In June 2022, my partner and I rode onto the Plymouth–Roscoff ferry for a week’s cycle adventure in Brittany. We hadn’t been cycle touring for years and wanted to create a balance between exploring as much as possible without tiring ourselves out too much and making plenty of time to stop and eat too. As France has lots of cycle-specific trails – the voie vertes and the Eurovelos – I planned a route to make the most of these.
In this Collection, you can follow the loop we did around northern Brittany. In the first couple of stages, the route traces the incredible Eurovelo 4 – la velo maritime – as it meanders along the craggy northern coastline taking you to vast beaches, rugged headlands and tiny villages. Then, it leads south using a tractor route – quiet, way-marked routes for tractors and cyclists – before cutting across the rolling, pastoral countryside to the town of Carhaix-Plouger. From there, you pick up the Eurovelo 1 – la Vélodyssée – and follow it north to Morlaix. This section uses a disused railway, creating a beautiful ride through the eastern forests of the Armorica Regional Natural Park.
Finally, it ends back where it started with a short stage allowing you to choose where you want to stay for your last night on the Roscoff peninsula. This area is fairly small and each side is quite different so it’s easy to explore and stay a short ride away from the ferry port.
The loop begins and ends in Saint-Pol-de-Lèon, a beautiful town a few miles south of Roscoff. This is because the ferries run at different times and you may well want to stay in the immediate area for the first and last night. Personally, I arrived at 8 pm and stayed in Trologot, which lies along the coast east of Saint-Pol-de-Lèon.
The stages in this Collection are around 28 to 38 miles (45–61 km) which was perfect for me cycling with two rear panniers and a handlebar bag. The route is quite hilly and while none of the hills are particularly long or high, they are numerous and can be quite steep – or certainly feel so under load. If you’re an experienced cycle tourer or are ultra-light bikepacking, you could ride longer days or simply stop more often. We spent a lot of time enjoying elaborate picnics after stuffing our panniers with patisserie items and deli foods from supermarkets.
Each stage begins and ends at a campsite (apart from the first, which begins in Saint-Pol). These are the campsites we stayed at but along the coast and on the Roscoff peninsula you’ll find plenty of others to choose from. Campsites are slightly harder to find away from the coast but there are still enough to always find a place to stay. We stayed in a mixture of private and municipal campsites. It’s worth remembering that many campsites only open from mid-June and close in mid-September. As we cycled in the second week of June, some sites were closed, narrowing our choices.
I recommend cycling this beautiful loop in the early or late summer season if camping, so you avoid the summer holidays and the highest temperatures. June, July and September are best. If you want to stay in gites, hotels or Airbnbs, you can ride throughout the year, although Brittany has chilly and wet winters.
Touring or gravel tyres are perfect for this route as there are plenty of gravel sections. I rode my gravel bike fitted with a rear rack but a touring bike would also be ideal.
If you fancy watching the video I made of this trip to get a taster, you can see it here:
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Last updated: May 31, 2023
This stage begins in Saint-Pol-de-Lèon, which has a big Super-U supermarket if you need to stock up. The Eurovelo 4 goes right through the town and you follow it out into the countryside. The lanes are very quiet and you’re unlikely to see much car traffic for most of this route. The fields at the beginning…
by Kit P
The first half of this route follows the coastline and takes you to exquisite beaches you’ll hardly believe can exist. It’s very up and down, although the hills are never particularly sustained. The second half takes you away from the shore to the town of Lannion, and then north back to the coast.
by Kit P
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This stage leads you on a brief coastal ride before sending you southwards and inland on a tractor route – a quiet route designed for tractors and cyclists – to the town of Bégard. If you want to cut it shorter, you can easily cycle straight back to Lannion and pick up the tractor route from there.
by Kit P
This stage doesn’t follow any marked routes and is the only stage that doesn’t. You cut across the countryside from Gwenezhan to the large town of Carhaix, which is on the Eurovelo 1. Despite not using any cycling-specific roads and paths, we experienced very little traffic and the area is very rural…
by Kit P
This stage is huge fun, as you can forget about navigation and hills and simply enjoy the scenery. If it’s hot, you can also have a day out of the sun as it’s almost entirely forested. You’ll follow the Eurovelo 1 along a disused railway line complete with station buildings all the way to Morlaix.
by Kit P
This final stage is retraces the first half of the first stage from Morlaix to Saint-Pol-de-Léon and is by far the shortest. If you’re taking an afternoon ferry, you can easily continue into Roscoff to the port. If you’re catching the return ferry the following day, I’ve ended the Tour here so you can…
by Kit P
Bike Touring Collection by komoot
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Bike Touring Collection by Tobias