A famous Malouin proverb says “Neither French nor Breton, Malouin I am! ». The inhabitants of Saint-Malo tend to be a bit chauvinistic… It’s true that the Corsair city is a place where you can spend time. Spending a whole weekend visiting Saint-Malo can be a bit short. But sometimes, we like to take advantage of being in a place to visit the surroundings. So what to do around Saint-Malo?
We have listed 15 activities that can be done within a 1 hour drive around Saint-Malo. The ideal way to spend the day outside before coming back to spend a good night in the Abers 😉
How to present the activities to do around Saint-Malo without mentioning the Mont Saint-Michel? Our beautiful Corsair City is indeed 1 hour drive from one of the most beautiful monuments in France!
The walk to the Mont Saint-Michel is very strongly encouraged, whether you have already had the chance to see the Marvel or not.
For a complete visit, we recommend spending the day at the Mont, to take the time to visit the abbey. Whether you are Catholic or not, you will be struck by the beauty of its architecture. You will also love to wander through the small cobbled streets and discover the history of this grandiose monument.
To learn more, you can read our article on Mont Saint-Michel.
Second must-see: Cancale! This small fishing port is ideal if you want to discover the marine side of Brittany. An ideal stop on the way back from Mont Saint-Michel.
We especially love tasting oysters that have just been fished!
Does the activity tempt you? Nothing could be simpler, just go to the small oyster market located at the end of the wharf. You can buy a dozen oysters for a tasting on site. Feel free to accompany them with a small glass of white wine (to be drunk in moderation). Then, head to the back of the market for a tasting with an unobstructed view of the bay of Mont Saint-Michel and the traditional empty shells throw on the shore.
If you are not fond of oysters, you can choose to discover the small village of Cancale. Shops and restaurants face the sea front, but as you go up into the heights of the town, you will discover typical streets or the sublime Saint-Méen church.
Continuing the Cancalaise walk, the Pointe du Grouin is another stop not to be missed. This point, which marks the limit of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and is the start of the Emerald Coast, is an open-air observatory of the most beautiful birds. Indeed, there is an ornithological reserve there!
But above all, the Pointe du Grouin offers a breathtaking panorama, probably one of the most beautiful in Ille-et-Vilaine. On a clear day, you can easily observe the Mont Saint-Michel or Granville to the east or the Cap Fréhel to the west. If you are lucky, you may even get a chance to see the dolphins that occupy the premises.
Only 7 km from Cancale, the Pointe du Grouin is easily accessible on foot via the Chemin des Douaniers, but also by car (there is a parking lot on site).
To observe the sculptured rocks, you just have to move slightly away from the inner city of Saint-Malo to reach the Rothéneuf district. For almost 50 years at the end of the 19th century, Abbot Fouré carved figures in the Breton rock.
More than 500 sculptures, half of which were carved directly in granite, the other half in wood, give a lively aspect to the coastline.
Throughout the year, it is possible to go and observe the sculptured rocks of Rothéneuf.
If one wants to visit the surroundings of Saint-Malo, Dinard seems to be the best option. There are two ways to get there: by road or by sea.
For the first option, you just have to go along the coast and cross the Rance dam to reach Dinard. In 20 minutes by car or 40 minutes by bike, you can reach the small seaside resort.
But we strongly recommend the 2nd option. During the summer, a sea bus makes the connection between Saint-Malo and Dinard. Starting from the old town and for only 8€ per person round trip, you can reach the heart of Dinard in 10 minutes.
Once there, take the time to stroll along the “Clair de Lune” promenade which will make you discover the most beautiful villas of the Belle Époque. You will also enjoy walking on the small beach of Dinard or discovering its casino.
To discover more activities, we have listed the 5 things to do in Dinard.
Dol de Bretagne is a small Breton village located between Saint-Malo and Mont Saint-Michel. We love to walk there on Saturdays, the day of the great market to taste a good sausage crepe while strolling down the main street.
In Dol-de-Bretagne, you will also appreciate the superb cathedral that overlooks the city. You can also get away from the town centre and go to Mont-Dol. Legend has it that the Archangel Saint Michael defeated a terrible dragon there before taking flight for the Mont St Michel.
If you are interested in the history of Dol de Bretagne, go to our discovery article.
The surroundings of Saint-Malo can also be discovered on foot. The best known hiking trail along the Emerald Coast is the GR 34. In the region, it is nicknamed the Sentier des Douaniers.
The GR 34 starts at Mont Saint-Michel and continues along the Brittany coast, passing of course through Saint-Malo. In 2018, it was elected the favourite GR of the French, probably because it crosses the most beautiful landscapes of France!
