Considerably larger than the other Breton islands, at 17km from east to west, gorgeous Belle-Île, 15km south of Quiberon, feels significantly less isolated than the rest. However, its towns – fortified Le Palais; Sauzon, arrayed along one side of a long estuary; and Bangor, inland – are consistently lovely, and it offers wonderful opportunities for walking and cycling. At different times in its turbulent history the island belonged to the monks of Redon, the English – who in 1761 swapped it for Menorca – and Lorient’s Companie des Indes.
Belle-Íle is far too large to stroll round, but a coastal footpath runs on bare soil for the length of the exposed Côte Sauvage with its sparse heather-covered cliffs facing out into the sea. To appreciate this and the rich and fertile landward side, some form of transport is advisable – rental bikes are widely available in Le Palais.