What to visit in Saint-Malo?
Updated: May 31
Would you want to become a corsair for some days? Then jump on board towards the corsair city! Located on the Breton coast, Saint-Malo tells stories and anecdotes of wandering sailors and vessels. Like a floating ship on the Atlantic Ocean, the port city stands proudly, being surrounded by cozy ramparts. From one side, the picturesque little streets will carry you backward in time, feeling the medieval atmosphere. On the other side, a magnificent view of the beaches and the port will catch you while breathing in the sea breeze. If you are likely to know more about the city take your eyepatch and let’s go.
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What not to miss?
Although Saint-Malo is a small town, it offers many tourist attractions and historical sites. These are the ones you can't skip to visit:
The tour around Remparts of Saint-Malo is a must to do when you visit the city. The two kilometers long walk leads you to beautiful views of the sea on one side and the city on the other. We suggest you take the walk near sunset time.
This is an uninhabited island of Saint-Malo, that offers the best view of the city side. We recommend taking a boat trip and to explore the history of Grand Be.
If you want to experience more of the history of Saint-Malo, don’t skip National Forts. The place brings you to the Middle age times and shows the old spirit of Saint-Malo.
What else to visit?
Apart from the 3 places, many touristic attractions deserve your attention. On the list we collect the best recommendations:
You must pass by Place Chateaubriand, it is the main square of the city, ideal to sit and have a drink while eating a crêpe!
The streets of Saint-Malo are filled with restaurants, bars, and duty-free shops selling local specialties such as locally caught seafood, salted butter caramels, and cider Breton (hard cider). The best place you can find all of this in Saint-Malo is rue Saint Vincent.
Petit Be fort
You can't miss the Petit Bé fort, one of the forts that were built in the 19th century to protect Saint-Malo. The Petit Bé fort is easily accessible and free of charge. From this tower, you can admire an exceptional panorama of Saint-Malo as well as the colors of the sea at sunrise or sunset. Take your binoculars and enjoy the view.
Corsair's residence & Quebec House
Corsair's residence is another place that deserves your attention during your stay in Saint-Malo This historical place is perfect for the ones who always want to know more. Quebec House is another place similar to Corsair's residence. The monument has been transformed into a museum where you can learn more about the history of Quebec and Canada as well as discover collections on this subject.
Micro zoo with miniature animals
The place that kids and parents would love. Saint-Malo offers you a bit different zoo experience. The unusual zoo hosted 350 mini animals from around a hundred species.
How to travel there?
The city is easily accessible in many ways. If you prefer traveling by boat, Saint-Malo has the second largest active port in Brittany. You can even sail from Irland or UK if you want. However, besides sailing, there are plenty of options for how to reach the city. For car owners, it is quite easy to access Saint-Malo by national and departmental roads that are connected to highways. Around 1 hour of car ride from Rennes (75km) and almost four and a half hours (404km) from Paris. The nearest airport with international connections from Saint-Malo is Rennes Bretagne Airport. From there you have to take public transportation to reach Saint-Malo. Although Saint-Malo is considered a medium-size city multiple bus lines allow you to reach different parts of the city rather quickly.
In Saint-Malo, there are many accommodations where you can stay, at the time of writing this was over 25 hotels/hostels in the city center itself. The more affordable ones start under €60 per night and within these options, you also have some with a sea view.
We recommend taking the bus to travel around Saint-Malo because this is the easiest and fastest way to go around. Single tickets for the busses in Saint-Malo cost €2 and the day tickets (24-hour tickets) cost €5 (at the time of writing).
Saint-Malo has many kinds of restaurants, from culinary French restaurants to Asian and Mediterranean restaurants. But since you are in France, you should go for the local food. There are culinary restaurants where you can get a French 5-course menu with cheese platters and amuses. These kinds of menus will be above €100, but this experience will be worth the price. Next to that you also have more affordable French restaurants where you can get typical local food. The recommended dishes you should try here are mentioned later on in this post. These more affordable restaurants will have prices around €10 to €20 for a 3-course menu.
When to travel there?
If you wish to immerse yourself in the heart of the city, you should visit Saint-Malo during July and August. Busy streets, entertainers, artists, and events will overwhelm your travel experience. Moreover, the beach is at its best since they are the warmest month.
On the other hand, if you prefer the quietness, enjoying the charming beaches and discovering the historical and architectural beauties, the least frequented month, is that of May.
What to eat?
If you walk around the old town, you are bound to come across a crêperie, they are everywhere! You can't leave Saint-Malo without trying one! Our advice is to get the Breton galette, the typical dish! If you don't know what it is, it's a salted crepe with buckwheat flour which gives the unique and delicious taste of the crepe, and on top of that, you have the choice of a lot of toppings! Drink a glass of cider with it, and for dessert, you can either continue with the crepe line or try the delicious Kouign Amman, also a typical dessert.
If you want to become a real local for an evening or a stay, visit our article on typical Breton food and drink!
What to be aware of?
If you want to walk on the beach, we advise you to look at the link https://saint-malo-info.fr/marees/ to see the tide times, as the sea rises quickly, you don't want to be caught with the tide rising in the middle of your walk on the sandbanks.
Our little tip: You can't enter the old town with your car and park in front of it if you arrive a bit late it becomes mission impossible! So, arrive before 9/10 am, and if you're staying in a hotel next door, try to get one with parking!
Route du Rhum
If you visit Saint-Malo in November, you might be lucky to be there during the Route du Rhum - a transatlantic, single-handed yacht race. It starts in Saint-Malo and ends in Pointe-a- Pitre and takes place every 4 years in November. The next Route du Rhum will happen this year - time to plan an autumn vacation!
La Route du Rock
For alternative music lovers, Saint-Malo offers yearly an independent alternative music festival called La Route du Rock. The Line-up of the festival consists of well-known brands as well as new artists. This year the festival will happen on 9 - 12 March.
Quai des Bulles
Another festival to visit is the Quai des Bulles which will take place this year from October 7 to 9 in Saint-Malo. During these three days, more than 100 artists will present their passionate comic strips and animations.
Never stop exploring beautiful places and check our other articles. Don't forget to check us on @thewalkingparrot to find more!