20 must-do things to do in Finistère

Finistère - Mise en avant

Does Brittany appeal to you? Travel to the tip of France with our selection of the 20 must-sees in Finistère!

With its sea breeze and coastline on the English Channel, Finistère is a rare gem for lovers of coastal landscapes. At the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean, this department of Brittany is considered the figurehead of the French territory.

Between its natural sites, cultural and religious heritage, sandy beaches and picturesque villages, the region has many authentic treasures and activities to fill your stay. To help you plan your trip, follow our selection of the 20 must-sees in Finistère!

1. Douarnenez Bay

Visiter au Finistère : Baie de Douarnenez

Photo credit: Shutterstock – timsimages.uk

This former sardine port is a concentrate of Finistère charm. Today, Douarnenez has been converted into a yachting harbor, but retains its heritage of yesteryear.

Its lively quays and narrow streets with shops, workshops and fishermen’s houses offer a picturesque setting for your stay. We recommend a visit to the Promenade de Plomarch, Ile Tristan, Plage du Ris and the Port-Musée.

2. Millier Point

Visiter au Finistère : Pointe du Millier

Photo credit: Flickr – LaurPhil

Forming the entrance to the Bay of Douarnenez, the Pointe du Millier faces the Crozon peninsula.

In the commune of Beuzec-Cap-Sizun, this arid site is a must-see in Finistère, as it takes you right up to the edge of the coastal cliffs. To get there, there are a number of trails. Take a hike(see itinerary) through a valley of chestnut and black locust trees to the magnificent Millier lighthouse.

3. Notre-Dame-de-Tronoën chapel and calvary

Visiter au Finistère : Chapelle Notre-Dame de Tronoen

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Manfred Escherig

In the commune of Saint-Jean-Trolimon, this 15th-century Gothic monument is considered one of Finistère’s most important historic sites.

Listed as a « Monument Historique », it offers a breathtaking view over the Bay of Audierne. The « cathedral of the dunes » features a single nave, a baptismal porch and a granite altar over 5 meters long. The highlight, however, is the impressive Calvary, depicting thirty stages in the life of Christ.

4. Penmarc’h

Visiter au Finistère : Penmarc’h

Photo credit: Shutterstock – makasana photo

At the tip of the Bigoudin region, Penmarc’h is a superb seaside town to visit in Finistère.

With its iconic « Poch Flak » headdresses and traditional festivals, this commune is a point of interest for lovers of Breton culture. But the town is also an important maritime district. The fishing ports of Saint-Guénolé, Guilvinec, Penmarc’h and Loctudy are still in operation today.

5. The port of Guilvinec

Visiter au Finistère : Guilvinec

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Bensliman Hassan

France’s third-largest port, after Boulogne-sur-Mer and Lorient, Le Guilvinec is considered the « heart of the fishing industry ». It is, after all, France’s leading artisanal fishing port.

This small town in the canton of Pont-l’Abbé attracts international tourism. Many travelers visit the quayside to experience the picturesque atmosphere of the fishing boats landing.

6. Quimper

Visiter au Finistère : Quimper

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sainthorant Daniel

Quimper, the department’s capital, is a historic city of art and history in Finistère. Situated at the confluence of the Odet river, the town is divided into three ancient cores: the Locmaria district and the towns of the bishops and the Dukes of Brittany.

With its half-timbered and corbelled houses, footbridges over the river and Saint-Corentin cathedral, it’s an unforgettable experience to stroll through its lively neighborhoods.

7. Locronan

Visiter au Finistère : Locronan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Oscity

One of France’s must-see villages, Locronan is renowned for its bluish granite houses and magnificent slate roofs. Founded in the 10th century by the hermit Saint-Ronan, the village saw significant industrialization in the sailcloth sector in the 16th century.

This medieval town, with its narrow streets full of stores and workshops, has also been the inspiration for many film-makers, such as Jean Pierre Jeunet and his famous film Un long dimanche de fiançailles.

8. Concarneau

Visiter au Finistère : Concarneau

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Berteaux Annick

There’s no better place to take a step back in time than Concarneau and its key town! This town is a must-see in Finistère for the many shows it puts on.

On the maritime side, the town’s harbor heritage can be seen in the 200 fishing boats that grace its quays and fish market. But the town’s exceptional historical heritage is particularly evident in its walled city. This fortified islet is one of Brittany’s most visited sites.

9. Roscoff

Visiter au Finistère : Roscoff

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Boris Stroujko

On the north coast of Brittany, the small town of Roscoff invites you to its seaside resort of character!

This peninsula in Morlaix Bay enchants visitors with its iodized climate, transparent seawater and fine sandy beaches. With a wide range of water sports not to be missed, you can also enjoy a stroll along the richly decorated shipowners’ houses.

10. Brest

Visiter au Finistère : Brest

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sergey Dzyuba

Nicknamed the « City of the Ponant », the port city of Brest is one of Europe’s maritime capitals. Also considered one of France’s most beautiful harbors, it has a rich and turbulent past.

On the program, you’ll be able to visit a host of fantastic sights: the impressive Iroise Bridge, the National Maritime Museum, Océanopolis, the Ateliers des Capucins and many more!

11. The Tréompan dunes

Visiter au Finistère : Dunes de Tréompan

Photo credit: Facebook – Plages de Tréompan

Considered one of the most beautiful dune massifs in North Finistère, the vast beaches of Tréompan attract visitors with the size and quality of their white sand.

With its 7 km of varied coastline, the Tréompan dunes are a destination not to be missed in the commune of Ploudalmézeau. Ideal for water sports, this natural area lends itself equally well to swimming, kitesurfing and sand yachting.

