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The Île-d’Arz Travel Guide – An Island In Brittany


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Julie Wing



Welcome to Île-d’Arz, a picturesque island nestled in the Golfe du Morbihan, a stunning bay in Brittany, France. With its serene beaches, rugged coastlines, and rich historical heritage, Île-d’Arz offers a unique and enchanting experience for travelers seeking a peaceful getaway.


Located just off the coast of the mainland, Île-d’Arz is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists. This allows visitors to revel in the island’s unspoiled beauty and immerse themselves in its tranquil atmosphere. Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply in search of a peaceful retreat, Île-d’Arz has something to offer for everyone.


As you step foot on the island, you’ll be greeted by picturesque landscapes filled with vibrant flora, charming stone houses, and winding paths that lead to secret coves and hidden beaches. The island’s small size, spanning just over 5 square kilometers, makes it easily accessible and perfect for exploration on foot or by bicycle.


Île-d’Arz boasts a rich history that dates back centuries. It was once a strategic location for both the Romans and the Vikings due to its favorable position in the Golfe du Morbihan. Today, remnants of this fascinating past can be seen in the ancient stone ruins and historical landmarks that dot the island.


Aside from its natural beauty and historical significance, Île-d’Arz is also renowned for its warm and welcoming community. The locals take great pride in their island and are eager to share its treasures with visitors. You’ll find a variety of charming shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a taste of local cuisine and culture.


Whether you’re looking to relax on the sandy beaches, engage in water sports, embark on scenic walks, or indulge in delectable seafood, Île-d’Arz has it all. So pack your bags, leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and escape to this idyllic island in Brittany.


Getting to Île-d’Arz

Getting to Île-d’Arz is a breeze, thanks to its convenient location near the mainland. The first step is to make your way to the town of Vannes, which serves as the gateway to the Golfe du Morbihan. From there, you have several options to reach the island.


If you’re travelling by car, you can drive to Vannes and park your vehicle in one of the designated parking areas near the pier. Regular ferries operate from Vannes to Île-d’Arz throughout the year. The journey takes about 30 minutes, and the ferry service is reliable and efficient.


Alternatively, if you prefer public transportation, you can take a train or a bus to Vannes. Vannes is well-connected to major cities in France, making it easily accessible from different parts of the country. Once you arrive at Vannes, you can walk to the pier and catch a ferry to Île-d’Arz.


For those coming from further afield, the nearest airport to Île-d’Arz is Nantes Atlantique Airport. From the airport, you can take a shuttle bus or a taxi to Vannes, and then proceed to the pier as mentioned previously.


Once you disembark from the ferry at Île-d’Arz, you’ll be greeted by a small harbor where you can find bicycle rentals and local transportation options. Biking is a popular mode of transport on the island, allowing visitors to explore its hidden corners and scenic paths at their own pace. You can also choose to walk or take the local shuttle bus to your accommodation or preferred destination on the island.


It’s worth noting that ferry schedules may vary depending on the time of year, so it’s advisable to check the timetable in advance and plan your journey accordingly. Additionally, during the summer months, there may be additional ferry services to accommodate the higher influx of tourists.


With various transportation options available and its close proximity to the mainland, reaching Île-d’Arz is both convenient and enjoyable, setting the stage for an unforgettable island adventure.


Exploring the Island

Once you arrive on Île-d’Arz, you’ll be captivated by the island’s natural beauty and the plethora of activities and attractions it has to offer. Here are a few highlights to make your exploration of the island truly memorable:

