Best Brittany Beaches to Reach by Car

Five of the Best Brittany Beaches to Reach by Car

Although the current (August) UK restrictions impose a 14-day quarantine for anyone returning from France, for many people working from home, this isn’t a reason to avoid a French holiday. Being able to reach the best Brittany beaches by car is enticing enough to sacrifice two weeks’ worth of outings upon return.

If you’re looking for a last-minute summer holiday but want to avoid planes and anything too far afield, taking the ferry to St Malo and travelling to Brittany in the comfort and safety of your own car is ideal. Often, French beaches are associated with images of the French Riviera and its Mediterranean hotspots. However, northern France has several hidden gems of its own – many of which can be discovered on the stunning Brittany coastline.

One of the benefits of a Brittany beach holiday is the travel time. When travelling to the south of France, it’s a choice between flying or driving for a couple of days. But, a trip to Brittany from the UK can be done in your own car within a day. St Malo is a popular port city in Brittany; rich in history and perfectly located for a Brittany beach holiday. You can reach St Malo from the following ports:

  • Portsmouth (7-hour day crossing or 11-hour night crossing)
  • Jersey (1-hour and 20-minute crossing)
  • Guernsey (2-hour crossing)
  • Poole (6-hour and 30-minute crossing)

For more information on getting to France, please view our dedicated page. You can sit back and relax on the ferry by day, or sleep in a cabin by night, without worrying about a long drive or sharing circulated plane air with others. Car and ferry travel are much more hygienic than airports and planes. And, if for any reason you needed to get home urgently, it may be easier to book a last-minute crossing than a flight. We cover this in more depth in our recent post on how to make a travel plan during coronavirus.

St Malo in Brittany France

Let’s take a look at five of the best beaches near St Malo.

  1. Plage de Theolen
  2. Distance from St Malo: 273km. Approx 3.5 hours.

    One of the best Brittany beaches, Plage de Theolen is a stunning, sheltered cove located in a petitie valley near Cap Sizun. Originally a fishing cove, the beach is made up of pebbles and sand. At low-tide, beautiful sand and picturesque little rockpools appear, making it the perfect beach for families. When the kids need a rest from paddling in the rockpool, venture up to the ‘Buvette’ refreshment bar for drinks and snacks.

    Cone of chips
  3. Plage de l’Ecluse
  4. Distance from St Malo: 12.3km. Approx 25 minutes.

    If you’d rather not drive too far when you arrive in France, Plage de l’Ecluse is the perfect beach for you. Its smooth, sloping sands make it a favourite beach in Dinard, also known as the ‘pearl of the Emerald Coast’. There is a long stretch from the sand to the sea which may be tiring for little ones, but the large seawater pool is a family-friendly alternative.

    When you get hungry, wander up to the promenade where you can find a range of authentic French eateries or enjoy a picnic on the soft sand!

    Brittany coast
  5. La Palue
  6. Distance from St Malo: 262km. Approx 3.5 hours.

    La Palue, located on the Crozon Peninsula, is the perfect, secluded getaway for keen surfers - the surf can be too strong for swimmers. Even if you aren’t a fan of water sports, the peninsula is beautifully picturesque and teeming with unspoilt wildlife. There are plenty of lovely walks to enjoy in the area if you’d like a quieter holiday and the little nearby village is a treat in itself.

    Coastline and boats in the sea
  7. L’ile Vierge
  8. Distance from St Malo: 147km. Approx 2 hours.

    Once voted the 7th Most Beautiful Beach in Europe, L’ile Vierge is one of the most stunning coves in France. The deep, turquoise waters contrast the white cliffs dotted with pine trees, creating the most stunning backdrop for your beach escape. The caves and clear water make it a very popular spot for snorkelers and swimmers, although it can be chilly!

    The pebbly beach is covered at high tide, so make sure you check the tide table before you visit. It takes 20 minutes to hike to the cove, but if you’d rather not walk, it’s possible to reach by boat. One of the best beaches near St Malo, L’ile Vierge is certainly worth a visit.

    L'ile Vierge beach in Brittany, France
  9. Lostmarc’h
  10. Distance from St Malo: 262km. Approx 3.5 hours.

    Should you prefer something less crowded than the obvious tourist beaches, Lostmarc’h offers a stunning, sandy beach with limited parking, meaning it never gets too busy! Frequented by surfers and families, the breathtaking scenery makes Lostmarc’h a hidden treasure worth finding!

There’s still time to enjoy the best Brittany beaches. Just make sure you are up to speed with the latest travel guidelines from the government and follow the rules for safe travel during this pandemic. We can help you get to your French destination quickly and safely with a French toll tag. Be sure to read our comprehensive guide to driving in France and glance over our checklist for driving in Europe.