Summer may be fast fading but your vacation plans need not die away with the receding heat. Autumn is the perfect time to plan a break away after the hype of peak season has ended and before the rush of the festive months.
While traditional holiday destinations might bring the promise of year round sun, they also bring the promise of overcrowded beaches and throngs of tourists, so why not try somewhere new this year?
A small, picturesque fishing village nestled along the northwest coast of France, Roscoff is the perfect spot to escape the masses and enjoy a relaxing break away.
Whether you're looking for a few days away from the rain, or a longer break to switch off fully, Roscoff’s charming coastline and its idyllic surrounds are a wonderful starting point. With twice weekly sailings from Cork to Roscoff, Brittany Ferries can help you start your trip on the right foot, travelling in comfort and style on one of their overnight sailings.
Roscoff village itself is strikingly authentic, filled with beautiful 16th century granite houses and enticing local shops, bars, eateries which populate the shoreline. Steeped in tradition as a Breton fishing village, it comes as no surprise that the old harbour is the focal point of the area and is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and take in the evening sun. Sample some of the local cuisine in one of Roscoff’s many famed restaurants, and make sure to try out the seafood which is caught and served daily.
But there’s more to Roscoff than just food, drink and breathtaking views, with the town’s tropical gardens - les Jardins Exotiques - and the iconic Museum of the 'Onion Johnnies’ providing a wonderful cultural experience, while the restored 16th-century cathedral is unmissable, with its distinctive rows of bells resembling that of a tiered cake.
If it’s relaxation you’re looking for, pop into the thalassotherapy centre - the oldest in the region - and indulge in a pampering treatment or a seaweed therapy and feel the healing powers of the Breton coast.
Among its many attractions, Roscoff also counts the beautiful Ile de Batz, a nearby island just a 15-minute boat journey from the town. Here you can stretch out on one of the alluring white sand beaches while taking in captivating views of the mainland, or roam around the leafy gardens and explore the island's lighthouse.
With so much to see in such a beautiful part of the world, why not take the car and embark on a day trip to one of the many nearby towns and villages. The walled city of St Malo is just over two hours from Roscoff by car and is not to be missed.
Enclosed by granite walls and boasting 10 golden, sandy beaches, the rustic French town of St Malo can be seen from afar. Spend the day soaking up the Autumn sun while treating yourself to one (or five) of the local Breton crêpes, before heading back to Roscoff for the evening.
Brest is another option, and is less than an hour by car if you head west down the coast. A maritime village with a rich naval history you can head out on a boat trip to see the beautiful Crozon Peninsula and visit the village harbour. The city itself boasts an impressive marina with a variety of ships, aquariums and of course - all the seafood you could ask for.
If you’re looking for another a day-trip destination, a two-hour drive inland to the famous French city of Rennes will take you to foodie heaven. Home to one of the biggest outdoor food markets in the country, the Place de Lices, this city offers something to fit everyone’s tastes - no matter how fussy. Aside from its renowned bistro and wine culture, Rennes is also the perfect place to explore the Breton heritage with a large historic centre, and plenty of guided tours. Rennes also offers a modern shopping district with all the big brand names you could wish for - all just two hours from your base in Roscoff.
Brittany Ferries now offers twice weekly overnight service from Cork to Roscoff. Choose from a selection of hand-picked local hotels and self-catering and save 15% off your ferry travel. To book your next break away visit Brittany Ferries.
By Alison Ring