Follow us on Instagram @moonhoneytravelers for hiking and travel inspiration!

How to Visit Belle-Ile in Brittany, France

Belle-Ile-en-Mer, or simply Belle-Ile, is the largest island in Brittany in Northern France.

This Breton Island, lovingly named “beautiful island,” is located 14 km south of Point de Quiberon in the department of Morbihan. 

The coast of Belle-île is pristine, rugged, and undeveloped. The shoreline alternates between rugged cliffs and beautiful sweeps of sand. In fact, there are 58 beaches on the island. 

All around Belle Isle, sculpturesque islets stand just offshore, adding further drama to the wild seascapes. The interior is mostly characterized by farmland and hamlets. 

Walkers flock here to hike along the GR 340 Tour de Belle-île, which runs along the entire coastline. Whether you walk a section of the coastal trail, or complete the 5-day circuit, you will be mesmerized by the trail’s raw beauty and peace. 

Belle-Ile measures 17 km by 9 km and is home to 5611 permanent residents called Bellilois and Belliloises. The island’s principal towns are Le Palais, linked to Quiberon by ferry, and Sauzon. 

We visited Belle-île as a day trip from Quiberon. Indeed, this was one of the best experiences of our Brittany trip. We’ll explain exactly how we structured our day trip and provide insights on how to visit Brittany’s pearl of the sea. 

Phare des Poulains lighthouse, Belle Ile En Mer, Brittany, France

Belle-Ile Map

How to use this map | Click on the trails and icons to display further information.

How to Get to Belle-Ile-en-Mer in Brittany 

Quiberon – Belle-Ile Ferry

Quiberon - Belle Ile Ferry, Brittany, France

A frequent ferry operated by Compagnie Océane runs between Quiberon (Port-Maria) and Belle-île (Le Palais). The ferry ride lasts 50 minutes. 

Most ferry passengers travel to Belle-île as pedestrians. When you arrive on the island, you can rent a car, bike, or scooter. Or, you can navigate the island with the local buses. 

Though you can technically bring a car to Belle-île, it’s expensive (216.70 EUR) and there’s limited capacity. If you’re visiting Belle-Ile for the day, we recommend leaving your car parked at your accommodation in Quiberon and walking to the ferry terminal. Read this guide for further information on where to park in Quiberon.

Quiberon Port-Maria Ferry Terminal, Brittany, France

Quiberon – Belle-Ile Ferry Booking | You can purchase tickets in-person at the ferry terminal in Quiberon, or online in advance The booking portal shows real-time passenger/car capacity, so you can evaluate how soon to book your tickets. 

Note: When you purchase a ferry ride, you must select a specific departure time. These times are fixed and cannot be modified. 

For our Belle-île day trip, we booked the first ferry departing from Quiberon in the morning (7:45 am) and the last ferry departing from Belle-île (Le Palais) in the evening (6:40 pm). 

Quiberon – Belle-Ile Ferry Pricing | 39.80 EUR per adult 

Quiberon Ferry Location | Port Maria Ferry Terminal (Google Maps). To access the ferry, locate the modern, light-filled ferry terminal on Quai de Belle-île between Plage Port Maria and La Grande Plage. Tickets are sold inside the building. At the south-end, passengers line up for the next ferry about 15 minutes before departure. 

Belle-île Ferry Location | Port de Le Palais (Google Maps). The attractive port of Palais is located across from restaurants, bike rental shops, and hotels. 

Getting around Belle-Ile

Le Palais, Belle Ile, Brittany, France

The main ways to get around the island are by bike, car, or by bus. You can rent the former two from various outfitters in Le Palais. 

We decided to use the local buses to navigate the island. 

Belle-Ile Bus Lines 

All Belle-île Buses depart from the Gare routière bus stop in Le Palais (Google Maps). From Port de Le Palais, it’s a 10-minute walk to the bus stop. 

There are three bus lines that link the Le Palais bus station (Gare routière) with Belle-Ile destinations:

Ligne 1: Sauzon

Ligne 2: Bangor

Ligne 3: Locmaria 

Between mid-July and late-August, there’s an additional bus line: Ligne 4 – les 4 communes. 

