Canal boat holidays in Brittany

Brittany is well known for its close proximity to the coast and the many opportunities for getting out on the sea... but did you know that Brittany is also a popular choice for self-drive boating holidays on inland waterways? No previous boating experience or licence is needed to get out on Brittany’s rivers and canals!

Below you will find a wide choice of waterways holidays in Brittany – with itineraries for everything from a weekend trip, a few days short break and up to longer one and two week waterways holidays.

Nicols has two bases in the Brittany region from where you can start your waterways holidays. The first is at Glénac, a quiet village with a marsh area home to abundance of wild birds, and the other is at Sucé-sur-Erdre which boasts 17 castles in just 15km of navigation. A favourite waterways holiday is the 134km one-way itinerary over one week travelling between the two Nicols bases.

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Hire a canal boat for a boating holiday in brittany

The network of waterways in Brittany is the one of the best available in the whole of France. Linked together at a crossroads the River Erdre, River Vilaine and Canal de Nantes à Brest all lead you to the many charms of the wonderful region of Brittany.

History lovers will thrive on seeing medieval castles and villages, half-timbered houses and old manor houses, abbeys and small chapels, while there is local dishes and drinks to sample including ciders and cakes. Many of the villages still have expert craftsmen showing off their skills.

Brittany has something for everyone and there are holidays of all durations whether you’re looking for a weekend away, a short break or a longer holiday. What are you waiting for – it’s time to cast off and enjoy a boating holiday in a land full of magic, mystery and history.

  • Breakfast in Brittany

Canal barge rental - a history of the brittany waterways on offer

The inland waterways of Brittany date back to the 16th century, however it wasn’t until the beginning of the 19th century that they became a key part of the region’s infrastructure. A British blockade convinced Napoleon I of the strategic benefits of unblocking the routes with work beginning in 1811. Napoleon III then inaugurated the canal in 1858, opening a route between the city of Nantes and the harbour town of Brest.

Today, the towing horses have given way to fisherman, walkers, runners and of course those who love boating holidays! The trio of beautiful waterways (Canal de Nantes à Brest, River Erdre and River Vilaine) offer a number of different boating holiday itineraries that will give you the very best experience of everything that’s Brittany.