Backroads of Brittany Cycling

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Headwater

Visitors have long been drawn to the stunning white beaches of Brittany's Emerald Coast, yet the region remains largely unspoiled with traditional fishing ports, colourful country hamlets and beautifully preserved walled towns unchanged since the Middle Ages.

Meals
All buffet breakfasts and 2 evening meals
Accommodation
Le Manoir des Portes (3 star)
Situated just 3km outside Lamballe in the little hamlet of La Poterie, this charming 16th century manoir, run by the affable M Jamin, is the perfect place to get away from it all. All the 16 cosy rooms are individually decorated and have lots of character. In the main, they overlook the beautiful gardens, where you can relax with a good book or enjoy an aperitif before dinner.

Hotel de Diane (3 star)
This lovely little hotel is located 100m from the large beach of Sables d'Or. The hotel is traditional in style and dates back to the 1920s, although it has had extensions and modernisations to the rooms since this time! Rooms are located in two buildings; the first building has a far more traditional feel to it in terms of decor, compared to the new rooms, which are modern in style. All rooms are well decorated and some rooms have balconies.

Hotel Printania (3 star)
With its superb location a short 50m stroll from Dinard's main beach and situated right on the sea front looking out towards St Malo, the views from the Hotel Printania are fantastic! The hotel seems more like a museum in style: its quintessionally Breton public rooms - including a sitting room with piano which guests are welcome to play! - all feature the carved wooden furniture typical to the area, as well as paintings by local artists and Henriot Quimper porcelain. All 55 rooms are ensuite and all are individually decorated with characteristic Breton detail. Headwater customers stay in the delightful upgraded sea view rooms. Please note that the triple rooms at this hotel only have a double bed and a single bed; three-bedded rooms are not available.

Castelbrac Hotel (5 star)
Wtih a superb sea front location, just a stroll from Dinard's sandy beach, the 5* Hotel Castelbrac oozes charm, elegance and luxury. A converted 19th century villa, today guests can enjoy the sea facing lap pool, elegant lounge, exclusive bar - housed in a former acquarium - and gastronomic restaurant. The colourfully designed rooms come with bathrobe and slippers, nespresso machine and ipod dock as standard, with dvd players available on request. Most rooms have stunning views of St Malo Bay, with selected rooms also benefitting from a balcony or terrace. Massages and beauty treatments are also available at the hotel, as is a private speed boat transfer service.

Hotel D'Avaugour (3 star)
We are delighted to have found this lovely hotel right in the heart of mediaeval Dinan. All the rooms are en suite and individually decorated with stylish soft furnishings. The hotel has a small bar and a beautiful garden where you can have breakfast or enjoy a pre-dinner drink. Walk to the end of the garden and you find yourself on the ramparts of the town.

Hotel Mercure Dinan Port le Jerzual (4 star)
This modern and comfortable hotel is right in the heart of the picturesque port of Dinan. From the bar and restaurant terrace, you can watch the comings and goings of the pleasure boats on the river Rance. The hotel boasts excellent facilities: there is a jacuzzi and fitness room as well as a seasonally heated pool. All rooms are medium sized and comfortable; all have been recently refurbished.

Travel
British Airways Heathrow to Paris CDG 07:15/09:35 then rail Paris Montparnasse to Lamballe via St Rennes 14:57/17:23, transfer to hotel 15 minutes. Return: Transfer to station 15 minutes then rail Lamballe to Paris Montparnasse 10:46/13:04 then British Airways Paris CDG to Heathrow 16:35/16:55.
Single Supplement
Add 246 single supplement.
Destinations
  • Europe
  • France
  • Brittany
Tour Types
  • Cycling
  • Self Guided
Departure Points
  • London Airport
Day 1: Arrive at Lamballe
Your holiday starts at M. Jamin's 16th century manor house in the countryside, just 3kms outside the market town of Lamballe. With only 16 rooms, it's a lovely, intimate place to stay. The inner courtyard opens up on to beautifully kept gardens and an elegant terrace for al fresco dining on fine summer evenings.

Day 2: Lamballe to Sables d'Or-Les-Pins 37km/23mi
It's gentle cycling today as you head first along quiet country lanes then out to the coast and the lively sailing resort of Pleneuf-Val-Andre. The deserted white sandy beaches here are simply gorgeous so make sure you take your swimming things with you! There are also some excellent ocean-facing restaurants where you can enjoy a long seafood lunch. Lovely beachside trails lead to the sleepy seaside village of Sables-d'Or-les-Pins where your hotel is just 200m from the sea.

Day 3: At Sables d'Or-Les-Pins
Relax on the beach or follow our 25km circular cycling route taking in the Cap Frehel lighthouse and the famous 14th century feudal stronghold of Fort de la Latte. Perched on a rocky promontory above the sea, it occupies one of the finest settings in northern France, and it's easy to see why it's been used on numerous film sets. A climb up to the gallery at the top of the tower will reward you with magnificent views extending as far as Jersey on a clear day.

