Belle-Île-en-Mer Travel Guide

  • Le Palais
    Le Palais
    by MikeAtSea
  • Le palais (harbour), view from the citadelle
    Le palais (harbour), view from the...
    by vinc_bilb
  • The Vauban Citadel
    The Vauban Citadel
    by MikeAtSea

Belle-Île-en-Mer Highlights

  • Pro
    vinc_bilb profile photo

    vinc_bilb says…

     Landscapes, sharp black cliffs, the sea, harbours 

  • Con
    louisec profile photo

    louisec says…

     The wind and the lack of a hospital on the island. 

  • In a nutshell
    Lochlann profile photo

    Lochlann says…

     Beautiful Island is her name, well deserved! 

Belle-Île-en-Mer Things to Do

  • Selected hikes

    The best way to discover the island is on foot, in hike. You could:- prepare you hike with the map (available in the tourism information center, just in front of the arrival by boat in Le Palais), including the bus stop location + schedules- use the bus for joining the departures points and going backThe hikes I would suggest are (by order of...

  • Visit the harbours and the cities

    Contrasting with the rough beauty of the wild coast, the towns of Belle Île are pleasant to discover, with a specific charmIn particular:1. Le Palais, the more animated, colored 2 Sauzon and its charming small harbour 3 Locmaria with a small adorable church, illuminated by magnificent stained glasses

  • The citadel: the best view on Le Palais

    Vauban’s Citadel (in fact , Vauban designed the project but it was completed 2 centuries later, the money was missing) is dominating the port of Le Palais. The citadel was built in five stages (XVI - XIXth century)After, the citadel serves as penal colony, as center for refugees of the war of Spain, was occupied by the Germans (WW2) and finaly sold...

  • Le Palais

    The pretty town of Le Palais is the "capital" town of the island. Situated around the Bassin de la Saline and the port of Le Palais it is overlooked by the massive Citadelle and surrounded by the fortifications. This bustling town offers many restaurants, cafes, a market and shops and generally is the arrival point for most visitors to the island.

  • The Big Lighthouse

    The tower of the Goulphar Lighthouse which came into service in 1836 measures 52 meters. Be prepared to climb uo 213 granite steps and then an iron stair case to reach the lantern. Once up there and the weather is right one can enjoy spectacular views of the entire island.

  • The Wild Coast

    Battered by the sea winds this oceanic coast displays an imposing beauty with its jagged cliffs, strangely-shaped rocks and deep caves alternating with small valleys, beaches of fine sand and creeks full of breathtaking blue-green coloured water.

  • Historical Museum of Belle Ile

    Situated in the compound of the Vauban Citadel one can find a small but interesting museum that shows the history of this island and various collectors items of the maritime history. An interesting part includes the occupation of the island during World War II.

  • The Vauban Citadel

    The citadel extends over more than 10ha and has ramparts 4km long. The citadel is composed of around a dozen buildings totalling over 10,000m2 of floor space, not counting the many blockhouses. Built from 1549, it still has an impressive system of ditches. Belle-Ile became the property of the crown in 1661 after the arrest of superintendent Nicolas...

  • The City Walls of Le Palais

    The building of the city walls was foreseen by Vauban at the end of the 17th century and was not completed between 1802 and 1877. It is a collection of ramparts, ditches and bastions that constitute a unique and intact example of military architecture from the 19th century.

  • The Koh Kastell Reserve

    This nature reserve was created in 1962 by Bretagne Vivante. This ornithological reserve shelters many colonies of seagulls, brown gulls, cormorants and other birds. Access to the reserve is forbidden outside of guided visit times.

  • Sarah Bernhardt Museum

    Coup de foudre. Love at first sight. It struck Sarah Bernhardt in August 1893, when she made her first visit to Belle-Ile. By that time the flamboyant actress was an international idol, a 19th-century superstar. Audiences in Europe and the United States swooned when she stepped onstage to play the doomed courtesan Marguerite Gautier in "La Dame aux...

  • The Port Coton Needles

    Claude Monet showed the fascinating beauty of these jagged rocks in several of his famous paintings. Their name comes from the whipped foam, which, in stormy weather formes large forthy flakes similar to cotton.


Belle-Île-en-Mer Restaurants

  • The best crêperie (pancake house)

    Crepes,Pancakes, galettes of sarazin: everything is really very good and you can also compose your menu yourself, from basic ingredients.It is a rather an atypical creperie, where the pleasure of cooking is more important than the profitability, it is part its charm also.Only negative point: it is a little bit difficult to find Crepes and galettes...

  • Fresh seafood for our pleasure

    I try most of the time to ask locals about restaurants + ... There advises are really valuable and this restaurant was the 1st choice, according to that. OK, its location is OK but not the best, but the food and service were really good!Reservation is recommendedThe access to the website was not working when tested for the tip so, ... Fresh...

  • Bretagne Beer

    Beer brewery has been tradition in Brittany since the 17th century. For some years young brewers have again picked up this old customs and with great success. At partys the young Bretons prefer to drink beer rather than strong alcohol and they are of great popularity, the good Breton beers whose names alone already sound like Celtic music and fit...

