Visit Finistere, France
With an extensive and often very scenic coastline and numerous small fishing villages and coastal islands to explore it is easy to see why Finistere is so popular with visitors, both from France and overseas. It is a little harder to reach than some parts of Brittany, but well worth the effort!
Exploring Finistere: an introduction
Finistere has more than 1000 kilometres of coastline, and there is a wide range of beaches and coastal scenery to enjoy as well as the chance to visit some of the popular islands just off the mainland.
Remember to also allow time to venture inland to explore the countryside.
Most visits will concentrate on just a small part of the department so that you have plenty of time to explore, so to help you plan your travel we have divided our guides into three separate regions, with a selection of the highlights to explore in each:
This part of Finistere is very popular, in particular around Lannion and on the coast near Saint-Pol-de-Léon.
Entering Finistere from the east the first resort you reach is the traditional village (and beaches) of Locquirec, with the historic town of Guerlesquin about 20km inland and the 'enchanted forest' at Huelgoat a little further.
Continue westwards to Roscoff to see the historic centre with the Church Notre-Dame-de-Kroaz-Batz and its lantern tower. Nearby visit Morlaix and St Pol de Leon (cathedral town), then perhaps the lively town at Landerneau.
The highly decorated churches at Guimiliau and Saint-Thegonnec are also very worth visiting, along with others that you will come across during your travels through Finistere. See Enclos Paroissiaux churches of Finistere for details. Another popular destination in the north is the fortified renaissance castle at Kerjean.
See Roscoff and the north for highlights
This is the most wild region of Finistere, where you will discover spectacular coastal scenery and villages that have escaped the tourist crowds.
First see Camaret and then the exceptional views from some of the headlands along the coast e.g. Pointe de Dinan and nearby Pointe de Pen-Hir, on the Crozon peninsula, then headto Audierne and the Pointe de Raz. Be sure to also visit the small village of Le Faou while you are here.
Note that the Pointe du Raz, at the far west of this part of Finistere, is one of just a handful of classified Grand Sites of France'. Among the prehistoric sites in the west you can visit the Cairn de Barnenez at Plouezoch.
Heading south, at the head of the Baie de Douarnenez visit the classified most beautiful village at Locronan. To the east of Locronan, the town of Pont-Croix merits a visit, as does the impressive boating 'museum' in the harbour at Douarnenez.
See Douarnenez, Crozon and the west for highlights
While Quimper is the best known town here, there are numerous smaller towns and villages of interest, and plenty of lovely beaches to discover.
Benodet is one of the most popular resorts here, while the important town of Quimper (also a cathedral town) is to the south of Finistere, as are the fishing port of Concarneau and the town of Quimperlé.
South of Quimper visit Pont l'Abbé to stroll around the port then between Quimper and Quimperlé we also recommend a visit to Pont-Aven, a scenic town with several ancient mills and a very impressive art museum.
See Concarneau and the south for highlights
Beaches and coast
With so many beaches to explore - some long and sandy, some pebble beaches, and others just small coves tucked away in the rocks, we can't hope to accurately describe and review all of them - suffice to say you are spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches, with a good number of them supervised during the summer season, so you are unlikely to be disappointed!
As well as the beaches and coastal scenery for which this department of western Brittany is well known the fishing ports and traditional coastal villages are also one of the big attractions in Finistere.
See Brittany seaside, coast and islands for some of the other coastal highlights in Brittany.
Central Finistere: away from the coast
While the coastal regions and islands attract the most visitors, be sure to also venture away from the coast a little and you will discover the central part of the department with quiet traditional villages and the Parc d'Armorique, with its own particular charm and beauty.
Places of interest in the central Parc Armorique region include the Monts d'Arree, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the wilderness that Brittany can offer, and in the east the deep forest around Huelgoat abounds with myths and legends.
Among other scenic highlights, to the west be sure to visit the viewpoint at Menez-Hom for some very impressive views across the countryside and coastline.