Day 4: Sables d'Or-Les-Pins to Dinard 43km/27mi
Today's route starts with scenic pedalling through pretty farming hamlets - wonderful views across the Baie de la Fresnaye. Perhaps stop for a coffee in the bustling market town of Matignon before you head on to the popular yachting village of Lancieux, with its impressive square bell tower capped by a dome and lantern turret. Continue to gorgeous St-Briac where Debussy composed his major work 'La Mer'. The final stretch takes you to your hotel in the seaside town of Dinard.

Day 5: At Dinard
Once a sleepy fishing village on the estuary of the Rance, the English transformed Dinard into one of the most famous and upmarket seaside resorts in Europe. Although a little quieter now, it has not lost any of its charm and many of the Belle Epoque villas have become historic monuments. Walk out to the Pointe des Etretes for views of the off-shore islands, or take a 10 minute ferry across the bay to St-Malo to lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets within Intra Muros (the fortified walls) of the ancient mediaeval city.

Day 6: Dinard to Dinan 34km/21.5mi
A complete change of scene today as you cycle inland and follow the banks of the River Rance. You'll feel like you're taking a trip back in time as you pass sleepy hamlets, forgotten fishing ports and postcard-pretty St-Suliac, officially rated as un des plus beaux villages de France. Enjoy lunch at the lovely sailing port in St-Hubert then cycle along the wonderfully flat towpath to Dinan. Your hotel here overlooks the river and picturesque port, and has a lovely outdoor swimming pool if you fancy a dip.

Day 7: At Dinan
This beautifully preserved ancient walled town, with riverfront port and picturesque half-timbered buildings, is an absolute gem. Wander round the marvellously restored ancient squares and ramparts, visit the imposing 13th century castle (with dungeon), admire the flamboyant Gothic basilica and stroll the lovely cobbled streets packed with authentic artisan workshops. Maybe take lunch in the bustling Place des Merciers, where pretty triangular-gabled houses are further examples of Dinan's exceptional architectural heritage, then, in the afternoon, perhaps follow our 25km circular cycle route inland to the pretty village of Evran.

Day 8: Dinan to Lamballe 47km/29mi
Your first stop today is the picturesque little village of Lehon, then it's on through quiet farming villages to the impressive 13th century Chateau de la Hunaudaye. The ruins of this huge chateau date back over 800 years, yet the five majestic towers are still in good condition and are surrounded by a water-filled moat. You finish the day with gentle, flat cycling through the forest back to Lamballe where you can relax in the gardens and enjoy a celebratory drink before dinner - a Kir Breton (cassis and cider) maybe?

Day 9: Leave Lamballe
Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own. Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

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09-May-2021 for 8 Nights Visit Website
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Touring with Headwater

In 1985, Richard and Christine Bass made the life-changing decision to turn a passion into a business and thus Headwater was born at their kitchen table.

The first Headwater tours were launched in summer 1986 and modestly comprised three holidays in the Upper Loire Valley in France: a canoeing holiday and two self-guided walking holidays.

Their vision for Headwater was clear, right from the start. Richard and Christine wanted to offer their customers exactly what they loved in a holiday – family-run, friendly hotels, an authentic experience of a region, including culture, cuisine and fine wines, and above all a fantastic level of personal service, with staff on hand in resort to help and guide as required.

After a successful 10 years specialising in France, Headwater launched a new Great Walks in Europe brochure in 1995, offering a selection of hand-picked guided walking holidays in eight countries. As a result of the phenomenal success of this, a year later the first self-guided walking and cycling holidays in Italy were launched.

In 1999, Richard and Christine decided to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labour, and sold Headwater – but not before ensuring it was in the safest of hands to continue their legacy.

Today, they enjoy taking customers (new and loyal) on journeys on foot or by bike throughout 18 countries worldwide. Whilst they have embraced modern technology and changing times since 1985, Richard and Christine’s ethos remains key to all of their holidays and they consider it their mission to ensure that the same detail, knowledge and passion goes into delivering each and every trip.

With more than 32 years’ experience, their collection now includes 59 self-guided and 12 guided walking holidays and 62 cycling holidays. Their canoeing holiday in the Dordogne remains as popular as ever, as well as their choice of winter snow holidays (cross-country skiing and winter walking) that run between December and April in Austria and Norway.

They are particularly proud of their Headwater-employed representatives (reps) who are on-hand in 15 regions in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Bavaria. Burgundy is their longest-standing “repped region” – Richard and Christine researched the holidays and they have been running them since 1992. Their reps provide 24-hour support in resort including: briefing you on arrival, transporting your luggage from hotel to hotel, offering a ‘Wine Service’ where they collect any bottles you’ve purchased en route and transport them to your final hotel for you, and giving you tips and advice and sharing their knowledge of the local area, the routes, the best views and generally helping you to make the most of your trip. Each year, before the season starts, the reps have an in-depth training session at Headwater HQ to make sure they’re ready for the summer ahead.

Their newest addition to the Headwater portfolio is a selection of single-centre activity holidays in Brittany and the Dordogne, France and Catalunya, Spain. These are ideal for multi-generational families and groups – take a look below for some Headwater inspiration.

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