In the wake of climate change, a greater understanding of the impact of our carbon footprint through tourism has never been more important. It's one of the many reasons why flightless travel is on the rise, as travellers are ditching planes for trains in the wake of sustainable tourism.
Fancy jumping aboard? We've put together a cracking six-day itinerary around Brittany, France – accessed only by train from London.
With its chocolate box timber buildings, abundance of crêperies and rich Celtic heritage, a week in Brittany guarantees to be a swoonsome one. This itinerary takes you to quaint towns, dramatic coastlines, art galleries, chapels and plenty of French restaurants (Kouign-Amann secured), all without jumping on a plane. Incroyable!
Six-day itinerary to discover Brittany by train
Day one: Rennes
Like all great French holidays, the journey starts with a Eurostar to Paris and from there, you'll catch a high-speed to Rennes, which takes 1.5 hours. The university city is famed for its culture, and you'll start the day visiting the Marché des Lices – a beautiful indoor market bursting with local produce, including oysters, charcuterie and pastries. In true Breton style, you'll eat at a crêperie for lunch, devouring plenty of buckwheat pancakes in what was the house of famous mosaicist Odorico. In the afternoon, you'll explore the centuries of history that have shaped the city, visiting the two royal squares and the verdant Thabor Gardens. The day finishes with a visit to the Roof & Origines – a former maternity hospital converted into a trendy space with a bar, yoga studio and climbing wall before spending the night at the chic Mama Shelter Rennes.
Day two: Guingamp
The next stop is Guingamp, less than a one-hour train ride from Rennes. It's a small town oozing with Gallic charm on the banks of the river Trive. You'll start the morning with a tour of the Guingamp former prison built in 1841 before having a vit C packed lunch at Be Good Inn (to counteract the cheesy crêpe frivolity from the day prior). The afternoon will be spent at the GwinZegal Art Centre before heading to pottery shop Aux Grès de l'Eau to peruse the ceramics and Manola boutique for a spot of clothes shopping. The day ends relaxing at Hotel La Demeure, an 18th-century private mansion, with dinner at the Sidonie & Compagnie.
Day three: Plouha Cliffs
On day three, you'll take a BreizhGo bus to reach the Plouha Cliffs – the highest in Brittany. In the morning, you'll stroll the Palus Beach – a crescent of sand steeped in history as the location of the massacre of anti-Revolutionists in 1794. Here, you can paddle in the waves, stroll on the shores and keep your eyes peeled for maritime birds. In the afternoon, you'll head to the Chapel of Death west of the village of Plouha. Dating back to the 13th century, the chapel is known for its macabre frescos ranging from bishops to death itself. By the evening, things will thankfully lighten up, and you'll spend the night at Les Gîtes de Kérégal – charming holiday cottages in the Côtes d’Armor département just a few steps away from the sea.
Day three: Landerneau
From the Plouha Cliffs, you'll travel one hour to Landerneau – a fascinating blend of half-timbered houses with contemporary architecture. You'll begin the day at the Rohan Bridge, one of Europe's last inhabited bridges, built in the 16th century. From here, you'll head to the stoic banks of the Elorn, which you'll explore by electric bike Ti Velo. The afternoon will see you go full culture vulture as you visit Lafayette workshops – the new headquarters for craftsmanship before heading to the Hélène & Edouard Leclerc Fund, which hosts international modern art exhibitions. Landerneau is well known for its great food scene, and you'll sample some of its culinary prowess at Le Bistrot du Pont for a traditional French dinner. Bon ap.
Day five: Daoulas
Board the regional TER train for a 15-minute journey to Brest, then hop on a coach for a further few kilometres to take you to Daoulas – a medieval city built on the water. Here, you'll travel from islet to islet as you meander between alleys, streams and stone houses. For lunch, you'll head to La Faïencerie – a restaurant located in an old pottery factory. In the afternoon, you'll head to Daoulas Abby – a historical monastery run by Augustinian Canons until the 16th century. In the gardens listed as a Jardin Remarquable, you can stroll around and peruse the fascinating array of 300 medicinal plants. If you visit Daoulas from June to October, you can also follow photographic walks leading to listed gardens, where a major exhibition on world art and culture is held annually. You'll snooze the night away at La Maison Chicorée – a sumptuous B&B with a swimming pool and river access.
Day six: Crozon Peninsula
On the final day, head back to Brest and take the BreizhGo network bus to the Crozon Peninsula, which takes around an hour. The bus network serves Morgat, which is the perfect spot to explore sea caves by kayak or head to Camaret-Sur-Mer, Roscanvel or Telgruc Sur-Mer to take a swing at surfing, paddle-boarding, coasteering or scuba diving. The trip finishes on a high as you'll embark on a catamaran sailing trip at dusk to catch the balmy Breton sunset. Zut alors!