  • Village Center: Start your journey by exploring the charming village center of Île-d’Arz. Meander through its narrow streets, adorned with colorful flowers and traditional stone houses. Discover hidden boutiques, art galleries, and local cafes where you can sample delicious pastries and immerse yourself in the island’s laid-back ambiance.
  • Church of Saint-Joseph: Visit the Church of Saint-Joseph, a beautiful landmark that stands proudly in the heart of the village. Admire its stunning architecture and step inside to marvel at its intricate stained glass windows. Take a moment to soak in the tranquility and reflect on the island’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Megalithic Sites: Île-d’Arz is home to several megalithic sites, remnants of ancient civilizations that once thrived on the island. Visit the Alignements de Billiers, a collection of standing stones that offer a glimpse into the island’s prehistoric past. Marvel at the ingenuity of those who built these structures and contemplate the mysteries they hold.
  • Coastal Walks: Lace up your walking shoes and embark on one of the scenic coastal walks that encircle the island. Follow the path along the rugged coastline and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Golfe du Morbihan and the surrounding islands. Keep an eye out for wildlife and seabirds that call this area home.
  • Île aux Moines: Take a short boat ride to the neighboring island of Île aux Moines, a larger and equally charming island in the Golfe du Morbihan. Explore its picturesque beaches, visit the quaint village, and indulge in the local cuisine. This excursion provides an opportunity to further immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.

Whether you choose to wander through the village, uncover the island’s historical treasures, or embrace the serenity of its coastal landscapes, exploring Île-d’Arz promises a rewarding experience for all who visit. Immerse yourself in the island’s unique charm, breathe in the fresh sea air, and let the beauty of Île-d’Arz captivate your senses.


Beaches and Water Activities

One of the main attractions of Île-d’Arz is its stunning beaches that offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. With its crystal-clear waters and golden sands, the island boasts several pristine beaches that cater to all types of beachgoers:

  • Plage de Brouël: This popular beach on the western side of the island is known for its calm waters and soft sands. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, picnicking, or enjoying a leisurely swim. The shallow waters make it great for families with children.
  • Plage de la Croix: Located on the eastern side of Île-d’Arz, this beach offers a more secluded and tranquil atmosphere. Surrounded by dunes and dotted with marram grass, it feels like a hidden gem. Relax on the sand, take a dip in the refreshing waters, or simply bask in the serenity of the surroundings.
  • Water Sports: For those seeking a bit of adventure, Île-d’Arz offers a range of water sports activities. Get your adrenaline pumping with kayaking or paddleboarding, and explore the coastline from a different perspective. Canoe rentals are also available for those who want to venture further into the Golfe du Morbihan.
  • Sailing Excursions: Take to the open waters on a sailing excursion around Île-d’Arz. Join a guided boat tour or charter your own sailboat to explore the stunning beauty of the Golfe du Morbihan. Admire the rugged coastlines, pass by other islands in the bay, and enjoy the feeling of the sea breeze on your face.
  • Fishing: For fishing enthusiasts, Île-d’Arz offers ample opportunities to cast a line and try your luck. You can fish from the shore, hire a local fishing guide to take you to the best spots, or even join a fishing excursion to experience the thrill of the open sea.

Whether you prefer to relax on the beach, partake in exhilarating water sports, or embark on a sailing adventure, Île-d’Arz offers something for everyone. Soak up the sun, feel the sand between your toes, and let the turquoise waters of the Golfe du Morbihan invite you to create unforgettable beach holiday memories.


Hiking and Nature Walks

With its diverse landscapes and picturesque scenery, Île-d’Arz provides the perfect backdrop for hiking and nature walks. Lace up your hiking boots and set off on one of the many scenic trails that crisscross the island. Here are a few highlights to explore:

  • Le Sentier du Littoral: This coastal trail offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and the sparkling waters of the Golfe du Morbihan. As you walk along the path, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas and the opportunity to spot seabirds soaring overhead. Keep an eye out for hidden coves and secluded beaches that invite you to take a refreshing dip.
  • Les Chemins Creux: Wander along the picturesque “chemins creux,” or sunken paths, that wind through lush green meadows and hedgerows. These ancient pathways are a remnant of the island’s agricultural past and offer a glimpse into its rural charm. Listen to the birdsong, breathe in the scents of wildflowers, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.
  • Bois d’Arz: Explore the woodlands of Bois d’Arz, a beautiful forested area on the island. Follow the marked trails that lead you through oak and pine trees, discovering hidden ponds and streams along the way. This serene oasis provides a peaceful retreat where you can reconnect with nature and enjoy the soothing sounds of the forest.
  • Moulin de Berno: Take a leisurely stroll to the Moulin de Berno, an iconic windmill that stands as a testament to the island’s rural heritage. The trail leading to the windmill is lined with wildflowers, creating a scenic and idyllic setting. Once you reach the windmill, take in the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and learn about its historical significance.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply enjoy leisurely walks in nature, Île-d’Arz offers a range of trails to suit all preferences and fitness levels. Each step brings you closer to the island’s natural wonders, allowing you to experience its beauty up close and personal. So, don’t forget to bring your camera, pack a picnic, and savor the serenity of Île-d’Arz as you explore its enchanting trails.


