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The GR 34 along the Côte d’Armor in Brittany

The GR 34 along the Côte d’Armor in Brittany

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The long-distance walking trail GR (Grande-Randonnée) 34 offers spectacular views of imposing rocky cliffs and islands off the Breton coast. We walked the route from Paimpol to Lannion in six days, one of the most beautiful sections of this long-distance route. A highlight is the spectacular rock formations between Perros-Guirec and Ploumanac’h. Moreover, the numerous charming villages with fishing harbours and the island of Île de Bréhat are particularly appealing. When you add the culinary delights of this region, you have found the ideal hiking destination.

Small village

General information about the GR 34

The well-maintained hiking trail was originally built for the surveillance of the coastline by customs officers in the late 1700s. Hence, the nickname “Sentier des Douaniers” (Customs Officers’ Path) for the route. It spans from Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy to Saint-Nazaire. The enormous difference between high and low tide, which can be up to 13 meters, is particularly impressive. The route is clearly signposted throughout. During this trip, we also used the route app from SNP, the company where we booked our hiking holiday. This app immediately signals if you are at risk of veering off the path.

The area has a moderate maritime climate. Especially in the morning, clouds or mist can create an almost magical scene. We experienced ideal hiking conditions in mid-June. While it was very warm in other parts of Europe, we walked in pleasant temperatures, around 20 degrees, with predominantly sunny weather and only a drizzly morning. In short, things can change, even in a positive way! Additionally, the Breton cuisine with oysters, seafood, galettes, and various types of cider is worth mentioning. Brittany is definitely worth a visit.


The GR 34 along the Côte d’Armor in Brittany – day by day

We completed the section along the Côtes d’Armor in six days. Here is a brief description of each day’s hike.

Day 1: from Paimpol to Iles de Bréhat (L’Arcouest)

We began the route in the port of Paimpol, where we picked up the Grande Randonnée 34. It was a beautiful and leisurely start to the journey. We walked past authentic houses with lovely gardens, offering almost continuous views of the sea.


Just south of l’Arcouest, the coast becomes more rugged, and we get a view of the island group off the coast. In l’Arcouest, we can take the ferry to Ile de Brehat. There are two ferry services to choose from, and we opted for the larger ferry, offering the most flexibility in terms of departure and return times. On the island, we first walked to the slightly elevated church and from there to the northernmost point. It’s noteworthy that the southern part is densely populated. The landscape is characterized by an English-like environment with beautiful gardens and characteristic houses. Occasional tractors pass by on this otherwise car-free island.

The surrounding views are exceptionally beautiful. The northern part is rougher and less lush. We enjoyed a galette (savory crepe) at “Le Paradis Rose” and walked to the northernmost point. It’s a real windy spot, but the view is superb. In about an hour and a half, we walked back to the port for the ferry. We concluded our visit at Plage de Guerzido, a superb spot to relax, eat, and overlook the bay. Next time, we plan to stay overnight on this island to experience the atmosphere when the day visitors are gone!


Day 2: from l’Arcouest to Lezardrieux

This morning’s walk first took us to Loguivy. It’s a lovely small harbour town with a fair amount of trade in mussels and oysters. During a coffee break, a resident (already enjoying a beer) warned us about possible slippery conditions on the upcoming stretch, as it had been raining that morning. However, this turned out not to be an issue. The route follows Le Trieux, an estuary with a wooded bank. We stayed practically dry under the trees. Here, there were several short climbs and beautiful views of places where oysters or mussels are cultivated.

Midway, we reached a beach covered with hundreds of scallop shells, unfortunately all empty. Lezardrieux itself is a charming town. There’s a beautiful church and a broad area where we found several shops, a creperie, and an inviting bakery. After lunch (at the creperie), we passed the harbour and headed to our accommodation. We stayed at Chambre d’hôtes Lan Caradec, a top-notch place. A Dutch/Belgian couple has created a unique place for accommodation. They warmly welcomed us into a classically decorated house. The couple extensively shared the history of the property with us. They recommended dining at the local Auberge, which turned out to be an excellent suggestion, offering high-quality food at a very reasonable price.