12. Pont-Aven

Pont-Aven

Photo credit: Shutterstock – DaLiu

For painting enthusiasts, Pont-Aven is a renowned cultural center and a must-see in Finistère.

One of the town’s main attractions is the river Aven, which winds its way through the town. But Pont-Aven is most famous for its school of painters, whose master was Paul Gauguin. We should also mention the famous « Galette du Pont-Aven », eaten all over France.

13. Névez

Névez

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ronan Davalan

In the Pays de l’Aven region of Basse Cornouaille, Névez is an ideal seaside resort for families and nature lovers.

Part of the « Pays des Pierres Debout », this little corner of paradise is home to beaches, a port and a tide mill. There’s also a village of thatched cottages, adorned with the famous standing stones. These small granite sculptures are emblematic of the commune.

14. Les Abers

Aber Mawr

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Andrew Roland

Referring simultaneously to the estuary and the river, the Abers intertwine seascapes and wild rivers, offering a calm and soothing ambience to your stay. Also known as the « Coast of Legends », this region boasts a number of cult tourist sites, from the Île Vierge lighthouse to Goulven Bay.

15. The mountains of Arrée

Monts d’Arrée

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Oligo22

With its dry vegetation, long ridges and pretty valleys, the Arrée mountain range is a must-see in Finistère for lovers of hiking and outdoor activities.

This wild and unspoilt region rises to a height of 385 m. Its environment and trails will take you past carved altarpieces, chapels and parish enclosures.

16. The Crozon peninsula

Crozon

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Andre Quinou

At the crossroads of Quimper and Brest, the Crozon peninsula is a coastal paradise, where land and sea meet in a singular alliance.

Its environment is made up of small coves with turquoise waters and steep cliffs. For your vacation, relax in the seaside resort and visit the sheltered ports of Morgat and Fret.

17. La Torche beach

Plage de la Torche

Photo credit: Shutterstock – C. Nass

For the surfers among our readers, La Torche is an excellent surfing spot.

Well-known to the locals, this white-sand beach plays host every year to major sporting competitions such as the French Cup and Championships. But with its huge waves, this spot is especially recommended for more experienced surfers.

18. The islands of Finistère

Ouessant

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Maurizio Biso

Take a break on the islands and archipelagos of Finistère! Come ashore and take a break in these lively, welcoming places. Brittany’s many islands offer a variety of environments:

Ouessant

Majestic landscapes cover the high, chiselled cliffs of the island of Ouessant. A unique and multifaceted nature hides on this Finistère island dominated by its famous Créac’h lighthouse.

Breast

Stroll at your own pace through this labyrinth of narrow streets and sailors’ houses, or across the moors. This island on the edge of the ocean will awaken your senses with the scent of sea spray, seaweed, criste-marine and the roll of the sea on the pebbles.

Molène

For those in search of tranquility, Molène is an ideal destination for idleness. With its small harbor and pebble grooves, you can wander through the narrow streets of the little village, or take a hike(see the tour of the island) to see the burrows of the wild rabbits.

The Glénan archipelago

Off the coast of Fouesnant, this heavenly archipelago is reminiscent of the beauty of the Polynesian islands. It’s made up of seven islets surrounding an inland sea of clear waters, white sandy beaches and a seaside resort. A dream setting for your nautical activities.

19. Water sports

Voile sur la Palue

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Damigo

The waters of Finistère are ideal for water sports, thanks to its regional winds. With its many beaches, feel the call of the open sea and take to the water with the region’s water sports activities:

  • Sailing and catamarans: Finistère’s flagship water sport; take to the waters of the Bay of Douarnenez, accompanied by a guide;
  • Surfing: a host of surfing schools will introduce you to this high-sensation sport on the beaches of La Palue and La Torche;
  • Diving: there are many renowned dive sites in Finistère and Brittany. Encounter a wide variety of underwater flora and fauna: seals, sunfish, dogfish…

20. Specialities from Finistère

Kig Ha Farz

Photo credit: Flickr – Brett

At the tip of Brittany, there’s no shortage of gourmet specialities. From pastries to seafood dishes, discover delicious dishes from Finistère:

  • Kig Ha Farz: this Breton pot-au-feu is a typical dish of the Léon region. Its particularity lies in the use of buckwheat and wheat flour fillings, cooked in a cloth bag soaked in broth;
  • Kouign-amann: this buttery cake, emblematic of the Breton region, can be enjoyed with family or friends;
  • Les galettes bretonnes: crisp, shortbread cookies with a hint of butter!

How do I get to Finistère?

To reach Finistère, several means of transport are available:

  • By car, carpool or bus: the A11 and A81 freeways and the N164 trunk road will take you directly to Finistère. The journey takes 5.5 hours from Paris, 7.50 hours from Toulouse and 7.20 hours from Lille;
  • By train: Morlaix, Quimper and Brest stations have TGV high-speed trains;
  • By plane: if you want to fly to Finistère,Brest-Bretagne airport has the best connections. To find the flight offer best suited to your needs, use a flight comparator like Ulysse.

Where to stay in Finistère?

Finistère’s many towns and cities offer a wide range of accommodation options. You may well find a hotel, apartment or Airbnb in Brest, Quimper, Douardenez, Crozon or Concarneau. To help you, don’t hesitate to use a hotel comparator.

But you can also stay in self-catering cottages or campsites across the region in quiet communes such as Cléder, Pouldergat, Pont-l’Abbé or La Forêt-Fouesnant.

Take a deep breath of iodized air and start your journey to discover the tip of Finistère!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Brittany