Local Cuisine and Restaurants

Île-d’Arz is not only a feast for the eyes but also a treat for the taste buds. The island boasts a variety of restaurants and eateries that showcase the delicious flavors of Brittany’s cuisine. From fresh seafood to traditional Breton dishes, here are some culinary highlights to indulge in during your visit:

  • Seafood Delicacies: Being surrounded by the sea, Île-d’Arz offers an abundance of fresh seafood. Start your gastronomic adventure with a plate of succulent oysters, which are a specialty of the Gulf region. Treat yourself to a seafood platter brimming with lobster, langoustines, prawns, and crab, all sourced locally. Don’t miss the chance to savor the delicate flavors of moules marinières (steamed mussels) or indulge in a hearty fish stew.
  • Traditional Galettes and Crêpes: No visit to Brittany is complete without trying galettes (buckwheat pancakes) and crêpes. Head to one of the island’s charming crêperies and sample a variety of savory galettes filled with ingredients like cheese, ham, or mushrooms. Then satisfy your sweet tooth with a mouthwatering dessert crêpe, topped with Nutella, caramel, or fresh fruits.
  • Local Produce: Île-d’Arz is known for its agricultural heritage, and you can taste the island’s bountiful produce in dishes that showcase the region’s natural flavors. Explore the island’s markets to find fresh vegetables, artisanal cheese, local honey, and other delicacies. Many restaurants on the island prioritize using locally sourced ingredients in their menus, ensuring a true taste of Île-d’Arz.
  • Cider and Local Beverages: Complete your culinary journey with a glass of traditional Breton cider, made from locally grown apples. Sample different varieties of cider, from crisp and dry to sweet and sparkling. You can also explore the island’s local breweries and vineyards to discover unique beverages that reflect the island’s terroir.

Île-d’Arz perfectly combines the flavors of the land and sea, offering a delectable culinary experience that showcases the region’s rich gastronomic heritage. Whether you’re dining in a cozy restaurant, enjoying a picnic on the beach, or tasting local specialties at a food market, let your taste buds be delighted by the authentic flavors that define the cuisine of Île-d’Arz.


Accommodation Options

When it comes to accommodation, Île-d’Arz offers a variety of options to cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you are looking for a cozy bed and breakfast, a charming guesthouse, or a self-catering cottage, you’ll find something to suit your needs on the island:

  • Charming Bed and Breakfasts: Experience the warm hospitality of Île-d’Arz by staying in one of the island’s charming bed and breakfast establishments. These family-run accommodations offer comfortable rooms, delicious breakfasts, and the chance to connect with the locals. Wake up to a homemade breakfast featuring local produce, and get insights into the island’s hidden gems from your friendly hosts.
  • Quaint Guesthouses: Immerse yourself in the island’s ambiance by choosing a quaint guesthouse for your stay. These establishments often feature traditional architecture and cozy rooms adorned with rustic decor. Enjoy personalized service and a home-away-from-home atmosphere, with some guesthouses offering communal areas where you can relax and mingle with fellow travelers.
  • Self-Catering Cottages: For those who prefer more independence and privacy, self-catering cottages are a popular choice on Île-d’Arz. Renting a cottage provides the flexibility to cook your own meals and create a personalized holiday experience. Many cottages come with fully equipped kitchens, allowing you to sample local ingredients and try your hand at Breton cuisine.
  • Campgrounds: Camping enthusiasts will find campgrounds on Île-d’Arz that offer a serene and natural setting for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy the simplicity of camping amidst the island’s scenic landscapes, with some campgrounds offering facilities such as showers, electricity, and picnic areas.
  • Luxury Retreats: If you’re seeking a luxurious experience, Île-d’Arz also has options to cater to your taste. Look for boutique hotels or upscale accommodations that offer luxurious amenities, spa facilities, and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Indulge in the finer things in life while immersing yourself in the island’s natural beauty.

