With its picture-perfect quaint old town, golden-sand beaches and good choice of bars, restaurants and hotels, St Malo offers all the ingredients you need for a memorable seaside honeymoon in France (or as a stopover en route to the UK).
In St Malo, experience one of Brittany's premier holiday resorts. St Malo enjoys a magnificent location atop a granite rock that juts out into the English Channel (known as La Manche in French).
Explore a maze of narrow cobblestone streets in the medieval old town lined with beautifully reconstructed 17th and 18th century style buildings; around 80 per cent of the old town was destroyed in the battle to drive German forces from the town during World War II.
Enjoy panoramic views overlooking the town, bay and offshore islets from the top of the 1.8km-long ramparts that consist of 6m-thick walls and date from the 14th century.
Admire the Cathédrale St Vincent, constructed in the Plantagenet style, with a Renaissance façade, 1160-nave vault and 14th century choir with pointed arches flanked by chapels.
Learn more about this medieval fishing town, once notorious for its pirates, at the fascinating Musée de l'Histoire de St Malo.
Check out the Grand Aquarium, a favourite for children and adults alike with its display of marine life including piranhas, sharks and giant turtles.
At low tide, take a 15-minute stroll across the beach via the Porte des Bés to the rocky islet of Île du Grande Bé, where the 18th century writer Chateaubriand was buried.
St Malo boasts several golden-sand beaches that fringe the walls of the old town and continue around the bay to a rocky headland at Rotheneuf, that include the following…
Unwind on the golden sand of this small beach that nestles beneath the ramparts on the northern side of the old town.
Except for the sailing club and large saltwater pool, there are no facilities here so you need to take your own food and drinks. However, the town is just a short stroll away, as is the Île du Grande Bé.
This long crescent of golden sand curves around the eastern shore to the rocky and picturesque headland at Le Minihic.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers as well as water sports such as sailing dinghies, sea kayaking and wind and kite surfing. Horse back riding is also available. The beach is lined with a promenade backed by homes and resort hotels with swimming pools and kids clubs.
This popular golden-sand beach is framed at each end by a rocky headland. Nearby sit several small golden sand beaches, each framed by towering rocky headlands.
Should Plage du Val become too crowded take a short stroll over the western headland to the tiny but more secluded Plage de Nicet, a charming expanse of golden sand. There are no facilities on these beaches, so you may need to take your own food and drinks.
A short stroll over the eastern headland lie a collection of amazing rock carvings. Known as ‘les rochers sculptés’, the carved rocks of heads, figures and mythical beasts are the work of Abbé Adolphe Julien Fouré (1839-1910), a reclusive priest who was mute and deaf as a result of a stroke. The 300 carvings were made over a 25-year period.
Plage du Val lies in the district of Rotheneuf, 10km north of Saint Malo.
Discover a choice of golden-sand beaches nestling between craggy headlands at one of France’s best-known resorts, which sits on a rocky headland opposite St Malo overlooking the Rance River.
Facilities on the town’s four main beaches include sun umbrellas, loungers, beach huts, lifeguards and first aid posts in summer.
Plage de l'Ecluse (photo) offers a range of water sport activities including wind surfing, sea kayaking, diving, deep-sea fishing and sailing. Beach clubs welcome children with games and activities.
Stroll along the beachfront promenade to admire Dinard’s more than 400 Belle Epoque villas or hike 8km of marked coastal paths that lead you to more unspoiled beaches. Try horseback riding, cycling and go-karting.
Dinard is located on the northeast coast of Brittany, around 11km from St Malo.
St Malo offers an excellent choice of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets, including the following hotels…
Hôtel Le Nouveau Monde
Location: St Malo
Ave nightly price: AUD396 per room
Description: This beachfront hotel is just a 5-minute walk to the historic center of Saint-Malo. It features a restaurant with sea views and a spa with an indoor swimming pool, hammam (public bath) and beauty treatments. The spacious guest rooms at Hôtel Le Nouveau Monde are decorated in a contemporary style and have views of the town or the sea. Free Wi-Fi access and satellite TV are provided in each soundproof room. A daily breakfast may be enjoyed in the restaurant or in the guest rooms. The restaurant serves international cuisine, and guests can also admire views of Saint Malo Bay with a drink from the bar. Le Mont-Saint-Michel is 54.7 km from Hôtel Le Nouveau Monde. Ferry connections to Portsmouth and Weymouth are available from Saint-Malo port, 2.4 km away.
