Brittany

Morbihan

Here one finds wild and rugged nature combined with the suggestion of the stormy sea on untamed lighthouses.
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Arriving from untamed Finistére, this stretch of coast suddenly appears gentle and calm, with its white sandy beaches, medieval towns and archaeological sites with famous megaliths.

Its charm and breathtaking beauty are no less than in other parts of Brittany. On the contrary, on its islands, Presq’île de Rhuys and Presq’île de Quiberon, one finds wild and rugged nature combined with the suggestion of the stormy sea on untamed lighthouses.

If the coast is therefore characterised by beautiful seaside resorts, nature reserves and islands, the hinterland is dotted with mysterious menhirs, dolmens and cairns, picturesque castles and navigable canals.

Gulf of Morbihan

1Golfo di Morbihan, Francia

The Gulf of Morbihan is an incredibly beautiful bay dotted with dozens of tiny islands that provide an incredible habitat for all kinds of marine life and waterfowl, and this stretch of sea has recently been declared a regional nature park.

These 40 islands are each different: from simple sandy islets inhabited only by birds to tiny communities of fishermen, farmers and artists. We recommend taking a cruise in the bay: there are several types, from those that will take you to see the main islands in half a day to those in sinagot (equipped sailing ships), to stay on board for more than a day.

Île aux Moines is the largest island in the bay that once housed communities of monks: see the Kergonan stone circle and the beautiful groves with romantic names such as Forest of Sighs, Forest of Love, Forest of Regrets.

Île d’Arz, despite being the smallest, is worth a visit for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails.

Fans of ancient history should not miss Île de Gavrinis, on which one of the region’s most important prehistoric monuments, the Cairn de Gavrinis, is preserved and is truly impressive.

Another activity that attracts many enthusiasts is birdwatching to spot hundreds of rare species of birds that stop here during migration.

The Rhuys peninsula is also a little piece of paradise that ends at Port-Navalo with a romantic promontory guarded by a lighthouse. Here you’ll find beautiful unspoilt nature such as the Réserve de Duer, many prehistoric tombs and the Château de Suscinio, a wonderful medieval castle that looks like something out of a fairytale with its turrets decorated with dragons, snakes and mythological creatures

Quiberon Peninsula

2Quiberon Peninsula, 56170 Quiberon, Francia

The Quiberon peninsula is one of Morbihan’s main destinations, a narrow 14-kilometre-long strip of land, sandy and touristy in the east, wild and rocky in the west called the Côte Sauvage, ideal for hiking enthusiasts.

This strip of land is really the place to be for lovers of the sea, waves and sun.

Vannes

Vannes is a wonderful medieval town overlooking the Golfe du Morbihan and one of the most beautiful towns in Brittany, thanks to its authentic medieval atmosphere. With its city walls and fortified gates, with its winding streets and cobbled squares, with the liveliness that can be found in the many cafés, bistros and markets in the old town as well as at the small harbour, it is a must-see on any trip to Brittany.

Vannes is also an excellent base from which to explore the region and the many islands in the gulf that can be reached by boat.

Carnac

This elegant coastal town closely resembles a Côte d’Azur seaside resort, although there is a noticeable difference between the sumptuous Carnac-Plage and the picturesque Carnac-Ville, which is more discreet and tranquil.

But the real reason Carnac has become famous is the presence of the largest concentration of megaliths in the world. In fact, in the hinterland of the Baie de Quiberon there are over 3000 menhirs that attract an incredible mass of visitors during the summer season.

Belle Île

5Belle Île, 56360, Francia

This lush island, with its ancient charm, is the largest and most stunning of the Breton islands. Legend has it that the fairies of the Paimpont forest one day threw their wreaths of flowers into the waters of the Morbihan and the most beautiful of those swept away by the current became Belle-Île-en-mer, the largest and most charming of the Breton islands.

Belle-Ile-en-mer is lush, with old-world charm, hidden valleys, white beaches, lighthouses guarding wild coastlines, stacks and cliffs, expanses of broom and beautiful villages. Here Van Gogh, Monet and Matisse found inspiration for many of their paintings.

