Perched on the picturesque Emerald Coast of Brittany in northwestern France lies the enchanting walled port city of Saint-Malo. With its awe-inspiring fortifications overlooking the sea, sandy beaches perfect for strolling, and charming mix of modern amenities with medieval architecture along the narrow cobblestone streets, Saint-Malo offers the quintessential French coastal getaway.

I’ll highlight some of my favorite activities for travelers looking to experience Saint-Malo’s rich history as both an important fishing harbor and a haven for legendary pirates and corsairs centuries ago. From exploring the grand château dominating the city to indulging in the amazing local crêperies to simply getting lost amid the stunning views in the Old Town and rampart walks, there is something for everyone in magnificent Saint-Malo.

Whether you only have a few days to spend or are looking for the ultimate home base to relax and immerse yourself in French culture by the sea, read on for an insider’s guide on the top things to do while visiting the beautiful Saint-Malo.

Saint-Malo, a historic walled city located on the Brittany coast of France, offers a variety of attractions and activities. Here are some things you can do while visiting Saint-Malo:

Explore the Old Town

things to do in Saint-Malo france

Wander through the cobbled streets of the intra-muros (walled city) to admire medieval architecture, browse boutiques, and visit historical sites like the Cathedral of Saint Vincent and Saint-Malo Castle.

Walk the Ramparts

Take a stroll along the city walls for panoramic views of the coastline, beaches, and the surrounding area. The views from the ramparts are stunning, especially during sunset.

Visit Fort National

Accessible by foot during low tide or by boat during high tide, Fort National is a 17th-century fortress built to protect the city. Explore the fortress and enjoy the scenic views from its vantage point.


Saint-Malo offers beautiful sandy beaches where you can relax, sunbathe, or take a dip in the ocean. Plage du Sillon is one of the most popular beaches, known for its long stretch of sand.

Grand Aquarium

If you’re traveling with family or interested in marine life, visit the Grand Aquarium to discover a variety of sea creatures, including sharks, rays, and colorful fish. They often have interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages.

Jacques Cartier Manor House

Located near Saint-Malo, this historical site is the birthplace of the famous explorer Jacques Cartier. Explore the Jacques Cartier manor house and learn about Cartier’s expeditions.


Saint-Malo has several museums worth visiting, such as the Musée d’Histoire de la Ville et du Pays Malouin (Museum of the History of the City and Region of Saint-Malo) and the Maison de Corsaire (Privateer’s House), which offers insights into the city’s maritime history.

Water activities

Engage in water sports like sailing, kayaking, or paddleboarding along the coast. There are plenty of rental shops and opportunities for these activities.

Enjoy local Breton cuisine

Indulge in Brittany’s delicious gastronomy by sampling local specialties such as galettes (savory buckwheat crepes), seafood, and Breton pastries like kouign-amann.

Day trips

Consider taking day trips to nearby attractions such as Mont Saint-Michel, Dinard, Dinan, or Cancale to further explore the region’s beauty and history.

Remember to check opening hours and any entry requirements for specific attractions before your visit to Saint-Malo. Enjoy your time exploring this charming coastal town!

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