Headwater - Brittany's Emerald Coast Self-Guided Walk Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W08BT
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

The ancient name for Brittany was Armor, land of the sea, and it is undoubtedly this element that most influences the landscape and best captures the spirit of this distinctive region. From the rocky headlands of the northern shore, sweeping round to the sometimes wild west coast, to the gentle sheltered bays along the southern coastline, the sea is always an integral part of everyday life here. During the first few days of your holiday, you'll be walking along the magnificent paths that hug the northern coast. It's a landscape of pinky-gold cliffs, secret coves, deserted, heather-backed beaches and traditional Breton fishing villages untouched by tourism. It's perfect for exploring on foot and, at every turn, you're rewarded with fabulous panoramic views of the entire Emerald Coast. Heading inland, the route takes you along the banks of the River Rance and on through the majestic Hunaudaye forest. Highlights include the feudal Fort la Latte and the beautiful stone-crafted town of Dinan. In the Middle Ages, Dinan served as one of the main strategic strongholds of the Duchy of Brittany and much of her mediaeval charm remains today. 

At a Glance

  • 8 nights in 3 to 4-star accommodation
  • 4 days point to point walking
  • Low altitude and well-marked paths  
  • Countries visited: France

Trip Highlights

  • Deserted coastal paths, shaded forest trails, magnificent beaches 
  • Wildlife: Kingfishers, otters and a huge variety of nesting seabirds 
  • Superb seafood; sweet and savoury crepes; refreshing local cider

Is This Trip for You?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

This 8-night walk is the perfect introduction to Brittany's beautiful coastline, allowing you to experience the very best of the beautiful Breton coast. You'll enjoy simply stunning walks, taking in dramatic scenery, a wealth of colours and a multitude of mediaeval influences.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. We have suggested that 8yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. You are provided with route notes for each day, which begin with an overview of the walk and advice on lunch, followed by detailed instructions. The route notes contain a 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Group

This is a self-guided holiday - you'll benefit from our quality research and support, but there is no leader and you can pace your holidays as you wish. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. 

Please note: the walking and luggage transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
13
Child min age:
8

Child max age:

12
Min group size:
1
Max group size:
6

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Lamballe
End City:
Lamballe

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive at Lamballe

    Your holiday starts at M. Jamin's C16 manor house in the countryside, just 3kms outside the market town of Lamballe. With only 14 rooms, it's a lovely, intimate place to stay. The courtyard opens up onto beautifully kept gardens and an elegant terrace for al fresco dining on fine summer evenings.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Lamballe to Sables d'Or-Les-Pins

    You take a short transfer to the tiny Breton fishing port of Dahouet. From here, it's coastal walking at its best: extensive views, aquamarine seas, white sandy beaches and rocky coves - don't forget your swimming things! Lunch on the beach at Caroual then head inland and on to your lovely hotel at Sables-d'Or-Les-Pins.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 17 km / 11 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 3

    At Sables d'Or-Les-Pins

    Sables-d'Or-Les-Pins is a pretty seaside village with magnificent golden sand beaches. It would be easy to just spend the day here, however we strongly recommend following our suggested circular walk (route notes provided) along a spectacular coastal footpath around the cliff and on to nearby Cap d'Erquy, a delightful fishing village with some outstanding seafood restaurants for lunch.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Sables d'Or-Les-Pins to Dinard

    Deserted beaches and heather-topped cliffs provide the colourful backdrop for today's walk which leads you via the Cap Frehel Lighthouse (look out for nesting seabirds) to the famous C14 feudal stronghold of Fort la Latte. Perched on a rocky promontory over the ocean, this castle occupies one of the finest sites in Brittany. Climb up the tower for magnificent coastal views, out as far as Jersey on a clear day.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 17 km / 11 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 5

    At Dinard

    Once a sleepy fishing village on the estuary of the Rance, the English transformed the town into one of the most famous and upmarket resorts in Europe during the C19. Although a little quieter now, it has not lost any of its charm and many of the Belle Epoque villas have become historic monuments. Walk out to the Pointe des Etretes for views of the off-shore islands, or take a 10-minute water taxi across the bay to St-Malo and lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets within the Intra Muros (fortified walls) of this ancient mediaeval city.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Dinard to Dinan

    Starting with a transfer to the picturesque Breton village of Langrolay-sur-Rance, today's route takes you inland, mostly following the course of the River Rance. It's wonderfully tranquil walking through shady forests, fruit orchards, and along peaceful riverside paths. Your hotel in Dinan is superbly located within the ramparts of the mediaeval old town.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 19 km / 12 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6
  • Day 7

    At Dinan

    This beautifully preserved ancient walled town, with its riverfront port, is an absolute gem. Wander round the splendidly restored ancient squares and ramparts, visit the imposing C13 castle, admire the flamboyant Gothic basilica and stroll along the cobbled streets packed with authentic artisan workshops.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Dinan to Plorec/Lamballe