  • Oysters galore

    The Bretagne is home to some of the best oysters in Europe - many of the restaurants on the island serve fresh oysters from the mainland.Or if you are more adventurous - buy them on the market and eat them on the beach!

  • A favourite for visitors and locals

    Facing the imposing fortress in Le Palais, this restaurant grills fish and meat on a big fire warming the dining room, but if you haven't booked, you may have to sit on the terrace, along the street. There is litlle traffic, but still better be inside. The menu on slates has a lot of fish, but it is worth trying the grilled local lamb. Good choice...

  • Friendly seafood restaurant

    Situated in Le Palais, the main town and port on the island, l'Odyssee is quite small, but you can sit either in the bar area, in the windowed front terrace, or outside on the first floor. The view is on the Harbour, towards sunset spot. The people are very friendly, and the food is very good, with some original fish dishes. Try the sole and...


Belle-Île-en-Mer Transportation

  • Local bus transportation - Taol Mor

    "Taol Mor" is the service of regular lines of buses which serves the four municipalities and main sites + beaches of the island See the photo 2 for the bus network (map)Services: Form beginning of April up to end of September.Buses do not take bikes.Bus station (Le Palais) (photo 3)From Le Palais port, follow the "La citadelle" direction (lock +...

  • By boat from Quiberon - Compagnie Oceane

    We used the compagnie Oceane for our transfer from Quiberon to Belle-Ile - Le Palais and all was OK. There are 2 options:/1/ With your car: 2 boats, 450 passengers each, 35 cars, duration 45 mn,indicative cost = 30€ / adult+ 172€ for one car, round tripWarning: reservation is really recommended (limited capacity for the cars)/2/ Without your car: 1...

  • Ferry to Belle Isle

    I was just in belle isle. even though the place is busy, no problem getting ferry tickets. i went to the ferry terminal in quiberon the day before and was able to get the tickets. there are quite a few departures and on arrival, the place is full of activity with people waiting for passengers and also bus companies. there is no need to book seats,...


Belle-Île-en-Mer Local Customs

  • Windows & Colours

    All around the island one finds windows that have a colour frame around, originally the spare paint from painting the fishing boats was used. The main colours that one can find on the island is Green - the colour of the saint of the fishermen and the connection to the Kelts or Blue - the colour of the Virgin Mary. This tradition is still used today...

  • Market in Le Palais

    In summer, there is a market in the centre of Le Palais, the main town and port. You can get fresh fish locally caught, and a lot of the crafts and souvenirs made on the island. Some also use the market to advertise special activities for tourists, like a day out fishing and boat excursions. One of the local crafts is a lovely handmade curtain made...

  • Belle-Île-en-Mer Hotels

    0 Hotels in Belle-Île-en-Mer

Belle-Île-en-Mer Warnings and Dangers

  • Cohabitation with wild animals

    No a real warning or danger. In fact, you could be really happy for beeing so closed from wild birds but it seems they were here before us ....Watch the trees before the installation of your tent ... or enjoy your wild impressionist coating using ecological raw materials (it was not my tent but ...)

  • Basic advises

    Nothing special to list, but some current advises for an island with sharp cliffs, coastal roads and cracks in cliffs:1. Don't forget: The road ends in the cliff!2. The hike may involve certain risks, specialy near cliffs3. The marine mist can rise very very fast 4. The persons subject to dizziness can feel ill at ease in certain points of the wild...

  • No hospital on the island!

    If you have a medical condition or if you need to get to a medical specialist of some kind, Belle-Île-en-Mer is not the place to be! My boyfriend had an allergic reaction and got all swollen when we were there. Luckily I speak french and could explain on the phone to SOS what had happened, but what I found out was that there are only general...


Belle-Île-en-Mer Sports & Outdoors

  • MikeAtSea's Profile Photo
    Hike Belle Ile 1 more image

    by MikeAtSea Written Jun 22, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A hiking path surrounds the entire island of Belle Ile allowing you to explore and enjoy the scenic beauty of this rugged coastline, its beaches and valleys, as well as the nature of the island.
    The coastal path is defined by 72 granite markers that indicate where you are. All along the path there are natural wood signposts and blue arrows to prevent from taking the wrong direction. Hikers must stay on the route and respect the flaura and fauna.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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Belle-Île-en-Mer Favorites


    .The islandBelle-Île-en-Mer is the largest of Brittany's island (south), located next to the Quiberon peninsula.Dimensions: 17 x 9 km, average attitude of 40mThe coasts: a mix of sharp cliff edges on the southwest side (exposed to the ocean) named the Côte Sauvage (Wild coast), and beaches, of the side sheltered from the wind and the strong...

  • Tourist Office Belle Ile

    A good start when you arrive is to visit the friendly tourist office of Belle Ile - situated next to the port of Le Palais. Here the staff is equipped to provide you with maps and information and to make your stay more worthwhile. The tourist offices web page is - however it is only in French.

  • Nature of Belle Ile

    Sunny beaches, rough sea and foamy waves, flowery moors and small sheltered creeks, villages well integrated in the environment, secret glens, rocks chiseled by wind and sea, Belle-Ile shows many different faces and an amazing variety of superb landscapes. The nature that has drawn many artists and actors to the island for inspiration - today it is...


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The Pointe des Poulains
Things to Do
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Ferry to Belle Ile
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