Malestroit

Malestroit was founded in the 10th century and became an important and flourishing town in the Middle Ages, famous for its leather, linen and hemp industries.

Situated on the banks of the River Oust, this strategic location gave the city ease in transporting local materials and products, a trade aided by Napoleon, who ordered the construction of the Nantes Canal to Brest.

The town’s main square is Place du Bouffay adjacent to the church of St Gilles. In summer it is filled with tables and chairs in a swarm of cafés and restaurants surrounding the cobbled square, the warm summer air is filled with live music and every Friday night local bands usually perform, an event that brings the whole town to the square.

Pontivy

If you love medieval castles, then you must make a diversion to Pontivy to visit the imposing castle of the Rohan family surrounded by a moat. Although only two of the four towers are left inside, wonderful fireplaces, an oak-beamed roof and a wonderful view of the city are still intact.

For walkers, just 8 kilometres from the town is the beautiful Lac de Guerlédan, with bathing beaches, the possibility of hiring water sports equipment and footpaths to go around the lake or to the Abbaye de Bon Repos.

Josselin

This medieval village will enchant you with its imposing walls set in the rock overlooking the Oust river, the basilica, the charming little streets and the pretty square as well as the marvellous castle reflected in the water. In short, a truly unique place that deserves a diversion from the traditional coastal routes. You will feel like you are in a postcard!

The town’s castle is a real marvel, one of the most beautiful in Brittany with its nine towers and imposing manor house. It is worth visiting both the interior and the lush gardens.

The Musée des Poupées, which houses over 300 antique dolls and toys from days gone by, and the Notre-Dame-du-Roncier cathedral are also worth a visit.

La Roche-Bernard

The history of La-Roche-Bernard, perched on a rocky promontory, is closely linked to the Vilaine River, which dominates the area and has been both a gateway for invasions and a focal point for trade.

Palaces, old houses and salt warehouses reflect its past as a merchant and sailor.

Rochefort-en-Terre

Inland Morbihan is a beautiful land of verdant fields and enchanting forests, dotted with castles and delightful medieval villages.

Rochefort-en-terre is a picturesque perched village overlooking the Guezon River with narrow cobbled streets, granite slate-roofed residences and old-world charm.

It rightly ranks among the best small caractére villages with its small squares, wells and flowered balconies, and the castle has returned to its former glory.

Questembert

This tiny village is a good place to stop for lunch or a snack, perhaps strolling through the picturesque covered market made entirely of wood and dating back to 1552.

If you have children with you or love animals, you can visit the zoo in Branféré, a safari park with over 120 species in the wild.

Ploërmel

This small town is worth a visit for its medieval buildings such as the Maison des Marmousets. Don’t miss the Saint-Armel church, the astronomical clock and its markets.

In the surrounding area, the Château de Loyat, which is only open to the public in summer, the megalithic site of the Pierres Droites, and the Lac du Duc, a reservoir with campsites, golf courses, and footpaths around the lake for wonderful walks, are worth a visit.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Itinerary in the Morbihan

Route: 200 km | Duration: 3 days | Recommended period: June/July

Calculate a half-day pr visit to the archaeological area of the megaliths or even the whole day if you decide to take a guided tour. The second day is dedicated to exploring the Gulf of Morbihan with a cruise in the bay or a tour of Vannes. The tour of the Morbihan ends with a visit to the area of castles such as Pontivy and Josselin.

  1. Carnac
  2. Morbihan Gulf
  3. Pontivy – Josselin – Branféré

Insights

Vannes

Vannes

Overlooking the Gulf of Morbihan, Vannes is a marvellous medieval fortified town whose historical centre and ramparts are still perfectly preserved.
Carnac

Carnac

The elegant town of Carnac has become famous for the largest concentration of megaliths in the world, but is also known for its beaches and thalassotherapy.
Quiberon Peninsula

Quiberon Peninsula

This strip of land is a wonderful corner, the right place for fans of the sea, waves, sun and hiking to admire incredible views
Belle-Ile-en-mer

Belle-Ile-en-mer

This lush island, with its old-world charm, is the largest and most stunning of the Breton islands.