Towards the north of Finistere, Guerlesquin is listed as a 'small city of character'
In central Finistere, Huelgoat is most loved for the 'enchanted forest' on the edge of the town
The Ile-de-Batz is a very popular island with beaches and gardens just north of Roscoff
Best known for its beaches, Locquirec also has a traditional town centre to explore
Morlaix has an attractive historical centre with a good number of half-timbered houses to admire
While visiting Plouezoc'h you can also see the imposing Chateau de Taurea just off the coast
More than just a ferry port Roscoff has interesting historical monuments and impressive botanic gardens
St Pol de léon has much to admire, from the tallest belfry in Brittany to nearby beaches
Western Finistere and the Crozon peninsula
Armorique Regional Park
The Armorique regional park has diverse landscapes, from rocky coastline to unspoiled countryside
Audierne is a popular resort close to beaches on the southern coast
The scenic fishing village at Camaret is at the western tip of the Crozon peninsula
Visit the Crozon peninsula for beautiful coastline and beaches and picturesque villages and towns
The fishing town of Douarnenez has a popular Port Museum with rebuilt historical boats
The Ile-de-Sein is a small island off the western tip of Finistere
Ile Molene and Ouessant
Molene and Ouessant are small islands off the far western tip of the department
The town of Landerneau is renowned for the picturesque houses on the Pont du Rohan
In far-west Finistere, Le Conquet is also the departure port for boats to Ouessant and Molene Islands
See Le Conquet
La Faou is a picturesque harbour village listed among the 'most beautiful' in France
See Le Faou
Locronan, classed among the most beautiful villages in France, is a popular destination
The resort of Morgat has been attracting visitors to western Brittany for more than 100 years
Pont-Croix is one of several interesting historical towns in the region
Southern Finistere & Concarneau
The town and nearby quality beaches have made Benodet popular for more than a century
Successfuly combining fishing and tourism, Concarneau is also close to several beaches
South of Finistere the Iles Glenan are now a popular diving centre and nature reserve
See Ile Glenan
The quiet port town of Pont l'Abbé has an attractive harbour to explore
See Pont l'Abbe
Visit Pont-Aven to stroll along the riverside admiring the ancient watermills
Take time to explore the cobbled streets in the heart of Quimper old town
Quimperlé is a very picturesque town clustered around an ancient abbey-church
Market towns & days in Finistere
all markets in morning unless otherwise statedAudierne: Wednesday & Saturday
Brest: every day
Brignogan-Plage: Friday (high season only)
Carhaix-Plouguer: Saturday all day
Chateaulin: Thursday all day
Concarneau: Monday & Friday
Douarnenez: Wednesday & Monday & Friday
Fouesnant: Wednesday (high season only)
Guilvinec: Sunday (high season only)
Landerneau: Tuesday & Friday
Landivisiau: Wednesday all day
Lannilis: Wednesday all day
Le Conquet: Tuesday
Lesneven: Monday all day
Moelan-sur-Mer: Tuesday & Saturday
Morlaix: Saturday all day
Pont-l'Abbe: Thursday all day
Quimper: Wednesday all day & Sunday & Saturday all day
Quimperle: Friday all day
Saint-Pol-de-Leon: Tuesday all day
Saint-Renan: Saturday all day
Selected tourist destinations in the Finistere
The following sites have received official "tourist classifications"...
4* Towns in Bloom
Towns of Art and History
Sites of Natural Beauty
Archipel des Glénan
Baie de Douarnenez
Marais de Mousterlin
Pointe de Penhir
Listed 'Remarkable Gardens'
Arboretum de Poërop
Conservatoire botanique du Stangalac'h
Jardin du château de Lanniron
Jardin du prieuré de Locmaria
Parc botanique de Cornouaille
Parc du château de Trévarez
Regional Natural Parcs
towns classified as Recommended Detours
Cairn de Barnenez
Villages classified as "most beautiful villages"
UNESCO world heritage sites
Grand Sites of France
Pointe du Raz
Enclos paroissial decorative churches
La Roche Maurice
As well as the highlights listed above be sure to allow time to visit one or two of the unusual decorative churches in Finistere called Enclos Paroissiaux.
French version: Finistere (Francais)