You want to take the GR34? Well that’s good for you, because the customs trail that is going through all the Breton’s coast is a breathtaking marvel. A nice micro-adventure of 5 days accessible for all walkers, including beginners.
We will try to have a convenient side on this article for you to organise this treck between Mont Saint-Michel and Saint Malo in an efficient way. A little highlight, a simplified logistic because you will see you won’t need a car.
First of all, before going for a few days treck, you need to know your abilities. This part of the GR34 is made in 5 days. The first half is easy because flat, but the more you get close to Saint-Malo, the more the path becomes capricious: it goes down, then up, down, and then up again! You can’t compare it to the montain’s hike, but you still need to be ready to walk the kilometers while carrying your backpack!
This part of the GR34’s hike is interesting because it leaves from Mont Saint-Michel. This unique island is a symbolic start, that also lets you discover the famour polders region. The rest of the GR34 is following the breton’s coast and its beautiful landscapes.
To reach the starting point, there is a bus every morning at 09:05 (timetable on the website of KEOLIS) from Dol de Bretagne to the Mont Saint-Michel in 30 minutes. [update 2021] If the bus isn’t on service (Covid), there is still the possibility to reach Pontorson by a local bus 17a, then the free shuttle that will take you directly to the Mont Saint-Michel. Dol de Bretagne is a TGV train station, the access to the town is easy if you come from Paris or another part of France.
The first step starts at the Mont Saint-Michel, the signs directing you to the path are easy to find. If you want the itinerary details, we recommend you the official website or to buy a topo guide.
The first step will take you to Saint Marcan, 18km of walk on a flat land with a last line that climbs a bit. Count 4hours of walk. To sleep, you will find Guest Houses in this small town. We advice “Au Bon Accueil”, it is a BnB near by the GR34 with a really charming hostess, and she has a lovely British accent! The town of Saint-Marcan is small, so if you can’t find anything to calm your hunger, Jane can prepare for you a lovely dinner, and even a sandwich for the next day.
The second day will be more or less the same landscapes, crossing forests and fields, till Dol de Bretagne. This step takes a bit less then 20km. It isn’t always flat because you will go through forests and paths that goes up to access villages. No worries, it is still quite easy and you will witness a beautiful view on the bay.
After 5hours of walk, you will be happy to notice the bell of Dol de Bretagne’s cathedral. Of course here, we highly recommend you to stay with us! We have dormitories and private rooms as well as a charming little garden where you can rest with a nice and cold beer! To reach our place, follow the signs to the train station (“Gare” in french), then cross the railway station by the undergound, you will see us: we are the nice wood building next to the parking.
Once you are in Dol, there are quite a few things to visit. You will find informations in our article on this medieval town. What is nice in Dol is that everything is accessible by foot. The supermarket, the laundromat, the city center, the cathedral, everything is within 10minutes of walk! Furthermore, we have really nice restaurants in Dol’s city center! If your wallet doesn’t agree, you can bring your own food at Edd Hostel, as we have a fridge and micro-wave for clients.
Before starting this 3rd day, you can supply yourself in the city-center. Bakery, supermarkets, grocery store, we have eveything in Dol’s beautiful center. You will walk by it on your way to the GR34, behind the Cathedral, in the street “rue Ceinte”. Our advice, take a baguette in one of our bakeries and stop by our friend’s shop “Côté Vignoble”, to stock up with high quality cheese! For drinks, just in front of it you will find the little grocery store called “La petite épicerie Doloise”. Bonus, they are even open on sunday morning!
Let’s continue with the adventure, from the 30 first minutes after leaving Dol, you will walk by the small village of Mont Dol, if it’s a clear weather, you absolutely have to stop by the top of the hill. It’s one of the only view points where you can see (while squinting your eyes) all the bay of the Mont Saint-Michel, from Cancale to Granville. We also recommend to visit the village’s church and its old drawings from the 12th century.
Afterwards, you will go through the fields to finally reach the edges of the bay at Hirel. We love this town for their oysters and the sand yachting! It’s a nice idea for a break before heading for Cancale.
The step Dol-Cancale is about 20km long, but to be fair, it all depends where you stay at Cancale. We don’t have any special recommendations for this town, there are lots of options regarding stays and also restaurants, as Cancale is a tourist resort. (however keep in mind to book directly with the hotel, as website such as B***.com take too much fees for the tourism to be healthy and sustainable). This step most probably made you tired. It takes around 5h and half of it is on the coast, which will give you an idea of what awaits you in the next days.
Do we need to make an explanation about Cancale its fame probably made its way to you, and you must know that the main attraction are the oysters to eat on the harbor.
The length of the 4th day will depend on your hotel or BnB and also on how many pictures break you wish to take. That’s right, this step is famous thanks to this beautiful view point “Pointe du Grouin”. You will probably have for about 5hours of walk next to the emerald sea!
To sleep, the best is to stop by the little town, Saint Coulomb. There is only one hotel (Hostellerie de la Motte Jean), but it is a 3stars hotel and 30min walk from the GR34. So you have the option of Guest Houses, you will find more informations on the website of Saint Malo. You can also find campings on the coast, but to have a spot for a night, you will need to bring a tent with you!
Saint-Coulomb’s city center is 20min away from the beach de la Touesse. You will find restaurants, bakeries, and supermarkets. For us, this is the best option for the 4th night. You won’t have a nice sea view, but it helps in avoiding to go back and forth, and you can buy some food for the night and the next day. You can look for a room close by the city center.
5th and last day! The emerald coast is splendid, you will absolutely love the landscape of this clear water. This last step takes between 13-15km, count 4h. You will get close to Saint-Malo, and discover some beautiful beaches you probably weren’t aware of their existence, but they do belong to Saint-Malo! Our favorite spot here is the view point of Meinga and the view point of La Varde. You will notice Intra-Muros and the long beach of the Sablons that you will have to follow for the last kilometers!
Congratulations! You have arrived, you can enjoy the city and its assets. During summer, the animation and the number of people can confuse some of you, specially after these days in the peace of nature. If it’s the case, you can come back to Dol de Bretagne by train TER, it only takes 16min and we would be happy to see you again! For others, lots of good places in Saint Malo and things to see.
To end this article about the GR34 between the Mont Saint-Michel and Saint Malo, here is a list of recommendations:
- Leave for the treck with a light backpack
- If before you first day of trekking, you are staying at Edd Hostel for the night, you can think about 1 extra bag that you would leave with us. You would leave 1 bag and retrieve it 2 days later, and the one you would have carried since the Mont, you can leave it with us and retrieve it at the end of your treck. This means you carry your stuff for 2/3 days and not 5.
- For useful informations on the GR34, we particularly like: https://itirando.bzh/
- Think about the cream Nok, to avoid blisters.
- Don’t leave with new shoes. Your runnings are more than enough, you don’t need to take trecking shoes, there aren’t that much difficulties on this part of the GR34. (it can be muddy for winter!)
- Buy a topo guide or download the app FFrandonnée to have a detailed map. However the treck is really well signed.
- Think about a book. That’s right, we walk for about 5hours per day, mainly mornings. So you will need to keep your afternoons busy without having to move around!
- Don’t forget your swimsuit!
Tags: Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Malo, Walk
In: Very favorite