Headwater - Brittany's Emerald Coast Self-Guided Walk

9 days
from
$2,879 AUD
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Trip code: 
W08BT
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Activity:
Walking & Hiking
Group size:
1–6
Min age:
8

Spectacular views await: pink granite boulders above turquoise seas characterise the Breton coast.

The ancient name for Brittany was Armor, land of the sea, and it is undoubtedly this element that most influences the landscape and best captures the spirit of this distinctive region. From the rocky headlands of the northern shore, sweeping round to the sometimes wild west coast, to the gentle sheltered bays along the southern coastline, the sea is always an integral part of everyday life here. During the first few days of your holiday, you'll be walking along the magnificent paths that hug the northern coast. It's a landscape of pinky-gold cliffs, secret coves, deserted, heather-backed beaches and traditional Breton fishing villages untouched by tourism. It's perfect for exploring on foot and, at every turn, you're rewarded with fabulous panoramic views of the entire Emerald Coast. Heading inland, the route takes you along the banks of the River Rance and on through the majestic Hunaudaye forest. Highlights include the feudal Fort la Latte and the beautiful stone-crafted town of Dinan. In the Middle Ages, Dinan served as one of the main strategic strongholds of the Duchy of Brittany and much of her mediaeval charm remains today. 

Highlights

  • Deserted coastal paths, shaded forest trails, magnificent beaches 
  • Wildlife: Kingfishers, otters and a huge variety of nesting seabirds 
  • Superb seafood; sweet and savoury crepes; refreshing local cider

Key information

  • 8 nights in 3 to 4-star accommodation
  • 4 days point to point walking
  • Low altitude and well-marked paths  
  • Countries visited: France

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Walking transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
  • Visas & vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

4

Days of Walking & Trekking
Terrain:

Varied walking following well-marked GR routes along coastal paths, river banks, country lanes and shady forest tracks. Some steep, but short, ascents and descents, but a good head for heights is not necessary.

Day by day breakdown
Day 217.0km/11.0miles
Day 417.0km/11.0miles
Day 619.0km/12.0miles
Day 818.0km/12.0miles

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Itinerary

Lamballe
to
Lamballe
  • Day 1

    Arrive at Lamballe

    Your holiday starts at M. Jamin's C16 manor house in the countryside, just 3kms outside the market town of Lamballe. With only 14 rooms, it's a lovely, intimate place to stay. The courtyard opens up onto beautifully kept gardens and an elegant terrace for al fresco dining on fine summer evenings.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 2

    Lamballe to Sables d'Or-Les-Pins

    You take a short transfer to the tiny Breton fishing port of Dahouet. From here, it's coastal walking at its best: extensive views, aquamarine seas, white sandy beaches and rocky coves - don't forget your swimming things! Lunch on the beach at Caroual then head inland and on to your lovely hotel at Sables-d'Or-Les-Pins.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    At Sables d'Or-Les-Pins

    Sables-d'Or-Les-Pins is a pretty seaside village with magnificent golden sand beaches. It would be easy to just spend the day here, however we strongly recommend following our suggested circular walk (route notes provided) along a spectacular coastal footpath around the cliff and on to nearby Cap d'Erquy, a delightful fishing village with some outstanding seafood restaurants for lunch.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Sables d'Or-Les-Pins to Dinard

    Deserted beaches and heather-topped cliffs provide the colourful backdrop for today's walk which leads you via the Cap Frehel Lighthouse (look out for nesting seabirds) to the famous C14 feudal stronghold of Fort la Latte. Perched on a rocky promontory over the ocean, this castle occupies one of the finest sites in Brittany. Climb up the tower for magnificent coastal views, out as far as Jersey on a clear day.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Dinard

    Once a sleepy fishing village on the estuary of the Rance, the English transformed the town into one of the most famous and upmarket resorts in Europe during the C19. Although a little quieter now, it has not lost any of its charm and many of the Belle Epoque villas have become historic monuments. Walk out to the Pointe des Etretes for views of the off-shore islands, or take a 10-minute water taxi across the bay to St-Malo and lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets within the Intra Muros (fortified walls) of this ancient mediaeval city.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Dinard to Dinan

    Starting with a transfer to the picturesque Breton village of Langrolay-sur-Rance, today's route takes you inland, mostly following the course of the River Rance. It's wonderfully tranquil walking through shady forests, fruit orchards, and along peaceful riverside paths. Your hotel in Dinan is superbly located within the ramparts of the mediaeval old town.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    At Dinan

