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Your Essential Travel Guide to Brittany

Brittany - Dinan
Brittany - Fort la Latte
Brittany - Locronan Villege
Brittany - Pink Granite Coast

Discover Brittany

Known as ‘Little Britain’ for its proximity to England, Brittany is a picturesque region in northwest France. Home to some of the world’s oldest architecture, including the Cairn of Barnenez and the Tumulus Saint-Michel, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts. Thick forests and dramatic stretches of coastline make its landscape one-of-a-kind, while the charming medieval towns bring the residents’ spirit alive.

If you’re planning a trip to Brittany, we’re here to help inspire your itinerary. Find everything you need to know about this beautiful French region in the guide below, including the best things to do and where to eat and stay. Then, when your break is in the bag, visit GetYourGuide to book your activities!

The History of Brittany

The History of Brittany

Its strong Celtic heritage sets Brittany apart from the rest of France. Here’s a brief history of the region:

  • The Romans: Brittany was conquered by Julius Caesar in 56 BC, and it was known as Armorica, the Roman equivalent of the Celtic term ‘seaside’.
  • Post Romans: After the Romans withdrew, Celts from Britain moved to the region to escape the Anglo-Saxon invaders of the 5th and 6th centuries. This is where the name Brittany originated.
  • The Middle Ages: Brittany fought to remain independent, and the ruler, Geoffrey Plantagenet, chose Rennes as the capital.
  • 16th century: The region became part of France in 1532 when Anne, heir to Brittany, married two consecutive French kings.
  • From the 18th century onwards: The region remained a conservative area, keeping traditional social and religious practices.
1. Carnac Stones
2. Armorica Regional National Park
3. Château de Suscinio

Best things to do in Brittany

A trip to Brittany promises a wealth of exciting attractions and glorious natural scenery. Below are our top picks for the best things to do here:

  1. Carnac Stones
    The Carnac Stones are the world’s largest concentration of granite megaliths and have existed for some 6,000 years. Explore 3,000 megaliths, burial chambers, enclosures and standing tombs.
  2. Armorica Regional National Park
    Stretching from the Atlantic to Brittany’s countryside, the Armorica Regional National Park is nothing short of spectacular. The three islands, Sein, Molène and Ouessant, have been UNESCO biosphere reserves since 1988.
  3. Château de Suscinio
    Founded in the Middle Ages as the residence of the Dukes of Brittany, Suscinio Castle was designed as a place of leisure between the forest and the seaside. The site includes a ruined chapel and a dovecote.
1.  Saint-Malo
3. Cancale

Best places to visit in Brittany

Travelling around Brittany promises stunning natural scenery. Here, we’ve picked some of the best locations:

  1. Saint-Malo
    Perched along the English Channel, Saint-Malo is one of Brittany’s crowning jewels. The Allies severely damaged it during WWII, but today, it’s one of France’s most popular spots. Highlights include its castle and St. Vincent Cathedral.
  2. Belle Île
    Looking to soak up some sun? Belle Île in the department of Morbihan is hard to beat. It’s Brittany’s largest island and offers long, sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and lush countryside.
  3. Cancale
    Another charming port town on the Emerald Coast, Cancale became famous for supplying the royal court and sailors with its oysters during the 19th century. Walk to the pier from the town’s harbour for sweeping views of the coastline.
Friends enjoying a meal

Best restaurants in Rennes

  • La Taverne de la Marine (££)
    Overlooking Rennes Cathedral, this cosy restaurant serves classic seafood dishes, with highlights including duck foie gras, salmon tartare and octopus linguine.
  • Le Saint-Georges Creperie (££)
    Sleek and modern, Le Saint-Georges creperie is Rennes’ culinary gem. The world’s most famous Georges are on the menu, from the ‘George Clooney’ crêpe with spinach and goat’s cheese to the ‘George Michael’ ham, cheese, and mushroom crêpe.
  • Le Bénédicte (££)
    This restaurant focuses on traditional French recipes with a twist to combine culinary modernity with authenticity. Must-try dishes include the salmon tartare and the Brittany oysters.
Restaurants in Saint-Malo

Best restaurants in Saint-Malo

  • Le Bistro de Jean (££)
    In Saint-Malo’s heart, Le Bistro de Jean serves traditional French food in a laid-back setting. Try the duck fillet with a wine sauce and finish in style with the delicious petit gâteau, a chocolate fondant mini cake.
  • Bergamote (££)
    Fancy a cup of tea and a sweet treat before calling it a day? You’ve come to the right place. Bergamote is a family-run café offering a vast selection of teas, handmade pastries and crêpes.
  • Le Benetin (£££)
    Romantic and cosy, Le Benetin serves French seafood staples, including fresh cod steak, pollack tartare and pressed crab meat with basil.

Best hotels in Rennes

  • Hôtel Anne de Bretagne (★★★)
    In Rennes’ city centre, Hôtel Anne de Bretagne offers pet-friendly accommodation with 42 modern rooms, a bar, and a private parking garage.
  • Novotel Rennes Alma (★★★★)
    On Rennes’ southern outskirts, this 4-star hotel provides comfortable, stylish rooms overlooking Brêquigny Park. Enjoy spacious family rooms, a swimming pool and terrace in a pleasant garden setting.
  • Balthazar Hotel & Spa (★★★★★)
    Enjoy a luxurious stay at the Balthazar Hotel & Spa in the heart of Rennes. The rooms are airy and equipped with modern features, while the on-site bar and spa provide guests with an opportunity to unwind.

Best hotels in Saint-Malo

  • Hôtel Particulier Ascott (★★★)
    A stone’s throw from Saint-Malo marina, this 3-star hotel is housed in a charming 19th-century mansion. Enjoy contemporary rooms, a delicious breakfast buffet and a garden.
  • Golden Tulip Le Grand Bé Saint-Malo (★★★★)
    In the heart of the action, Golden Tulip Le Grand Bé has 55 airy rooms and suites, a restaurant, a wellness area, and a beautiful rooftop terrace overlooking the sea.
  • Le Grand Hotel Des Thermes (★★★★★)
    Designed in the Belle-Epoque architectural style, this hotel boasts a unique design inside and out, with 177 cruise-inspired rooms. You’ll find an on-site spa and fitness centre, a hair salon, and a fine-dining restaurant with a view.
Brittany - beaches

Brittany: A couple’s paradise

Whether you're celebrating an anniversary, planning a honeymoon, or simply seeking a romantic getaway, Brittany provides the ultimate romantic setting.

Walk along the stunning coastline or relax on one of the secluded beaches after a sightseeing-filled day. Belle-Île and Île de Bréhat make for two great day trips where you can unwind and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Fancy a scenic walk? The Sentier des Douaniers stretches for 1,800 km (118 miles) along the Brittany coast. Marvel at dunes, beaches, rocky headlands, and forts on this picturesque route.

If you prefer an urban escape, Brittany’s capital, Rennes, is hard to beat. Some of its highlights include__ Saint Pierre Cathedral__, Thabor Park, the Opera and Brittany’s Parliament.

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