Day 3: from Gouffre de Plourescan to Trevou-Treguignec

The breakfast at the chambre d’hôtes was a pleasant surprise. All organic, fine products, and explained by the caring hostess. A taxi picked us up to taket us to ‘Le gouffre de Plougrescant’. It was a journey of a good half hour, as the distance was otherwise too far. Here, we started the day’s hike along a rugged stretch of coast with magnificent views.

We spent the day walking when at some point, the coastline became flatter. The sun came out, casting the surroundings in a picturesque light. We walked past fields of artichokes and at times had to choose the high-tide variation of the route. The diversity in the landscape made for a pleasant hike. Port Blanc was a good spot for lunch. The three of us ordered a croque monsieur, which turned out to be so large that we couldn’t finish it.

In the late afternoon, we reached our final destination, Trevou-Treguignec. We wondered about the function of the large building we first encountered upon arrival. It turned out to be a rehabilitation centre. We then explored the town itself, with an extremely wide sandy beach and a lively, touristy atmosphere. At the end of the day, at the local pizzeria overlooking the sea, we reflected on the day. Tired but content, we looked back on this stage of the hiking trail.


Day 4: from Trevou-Treguignec to Ploumanac’h

Today, we cover a slightly longer section of about 22 kilometres. However, we also reach a highlight of this trip, namely the gigantic rock formations of Ploumanac’h. So, we set off in good spirits. We pass several campsites where many avid campers have found a beautiful spot with a sea view. The first larger town we encounter is Perros-Guirec. It’s a lively place after the quiet villages of the past few days.

Then we arrive at the most touristy, but also the most spectacular part of this coast. Enormous pink granite blocks mark the steep coast and the clear blue water. These types of rocks are found in only three places in the world: China, Corsica, and Brittany. It’s a stunning place.

Finally, we arrive in the charming town of Ploumanac’h, where it is pleasant to stay. There is a friendly atmosphere and a hotel with a magnificent view of the beach and the sea. It feels like a vacation. We conclude this day with a celebratory plateau of fruits de mer.

Ploumanac’h is a very suitable place to take a rest day. For example, to take a boat trip around the ‘seven islets’ off the coast. The islands are inhabited by rare birds, such as the gannet and puffins.

Perros Guirec

Day 5: from Ploumanac’h to Trebeurden

In terms of length, today is similar to yesterday. After a final glance at the unique chapel on the beach, we head towards Tregastel. It is a beautiful seaside resort with a rich history. The town has many archaeological buildings and monuments (including causeways and menhirs). We choose to keep going and make our judgement based on our first impression.

After this, the route veers away from the sea and goes inland. This takes us to a dolmen and, a little further, to a gigantic menhir (Menhir de Saint-Uzec). This part of the route provides a contrast to walking along the coast. At the end of the hiking day, we are glad to see the sea again. We then arrive directly at our hotel, which is a half-hour walk from the centre of Trebeurden. Opposite the hotel is a restaurant/oyster tasting called l’Atelier de l’Huitre. We think it’s definitely worth a try. Unfortunately, to our regret, the restaurant is closed today (Monday). Since we are quite tired by now, we have a meal from the local delicatessen at the hotel. There is always an alternative.


Day 6: from Trebeurden to Lannion

The day begins with a stretch along the road. Then we join the GR 34 again and head towards Trebeurden. The town presents itself as a genuine seaside resort in the morning mist. In the mist, it looks like a place from the past, but that could be deceptive. Due to a road closure, we take a detour to an old tidal mill. We walk around the village and pass by some quiet beaches with endless rows of traditional beach huts.

The sun reappears around 11 o’clock. Then we walk through a wooded dune area, with the option to go onto a peninsula. We decide to skip it today. There are a few climbs that always provide a beautiful view of the sea. After some time, we veer away from the coastline and follow the road along the river Le Léguer. This part is easily walkable with the river as a companion.

In the distance, Lannion appears as a larger town. It is the capital of the Trégor region and has around 20,000 inhabitants. We particularly find the holiday homes and the town centre appealing. There is a lively atmosphere and a nice range of shops. During dinner in the evening, we conclude that we would like to continue the walk, but unfortunately, the end of this beautiful hiking holiday has already arrived. Who knows, perhaps next time we will walk a different part of the GR 34 along the Côte d’Armor in Brittany.


