After being already pretty amazed by the pink Granite coast and southern Finistère, we kept a choice piece to finish this trip to Brittany. As we have gained a lot of weight with all the delicious Breton crepes we have eaten, we thought that a good hike to finish this trip wouldn’t hurt us. 🙂 This is good because one of the most emblematic long-distance hiking trails is located in Brittany: I named the GR34 or more commonly called sentier des douaniers.
And since we were right in Finistère, what could be better than to walk around the Crozon peninsula following this famous GR34. It must be said that the Crozon peninsula, located at the western end of Brittany (that’s why it is also called “the end of the world”), is renowned for its wild coast and nature. It is therefore the ideal playground to eliminate some pancakes before returning to Switzerland. 😉
GR34: Tour of the Crozon peninsula on the sentier des douaniers
So the sentier des douaniers does not stop at the Crozon peninsula. In fact it runs along the whole Breton coast for more than 1800kms! Well this time, we won’t have time to do the GR34 along its entire length. But it’s not a big deal…. If we like it, we’ll come back for Fabienne’s 34th birthday 😉 #Teaser
So for more flexibility, we decided to leave our car in the village of Saint-Nic, which is located on the Camaret-Quimper bus line. That way, in case of bad weather or acute laziness, we could always take the bus back to the car. It must be said that the complete loop is something like 175kms long and that we were not sure to finish it.
This turned out to be a very wise choise, because we actually didn’t close the loop. Here is the map of the hike we did in the end (we will explain why we didn’t go further):
Day 1: Saint-Nic to Crozon
After parking the car on the beach of Saint-Nic, we start on the GR34 towards Crozon. At the beginning of the day, we stick out our tongues a little because we are no longer used to carrying our big bags with all the camping equipment. It must be said that our last big hike over several days with tent, dates back almost 1 year (we had done 4 wonderful days in the Gorges du Verdon if you are interested).
Well, we quickly forget about the backpacks because the landscapes are simply too amazing. We go from creek to creek along the coast. We hallucinate about the color of the water which is emerald green. To top it all off, spring is in full swing and the gorse is in bloom. In short, we can’t stop taking pictures and any pretext is good for a little break to contemplate. 😉
We continue to walk in this little paradise until the next highlight: the beach of Trez-bellec. We arrive on the beach at low tide and we are simply alone in the world. Not a single person around and we have this whole stretch of sand to ourselves. It’s just a dream and we start to believe that it will be like that during the 4 days of the hike.
The rest of the day will be just as splendid. We walk first to the dunes of the Aber. Know that it is better to arrive at this place at low tide because you can see the fort of Aber and walk along the beach. As we arrived at high tide, we had to make a big detour on the road to reach the GR34 again a little further.
We then continued to Crozon where we drank a well-deserved beer on a terrace in the centre. Then we went to pitch our tent at the Crozon campsite, located a little further, but where we received a very friendly welcome. 🙂
Infos day 1
- Distance 22 kms
- Elevation gain 200m
- Elevation loss 200m
- Duration about 6h of walking time (excluding the photo breaks)
- Others This part of the GR34 is very easy and just splendid. It can also be done very easily for a day-hike
- Camping the camping of the peninsula in Crozon… from 14 to 19€ for a tent and 2 people depending on the season. It is a 3-star campsite and therefore very comfortable (hot showers, internet… even if we didn’t have time to enjoy the heated swimming pool 🙂 )
Day 2 : Le cap de la Chèvre
After a rainy night (maybe our first raindrops in 3 weeks 😉 ), we wake up early in the morning because the day looks beautiful but as well quite long. After having a coffee at the campsite’s bar, we go down to the Morgat beach. The weather is still a little overcast but the motivation is there because we feel that it will soon clear up.
We reach the sentier des douaniers by climbing a staircase at the end of the beach. We then dive through the Kador woods, a very beautiful pine forest that runs along the Morgat coast to the Virgin Island. Somehow we almost like we would be somewhere in Italy while walking through this pine forest. We also see some very pretty coves (especially on the Virgin Island) and the color of the water returns to its beautiful green color as soon as the sun is coming back.
On the other hand, the trail is a little more difficult than the day before. It goes up and down quite a lot! As a result, we need more time than expected to reach the Virgin Island. We think that maybe we should shorten the day’s stage a little bit to get to the Goulien campground more easily. We therefore decide to cut just before the Cap de la Chèvre, at the level of the village of Kergonan, to gain a few kms (this turnes out to have been a very good decision because we were already pretty tired when we reached the camping in the evening).
Once on the other side of the island, the landscapes change completely. No more pine forests! We find ourselves teleported to Ireland. On this side, vegetation is much rarer but the scenery is no less beautiful 😉 . We are sooo amazed by how diverse the landscapes on this little piece of land are!
We then continue to the beach of La Palue where we can’t help but take a break for a snack because the view is so beautiful. It is also a well-known surf spot as explained by our friend Géraldine. We would have stayed there for a few hours to enjoy, but we still had a few kms ahead of us before camping on Goulien beach. And unfortunately we can’t bivouac on the Crozon peninsula…
We’re getting very tired at the end of the day! We pass the tip of Dinan to reach the Goulien beach campsite 2km further! As it is April, there is not much open around the campsite. So we are very happy when the campsite manager offers to drive us to the nearest shopping centre to do buy some food. If he wouldn’t have taken us in his car, I think we would only have eaten a couple of leftover cookies for dinner. Going to the supermarket allowed to have a nice picnic.
