12 Best Beaches in Brittany

Which Brittany Beaches Are the Best?

    The best beaches in Brittany are simply made for exploring during the summertime. The hilly peninsula is wild and rugged in places, but you can also find historic towns and remote islands along France’s north-westernmost region. Crêpes and oysters are the local delicacies here, along with apple brandy that will keep you warm on even the blusteriest of beach walks. 

    There's a staggering variety of destinations in the region, from the old-fashioned elegance of Dinard to the bustle of Quiberon and the secluded coves of the Crozon peninsula. What they all have in common are picturesque stone buildings, clear turquoise seas, and fine white sand which make Brittany's beaches unmissable.

    1

    La Baule Beach, La Baule-Escoublac

    Laze in the sun on one of the longest beaches in Europe

    La Baule-Escoublac is a famous resort town teeming with prestige hotels, stylish vintage villas, and fancy casinos. Running almost 9 km between Pornichet and Le Pouliguen, La Baule hosts one of the longest beaches in Europe.

    La Baule Beach is wide and bordered by a promenade that offers a cool place to stroll and jog. Beach clubs, restaurants, sailing schools and children playgrounds dot the beach which also features public toilets. La Baule-Escoublac is located in Loire Atlantique, about 15 km west of Saint Nazaire on the west coast of France.

    Location: 27 Boulevard René Dubois, 44500 La Baule-Escoublac, France

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    2

    Bon-Secours Beach, Saint-Malo

    Swim, dive and sail at the foot of Saint-Malo Ramparts

    Bon-Secours Beach is just west of Saint-Malo Old Town and reachable through Saint-Pierre Gate. The simplest of these is simply enjoying the warm summer sun. The beach has a seawater pool dating back to the 1930s, where you get to swim even at low tide.

    There’s also a 3- and 5-metre diving board. A friendly sailing club rents out sea kayaks, Hobie Cats and sailing dinghies. Bon-Secours is the beach from which you can reach Petit and Grand Bé islands on foot, at low tide. If you’re a fan of historic buildings, head further north of the beach to visit 17th-century structures such as Bastion Fort La Reine and Fort National.

    Location: 4 Rue de la Crosse, 35400 Saint-Malo, France

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    3

    Plage de l'Ecluse, Dinard

    The Grand Dame of the Breton coast

    Dinard has been a popular resort destination since the 19th century, when luminaries like Oscar Wilde and Picasso used to holiday here. Plage de l'Écluse is the pick of the bunch, a huge sweep of white sand dotted with distinctive stripy beach tents. The beach is furnished with beach huts, deck chairs and umbrellas and beachside activities run throughout the season.

    Dinard hasn't lost any of its glitz – many tourists enjoy the beach town’s tennis courts, 18-hole golf course, and thalassotherapy spas. In the evening, the place to be seen is the opulent Casino Barrière on the waterfront, but the glittering lights and tropical plants along Promenade Clair de Lune also make for a lovely evening walk.

    Location: Plage de l'Écluse, 35800 Dinard, France

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    4

    Plage Saint-Guirec, Ploumanac'h

    The star of the Rose Granite Coast

    The brilliantly coloured beach of Plage Saint-Guirec is arguably the best place to see Brittany's magical pink coastline. The beach is surrounded with strange pink-tinged rock formations and out in the bay is the ruins of a 12th-century chapel. Swimming is safe and easy in the shallow waters, and there's a play area for children as well as kids' clubs in the summer.

    The beach is a mix of sand and fine gravel, with first aid stations and lifeguards in the summer months. There are a handful of restaurants and bars scattered around the edge of the beach. Head up along the cliff paths at sunset to get a great view of the bay and the stunning pink rocks.

    Location: Plage Saint-Guirec, Ploumanac'h, 22700 Perros-Guirec, France

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    5

    Grande Plage, Quiberon

    Delightful seaside town popular with families

    Quiberon is a lively spot for families, offering brasseries, bars, cafes and ice-cream parlours, and a popular departure point for day-trippers heading to nearby islands. There's an interesting Museum of the Sea, a pretty church, and a casino to keep you entertained in the evenings. 

    Grande Plage is easily the most attractive of its beaches – you can find a broad sweep of fine white sand and a promenade that makes for a pleasant stroll. Grab a drink here and watch the fishing boats coming in and out of the port in fine weather. The soft sand is great for sandcastles and the sheltered, south-facing bay is warm and makes for a lovely swim.

    Location: Grande Plage, 56170 Quiberon, France

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    6

    Porz-Kernok, Île de Batz

    Secluded beach on a remote island

    Île de Batz is an idyllic retreat of stone fishing cottages, dazzling beaches and winding coastal trails. The island's mild microclimate makes it feel like you’re holidaying in the Mediterranean, and allows the Georges Delaselle Garden to grow lush exotic plants from across the globe.

