From wide sandy bays to off-shore islands and secret coves, this jagged coastline is a beach-lover’s paradise. And, with its succession of dog-toothed promontories, you’ll always find a sunny spot that’s tucked away from the wind, and blissfully free of the crowds. No doubt you have yours, The Guardian recently wrote about theirs – but here are our favourite Brittany beaches you need to visit, and why.
The ‘amorique’ – as this part of Brittany is called, really is a stunner. The dramatic Côte de Granit Rose is all pale beaches hugged by amorphous lumps of pink granite. The beaches of this coast, some with causeways out to castle-studded islets, are perfect for rockpooling the days away, with shallow waters and tremendous views. And great seaside bars too – try the resort of Perros-Guirec.
One of the most beautiful beaches on the northern coast, Tregastel’s Ti Al Lia Beach is separated from the mainland by a thin slither of sand, and forms part of Renote island. This is a lovely headland of sunkissed coves, rose granite and soft, ochre sands. A real must-visit. But there are 12 other terrific beaches in this corner of the coast.
A huge field of gold, La Palue is one of the Crozon Peninsula’s heavy hitters. It’s a wide, flat expanse of firm, clean sands backed by tussocky dunes, offering a good place to escape the wind, if it’s blowing in the wrong direction (main pic).
This wild and lonely landfall is good for surfing, and for seal watching! It, and neighbour La Palue, face onto the Atlantic, and have that dramatic ‘end of the world’ feel to them. For more shelter, head 2km towards the aquamarine waters of Hernot Bay, also known as Ile Verge, one of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula of Crozon and you’ll feel like you’re in the Caribbean (well, give or take a few degrees). Follow the coastal footpath and you can scramble down to it.
De la source is a pretty, demure little cove, bypassed for the larger beach of L’Aber just along the coast. You’ll reach it at low tide from the tiny hamlets of Le Véniec und Raguénez; the sands are flat and clean, and the water is invitingly warm, protected from the open sea by the sheltering arms of the headland.
You could travel to the Maldives, or you could take a day trip to the seriously seductive Glénan Isles. Actually, make that Tahiti –because that’s what these tiny islets, just off the coast of western Brittany, are known as: the Breton Tahiti. Daytrippers take a picnic and spend a lazy afternoon decamped around the island’s lagoon, with its crystal clear waters, dazzling white sands and flower-carpeted meadows. Bliss.
Concarneau’s walled citadel is an atmospheric treat, but for more natural wonders, head north of the town to pretty little Kernours Beach. It’s tricky to get to – hence the wonderful secluded vibe – it’s backed by swaying maritime pines and faces southwest, for maximum sunbathing opportunities. We love the fact that this is a local’s favourite, far from the beaten path. You will too.
A quick boat trip from the coast of Morbihan lies Brittany’s clutch of off shore gems. Belle-Ile is the biggest, and most famous (justifiably, it’s a delight) but steer a course for tiny Houat and Hoëdic, each no more than a couple of miles long, each with sweeping sandy beaches, coves, dunes and sheltered suntraps. Island life rarely gets more intoxicating than this.
Ever been on a convex beach? No, us neither. But tiny Ile Groix can lay claim to Europe’s only convex cove: that’s a beach that curves down towards the sea. And it’s quite an impressive sight, caused by the onshore currents pushing the sand bar further and higher inland. But there are other delights here too, such as the wild and remote Porh Skeudoul and the charming Plage de Port-Mélite.
This small but perfectly formed cove of white sand enjoys a south-facing aspect –ensuring maximum sun exposure, and shelter from the onshore wind. Its away from the roads too, so it’s a nice, peaceful spot for a day spent splashing in the translucent waters. Showers and toilets (and first aid) make it a very family friendly spot too.
Backed by rolling, heather clad fields, yet close to the lively town of Lorient, this is a super little beach. Only a headland separates it from Kerrou, a true surfer’s beach, with an excellent wave record and an on-site surf school. But you don’t have to hunt down the perfect breakers, these are both ideal beaches for relaxing on, too.
With its rock arches and general air of wild untamed nature, this broad, sweeping cove between dunes and cliffs, and heather moorland, is perfect for a bracing morning walk – or, even better, to catch a terrific sunset.
Size isn’t everything. As the ‘criques’ decidedly prove. What these charming coves lack in size, they more than make up for in cuteness! These tiny inlets, facing the isles of Glénan, are pocket-handkerchief sized stretches of sand, backed by pine trees and cycle tracks, and they’re divine. And, as cozy sun traps go, we can’t think of a better place we’d rather be. And if you find the first crique full, just move on over to the next one!
Kerambigorn beach, Beg-Meil
With its swaying dunes, and singing strands of sea-grass, the soft sands of Kerambigorn are reminiscent of all those favourite beaches from your childhood. And, if you’re travelling with children or teenagers of your own, they’ll treasure their memories of Kerambigorn Beach for years to come. Great for beach volleyball, beach basketball, beach rugby, beach soccer, beach…anything really (try our list of top ten beach games!)
At the tip of Beg-Meil, the Dunes beach is one of the most dramatic on this stretch of coast. Enjoy an afternoon of undisturbed sunbathing and splashing about in the water on this Blue Flag gem.
Trez Bellec beach is one of the most beautiful in the sublime bay of Douarnenez, over 1.5km long, leading on to the smaller, more intimate Trez Bihan, that you reach via a path that sneaks over open moorland and heather.