedral, is for many the "cheminde ronde", the battlements on the fortifications. On the walls, guards once kept watch for enemies or awaited their own ships at high tide.
In the bay of Saint-Malo there is one of the largest tidal differences in Europe, up to twelve metres difference between low tide and high tide. Three of the offshore islands Grand Bé and Petit Bé as well as Fort National are therefore accessible on foot at low tide. The Usine marémotrice de la Rance, the world's first and until 2011 largest tidal power station, has been located in the mouth of the Rance since 1966.
Whether with the family, in a group, as a couple or alone, Mont Saint-Michel offers a wide range of tourist activities to suit all tastes.
Campers can park at the P8 caravan park, a good option for those who want to make a short stop on their camper van tour of Brittany to get to know the village. From the car park, you can take the shuttle "le Passeur" to Mont Saint-Michel.
Upon arrival, we suggest you visit the village, the ramparts, the abbey, the museums and take a walk around the bay.
Mont Saint-Michel Abbey is an ancient Benedictine abbey that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and receives around three million visitors a year. Inside the abbey, you can visit the refectory, the cloister and the scriptorium, where you can learn more about the art behind the manuscripts and the work of the copyist monks. You can also visit the chapels, the crypts and the places where pilgrims were received. Admission is free for anyone under 26 and in summer the abbey is open from 9am to 7pm. Concerts and various cultural events are held regularly at the abbey during the summer.
Discover the history of this unique site, considered one of the most important historical monuments in France, on a guided tour that will teach you about its historical and symbolic importance for thousands of pilgrims.
Around Mont Saint-Michel, you can visit the Chausey Islands by boat and the numerous islets that form at low tide. Other sights in the area include the Porte du Roy and the old mill of Moidrey.
Legend has it that...
... in 708, the archangel Saint Michael appeared in an ascetic's dream and showed him the place where he should build his place of worship, which is why he began to build on this site.
What is the best time to travel to Brittany by motorhome?
The best time to visit Brittany by motorhome is from June to early September. The climate in Brittany is characterised by mild winters and cool summers. The climate is quite pleasant, especially on the coast. A north-westerly wind blows in the north of Brittany, but rainfall is in line with the national average.
Typical dishes in Brittany
Brittany is a great place to eat, and if you take advantage of the daily menus on offer, you can save a lot of money. Some of the typical dishes of the region are: