Home > Cycling and boating around the Gulf of Morbihan
Nestled in a small corner of northern France, the Gulf of Morbihan is a little slice of paradise. Less crowded than the shores of the Mediterranean to the south and brimming with their own Breton charm, the small islands and towns of this ‘little sea’ provide the perfect backdrop for a leisurely yet active holiday.
Alternating between boat and bike, this week-long tour around the gulf introduces riders to the amazing heritage of the area -- from the prehistoric menhirs of Carnac and Dolmen de Pen Hap to the seagoing culture in port towns like Auray and Arzon. Highlights include island-hopping to the Ile-d’Arz and Ile-aux-Moines, where fishermen’s cottages, sandy beaches, and fresh oysters are just a few of the delights to discover. With short daily rides and minimal climbing along quiet, often traffic-free roads, this tour offers a taste of Brittany at an island pace.
A 4-night/5-day version is also available "Boat and Bike: Island Hopping in Brittany".
Arrive in Vannes at your leisure, though the earlier the better to enjoy this lovely riverside town. Founded over 2,000 years ago, Vannes has a colorful past and an equally beautiful present, with many churches, medieval city gates, and timber-framed houses to catch the eye. After a meeting with our local representative in the afternoon to get you set for your trip, the rest of the day is yours to do with as you please.
After breakfast, take your bikes...and get on a boat! Your destination is the archipelago of Ile-d’Arz, in the heart of the Gulf of Morbihan and nicknamed the ‘Island of Captains’ for its sea-going heritage. A leisurely pedal around the island will introduce you to its gorgeous beaches, quaint fishermen’s cottages, and the Moulin de Berno -- a restored 13th-century tide mill.
You’ll start the day with another boat ride, this time leaving you at the tip of the Séné peninsula. From here, you’ll follow quiet rural roads for several kilometers, perhaps spotting some of the thousands of birds who call the Gulf home (or who are on holiday, just like you.) A brief hop on a ‘passeur’ boat takes you to the Rhuys peninsula, a gastronomical area known for its oyster industry, salt marshes, tomme cheese, and sweet Gochtial bread. Cycling shoreside, you’ll soon reach the beautiful coastal village of Arzon, where you’ll spend the night.
Your island-hopping continues with a visit to Ile-aux-Moines (Island of the Monks), the largest island in the Gulf. It is paradise on a bike, as you pedal along car-free roads surrounded by flowers and views of the beautiful blue sea. At the southern end of the island is the Dolmen de Pen Hap, a megalithic tomb that speaks to the area’s long history of inhabitation...going back over 5,000 years! Reflect on this astonishing detail over some fresh oysters paired with white wine, a typical Ile-aux-Moines treat, before you get on the boat back to Arzon.
You will start the day by taking a sea shuttle to cross the Gulf -- make sure you have your camera at the ready! Disembarking by the beaches of Locmariaquer, you’ll cycle towards the north shore, following quiet roads through tiny villages and green fields as you discover more treasures of the Morbihan. Though at the end of your ride, the town of Carnac is a very worthwhile stop.
A popular beach getaway, Carnac is also home to lines of over 10,000 menhirs (standing stones), which hark back to the area’s pre-Celtic settlers. It’s a lot to take in, but you have time!
Today you’ll get another chance to marvel at Carnac’s ancient stones before heading on to Auray, a city with not one, but two charming historic quarters. Its port of Saint-Goustan is utterly delightful, with its array of half-timbered houses, cafés and terraces, cobblestone streets, and boats bobbing along the quays.
If you feel like getting in more kilometers today, a longer option will lead you from Carnac along the beautiful river of La Ria d’Etel up to the small island of Saint-Cado. If you’ve been visiting the souvenir shops during your tour of the Gulf, you are sure to recognize the house planted in the middle of the Ria, one of the most iconic images in Brittany.
The coast is calling on your last ride of the trip, bringing you closer to the shore and the gorgeous inland sea. Catch a glimpse of the Ile-d’Arz and Ile-aux-Moines rising from the water, where you were exploring just a few days ago! Heading back inland, you’ll recognize the ramparts of Vannes, where you began your holiday. Enjoy a picnic or a peaceful riverside stroll as you think back on all the beautiful memories you’ve made in the Gulf of Morbihan.
After breakfast, you may say goodbye to Vannes...or perhaps spend some more time in this charming town.
7 nights in 2 star hotels
5 nights in 4 star hotels, 2 nights in 3 star hotels