Finistere: tourism and sightseeing

Photo of Finistere in France

Visit Finistere, France

With an extensive and often very scenic coastline and numerous small fishing villages and coastal islands to explore as well as historic towns and villages it is easy to see why Finistere is so popular with visitors. It is a little harder to reach than some parts of Brittany, but well worth the effort!

Finistere tourism

Pont-Aven

Finistere has more than 1000 kilometres of coastline, and there is a wide range of beaches and coastal scenery, towns and villages to enjoy as well as the chance to visit some of the popular islands just off the mainland.

Although the coast is the big attraction remember to also allow time to venture inland to explore the countryside!

Because of the size of Finistere and the slow roads most visits will concentrate on just a small part of the department to give 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.

Places to visit in Finistere with reviews from France This Way

Below you can see a description of Finistere and its highlights. For details of each place (town, village, attraction...) that we have reviewed see places to visit in Finistere.

Finistere travel guide and highlights

The north

MorlaixThis 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 which has a very picturesque historic centre around the Church Notre-Dame-de-Kroaz-Batz and its lantern tower.

Saint-Pol-de-LeonNearby you can visit Morlaix with its large medieval centre and active port and also the cathedral town of St Pol de Leon, then perhaps continue to the lively town at Landerneau. which has a rare 16th century bridge lined with ancient buildings.

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 of Finistere is the fortified renaissance castle at Kerjean.

Places in northern Finistere

Guerlesquin

Towards the north of Finistere, Guerlesquin is listed as a 'small city of character'

See Guerlesquin

Huelgoat

In central Finistere, Huelgoat is most loved for the 'enchanted forest' on the edge of the town

See Huelgoat

Ile-de-Batz

The Ile-de-Batz is a very popular island with beaches and gardens just north of Roscoff

See Ile-de-Batz

Locquirec

Best known for its beaches, Locquirec also has a traditional town centre to explore

See Locquirec

Morlaix

Morlaix has an attractive historical centre with a good number of half-timbered houses to admire

See Morlaix

Plouezoch

While visiting Plouezoc'h you can also see the imposing Chateau de Taurea just off the coast

See Plouezoch

Roscoff

More than just a ferry port Roscoff has interesting historical monuments and impressive botanic gardens

See Roscoff

Saint-Pol-de-Leon

St Pol de léon has much to admire, from the tallest belfry in Brittany to nearby beaches

See Saint-Pol-de-Leon

The west

CrozonThis 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 head to Audierne and the Pointe de Raz.

Be sure to also visit the small village of Le Faou while you are here, with its harbour area and high street with lots of half-timbered houses.

LocronanNote 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 you should visit the classified most beautiful village at Locronan: in our opinion this is one of the most beautiful villages in France.

To the east of Locronan, the town of Pont-Croix merits a visit, as does the impressive boating 'museum' in the harbour at Douarnenez.

Places in western Finistere and the Crozon peninsula

Armorique Regional Park

The Armorique regional park has diverse landscapes, from rocky coastline to unspoiled countryside

Armorique Regional Park

Audierne

Audierne is a popular resort close to beaches on the southern coast

See Audierne

Camaret

The scenic fishing village at Camaret is at the western tip of the Crozon peninsula

See Camaret

Crozon

Visit the Crozon peninsula for beautiful coastline and beaches and picturesque villages and towns

See Crozon

Douarnenez

The fishing town of Douarnenez has a popular Port Museum with rebuilt historical boats

See Douarnenez

Ile-de-Sein

The Ile-de-Sein is a small island off the western tip of Finistere

See Ile-de-Sein

Ile Molene and Ouessant

Molene and Ouessant are small islands off the far western tip of the department

See Ile Molene and Ouessant

Landerneau

The town of Landerneau is renowned for the picturesque houses on the Pont du Rohan

See Landerneau

Le Conquet

In far-west Finistere, Le Conquet is also the departure port for boats to Ouessant and Molene Islands

See Le Conquet

Le Faou

La Faou is a picturesque harbour village listed among the 'most beautiful' in France

See Le Faou

Locronan

Locronan, classed among the most beautiful villages in France, is a popular destination

See Locronan

Morgat

The resort of Morgat has been attracting visitors to western Brittany for more than 100 years

See Morgat

Pont-Croix

Pont-Croix is one of several interesting historical towns in the region

See Pont-Croix

 
 

The south

QuimperWhile 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 is a cathedral town with a very extensive medieval centre to explore to the south of Finistere. Other highlights here include 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.

Places in southern Finistere & Concarneau

Benodet

The town and nearby quality beaches have made Benodet popular for more than a century

See Benodet

Concarneau

Successfuly combining fishing and tourism, Concarneau is also close to several beaches

See Concarneau

Ile Glenan

South of Finistere the Iles Glenan are now a popular diving centre and nature reserve

See Ile Glenan

Pont l'Abbe

The quiet port town of Pont l'Abbé has an attractive harbour to explore

See Pont l'Abbe

Pont-Aven

Visit Pont-Aven to stroll along the riverside admiring the ancient watermills

See Pont-Aven

Quimper

Take time to explore the cobbled streets in the heart of Quimper old town

See Quimper

Quimperle

Quimperlé is a very picturesque town clustered around an ancient abbey-church

See Quimperle

Beaches and coast

Ile de seinWith 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!

Among the islands to visit off the coast of Finistere arethose of Molène and Ouessant and also the Ile-de-Sein.

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

HuelgoatWhile 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.

See also:

Map of Finistere and places to visit

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More information

See more places, tourist attractions and local markets at visiting Finistere

See an index of all Finistere communes

French version: Finistere (Francais)