Belle Ile Bus Timetable | Download the current timetables on

Bus Tickets | Tickets are sold on the bus. You can pay with cash (EUR coins/small bills preferred), or by card. A single bus ticket costs 3 EUR. 

Our Belle-Ile Day Trip: Port Coton to the Poulains Lighthouse Hike

Côte Sauvage, Wild Coast of Belle Ile Island, Brittany, France

With one full day in Belle-Ile, we decided to hike a chunk of the GR 340 Tour de Belle-île along the island’s Côte Sauvage (Wild Coast). 

Specifically, we hiked the stretch from Port Coton to Les Poulains. There are no facilities, or eateries along the trail. It’s important to pack sufficient water and food for the hike. 

Upon arrival in Port de Le Palais, we immediately bought a few baguette sandwiches from Boulangerie Pain de Sucre.

We took the first possible bus from Gare routière to Port Coton (bus line 2). This bus ride takes 23 minutes. 

From Port Coton, we followed the coastal trail north all the way to Les Poulains. 

The wild coast of Belle Ile is highly-indented. The path meanders up and down around deep and narrow bays, making progress along the coast slower and more circuitous than we anticipated. 

It’s a gorgeous, windswept trail across heathland with absolutely no development. Though, I dare say, a crêperie mid-hike would have been a welcome sight. 

Highlights of the route are Les Aiguilles de Port Coton, Plage du Donnant, and Phare des Poulains.

The path is clearly waymarked with red and yellow blazes. Due to erosion, the trail sometimes deviates from the original costal path. 

From Les Poulains, we returned to Le Palais with bus line 1 (25 minutes) and rewarded our efforts with cassis ice cream at Audrey ECHARD Artisane Glacière (Google Maps) and cider at Chez Lucienne (Google Maps).

Trail Stats 

Starting Point | Port Coton Bus Stop

Ending Point | Les Poulains Bus Stop

Distance | 19.4 km point-to-point

Time Needed | 5:30 hours

Elevation Gain | 150 meters

Elevation Loss | 155 meters

Difficulty | Easy

Beautiful Places to Visit on Belle-Ile

Les Aiguilles de Port Coton 

Les Aiguilles de Port Coton, Belle Ile, Brittany, France

Les Aiguilles de Port Coton are striking jagged islets that stand just offshore along Belle Isle’s Côte Sauvage. 

In stormy weather, waves break upon the rock formations, whipping up a foam substance that resembles cotton. Hence, this unique landscape is called the “needles of the Port Cotton.”

In 1886, the impressionist painter Claude Monet immortalized these unique rock formations in a series of paintings. 

Les Aiguilles de Port Coton is accessible by car, or by bus. Take bus line 2 (Ligne 2: Bangor) from Le Palais to Port Coton. 

When we visited, we hiked from Les Aiguilles de Port Coton to Pointe des Poulains. If you’re interested in a shorter route, we recommend disembarking bus line 2 at Donnant. Hike to Plage du Donnant and continue south to Les Aiguilles de Port Coton, where you can hop on bus 2 again back to Le Palais.

Plage de Donnant

Plage de Donnant Beach, Belle Ile, Brittany, France

Plage de Donnant is a gorgeous sandy beach, studded with large boulders and bordered by sand dunes, along Côte Sauvage. 

On sunny days, Plage de Donnant is a feast for the eyes. Crystal-clear turquoise waters lap across a rock-spangled, apricot-colored beach. 

In July and August, Donnant beach is a popular destination for surfing. 

The closest bus stop to Plage de Donnant is Donnant along bus line 2. There are car parks located north and northwest of the beach as well. 

Pointe des Poulains 

Pointe des Poulains and the Poulains Lighthouse, Belle Ile, Brittany, France

Pointe des Poulains is the rugged northwestern tip of Belle-Ile, marked by a picturesque lighthouse, dating back to 1868. The Poulains lighthouse was electrified in 1950 and automated in 1987. 

Highlights of visiting Les Poulains (Beg-er-Bolenn in Breton) are seeing the lighthouse and swimming around the sheltered Plage des Poulains. 