Hiking enthusiasts will be able to take up the challenge of doing the GR in its entirety. But be aware that it is quite possible to do only portions of it.
Do not hesitate to consult the official GR website for more information.
Another medieval town located around Saint-Malo, Dinan. The city is entirely surrounded by ramparts, on nearly 3 kilometers. Situated on the heights of the Rance, the city dominates the valley and its small marina.
If you like history and more particularly the Middle Age, the visit of Dinan will amaze you! You will love to walk up the mythical Jerzual street, visit its centenary castle or discover its Saint-Sauveur basilica.
Dinan has a rich historical past, thanks to famous people such as Anne of Brittany or Bertrand du Guesclin who put their suitcases there.
To find out more about Dinan, go to our guide article!
Saint-Malo is a coastal city and is fortunate to have the most beautiful beaches in France. The Sillon beach for example, was elected the most beautiful beach according to a TripAdvisor ranking in 2018.
Travellers often just enjoy the beaches near Intra-Muros, which are more than enough if you don’t have a car or if you want to concentrate on discovering the old town.
But if you have the opportunity to get away from the heart of the Corsair City, you should know that there are some magnificent beaches around Saint-Malo. Our favourite is the beach of La Guimorais, also known as Les Chevrets in the region.
The Island of Jersey is 65 kilometres from Saint-Malo. All you have to do is board a ferry at the ferry terminal at the gates of the old town and a little over an hour later, you can set foot in Jersey.
The round trip is easily made during the day and allows you to explore this little English jewel. In Jersey, you will discover the countryside, stretches of greenery for the delight of the eyes. The island is easily visited by bicycle.
History buffs will surely prefer to visit the war tunnels, witnesses of World War II.
Only a 15-minute walk from the heart of the old town of Saint-Malo, the Cité d’Alet offers a sublime panorama of the Emerald Coast with, on one side, the Cité Intra-Muros and, on the other, the seaside resort of Dinard.
But the Cité d’Alet is also a beautiful testimony of the history of our country. The place has indeed, marked the 2nd World War and bunkers still present on the spot testify to the violence of the confrontations that took place at that time.
If you wish to discover other aspects of the Emerald Coast around Saint-Malo, go to Cap Fréhel. There you will find cliffs overlooking the sea at a height of more than 70 m and offering a panorama that will captivate you. Whether in summer, surrounded by heather in bloom, or in winter, in agitated weather, the landscape never looks the same.
The Cap Fréhel is a protected site which shelters a great diversity of fauna and flora. A remarkable place where nature dominates
On the way to Rennes, we strongly recommend you make a small detour to Saint-Suliac, which holds the label of “Most beautiful village in France”.
This small village located on the banks of the Rance river is the most beautiful testimony of Breton architecture. You will love strolling through its cobbled streets, discovering the typical houses and their old stones, often covered with fishing nets for an even more authentic look. Continuing towards the heart of the village, you arrive on the seafront and its small beach which disappears completely during the highest tides.
In Saint-Suliac, there are no shops for shopping, a few art galleries and only two restaurants to satisfy our taste buds. But a crazy charm that will leave no one unmoved.
Only 1 hour drive from Saint-Malo, Rennes is the capital of our beautiful region. The city has many tourist attractions that are worth seeing.
The Mordelaises gates, for example, are a beautiful symbol of the city. In Rennes, it is nicknamed “Porte Royale” in reference to the various dukes of Brittany who passed through these 2 symmetrical towers before being crowned at the Saint-Pierre Cathedral.
If you’re looking for a bit of greenery, you’ll love a stroll in the Thabor Gardens, a former monks’ garden that has now become a place where the people of Rennes like to meet.
Finally, Rennes has many department stores that will please everyone for a shopping day during your Breton escapade.
To visit the most beautiful points of interest around Saint-Malo, two solutions are available to you. You can choose to embark on a Breton road trip and establish the best itinerary to get the most out of it.
You can also put your suitcases down in Saint-Malo and radiate in a range that you will set around Saint-Malo. If you choose this option, we would be delighted to welcome you and advise you on the best ways to enjoy our beautiful region of Saint-Malo.
Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help you plan your stay in and around Saint-Malo. In particular, we can introduce you to the taxis and car rentals in the area if you do not own a car. We can also offer you personalized advice, adapted to your expectations and needs and give you a whole bunch of little tips so that you do not miss out on the essentials and so that you can enjoy our beautiful region in the best possible way, not forgetting the meal break with a whole range of restaurants for all tastes and budgets.