Thus, we took our sleeping bags on the beach (it is very cool in the evening) for a small improvised picnic at sunset. It could not get any better I think 🙂
Infos day 2
- Distance 22.5 kms (count 25-26 if you want to go through the Cap de la Chèvre)
- Elevation gain about 600m
- Elevation loss about 600m
- Duration we hiked for 6h30 – 7h without counting the breaks. But thankfully the sun is setting quite late in Brittany
- Others The first part between Morgat and the Virgin Island is not that easy. Thus, going all the way to Cap de la Chèvre and then come back to Goulien beach, is really a long day. If like us you don’t feel like doing everything, cut a little before the tip.
- Camping The campsite at Goulien beach costs 9.80€ + 5.50€ per person. It is also a comfortable 3-star campsite with internet, hot showers etc….
day 3: passage to the tip of Pen-Hir to the beach of Trez Rouz
After a 2nd rainy night (as long as it only rains at night 🙂 ), we start this 3rd day with a morning walk at low tide along Goulien beach. Again, we have the beach all to ourselves. 🙂 Even if it is a little chilly in the morning in April, we think it’s still great to be practically alone on the trails! Frankly, we recommend you do this trek at little bit off the main season as well. 😉
We then continue our hike to the tip of Pen-Hir. The sentier des douaniers is still as beautiful as ever, along the flowered cliffs that overlook the beaches below. We sit quietly at the tip to eat a bite while admiring the scenery. However, what we didn’t see coming was the big black cloud coming behind us…. In short, you won’t get a picture of how we packed up in 30 seconds when a hailstorm fell on us. But you will understand that with the view we had, we didn’t look too much behind us 🙂
Fortunately for us, the hail only lasted 5 minutes. Otherwise, it could have been much less fun, because, obviously, we had no place where we could hide. 🙂 We then decided to leave the GR34 and cut directly through the village of Camaret sur mer. We thought that if we arrive a little earlier at the campsite once, it won’t hurt us! We also took advantage of the fact that some coffees are open to rest in the warmth for an hour.
Then we reach the sentier des douaniers again at the end of the village where we continued to the Trez Rouz beach campsite, located 3-4 kms further on. It must have been barely 4 pm when we got to the campsite. As a result, we had plenty of time to pitch the tent, take a nice hot shower and rest a little. For the rest of the program, we did not lose good habits…. We took a bottle of cider, a baguette and a sausage. Direction the beach to admire the sunset.
But you would have done the same, wouldn’t you?
Infos day 3
- Distance 17-18 kms (again, count 21-22 if you follow the GR34 all along)
- elevation gain about 300m
- elevation loss about 300m
- Duration 5h by cutting in Camaret sur Mer
- Others If you pass by there during a big tide, there are caves that become accessible on foot at Pen Hat Beach… we were told it’s really worth it.
- Camping The camping of the beach of Trez Rouz costs between 16€ and 22€ depending on the season. Here too everything is fine! internet, showers, swimming pool etc….
Day 4 : la pointe des espagnols
Since we didn’t have time to go all the way to Brest, we thought that a passage at the pointe des espagnols to at least admire the bay of Brest was a must. Historically, this point was a strategic location for the defence of the Brest Narrows. As a result, along the entire length of the GR34 to the pointe des espagnols, we pass through old fortifications, most of which date back to the Second World War. But nature slowly recovers its rights and all these fortifications are slowly covered by vegetation.
On the way we can see the Capuchin fort which is located on an islet at the foot of the cliffs. It is possible to go down there if you don’t do like us and don’t miss the path that starts on the left of the sentier des douaniers 🙂 . After about 3 hours of walking, we reach the pointe des espanols just in time for lunch break!
For the return to the other side of the pointe des espagnols, it should be noted that we were invited to spend the night south of Roscanvel, at the home of Cyril and Sophie, 2 former world travellers and readers of our blog. As we are not the type to refuse this kind of invitation (which always gives rise to beautiful evenings 😉 ), we have shortened the day’s stage a little to stop at their place. But know that it is not difficult to continue to the port of Le Fret. From there, you can either stay at the campsite, cross by boat to Brest, take the bus back to Saint-Nic or continue your journey on the GR34.
As far as we are concerned, with the bad weather that was forecast for the coming days, we preferred to focus on this beautiful evening spent at Cyril and Sophie’s house. In addition to having prepared a feast for us, they even helped us to get our car back in Saint-Nic.
Thanks again to you for these good moments shared and see you soon maybe 🙂
Infos day 4
- Distance 19 kms (count 22kms until le Fret)
- elevation gain 400m
- elevation loss 400m
- Duration 5-6h walking time
- Others The return from the pointe des espagnols is a little less interesting. We had trouble following the GR34 which was badly indicated and we found ourselves several times having to follow tarred roads.
that’s it for our story of this superb hike around the Crozon peninsula. You will have understood it well, we simply loved the whole hike and we really hope we made you want to spend a few days along the GR34 in Brittany. Frankly, it’s clearly one of the most beautiful hikes we’ve ever done. 🙂
Now we are back in Switzerland for a while. We have some paperwork to do for our company and we are preparing for a new hiking season that promises to be amazing!!!! But, don’t worry, Fabienne will tell you all about it in our next article 🙂