Grand Hôtel Des Thermes
Location: St Malo
Ave nightly price: AUD240 per room
Description: On the beachfront, this Belle Époque-style hotel features a spa and an indoor swimming pool. It offers refined guest rooms, some with a balcony and sea views. All guest rooms come with a minibar and internet access. Some stylish guest rooms include a lounge and offer views of the city. The Cap Horn restaurant at Grand Hôtel Des Thermes serves gourmet cuisine and offers views of the sea. Guests can enjoy cocktails or even a pastry mid-afternoon at La Passerelle bar. A continental breakfast is served every morning. Grand Hôtel Des Thermes also features a fitness center, an Aquatonic® pool and services with a Thalassotherapy center. The front desk is open 24 hours a day. Saint-Malo Train Station is one kilometer from the hotel and private parking is available on site.
Oceania Saint Malo
Location: St Malo
Ave nightly price: AUD216 per room
Description: The Oceania Saint Malo hotel faces the sea and is located on Chaussée du Sillon, opposite Sillon Beach. It offers luxurious rooms and guests have free access to the outdoor hot tub. Guest rooms are air-conditioned and present parquet flooring and wenge furniture. They include flat-screen TV, free WiFi and a spacious bathroom. The terrace has a panoramic sea view. The open-air hot tub is located on the patio near the vegetable patch. The modern fitness room includes the latest exercise equipment. The lounge bar in the Oceania Saint Malo offers a variety of cocktails and drinks and can accommodate private cocktail parties. It also offers a dining menu for evening meals. Breakfast is served daily. The Oceania is 1.5 km from the Saint-Malo Train Station and 7 km from the airport. On-site parking is available. English, Spanish, German and French are spoken at reception.
La Maison des Armateurs
Location: St Malo
Ave nightly price: AUD142 per room
Description: In the historic center of Saint-Malo, this 4-star hotel is just a 5-minute walk from the cathedral. It provides free Wi-Fi access, an on-site bar, and daily newspapers are available. The rooms at La Maison des Armateurs have a minibar and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Each one is air-conditioned and also includes a wardrobe and a private bathroom with free toiletries. In the hotel’s breakfast room, a continental and American-style breakfast is available every morning. You can also request breakfast in the comfort of your guest room. A 24-hour front desk with luggage storage is just one of the other facilities in this hotel. Pleurtuit Airport is 12.9 km from the property and Saint-Malo Train Station is half a kilometer away. Intra Muros is a great choice for travelers interested in food, restaurants and history.
Hôtel et Appart’hôtel L'Adresse
Location: St Malo
Ave nightly price: AUD139 per room
Description: L’Adresse offers self-catering accommodation located 30 m from Sillon Beach and 300 m from Saint-Malo town centre. The rooms are all air-conditioned and have free Wi-Fi connection, and guests have access to the on-site fitness centre. All rooms have an equipped kitchenette, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a shower, a hairdryer and free toiletries. A buffet breakfast is available in the breakfast room. You will find a choice of restaurants and shops within a 5-minute walk from the property. Private parking is possible on site at an extra charge.
The best time to visit Saint-Malo for warm-weather activities is from mid-July to mid-August; however, anytime from mid-May to mid-September is good for a range of outdoor activities.
Saint-Malo has a temperate climate that is generally cool, rainy and windy all year-round. However, you can still expect warm and sunny days during summer.
Winter is milder than in the rest of northern France, because ocean currents prevail, and the wind often blows from the south. The sky is often cloudy, humidity is high and the wind may blow moderate or strong. Rainfall is frequent.
Summer temperatures are mild to cool. However, on the hottest days of summer, the temperature may reach 30°C (86°F). It can also rain.
More about Saint-Malo weather…
St Malo is located on the northeast coast of Brittany, around 14km (8.6mi) from Dinard, 69km (42.8mi) from Rennes and 414km (257mi) west of Paris.
The most convenient route to St Malo, from overseas, is by air to Paris, followed by train or hire car to St Malo.
By high-speed TGV trains, St Malo is just three hours from Paris' Gare Montparnasse and one hour from Rennes.
Alternatively, Dinard–Pleurtuit–Saint-Malo Airport (DNR), located 5km (3mi) south-southwest of Dinard, offers flights by Ryanair from London Stansted to Dinard Airport, taking 1 hour 15 minutes. By car, the airport is 25 minutes from Saint-Malo. Taxis and car rental are available from inside of the terminal.
Also from the United Kingdom, the super-fast Eurostar Express offers an hourly passenger service from London (St-Pancras station) to Paris (Gare du Nord) and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel.
The 50km journey takes 2 hours 16 minutes (actual time spent in the Tunnel is 19 min), with 18 services per day and 20 on Fridays starting from 5:40 am to 8:01 pm.
By ferry, St Malo is a short hop from the United Kingdom, with daily departures between April and September from Poole via Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands, taking 6 hours 30 minutes.
Ferry and hovercraft services also operate across the English Channel with connecting trains linking the London to Paris route at Dover and Folkstone in England to Calais and Boulogne in France.
More about how to get to Saint-Malo…
Latest update: Where to Honeymoon in St Malo: 24 January, 2023