    Porz-Kernok spans 500 metres in length and nearly as wide at low tide. It faces south in a sheltered bay dotted with fishing boats. Sparkling waters and gently sloping sand make Porz-Kernok excellent for swimming. There are hardly any cars here and only a smattering of shops and restaurants, so it feels as though you've left the modern world behind.

    Location: Porz Kernok, 29253 Île de Batz, France

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    photo by Alexander Hoernigk (CC BY 3.0) modified

    7

    Grande Plage, Carnac

    Ancient monoliths and mouthwatering seafood

    Grande Plage, spanning 2 km of white sand, is the largest of Carnac's beaches. Bordering the clear waters of the Bay of Biscay, the beach is lined with rows of inviting 19th-century villas and clusters of pine trees, and the pristine water here has earned the beach a Blue Flag.

    Carnac is famous for its oyster industry, so this is a great place to buy shellfish directly from the farmers around Anse de Pô. You can also try them fresh in local restaurants. The area is known for its ancient standing stones, which date from around 4,000 BC. The Museum of Prehistory in the town centre has an impressive collection of archaeological curiosities dug up from the nearby fields.

    Location: Grande Plage, 56340 Carnac, France

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    photo by chisloup (CC BY 3.0) modified

    8

    Grande Plage du Sillon, Saint-Malo

    Where the corsairs used to roam

    Grande Plage du Sillon is the longest beach in Saint-Malo. The quaint walled city of Saint-Malo feels like it belongs to another era. These days the pirates are long gone and instead the winding cobblestone streets are filled with cosy restaurants and fascinating museums. The best view of its sparkling blue seas is from the top of the old city ramparts.

    Spanning over 3 km in length, the beach has the same soft white sand typical of the rest of the area, and the large tidal range here means huge swathes are visible at low tide. The beach is backed by a promenade lined with 19th-century villas, which makes for a pleasant walk with charming views of Fort du Petit Bé in the bay.

    Location: Grande Plage du Sillon, Saint-Malo, France

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    photo by Pline (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    Plage de Sainte-Evette, Esquibien

    Brittany's watersports capital

    If you like being on the water as much as in it, head for Plage de Sainte-Evette. This beach is a haven for watersports enthusiasts thanks to high winds off the Atlantic. The nautical centre at the edge of the beach has a diving club and boat tours. It also offers rental equipment and lessons on sailing, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding.

    The beach is also a good spot for sunbathing and swimming, though it’s more popular with locals than tourists. Facilities are limited, but there's a scattering of cafes and a cheerful pub by the port with prime views of the bay.

    Location: Sainte-Evette, 29770 Esquibien, France

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    10

    Plage du Trez, Bénodet

    Entertainment for all the family

    Bénodet is one of the most popular resorts in southern Brittany, and makes a great family destination thanks to the wealth of kid-friendly activities and attractions. There's also a casino, a cinema, several spas, and open-air concerts every Friday during the summer. Guided cruises take you on trips up the picturesque Odet River.

    Plage du Trez is in the heart of town, close to a wide array of restaurants, bars and cafes lining the seafront. The 3-km-long strip of white sand is south-facing and catches the sun all day long. Explore as far as the lighthouse on Pointe du Coq and you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the coast from the top of the tower.

    Location: Beach du Trez, 29950 Bénodet, France

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    photo by Moreau.henri (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    11

    Plage de l'île Vierge, Crozon

    Hidden beach in Armorique Natural Park

    Plage de l'île Vierge is only accessible via the coastal path or along the beach at low tide. One of the wildest beaches on the Crozon Peninsula, this golden sand beach is backed by steep cliffs and lofty pine trees, and the water is a brilliant turquoise colour. It's not unusual to spot bottlenose dolphins and grey seals off the coast.

    The water is deep enough for proper swimming without going too far out. There are cool natural caves carved into the cliffs and rock pools to explore when the tide goes out. If you’re in the mood for some light hiking, the GR34 trail passes Plage de l'île Vierge and follows the coast around the peninsula.

    Location: Plage de l'île Vierge, 29160 Crozon, France

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    12

    Lantecoste, Ménez Buten

    A quiet shaded cove

    Hidden away from the main road, Lantecoste beach is the place to come for some peace and tranquillity. You can reach the small cove either by boat or a short walk along the coastal path, making it relatively quiet even in summer and giving it a blissfully relaxed atmosphere.

    Trees lining the edge of the beach add to the gorgeous scenery as well as providing ample shade, handy for keeping young children out of the sun. There are no facilities here so make sure to pack a picnic, sunscreen and a favourite book so you can comfortably while away the hours.

    Location: Plage de Lantecoste, Ménez Buten, 29170 Fouesnant, France

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    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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