Other highlights around the GR 34 along the Côte d’Armor

In Brittany, Saint Brieuc is one of the highlights along the GR 34. This town has a rich history. It features an impressive cathedral and houses from the 14th century. The harbour is of significance, but is located quite far from the centre. We would like to visit the museum there, which focuses on Breton history, next time.

Furthermore, Cap Fréhel is a (heath) nature reserve where you can visit the Fort la Latte on the cliffs. It is also a beloved breeding ground for birds. The location is part of the GR 34 and is situated between St. Brieuc and St. Malo.

The Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy is an absolute highlight on the GR 34. A medieval abbey has been built on this granite rock in the middle of the sea. The attraction was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Expect large numbers of visitors during the day. The town is only accessible on foot. From the large car parks, you can reach the island by bus, bicycle, or on foot. We found the view of the fortress from the outside to be more relaxing than walking through the town itself. The area is excellent for “wadlopen” (mudflat walking)!

The charm of the Côte d’Armor is not only found in the mentioned highlights. Picturesque villages, beautiful harbours, and well-maintained gardens continually remind you of the beauty of this area.

Mont Saint-Michel seen from the shore, France

Answers to frequently asked questions about the GR 34

Where is the Côtes d'Armor located?

The Côtes d’Armor is in Brittany, France. It covers the area between the towns of St. Malo and Lannion.

How long is the GR 34?

The GR 34 is approximately 2,000 km long, running from Vitré to Mont Saint-Michel. The route then heads west along the coast of Brittany via Morbihan to Saint Nazaire.

Is the GR 34 marked?

Like any long-distance walking route, the GR 34 is marked with white and red signs.


Who is this walk suitable for?

This walk is suitable for anyone in good health and with a reasonable level of fitness. You will walk between 16 and 23 kilometres per day. The amount of ascent and descent is always manageable. However, a multi-day hike is more demanding than a day walk. Fortunately, you can train for multi-day hikes.

Can I find places to eat and drink along the route?

Along the way, you will pass through villages where you can usually find places to eat and drink. However, you may not always be able to have lunch at any desired time. Particularly on days 3 and 6, it is advisable to bring some food. Also, make sure to carry enough water for the day!

What is the best time to visit the Côte d’Armor?

The months of May to September are most suitable for this walk. August may be busy due to the holidays in France.

What are the highlights of the GR 34?

It's no surprise that French hikers have chosen the GR 34 as their favourite long-distance walk. On one side are dunes, beaches, coves, rock formations, steep cliffs, and rugged coasts. On the other side are picturesque fishing villages and marshes. It is an unforgettable experience to discover this part of Brittany, always with the sea as a backdrop and the wind in your hair.

Why is the GR 34 also known as the Sentier des Douaniers?

In the late 1700s, French customs officers used this coastal path to patrol the coastline of Brittany. Hence the nickname Sentier des Douaniers.

What are the best places to stay along the GR 34?

There are plenty of accommodation options in all the mentioned towns. It is advisable to book accommodation on Ile de Brehat in good time (there is only one hotel and several B&Bs there). Ploumanac’h is suitable for scheduling an extra (rest) day. You can also take a boat trip to "l'archipel des 7 Îles": the seven islands.


These are the hotels where we stayed during the trip:

  • Paimpol: Hotel K’Loys. Good cuisine and centrally located.
  • Arcouest: Les Terrasses de Bréhat. Functional for the ferry. Fairly small rooms, but a good breakfast.
  • Lezardrieux: Lan Caradec. A gem to try out. Superb breakfast and hospitality.
  • Trévou-Tréguignec: Kerbugalic. The accommodation looks rather basic, but it is a pleasant place. You have a sort of apartment and in the morning, you can have breakfast outside on your own terrace with a sea view. Hospitable reception.
  • Ploumanac’h: l'Hôtel Saint Guirec. A nice place to stay longer with a good restaurant and a delicious breakfast. We upgraded to a room with a sea view at the front. This hotel is slightly more expensive than the others.
  • Trebeurden: Hotel Le Toëno. Quiet atmosphere with pleasant rooms. It is a bit further from the town.
  • Lannion: Ibis Centre. Friendly staff, but less atmosphere.


Gouffre de Plougrescant

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