Where are the best snorkeling spots in Brittany?

Located on the western tip of mainland France, Brittany has more than 1100km of coastline and a thousand islands and islets. Bathed by the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, it shelters diverse environments, including small creeks, sandy beaches, rocky islets, drop-offs and wrecks.

If Brittany is full of underwater life, snorkeling is sometimes less easy than elsewhere because of the fast-changing sea conditions. Depending on the day, the same cove can offer a peaceful sea with translucent water or on the contrary be beaten by foam and waves. Even if it may be disappointing, it is better to postpone your snorkeling if the sea is not perfectly calm when you reach the spot.

Crique à Belle Île en Mer
When the sea is calm, the creecks of Belle-Île-en-Mer are perfect, stunning snorkeling spots.

For snorkeling Brittany, you’ll also have to take into consideration the tides, among the most important in Europe. Snorkeling is generally better at low tide, when the currents are the weakest and the visibility is at its best. Finally, be prepared for cool to cold water, including during the summer months.

Ready for a tour of the best snorkeling spots in Brittany? Let’s go!

The best snorkeling spots in Northern Brittany

Pink Granite Coast

The Pink Granite Coast, which stretches for about ten kilometers between Perros-Guirec and Trébeurden, boasts a unique landscape where wild creeks follow one another. You can snorkel from the shore in many locations, such as Crique du Squeouel, Plage de l’Île Renote, Plage de Trestrignel and around Île Grande. The granite boulders create a stunning underwater topography called home by a diversity of fish and invertebrates.

Offshore, the Seven Islands National Nature Reserve shelters some great snorkeling spots, particularly along the small beach near Île aux Moines jetty and on the southern coast of Île Bono.

Gobie à la Crique du Squeouel
Gobies are abundant along Brittany’s shores. Here, a leopard-spotted goby (Thorogobius ephippiatus) at Crique du Squéouel.

Morlaix Bay

The Bay of Morlaix, dotted with islets, is known for its grey seals. They are mainly encountered during boat trips from Plougasnou, Locquirec, Carantec, or Plouezoch. Book in advance, as the trips are limited to avoid disturbing the seals.

If you are more into shore snorkeling, we recommend experienced snorkelers (equipped with a diving flag) to explore Île Louët, in Carantec, which can be reached by swimming from Tahiti Beach. Other islets, like Château du Taureau or Île aux Dames, require a kayak or a small boat.

Batz Island

Batz Island, sheltered from the main currents, offers most of the time very good snorkeling conditions. Located only 15 minutes by boat from Roscoff on the mainland, it is a popular day trip in the region. Once on the island, rent a bike and go snorkeling at Plage de Porz Leien, Plage de Porz Alliou, or Plage de la Grève Blanche.

Etoile de mer à la Crique du Squeouel
The spiny starfish (Marthasterias glacialis), which can grow to 80cm, is the most common sea star species in Brittany. Here, at Crique du Squéouel.

The Coast of Legends

At the northern tip of Finistère, between Plouguerneau and Keremma, lies the Côte des Légendes, where grey rocks and sand dunes follow one another. The dozens of islets facing the coast are called home by grey seals, which snorkelers can encounter during boat tours. The main starting point for seal-watching tours is Plouguerneau.

Brignognan coastline is often considered the best area for shore snorkeling on the Côte des Légendes. Head to Plage de Ménez Ham, Plage du Phare or Plage des Chardons Bleus, which all hosts a nice seabed full of life.

The best snorkeling spots in Western Brittany

Le Conquet and Plougonvelin

Le Conquet/Plougonvelin area, located around Pointe Saint-Mathieu, is one of the best regions for snorkeling from the beach in western Brittany. Plage des Blancs Sablons and Plage d’Illien, in Le Conquet, as well as the rocky cliffs of Fort de Bertheaume, in Plougonvelin, are the most renowned locations.

Plage de l'Ile Vierge, Crozon
Plage de l’Île Vierge, in Crozon, is regularly voted among the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

Presqu’île de Crozon

A little further south, the Crozon Peninsula, located in the heart of the Iroise Natural Marine Park, is another great area for snorkeling. Camaret-sur-Mer, at the tip of the peninsula, has good shore snorkeling, such as in Pointe du Toulinguet, which can be reached from Plage de Pen Hat.

