13 walks around Nantes

Balades autour de Nantes

Are you in Nantes and looking to explore the region for a day? Follow the guide to discover the 13 walks around Nantes!

The capital of the Loire-Atlantique département is a provincial town much appreciated by locals and visiting holidaymakers alike. In fact, it strikes just the right balance to satisfy everyone! In other words: not too big, not too small; not too quiet, not too busy. While the city of Nantes and its nearby suburbs, especially Trentemoult, make for a captivating visit, the Nantes region is also full of accessible riches. In fact, these riches are often less than an hour’s drive away. To help you choose between these different escapades, Generation Voyage has compiled a list of the best walks around Nantes.

1. Planète Sauvage

Planète sauvage, lion et lionne

Photo credit: Facebook – Planète Sauvage

📍 25 kilometers

🚗 By car: 30 minutes

This is one of the walks around Nantes designed for young and old alike. Planète Sauvage is one of France’s largest wildlife parks, and is famous for its safari trail. Visitors drive right through wildlife, including many African species such as lions!

A visit to the zoo can easily take a day, especially if you’re a family. Weather permitting, on the way back you can stop off at the shores of Lac de Grand-Lieu for a restful break away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

2. Clisson

Balades autour de Nantes : Clisson

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Yapasphoto StefClement

📍 32 kilometers

🚗 By car: 40 minutes

🚆 By streetcar: 30 minutes from Nantes

📷 What to see / What to do: visit downtown and the castle, Hellfest

When you think of Clisson as a place to visit around Nantes, you think of Hellfest, the metal music festival that takes place there every year in June. For fans, it’s an absolute must. But you’d be forgiven for thinking that the village where the festival is held is the complete opposite. In fact, Clisson is a very quiet medieval village, with beautiful cobbled streets and the scent of Tuscany.

Bonaparte’s personal sculptor, Lemot, was the one who undertook the reconstruction of the flight, inspired by the Tuscan style during his stay in Italy. Today, the contrast between Clisson and the rest of the department is striking, much to our delight. We stroll around, visit the château and taste some good Muscadet in moderation. All in all, a superb day out in Clisson!

3. Oudon and Champtoceaux

Château, Oudon, Loire Atlantique

Photo credit: Shutterstock – DdK_photographie

📍 32 kilometers

🚗 By car: 35 minutes

🚆 By train: 20 minutes by TER from Nantes

📷Sightseeing: visit the castle and city center, Loire River cruise

Like Clisson, Oudon is a village steeped in history. With its château-fort built at the turn of the 15th century, the town boasts an outstanding medieval heritage that will delight those who love the architecture of that era. Strolling through its narrow streets is soothing, and the atmosphere makes you feel right at home.

For those with time, crossing the bridge takes you to another village, Champtoceaux. From here, in addition to a visit to the ruins of the Moulin pendu, you can take an hour-long cruise on the Loire. This is one of those perfect walks around Nantes for lovers of water and medieval heritage!

4. Saint-Nazaire

Vue aérienne du port de Saint Nazaire

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Altitude Drone

📍 65 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h

🚆 By train: 1h minutes by TGV from Nantes

📷 Things to see and do: submarine base, Espadon submarine, Escal’Atlantic, port visit

It’s impossible to talk about Saint-Nazaire without mentioning the Chantiers de l’Atlantique, the city’s symbol. It’s here that huge civilian and military liners are built. As a result, Saint-Nazaire is a visit around Nantes with great access to the navy, and the places of interest prove it! While you can stroll through the city center, it’s at the port that you spend most of the day.

First of all, visit Escal’Atlantic to step back in time a century and virtually embark on the luxury liners of the era that stopped at Saint-Nazaire. It’s also possible to go inside the submarine Espadon, an incredible experience to see how dozens of sailors can live together in such a small space. Finally, the Second World War submarine base is also a must-see.

5. Brière Regional Nature Park and Château de Ranrouët

Parc naturel régional de Brière

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alphapicto

📍 63 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h

📷 Things to see/do: barge rides, hiking, birdwatching, Ranrouët castle

For those who love nature, this walk around Nantes is for you. The Parc de Brière is the perfect place to discover this beautiful region. As an original feature, you can take a cruise on a barge (the local name for a rowboat) through the marshes. A true moment of escape.

There’s plenty of hiking, and the trails are well-marked. Ornithology enthusiasts can also observe a wide range of bird species. And for those with time on their hands, the ruins of the Château de Ranrouët are well worth a visit.

6. Legendia Parc

Légendia Parc

Photo credit: Facebook – Legendia Parc

📍 40 kilometers

🚗 By car: 45 minutes

Located in Frossay, Legendia Parc is a theme/animal park inspired by tales and legends, and the only one of its kind in France. It’s hard to classify it as a zoo or amusement park, so different is it from the rest!

