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Trip Report

Facing the Ocean - Hiking Brittany's Legendary GR34

Hiking the GR34 solo and camping along the way - nothing but sea, cliffs and nature on my horizon

by gaspardAtlasGuru Contributor

EuropeFrance4 days / June 2021

Highs & Lows

Confronting the power of the Atlantic Ocean

Camping in the wilderness was forbidden

Itinerary Overview

After a first - short - night of camping near Saint-Brieuc, my point of departure, I woke up at 5am, excited to begin this journey. Starting my hike with the rising sun on the sea, the view was simply breathtaking. As the hours and the kilometers went by, I could understand where the coast of Brittany holds its reputation from: straight cliffs cut by the gigantic waves, old fishing harbors in the smallest creeks, and a wilderness unchanged over the centuries. The first hiking day turned out to be more challenging than expected, due to an unusually hot weather, a backpack heavier than expected and the pain caused by my old, worned-out hiking shoes. My efforts were nonetheless rewarded once at destination, with a cold beer on the beach and a magnificient sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Day after day, I kept enjoying breathtaking views as I advanced up the north-eastern coast of Brittany: after Saint-Brieuc, Saint-Quay-Portieux and Plouezec. Each hike would be ponctuated with tasty breakfast and meal breaks,  in the few restaurants and cafés found along the way, offering a taste of the local gastronomy at low costs. Walking next to the ocean was also the perfect opportunity to try the fishing rod I had decided to carry with me, however unsuccessfully! I would then arrive mid-afternoon at my destination, set up camp and relax for a bit before exploring the nature, beaches or villages nearby. While a bit disappointed not to have been able to camp in the wilderness (prohibited in France), the camping sites offered nonetheless each time an amazing view and a well-deserved comfort after demanding hikes.

On day four, I finally arrived in the beautiful harbor of Paimpol, after more than a hundred kilometers by foot. There, I was joined by my best friend, to enjoy together the city for a few days, and rest from this adventure. We booked a confy AirBnB right in the center, visited the old harbor (unfortunately invaded by low costs attractions for the annual fancyfair), and wandeled on the never-ending beaches left by the tides. We also took the time to enjoy (once again) the famous Brittany's gastronomy. On the menu, mussels, crêpes, salted butter and apple cider to make up for the calories burned along the hike. We were then very kindly offered a ride by our Airbnb host, all the way to our next destination, Port Blanc, where we stayed with other friends for a few days. This region has definitely so much to offer! 

  • 1 Night: Saint-Brieuc
  • 1 Night: Saint-Quay-Portrieux
  • 2 Nights: Paimpol

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I wish I had better gear for camping.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    Everything went smoothly.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Take time to explore the different parts of the Brittany coast in all its diversity.