Local guides also offer snorkeling boat trips to the surrounding islets, such as the Rocher du Lion. South of Crozon, Plage de l’Île Vierge and its turquoise waters is considered the most beautiful beach in Brittany. It offers an exceptional setting for beach snorkeling, but it is often closed by the local authorities.

Phoque gris aux Etocs
The Etocs Archipelago is one of the best spots in Brittany to swim with seals.

Audierne Bay

Audierne Bay, between Audierne and Penmarc’h, mostly offers large sandy beaches with a poor seabed. However, the rocky points in the north and south of the bay are home to some nice coves, especially in Cap Sizun, on the north coast.

On the south side, decent snorkeling is found in Penmarc’h, for example at Plage de la Grève Blanche and Plage du Stêr. However, the best snorkeling explorations are found offshore: the Etocs Archipelago, only two miles from Penmarc’h, is a well-known area for swimming with grey seals.

La côte près du Fort de Bertheaume
The coast near Fort de Bertheaume, in the background, has interesting snorkeling.

The best snorkeling spots in Southern Brittany

Brittany’s south coast offers great snorkeling opportunities. On the mainland coast, the best spots are located on the Quiberon peninsula, especially at Plage du Porigo, Plage de l’Aérodrome, Plage du Conguel or Pointe du Conguel. Anse de Rospico, in Névez, is also a good option.

Belle-Île-en-Mer

With its 80km of coastline partially protected by marine reserves, Belle-Île-en-Mer has healthy seabeds inhabited by many fish. Plage de Port Jean and Plage de Port Fouquet, nestled in narrow rocky creeks, are perhaps the best spots on the north coast. In the east, we recommend Port Guen Beach, while Dotchot Beach and Yeyew Beach are among the most popular spots on the south coast.

The Aiguilles de Port-Coton, revealed in several Monet paintings, is one of the most famous landscapes of Belle-Île. You can consider snorkeling in this exceptional setting but only when the sea is perfectly calm, which is pretty rare.

Archipel des Glénans
Glénans Archipelago.

Groix Island

45 minutes by boat from Lorient, the small and picturesque Île de Groix features contrasting landscapes. Wild coves, beaches and cliffs are successively found along its coastline covered with lush vegetation.

Tahiti Beach, a bit less than 4km west of the port, is often considered the best spot on the island. Nearby Port Melin and Plage du Heno, which is next to the harbor breakwater, are also good options.

Glénans Archipelago

The Glénans archipelago, south of Concarneau, is made of 7 islets forming in their heart a shallow and sheltered sea, looking like a tropical lagoon. Here, snorkeling is easy, above small sandy and rocky beds accessible from the beaches. Plage de l’Île Saint-Nicolas is one of the most crowded spots, but Guiriden Island‘s sandbank and Penfret Island beaches are also worth a visit.

Homard
Lobsters are pretty common along the coast, but you’ll have to skindive a bit to get a chance to spot them.

What will I see underwater when snorkeling in Brittany?

Bordered by the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, Brittany is home to cold sea ecosystems. Forests of large brown algae, such as Himanthalia and kelp, are some of its most emblematic underwater environments. Scree, rocky drop-offs and sandy beds are also found in the region. The foreshore, this coastal strip alternately covered and uncovered by the sea, also comes to life at high tide.

Numerous species of fish, such as mullets, blennies and wrasses abound on the shallows. It is not uncommon to encounter conger eels at shallow depths, often hidden in the crevices. Brittany coasts also support many invertebrates species, including octopus, cuttlefish, spider crabs, nudibranchs, lobsters and starfish.

But the most popular inhabitants of the region are the grey seals, whose populations have increased in recent years thanks to protection measures. It is now estimated that 600 seals live on the coasts and islets of Brittany. If you want to snorkel with them, take a tour with a local guide in Bay of Morlaix, Bay of Audierne and along the Côte des Légendes. 

When is the best time to go snorkeling Brittany?

Brittany has a temperate oceanic climate, marked by cool summers. Even in July and August, which are the best months for snorkeling in the region, the average day temperature is only 20 to 25°C. This is reflected in the water, which rarely gets above 20°C, usually around 17 to 19°C.

For these reasons, it is recommended to wear a wetsuit to avoid getting cold too quickly. If you can consider snorkeling from June to September, the water remains far too cold the rest of the year unless you are equipped with a thick wetsuit.

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