Regardless of your choice, staying on Île-d’Arz provides an opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and immerse yourself in the island’s serene and idyllic surroundings. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping, breathe in the fresh sea air, and let your chosen accommodation contribute to a memorable and rejuvenating island getaway.


Shopping and Souvenirs

Exploring the local shops and boutiques on Île-d’Arz is a delightful experience, offering a chance to discover unique treasures and bring a piece of the island home with you. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, local crafts, or gourmet treats, the island has something to satisfy every shopper’s desires:

  • Local Artisans: Île-d’Arz is home to a vibrant community of local artisans who create beautiful handmade products. Browse through art galleries and studios to find unique artwork, ceramics, and jewelry that showcase the island’s creativity and craftsmanship. Investing in a piece of locally made art is not only a wonderful souvenir but also a way to support the island’s artistic community.
  • Food and Drink: Indulge in the flavors of the region by exploring the island’s specialty food shops. Look for jars of local honey, artisanal cheese, homemade jams, and cider. These delicious treats not only make great gifts for loved ones but also allow you to savor the flavors of Île-d’Arz long after your visit. Don’t forget to also sample local seafood products, such as canned sardines or salted fish, which make for unique and tasty souvenirs.
  • Island-inspired Fashion: Discover clothing boutiques that feature fashionable apparel inspired by the island’s coastal charm. Look for comfortable and stylish beachwear, locally made accessories, and eco-friendly clothing options. These fashion finds not only add variety to your wardrobe but also serve as reminders of your time spent on Île-d’Arz.
  • Local Produce Markets: Immerse yourself in the island’s culinary culture by visiting local produce markets. These bustling markets, usually held on select days of the week, offer fresh fruits, vegetables, artisanal bread, and other local products. Engage with the friendly vendors, sample the flavors of the region, and gather ingredients to create your own authentic Breton-inspired meals at home.
  • Souvenir Shops: Don’t forget to visit the island’s souvenir shops, which offer a variety of trinkets, postcards, and memorabilia to commemorate your visit. From keychains and magnets to t-shirts and hats, you’ll find a range of items that allow you to take home a small piece of Île-d’Arz.

Whether you’re a dedicated shopper or simply enjoy browsing for unique finds, Île-d’Arz offers a delightful shopping experience. Take the time to explore the island’s shops, support local businesses, and find that perfect memento that will forever remind you of your time on this enchanting island in Brittany.


Visiting Nearby Attractions

While Île-d’Arz offers a serene and captivating escape, there are also several nearby attractions that are worth exploring. Take advantage of the island’s location in the Golfe du Morbihan to discover the beauty of the surrounding region:

  • Île aux Moines: Just a short boat ride from Île-d’Arz lies Île aux Moines, another picturesque island in the Golfe du Morbihan. Explore its charming village, take a leisurely stroll along its beaches, and visit the quaint shops and cafes that line its streets. With its own unique charm, Île aux Moines offers a delightful day trip from Île-d’Arz.
  • Vannes: As the gateway to the Golfe du Morbihan, the historic city of Vannes is a must-visit destination. Explore its medieval streets, visit the stunning Vannes Cathedral, and wander along the city walls that offer panoramic views of the harbor. Enjoy a leisurely boat tour of the Gulf, visit the museums, or simply soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling city.
  • Le Château de Suscinio: Located a short distance from Île-d’Arz, Le Château de Suscinio is a magnificent castle steeped in history. Explore its well-preserved rooms, stroll through its beautiful gardens, and learn about the castle’s fascinating past. With its strategic location near the Golfe du Morbihan, the castle offers a glimpse into medieval life in the region.
  • Megalithic Sites of Carnac: Embark on a day trip to the nearby town of Carnac and discover its impressive megalithic sites. The Carnac Stones, a collection of ancient standing stones, is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Europe. Marvel at the size and arrangement of these ancient stones and ponder the mysteries that surround them.
  • Presqu’île de Quiberon: Venture further afield to the stunning Presqu’île de Quiberon. Known for its rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and picturesque villages, this peninsula offers breathtaking natural beauty. Explore its coastal paths, visit charming fishing towns, and indulge in fresh seafood while enjoying panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Discovering the nearby attractions allows you to further enrich your experience on Île-d’Arz, offering a chance to explore the diverse landscapes and historical sites that make this region of Brittany so captivating. Plan your day trips wisely, and let the surrounding beauty of the Golfe du Morbihan leave you in awe.


Practical Information

Before embarking on your journey to Île-d’Arz, it’s important to keep a few practical details in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit:

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Île-d’Arz is during the spring and summer months, from April to September. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant, and the island comes alive with vibrant colors and blooming flowers. However, do note that the summer months can be busy with tourists, so consider visiting in the shoulder seasons for a more peaceful experience.
  • Weather: The climate on Île-d’Arz is mild, with warm summers and mild winters. Pack appropriate clothing based on the season and be prepared for occasional rainfall. It’s always a good idea to carry a light jacket or sweater, as the weather can change quickly, especially near the coast.
  • Currency: France uses the Euro (EUR) as its currency. Ensure you have sufficient cash on hand, as some establishments on the island may not accept credit cards. ATMs are available in Vannes, so it’s advisable to withdraw cash before heading to Île-d’Arz.
  • Language: The official language spoken on Île-d’Arz, as well as in most of France, is French. While English may be spoken in tourist areas, it’s always helpful to have a few basic French phrases or a translation app on hand to assist with communication.
  • Transportation on the Island: Île-d’Arz is a small island that can easily be explored on foot or by bicycle. Bikes can be rented on the island, offering a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around. There is also a local shuttle bus that operates on the island and can take you to various points of interest.
  • Reservations and Booking: It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak summer months when availability may be limited. Similarly, for popular restaurants or activities, it may be advisable to make reservations ahead of time to secure your spot.
  • COVID-19 Guidelines: During your visit, be mindful of any COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions that may be in place to ensure the safety of visitors and locals. Stay updated on travel advisories, follow hygiene protocols, and respect any guidelines provided by local authorities.

By keeping these practical considerations in mind, you can make the most of your visit to Île-d’Arz and ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience on this captivating island in Brittany.



Île-d’Arz, with its tranquil beauty and rich cultural heritage, is a hidden gem in the Golfe du Morbihan. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be captivated by its picturesque landscapes, charming village center, and serene beaches. Whether you’re exploring the island’s megalithic sites, embarking on scenic hikes, or indulging in the local cuisine, Île-d’Arz offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every traveler’s preferences.


As you wander through the village streets, you’ll feel the warm embrace of the local community and their passion for sharing the island’s treasures with visitors. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely meal at a local restaurant, browsing the artisan shops, or simply taking in the breathtaking views of the Golfe du Morbihan, Île-d’Arz has a way of captivating your senses and providing a peaceful escape from the outside world.


With its convenient location near the mainland, getting to Île-d’Arz is a breeze, allowing you to plan your visit with ease. Whether you choose to visit during the vibrant summer months or opt for a quieter shoulder season, the island offers a unique and enchanting experience year-round.


With its stunning beaches, picturesque hikes, delectable cuisine, and nearby attractions, Île-d’Arz is a destination that rewards the curious traveler with unforgettable memories. So pack your bags, leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and escape to this idyllic island in Brittany, where nature’s beauty and rich history converge to create an unforgettable getaway.