Legendia parc’s live shows are of the highest quality and appeal to young and old alike. A visit around Nantes that’s perfect for families with children – you’ll never see the time go by!

7. Saint-Jean-de-Monts

Saint-Jean-de-Monts

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Pierre-Olivier

📍 73 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h05

📷 Things to see/do: beach, downtown tour, casino

A seaside resort on the Atlantic coast, Saint-Jean-de-Monts is one of the most pleasant places to visit around Nantes. Perfect for a beach day because it’s less crowded, the town offers a moment’s respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

After a stroll through the city center, lunch and a cup of coffee, you can go and have some fun at the casino before heading back to the Cité des Ducs.

8. Château de Tiffauges

Château de Tiffauges

Photo credit: Facebook – Tiffauges – Les amis du château

📍 51 kilometers

🚗 By car: 55 minutes

📷 What to see / What to do: visit the castle, Hiking

Listed as a historic monument since 1957, Château de Tiffauges is a beautiful fortified castle in the Nantes region. Restored in the 1990s, it is now a popular excursion for Nantes residents and visiting holidaymakers alike. The history of the site is well explained, and the surrounding views are superb.

9. La Baule-Escoublac

La Baule

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Altitude Drone

📍 77 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h05

🚆 By train: 55 minutes by TGV from Nantes

📷 Things to see and do: beach, casino, walks

La Baule is a must-see on any trip around Nantes. In fact, this seaside resort is one of the best known on the Atlantic coast. It’s also one of the most chic! On sunny days, the many beaches of the bay of Pouliguen are the perfect place to relax.

For their part, walks along the coastline are also a moment of relaxation and the perfect place for a summer cocktail. For gamblers, the Barrière casino is one of the most renowned in France.

10. Le Croisic and Guérande

Marais salants à Guérande

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Matthieu Tuffet

📍 80 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h10

📷Sightseeing / Activities: Océarium, Tréhic lighthouse, Kervaudu manor house, beaches, Guerande ramparts, salt marshes

Neighboring towns, Le Croisic and Guérande are nonetheless very different. Le Croisic is a peninsula and seaside resort where you can relax on the beach, visit the Océarium aquarium or admire typical sites such as a lighthouse or manor house.

In Guérande, the style is completely different! A fortified town, Guérande’s ramparts are emblematic of the commune, and the restored part is admirable. Guérande is also famous for its salt, and you can visit the salt marshes. So it’s a highly diversified visit around Nantes that we particularly appreciate!

11. Boissière du Doré Zoo

Zoo de la Boissière du Doré

Photo credit: Facebook – Zoo de la Boissière du Doré

📍 50 kilometers

🚗 By car: 45 minutes

This visit around Nantes is usually a family affair. After all, children love zoos! This one is a family-run animal park, modest in size and welcoming fewer than 200,000 visitors each year. The zoo participates in the European breeding program for the conservation of endangered wild species. A good thing.

12. Pornic

Pornic

Photo credit: Shutterstock – SCHAWANN michael

📍 80 kilometers

🚗 By car: 55 minutes

🚆 By train: 1h05 by TER from Nantes

📷 Things to see and do: beach, promenade along the port and upper town, Ria garden, Douaniers trail, casino

Less than an hour’s drive away, this trip around Nantes is a real escape. The number of activities on offer is very diverse for such a small area. It’s possible to spend the day at the beach, but that would be to miss out on what makes Pornic so charming. First of all, of course, the stroll around the harbor, past the restaurants and stores, is very pleasant, but you shouldn’t hesitate to discover the charming alleyways of the upper town.

Then it’s off to the Ria botanical garden to indulge your sense of smell. Finally, for the more adventurous, we take the Sentier des Douaniers, a hike along the coast from where we discover beautiful villas, coves and sea as far as the eye can see. In short, boredom is a word unknown to the people of Pornic!

13. Noirmoutiers

Noirmoutiers

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Labellepatine

📍 86 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h30

📷 Things to see/do: Dames beach, hiking, Noirmoutiers castle, Miniville

We end our selection with the island of Noirmoutiers, home to one of the region’s most beautiful beaches, Plage des Dames. It’s a great place to relax, and when the weather’s fine, it’s almost like being in the West Indies, minus the water temperature! Noirmoutiers is an island from which you can enjoy a wide range of walks, both by the sea and inland.

In the town of Noirmoutiers, the château and its abbey are the two recommended visits after a stroll through the town’s streets. It’s a very pleasant town center for a coffee or lunch. Last but not least, the Miniville park, featuring typical French houses on a 1/8th scale, is sure to delight children!

And what are your favorite walks around Nantes? Enjoy your stay in Loire-Atlantique!