When we think of beaches in France, our minds naturally wander to the South of France – sometimes it’s easy to overlook the beauty of Western France’s coastline… in particular, well-known surf mecca, Brittany. Wild and rugged, with some beautifully unspoilt crescents, the scenic coastline of Brittany stretches for more than 1,000 miles. It was a difficult task, but we managed to narrow it down to our top 10 Brittany beaches for all your seaside holiday needs (not just surfing!).
Best for families: Plage de l’Écluse
This fine sandy beach in Dinard is great for a family day out – safe for swimming and wide enough for all manner of beach games, you can kick back with a book in the sunshine while the kids run wild. Although quite a popular spot for locals and visitors, you can always find somewhere to lie your towel – and with the promenade behind, there’s plenty of places for a bite to eat.
Best for surfing: Saint Tugen
Brittany is a magnet for surfers looking for lesser-known surf spots, and although this is quite a well-known surf beach, it remains uncrowded – outside of the main summer months, anyway. When it gets to summer, Saint Tugen has a few lifeguards posted because the swell is so huge and the currents are strong (making it a risky place for a swim). So, if you visit outside of summer, take care if you want to go for a dip. A beautiful and wild surf beach with reliable waves in all tides, for all experiences.
Best for escaping the crowds: La Palue
Known as ‘the end of the Earth’, the Crozon Peninsula is peppered with unspoilt beaches, hidden coves and great hikes… it’s also home to our third best beach in Brittany, La Palue. Relatively uncrowded, rich in wildlife, and with a sweet nearby village – you’ll escape the crowds and get a taste of real Brittany. Although surfing tourism hasn’t hugely picked up yet in La Palue (which adds to its charm)… it’s known for its consistent breaks and great waves – it’s surfable in all tides!
Best for water-sports: Saint-Pierre-Quiberon
This seaside resort in the north of the Quiberon Peninsula has a rugged charm, like most of Brittany’s beaches. Surrounded by coastal wilderness, the area is good for cycling and walking – however its main draw is its array of water-based activities. With a national sailing school, it’s great for lovers of sailing, but you can also take on kayaking, diving, kitesurfing and sand yachting.
Best for castaway vibes: Les Canons
The gorgeous island of Belle-Ile lies just off the coast of Brittany and is naturally punctuated with sandy bays, rocky inlets, and surf beaches (60 beaches in total!). It was difficult to pick a favourite, but we landed on Les Canons, a remote beach with fine sand, clear water and generally not another person in sight! Live that French island life, mon chérie.
Best for dramatic scenery: Ile Vierge
Another beach that belongs to the Crozon Peninsula, Ile Vierge in Morgat is a natural beauty. Not the easiest to get to, you have to walk down steep, crumbly terrain from the car park (so this isn’t a good option for those with little ones or reduced mobility)… however, the beach that awaits you is well worth the effort! The dramatic scenery and white sand make for beautiful views, while the clear waters and caves are great for snorkelling and swimming.
Best for a little bit of everything: Plage du Sillon
This sandy, golden stretch in Saint-Malo goes for 3km, meaning that even when it’s busy it never really feels like it. Voted the best beach in France in TripAdvisor’s 2018 Traveller’s Choice Awards, whatever kind of beach day you’re looking for, you can get it at Plage du Sillon. Fully supervised, you can be confident in the knowledge it’s a safe beach for the kids, there are all the facilities you could need – along with a bar and a restaurant, it’s great for a slow amble along the water’s edge, as well as windsurfing, kiting and sand yachting. You can even visit a spa that overlooks the beach and offers treatments like sea walking and yoga on the beach!
Best for epic coastal views: Baie des Trespasses
Also known as The Bay of the Dead due to the shipwrecked bodies that used to wash up on the shore – thankfully those days are over – Baie des Trespasses is a very scenic, unspoilt beach that’s popular with surfers – it comes complete with a surf school and supervision. Flanked by both Pointe du Raz and Pointe du Van, if you take a walk to either of the two you’ll be treated to some amazing sea views out to Île de Sein and the famous Ar Men lighthouse. If you’re aiming to walk the GR34 coastal path, it’ll take you from one to the other.
Best for bucket-and-spade days: Plage de Trestraou
Perros-Guirec is a chic, family-friendly resort at the heart of the Pink Granite Coast and is home to the second to last entry on our list – Plage de Trestraou. Wide, sandy, and great for a traditional bucket-and-spade type holiday, this stretch of beach is sheltered by rocky outlets at either end and is backed by a bustling promenade with shops and eateries. Making it one of the best beaches in Brittany for a more traditional seaside day out.
Best for history: LostMarc’h
Yes, you read that right, there’s actually a beach on this list that offers up a little bit of history! An ancient area with a cliff fort and menhir from the Iron Age, as well as ruins of a 17th-century lookout, LostMarc’h is great for a wild coastal walk to these sites. The beach is a good spot for surfing too, with fairly consistent Atlantic swells completely unsheltered, however, it’s not really a safe spot for swimming as there are strong currents and no lifeguards.
Brittany beaches map
Did our list of best beaches in Brittany make you want to explore this lesser-known coastline? We’ve got a great selection of villas in Brittany close to all the sandy action! If you’re just not sure what you’re after, give our concierge team a shout – they’ll be happy to help you find your next coastal getaway!
Looking for a full list of villas to rent this year? Check out our villa holidays page here.