Brittany

Belle-Ile-en-mer

This lush island, with its old-world charm, is the largest and most stunning of the Breton islands.
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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 carried away by the current became Belle-Île-en-mer, the largest and most charming of the Breton islands.

This island is lush with old-world charm, with hidden valleys, white beaches, lighthouses guarding wild coastlines, stacks and cliffs, expanses of gorse and beautiful villages. Here Van Gogh, Monet and Matisse found inspiration.

Things to do in Belle-Ile-en-mer

The town of Le Palais1 with its colourful shutters and façades, its charming harbour winding its way through the green forests and valleys that surround it leaves everyone breathless.

The fortified citadel of Vauban2 (a German stronghold and liberated well over a year after the Normandy landings) is still impressive today and deserves a tour of both the walls and the gates and ramparts, which still retain a covered walkway. Beware of children as the route has precipitous points.

The Musée Historique, which illustrates local history, is well worth a visit, but it is even more worth taking a tour of the piers amidst the picturesque fishing boats and the bari to have a fish aperitif.

If you have time, you can do the circuit of flavours, which passes by various local producers selling milk, honey, butter, eggs and cheese.

The most beautiful place on the island, however, is definitely the village of Sauzon3. Here, you will feel as if you are living inside a postcard with the little harbour, the pastel-coloured houses, the fjord and the flowering moorland and finally the multi-coloured boats. In short, a wonderful place! And if you have time, drop by Pointe des Poulains.

The most spectacular and wildest stretch of coastline is the western part of the island, called the Côte Sauvage, dotted with caves such as Grotte de l'Apothicairerie4 or magnificent rock formations such as the stacks of The needles of Port-Coton5so beautiful that they were immortalised by Monet thanks to the infinite shades of colour you will see along the cliffs.

If you love beaches, we recommend Plage des grands sables6 and those of Port Kerel7 and Plage D'Herlin8.

The Plage de Donnant9 is beautiful and getting there on foot is worth the journey so far, especially if you find a rough sea. Be careful, however: swimming in rough seas is absolutely not recommended because of the treacherous currents and the presence of very dangerous rocks.

The best way to admire the beauty of this island is to walk a section of the delightful coastal path that will allow you to reach the most picturesque spots (brochure at the tourist office): it is accessible to all but since you will encounter slippery slopes and walk alongside high cliffs, shoes suitable for walking are mandatory. Pay attention to crumbly edges, wet ground after rain and respect for the environment.

At Bangor10 you can witness a rare form of fishing, that of the Thumbfoot, a crustacean that lives tenaciously anchored in the steep rocks of the coast. At Locmaria11, on the other hand, you can breathe in the air of witches and pagan rituals: a path leads down to a stupendous inlet.

Map

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

Where to stay in Belle-Ile-en-mer

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Hôtel Vauban
Le Palais - 1 rue des RempartsExtra sanitary measures
8.5,0Fabulous 950 reviews
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Hôtel Restaurant Corto Maltese
Le Palais - 4 Place de l'Hôtel de Ville
8.4,0Very good 671 reviews
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Grand Hôtel de Bretagne
Le Palais - Quai MacéExtra sanitary measures
8.4,0Very good 651 reviews
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Where is located Belle-Ile-en-mer