    This beautifully preserved ancient walled town, with its riverfront port, is an absolute gem. Wander round the splendidly restored ancient squares and ramparts, visit the imposing C13 castle, admire the flamboyant Gothic basilica and stroll along the cobbled streets packed with authentic artisan workshops.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Dinan to Plorec/Lamballe

    You take a short transfer then it's off through the Pays du Tour du Penthievre where shady woodland paths skirt the river as far as the impressive C13 Chateau de la Hunaudaye, the ruins of which date back over 800 years. Then it's on across farmland, past ancient standing stones, to Lamballe, where you can relax in the hotel gardens before dinner.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Leave Lamballe

    If you have pre-booked a transfer our rep will take you to Lamballe station in time for your train.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

Continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals are included.

Brittany’s fish and seafood is without doubt one of the region’s biggest draws. Platters stacked high with lobster, crab, oyster, shrimp and prawns grace the tables of the atmospheric restaurants. Huge bowls of fresh mussels, scallops and stuffed clams take their place alongside delicious sea bass and bream. The flat local ‘Belons’ oysters are delicious, fleshier than normal ones; they are renowned for their fine hazelnut flavour. Seafood will generally be served with the excellent Breton butter, which contains Guérande salt crystals, and plain bread. Brittany has its own variant on the well-known Provençal fish soup bouillabaisse. This dish, known as cotriade, is usually eaten as a starter, but served with cheese and croutons. It is hearty enough to qualify as a meal in itself!

Many people also think of crêpes when they think of Brittany and indeed almost every little village or town has its own crêperie. The usual custom is to start with a savoury galette (which distinguishes itself from the crêpe by being prepared with buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour), with your own choice of delicious fillings. The classics are ‘la galette complète’ which includes ham, grated cheese and an egg; or one with mushrooms and cream. But you will find as many different fillings as different chefs and then each crêperie has its own specialities. This is then followed by as many galettes as your appetite allows you to eat and finished by a sweet ‘crêpe’, again with a whole range of scrummy fillings!
You will be spoilt for choice with sweet specialties as well. As Brittany produces the best and finest French butter, they have an array of traditional tasty biscuits (the popular galettes and palets Bretons, petits beurres, galettes de Pont Aven, etc…), pastries ( gâteau Breton and gâteau Nantais) based on buttery dough. One of the main traditional desserts is the Far Breton, a sort of local clafoutis (French batter pudding) made with prunes. The region is also a major apple producer so it’s likely that you find a lot of apple specialities.

Cider is the drink most commonly associated with Brittany and is proudly served in all restaurants in the typical bolée glass. Like wine, parts of Brittany have been awarded appellation d’origine contrôlée for their cider. There are three sorts of cider: brut (‘dry’, the most popular), demi-sec (‘semi-dry’) which is a good alternative if you find the dry one too bitter, and doux (‘sweet’) which can be served with desserts and sweets. A brut cider is the perfect accompaniment to crêpes but also to mature soft-washed-rind-cheeses like the neighbouring Camembert. You could try a pairing with game pâtés, nuts or dry fruit salads or even bring back a few bottles in order to enjoy them with mature cheddar. Another popular drink is pommeau de Bretagne, a delicious mix of apple juice and calvados. Its sweet, yet smooth flavour makes for a perfect apéritif. The only wine produced in Brittany is Muscadet. It is produced from the Melon de Bretagne grape, which has been cultivated here since the early 17th century, to give a dry and fruity white wine that goes perfectly with the region’s signature fish and seafood specialities.

Weather

July is the hottest time to visit the Brittany coast, with an average temperature of 17 degrees C and August providing the most hours of sunshine (on average 7 hours). Those seeking the best swimming opportunities will find the sea at an average of 18 degrees C in August. The wettest month is October.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

This 8-night walk is the perfect introduction to Brittany's beautiful coastline, allowing you to experience the very best of the beautiful Breton coast. You'll enjoy simply stunning walks, taking in dramatic scenery, a wealth of colours and a multitude of mediaeval influences.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. We have suggested that 8yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. You are provided with route notes for each day, which begin with an overview of the walk and advice on lunch, followed by detailed instructions. The route notes contain a 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

Your accommodation is full of contrasts, including a lovely seaside hotel in Sables-d'Or-Les-Pins and a superbly located 4 star hotel built into the ramparts in the heart of historic Dinan. In Dinard, you'll stay in the upgraded sea-view rooms looking out across the idyllic Atlantic expanse to the old port town of St-Malo.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration. For a solo traveller there is an additional charge to cover transfer costs. Please contact us for further details. 

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

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