Les Poulains is also historically tied to the iconic French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt, who summered here with an avant-garde entourage of friends and fellow artists between 1894 and 1922. Her residence, a transformed fortress, still stands along with the Villa des Cinque Parties du Monde, which she built in order to house her family. The Villa is now a museum dedicated to her life and work. 

Pointe des Poulains is accessible by car, or by bus (bus line 1). From the car park, it’s a 10-minute walk to the lighthouse.

Le Palais 

During the summer season, the principal port of Belle Ile serves as the island’s main point of arrival and departure. 

Naturally, Le Palais is a bustling, energetic place that makes a rather great first impression. When you arrive, you’ll see the defensive walls of the Vauban Citadel and a colorful ensemble of buildings, housing bakeries, hotels, restaurants, and tourist services. 

During our visit, we enjoyed ice cream at Audrey ECHARD Artisane Glacière (Google Maps), cider at the atmospheric Chez Lucienne (Google Maps), pastries from Boulangerie Le Fournil (Google Maps), and baguette sandwiches from Boulangerie Pain de Sucre (Google Maps). 

Where to Stay in Belle-Ile

Le Palais

Le Palais Town, Belle Ile, Brittany, France

Budget-Midrange | The harborside Hôtel Atlantique is housed in a charming 18th-century building that has been recently renovated. Situated on Quai de l’Acadie, this small hotel and restaurant is one of the first buildings you’ll see when you disembark the ferry. Rooms are spotless. Luggage storage is provided. 

Budget-Midrange | Hôtel Restaurant Corto Maltese stands across from the église Saint-Gérand du Palais church, a short walk away from the port. This charming butter-yellow hotel offers 11 renovated double and family rooms and an on-site restaurant. 

Midrange | Brittany Grand Hotel is located at Port de le Palais, across from where the ferry docks. This central hotel has an on-site restaurant and bar with a harbor view. Guests love the breakfast, the friendly staff, and the clean rooms with soundproof windows. 

Look for accommodation in Le Palais.


Midrange | The harborside Bed & Breakfast “Villa Pen Prad” is a cozy B&B in Sauzon with a panoramic garden terrace. 

Midrange-Luxury | Hôtel Le Cardinal Belle-Île occupies a privileged hilltop position overlooking Sauzon Bay. Stay here for the dreamy setting, the on-site restaurant, panoramic outdoor pool and jacuzzi, and fantastic breakfast. 

Look for accommodation in Sauzon

Les Poulains 

Midrange | Chambres d’hôtes “La maison des Poulains” is a top-rated B&B advantageously located near the GR 340 and the lighthouse at Pointe des Poulains.Breakfast is included. A gourmet, locally-sourced and freshly prepared 4-course dinner is available on-site, but must be reserved in advance due to limited seating (49 EUR discovery menu).

Côte Sauvage 

Luxury | Hôtel Le Grand Large Belle-île-en-mer is a seafront hotel with an on-site restaurant and outdoor pool, set along the wild coast of Belle-Ile, a short walk away from the Les Aiguilles de Port Coton. Stay here for the truly unbeatable location. 

Where to Stay in Quiberon 

Quiberon, Brittany, France

Budget-Midrange | Hôtel La Petite Sirène offers seaview rooms and apartments in Quiberon. It’s a pleasant 20-minute walk from the hotel to the ferry terminal along the coastal path and promenade. Free on-site parking available. 

Midrange | Hôtel Ker Noyal is a clean and comfortable 3-star hotel, centrally-located in Quiberon near La Grande Plage and a 14-minute walk to the Quiberon ferry terminal. 

4-Bedroom House | Domaine de la pointe Quiberon is a spacious and modern house with a perfectly-equipped kitchen, washing machine, garden, and on-site parking. This is a perfect option for families. 

Look for accommodation in Quiberon

France Travel Guides



Calanques National Park:

How to Visit Belle Ile Island, Brittany, France

Pin this Image for Future Trip Planning!

Stay Connected:

Connect with us on Pinterest.

Follow us on Instagram.

Like us on Facebook.

Sign up for our Newsletter.

Support Us:

If you love reading our content, you can tip us via Ko-Fi.

Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails, Sabrina and Kati

Leave a Comment