- Credit: JOB Nicolas
An insider’s guide to Finistère in Brittany, including the main attractions to visit on holiday, the best towns and villages to live in, the major festivals and events, and buying property in Finistère
Occupying the far western corner of France, Finistère in Brittany, boasts 750 miles of varied coastline, almost a quarter of the entire Brittany coast. There is much to discover along this dramatic stretch, from rugged inlets, busy fishing ports and coastlines of golden sand.
The Breton language can be heard throughout Brittany, but in Finistère it survives most strongly as a spoken language – the department’s name, and its Breton name Penn-ar-Bed, rather aptly translates as ‘end of earth’. The department is deeply influenced by the regional culture, discover Breton’s beautiful dances, songs, games and gastronomy throughout Finistère.
Sharing its border with the other Brittany departments of Côtes-d’Armor and Morhiban, Finistère is popular with holidaymakers and expats due to its distinct culture, historic medieval towns and breathtaking varied landscape.
Plane: There are seasonal flights to Quimper and year-round flights to Brest from the UK
By train: Eurostar to Paris and jump on the TGV to Quimper
By road: Quimper is 688km from Calais
By ferry: Brittany has ferry ports at St-Malo and Roscoff with regular ferries from the UK
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Places to visit in Finistère
Quimper is the ancient capital of Cornouaille, Brittany’s most traditional province, and capital of Finistère. The town has a distinctive Breton character which it celebrates every year with the Festival de Cornouaille. For one week every summer, around 250,000 visitors enjoy concerts, bag-pipe performances, bell-ringers and dancers and a Great Sunday parade which sees visitors dressed up in traditional costume, all in the town centre.
Getting its name from the Breton kemper, referring to the junction of the town’s two rivers; the Steir and Odet, Quimper is steeped in history including the impressive cathedral with stunning Gothic religious architecture and glorious stained glass windows. Also make sure to visit Vieux Quimper, a maze of pedestrianised streets full of half-timbered house, crêperies and shops celebrating Brittany’s Celtic heritage.
The medieval towns of Morlaix and Locronan are a wonder to explore. Morlaix is the only place to discover the Maison à Pondalez, the town’s overhanging house, nestled among other historic buildings. Set over four floors, the works and artefacts are housed here to showcase the daily life of Morlaix’s inhabitants, architecture and history over the years. Le Musée de Morlaix is worth visiting to soak in more of the town’s history and marvel at local art.
Things to do in Finistère
There is plenty in Finistère for nature-lovers. The Île d`Ouessent, which lies just a few kilometres from the mainland, is well worth exploring, while the Parc d`Armorique is home to colonies of grey seals, dolphins and numerous seabirds, and extends inland across central Finistère. The diverse landscape that Parc d`Armorique boasts, from scenic rolling greenery, rocky coastline, picture-perfect lakes and pretty towns and villages that dot the countryside, makes it the perfect place for a ramble.
The golden and white sands of Finistère are a paradise for beach goers with the opportunity to swim, partake in a range of watersports, coastal walks and fishing.
With such an expanse of coastline on the doorstep this is the place to indulge in all manner of seafood, including langoustines, oysters and fish available in the markets and restaurants. While in Quimper or Morlaix, traditional Breton crêpes and their savoury equivalent galettes, made with buckwheat flour, are also a must.
Buying property in Finistère
With its varied, rugged coastline, distinct Breton culture and charming historical towns, Finistère is popular with expats looking to move or purchase a second property. The department is also one of the cheapest in its region, and boasts a wide range of property styles. Expect Breton chaumières with thatched sloping roofs and built using local materials, longère houses are typical of Brittany’s rural architecture and plenty of coastal houses dot the seaside stretch of Finistère.
The average property price in this department is around €135,800, a fair amount cheaper than the average property price in France (€157,600) and the second cheapest department in the Brittany region.
As you may expect property prices do vary throughout Finistère, with the most expensive being the department’s vibrant capital Quimper with an average property price of €145,000 while the historic town of Morlaix has an average property price of
You can find properties in Finistère for sale on the France Property Shop website.