FERRY + HOTEL
That’s the joy of cycling in Brittany. This huge region offers an amazing choice of places to go and you’ll find a warm Breton welcome everywhere. There’s a wide range of accommodation at all prices for a good night’s sleep, and fantastic food from oysters and mussels to traditional crêpes and cider, once you’ve notched up a few kilometres.
Best of all, Condor Ferries takes you right into the historic walled city of St Malo so just a few minutes after docking, you’ll be on your way.
Don’t miss the ‘voies vertes’ – a network of green ways that link many of the major centres. Several of these useful cycle routes with gentle gradients connect St Malo with Brittany’s ‘must-see’ highlights including Mont-St-Michel, the northern and southern coasts and the lush green interior.
If you fancy a challenge, why not head for the Monts d’Arrée, the highest hills in the region.
Organisers of the Tour de France often stage the iconic race through Brittany so you might even catch some world-class action along the way, if you’re there in July.
Sailing with Condor Ferries, you’ll arrive in one of Brittany’s most historic cities.
Before you head off to explore this beautiful region, why not sample the delights of this former stronghold of pirates. Circle the citadel but you might want to give the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town a miss, so secure your bike before you walk the ramparts and don’t miss out on a tasty crêpe or galette.
Or take the short ferry journey across the Rance estuary to the fashionable 19th-century resort of Dinard.
French people love to take their annual holidays in July and August so expect the cycle routes to be busy and you’ll need to book your accommodation well in advance.
May and June are quieter and often have wonderful weather, yet the autumn colours of September and October can be gorgeous (and extremely Instagram friendly). Wet-weather gear may be necessary, however!
Brittany offers almost 2,000 km of cycleways so there’s bound to be one that’s ideal for you. Potter around as you wish or try out a suggested route.
You can always mix and match bike and train if you don’t want to cycle both ways. If you’re starting out as a cyclist, how about the 24 km trip on the Ille et Rance canal from Evran to Dinan. This 19th century waterway was built in Napoleon’s day – start from Evran with its pretty Lac de Betineuc. For something a little longer, the Nantes to Brest canal towpath offers 365 km of flat and easy riding through countryside and characterful towns, perfect for families.
This route takes you along Brittany’s beautiful northern coast, through tangy salt marshes and right past iconic Mont-St-Michel before you turn north through the peaceful Normandy department of Manche.
Avoiding the main roads, you will call at historic towns such as Granville before hugging the western coast and its sand dunes, offering views of Jersey. There are plenty of opportunities to sample Norman cuisine before cutting inland to head for bustling Cherbourg.
Point your wheels to the beautiful south coast where the weather can be a little warmer. The ‘voies vertes’ will take you through the attractive town of Dinan and the Breton capital Rennes before ending in Redon, where the rivers Vilaine and Oust meet. Another 56km on the road will take you to the lively city of Vannes, gateway to the beautiful Gulf of Morbihan and its islands.
This is the daddy of them all, taking you through the most scenic countryside in France through 19 departments. You will cross the Loire and Dordogne, climb mountains and freewheel through vineyards before arriving in Provence and eventually catch sight of the blue Mediterranean.
Go the distance in one trip or try a stage or two if you want to sample the experience before signing up for the whole experience.
Brittany is a world away from the UK or Channel Islands yet it’s surprisingly easy to get to.
Travelling to St Malo with Condor Ferries means you can take your bike with you. It travels for free if you buy a foot passenger crossing but you must book early as space onboard is limited.
If you wanted, you could bring your family or friends’ bikes with you on your vehicle.
• Do your homework before you go, there’s plenty of advice online.
• Book your accommodation in good time if you’re travelling in mid-summer, but bear in mind many campsites close out of season.
• Investigate the ‘voies vertes’ and take a good map of these greenways with you from Brittany Tourism.
• Travel light – you’ll regret you packed a hairdryer when you’re pedalling uphill.
• Remember your wet weather gear, Brittany can sometimes be a little damp.
• Combine cycling with rail travel if you want to travel further afield. SNCF is bike-friendly.
• Don’t forget your smartphone or camera and share your images with us on Instagram @officialcondorferries and Twitter @Condor_Ferries