Finistère is the most westerly part of mainland France, the Land's End of Brittany, jutting out into the Atlantic. Its beautiful beaches and coastline make it a popular holiday destination. Inland there are picturesque rivers, valleys and forests as well as towns offering culture.
Finistère is steeped in history and evidence of the Celts and early Christians can be found in the menhirs and ancient chapels. It has been invaded by Romans and Normans and occupied by Spanish and German armies.
Finistère enjoys a temperate climate. It is never unbearably hot or cold, the only downside for visitors being that it can rain suddenly at any time of the year.
Average temperature in Finistere
Twenty percent of Finistère 's coastline is covered by dunes and sandy beaches. Some of the most attractive are in the Benodet, Audierne and Concarneau areas. All have fine sand ideal for making sand castles and rock pools for crabbing. It is possible to take a boat trip from the beach at Audierne to the Ile de Seine.
The quaint fishing villages such as Le Conquet are always interesting and those keen on history should not miss the megalithic standing stones, and particularly the one at Kerloas which at 9.5 metres is said to be the tallest in Europe. Pont Aven, loved so dearly by Gauguin and other artists, is ideal for a romantic stroll by the river; Concarneau with its walled town is particularly photogenic. There are also plenty of cultural opportunities to suit all tastes, from the Musee des Beaux Arts in Quimper to the Fishing Museum in Concarneau. For those wishing a touch of sophistication there is a casino in Benodet.
For families who fancy a change from the outdoors, the municipal swimming complex with its flumes and slides at Forêt Fouesnant can provide a welcome diversion. Many of the small towns in Finistère have indoor swimming pools, bowling alleys and table tennis facilities.
Food and drink
Being surrounded by sea on three sides, Finistère is famous for its seafood, particularly lobster, scallops, langoustines, oysters and mussels. The usual meat options are available on menus too with the salt-fed lamb from the little island of Ouessant, being particularly delicious. Another speciality of the region are the crêpes, served with a sweet filling such as chocolate and galettes, the buck wheat pancakes served with savoury fillings like ham and cheese. Crêperies are everywhere in Finistère catering for those who just want a quick snack as well as those wanting a more substantial meal.
If you are looking for a real gourmet experience the larger conurbations of Quimper and Brest offer a huge selection of restaurants. A comprehensive list of restaurants in Finistère with reviews (albeit in French) can be found at linternaute restaurants.
There are no opportunities for skiing in Finistere.
Walking is thoroughly enjoyable whether along the cliff tops, on the beautiful long beaches or inland where the gradients are never too challenging.
Finistère is an ideal holiday choice for those who enjoy sporting activities. Sailing is a popular pastime and activities such as surfing, sand yachting, diving, canoeing and kayaking are also becoming popular. Cycling is a joy on the region's quiet roads and there are many sign-posted paths allowing you to get off the beaten track. Finistère has seven golf courses open to all from beginners to experienced golfers. It also offers a great variety of places to horse ride from heathland to beach and there is an extensive network of bridle paths all marked with orange signs making it easy to take off on your own.
Finistère is not a wine-growing region.
Ease of access
Most visitors bring their own cars and use the western car ferry routes to get there. The Plymouth to Roscoff route is probably most convenient and takes between four and a half hours and six.
There are airports at Brest and Quimper served by four airlines from the UK and hire cars can be picked up from both airports.
If you prefer to travel by train the best way is to take the Eurostar train to Paris and from there the TGV to Quimper or Brest, both of which stations have car hire facilities.
Value for money
Finistère offers excellent value for money particularly for visitors from the UK visitors as ferry prices have come down in price recently. Eating out is comparatively reasonable and plenty of gite accommodation is available for those on a budget.
Overall rating 36/50
Finistère is one of the most popular destinations in France. If you are looking for beautiful scenery, gorgeous beaches, plenty of outdoor activities and marvelous seafood, this is the place for you.