If you are planning a walking holiday in Brittany it is worth giving plenty of thought to accommodation. Choose somewhere to stay for practical reasons of access to trails or transport rather than for an idyllic location with limited walking prospects. An establishment specifically geared to walkers will be a great advantage. Not only might you get relevant extras like boot-rooms and drying facilities, but your hosts will be experienced walkers and well able to give advice about their area. Other particular needs like packed lunches, baggage transport and lifts will be understood and met – not always the case in any old B&B or hotel.
Linear walking, such as the coastal path, requires careful planning for the end of the day and the need to return to the starting point or to your accommodation. Buses and taxis are reliable forms of public transport (timetables and pre-booking possible online), but in more remote areas, collection by car may be the only option. Discussing this kind of requirement when booking accommodation can make a lot of difference to the quality of your holiday. Similarly, if you come to Brittany without a car, collection from the station/air-port and lifts to a daily starting-point will be essential. Charges for these services are usually reasonable.
Specialist walkers’ accommodation can be found through the Rando-accueil scheme. Premises are inspected and owners’ experience taken into account before a listing is granted. Full details of walker-friendly places to stay in Brittany under this label can be found on the website www.rando-accueil.com/Bretagne
An example is the chambres d’hotes at Parcou, Plonevez-du-Faou in Finistere, run by Alice and Eric Murphy. They are keen walkers and have even completed the long-distance Compostella Trail from Brittany to Spain.
Many walkers want only basic accommodation, such as a bed in a dormitory, especially if they are on the move to a new location every day. The gite d’étape is designed to meet this need for walkers and cyclists. These are hostel-style venues, often on walking trails (such as the Nantes-Brest canal), although there may be private rooms in addition to shared ones. Bathrooms and toilets are usually shared. A simple breakfast will be available and cooking facilities. Some offer cooked evening meals and packed lunches if booked in advance. The website www.gite-etape.com has a search by department facility. These places can be very busy in summer, so planning ahead is always a good idea, but they do offer the possibility of a true budget holiday.
And don’t forget, the accommodation advertisers here on our website are all excellent hosts and very walker-friendly!