10 March 2017 by Jessica Boston
Top Five family cycle routes in beautiful Brittany!
Cycling is a great way to enjoy an active holiday as a family, and Brittany offers miles of routes that are suitable for all ages and ability levels. There are over 1,500km of cycle paths in the region so wherever you’re headed there is bound to be a local cycle route to discover, ask your holiday property owner or the local Tourist Office for advice.
To start you off we’ve chosen five of our favourite Brittany cycle routes that are safe, family-friendly and fun to explore – strap your bikes to the car (or hire them when you arrive) and plan a Brittany cycling adventure the whole family will enjoy!
Ille et Rance Canal: Evran – Dinan (circa 12km each way)
The towpath that follows the Canal d’Ille-et-Rance is perfect for safe family cycling – no cars, no hills, well signed and offering plenty of interesting things to see on your route.
The canal was built by Napoleon in the 1800s and it is dotted with 48 locks – it’s fascinating to watch the boats navigate the locks and you can look out for wildlife as you travel along the wooded valley.
Start your adventure at Evran, there is parking at picnic areas available near the canal. The 12km to Dinan should take around an hour depending on your pace and the number of stops you make.
Dinan is widely considered to be the best example of a medieval town in Brittany and the beautiful architecture and many excellent restaurants and cafes make it well worth the steep ascent; park your bikes and explore with a walk along the ramparts and a delicious lunch before setting off on your return journey.
If you’re still keen for more once you return to Evran you could continue your journey cycling around Lac de Betineuc which is a pretty route that includes a sandy beach perfect for children to cool off with a paddle after a sunny day in the saddle.
The Quiberon Peninsula: Erdeven to Quiberon (circa 20km each way)
This pretty coastal route starts at the sand dunes of Erdeven and follows the Cote Sauvage on the western side of the peninsula to Quiberon at its tip. The sea views are fabulous with rocky outcrops and islands, dramatic cliffs and golden sands.
The cycle route is safe and suitable for families and it should take around an hour and a half to reach the port of Quiberon at a leisurely pace. Quiberon town is a fishing port with plenty of great seafood restaurants and cafes, there is also a stunning sandy beach with rockpools to explore – it’s ideal for a family day out.
In the summer months a train service runs between Quiberon and Auray so you could take the train instead of cycling for the return journey. Check train times for the Tire-bouchon trains when you plan your trip.
You could also detour, via train or bike, to see the famous Carnac stones. These standing stones date back to prehistoric times and more than 3,000 are arranged across the landscape here. Find out more at the visitor centre or take the tourist train to listen to an interesting commentary available in a choice of languages.
Médréac Velorail cycling experience – Médréac (14km)
Try a totally different cycling experience by visiting the Médréac Velorail where a disused railway line has been converted into a unique cycling adventure that’s perfect for all families, even those with younger children.
Specially adapted bikes are attached to the train tracks with options for single cycling, couples, or joining bikes together with youngsters cycling between their parents. The younger or more reluctant cyclists can even sit back and enjoy the ride while others provide the pedal power!
Médréac is situated just south of St Malo and the cycle route takes in some of the beautiful Breton countryside. The velorail journey should take around 2 hours with a 7km outward journey to a turntable that turns the bikes around so you can return down the tracks to the start. The halfway point is an ideal time to take a break and have a picnic so be sure to pack a tasty lunch. On your return there is a café at the station serving drinks and ice-creams.
Nantes – Brest canal (365km to choose from!)
The Nantes – Brest canal stretches 365km from Brest to Nantes down the west side of Brittany. This picturesque route is ideal for cycling with well-maintained towpaths along the length of the canal that offer flat, easy riding for families. Choose a stretch of the canal and pack a picnic or plan a lunch at one of the many towns and villages along the way.
Some particular gems you might want to include in your Nantes-Brest canal cycling adventure are the medieval town of Josselin with its magnificent Chateau, Pontivy with its markets and Abbey or Redon, a busy town that’s home to a museum all about the canal. The Aulne valley is also a great choice, lush countryside full of wildlife – children will love to try and spot the coypu (a large and rather cute looking species of water rat) and otters that live wild there.
Ask your holiday property owner or contact the local Tourist Office for advice on suggested routes to choose near your holiday home.
Monts d’Arree: Morlaix to Scrignac (circa 22km each way)
The Morlaix-Scrignac cycle route is the most rural on our list, there are no shops along this stretch of greenway until you reach the village of Scrignac so be sure to bring some water and maybe a picnic to enjoy on the way!
The greenway has been resurfaced to provide easy cycling with only a few hills to tackle. Pass by the Monts d’Arree, the mountains of Brittany, and cycle through the shady forests in Parc Naturel Regional d’Armorique listening out for woodpeckers and nature spotting as you go.
The route should take around two hours each way so it’s a real family day out! If you want a longer trip simply continue on the greenway to Huelgoat – with its amazing rock formations and waterfalls; steeped in legends it’s a beautiful place to explore.
It’s easy to bring your bikes on holiday when you sail across the Channel – don’t forget that booking holiday accommodation with Holiday France Direct will entitle you to a 20% discount on your passenger and car crossings too. If you aren’t able to bring bikes many of our property owners offer bikes to borrow or can advise you about local bike rental companies so there’s nothing to stop you from having a wonderful family cycling adventure!