    You take a short transfer then it's off through the Pays du Tour du Penthievre where shady woodland paths skirt the river as far as the impressive C13 Chateau de la Hunaudaye, the ruins of which date back over 800 years. Then it's on across farmland, past ancient standing stones, to Lamballe, where you can relax in the hotel gardens before dinner.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 18 km / 12 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 9

    Leave Lamballe

    If you have pre-booked a transfer our rep will take you to Lamballe station in time for your train.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

Your accommodation is full of contrasts, including a lovely seaside hotel in Sables-d'Or-Les-Pins and a superbly located 4 star hotel built into the ramparts in the heart of historic Dinan. In Dinard, you'll stay in the upgraded sea-view rooms looking out across the idyllic Atlantic expanse to the old port town of St-Malo.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration. For a solo traveller there is an additional charge to cover transfer costs. Please contact us for further details. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £280.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals are included.

Brittany’s fish and seafood is without doubt one of the region’s biggest draws. Platters stacked high with lobster, crab, oyster, shrimp and prawns grace the tables of the atmospheric restaurants. Huge bowls of fresh mussels, scallops and stuffed clams take their place alongside delicious sea bass and bream. The flat local ‘Belons’ oysters are delicious, fleshier than normal ones; they are renowned for their fine hazelnut flavour. Seafood will generally be served with the excellent Breton butter, which contains Guérande salt crystals, and plain bread. Brittany has its own variant on the well-known Provençal fish soup bouillabaisse. This dish, known as cotriade, is usually eaten as a starter, but served with cheese and croutons. It is hearty enough to qualify as a meal in itself!

Many people also think of crêpes when they think of Brittany and indeed almost every little village or town has its own crêperie. The usual custom is to start with a savoury galette (which distinguishes itself from the crêpe by being prepared with buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour), with your own choice of delicious fillings. The classics are ‘la galette complète’ which includes ham, grated cheese and an egg; or one with mushrooms and cream. But you will find as many different fillings as different chefs and then each crêperie has its own specialities. This is then followed by as many galettes as your appetite allows you to eat and finished by a sweet ‘crêpe’, again with a whole range of scrummy fillings!
You will be spoilt for choice with sweet specialties as well. As Brittany produces the best and finest French butter, they have an array of traditional tasty biscuits (the popular galettes and palets Bretons, petits beurres, galettes de Pont Aven, etc…), pastries ( gâteau Breton and gâteau Nantais) based on buttery dough. One of the main traditional desserts is the Far Breton, a sort of local clafoutis (French batter pudding) made with prunes. The region is also a major apple producer so it’s likely that you find a lot of apple specialities.

Cider is the drink most commonly associated with Brittany and is proudly served in all restaurants in the typical bolée glass. Like wine, parts of Brittany have been awarded appellation d’origine contrôlée for their cider. There are three sorts of cider: brut (‘dry’, the most popular), demi-sec (‘semi-dry’) which is a good alternative if you find the dry one too bitter, and doux (‘sweet’) which can be served with desserts and sweets. A brut cider is the perfect accompaniment to crêpes but also to mature soft-washed-rind-cheeses like the neighbouring Camembert. You could try a pairing with game pâtés, nuts or dry fruit salads or even bring back a few bottles in order to enjoy them with mature cheddar. Another popular drink is pommeau de Bretagne, a delicious mix of apple juice and calvados. Its sweet, yet smooth flavour makes for a perfect apéritif. The only wine produced in Brittany is Muscadet. It is produced from the Melon de Bretagne grape, which has been cultivated here since the early 17th century, to give a dry and fruity white wine that goes perfectly with the region’s signature fish and seafood specialities.

Transportation

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by taxi or minibus. The local representative is often able to dispatch a taxi should you need it in an emergency, but may wish to charge you for this service.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

July is the hottest time to visit the Brittany coast, with an average temperature of 17 degrees C and August providing the most hours of sunshine (on average 7 hours). Those seeking the best swimming opportunities will find the sea at an average of 18 degrees C in August. The wettest month is October.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

The tour only prices for this holiday include our standard transfers. If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge). Transfers included from Lamballe train station at 17:00 Sat & Sun, 17:33 Mon-Thurs, 17:27 Fri and back to Lamballe train station at 08:45 Mon-Fri, 09:15 Sat & Sun.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Lamballe
Location end:
Lamballe

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots
Water bottle
Daypack
Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
Warm jumper
Waterproof jacket

Optional Equipment

Walking poles

Swimwear

Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Lunches can cost from €6-12 depending on the size of lunch and the establishment you choose. Dinners can cost €20-35 for a set menu or a la carte meal. If you will be ordering wine with meals, please add extra for this.

Chateau entrance fees in Dinan: approximately €4 per person.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

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In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.