A Weekend To Discover The Glénan Archipelago

By Kanika Dabra - January 13, 2021

The Glénan archipelago is a unique place that stands out from all other Breton landscapes. The lagoon and the small islands that make up the archipelago make this place a paradise. It attracts many sailors every year. The archipelago is located in Finistère, and is composed of 9 main islands and a large number of islets. Only the island of Saint-Nicolas is inhabited.

Practical tips for sailing in the Glénan:

  • The archipelago is accessible by sea between April and September.
  • The archipelago is accessible to small coastal cruisers as well as larger boats.
  • For the tide schedules you can refer to the tide schedules of Concarneau which are within a few minutes of each other.
  • The winds are variable but generally weak (maximum 2 knots in the north and east of the archipelago).
  • In summer you will enjoy a small thermal breeze with generally prevailing westerly winds.

The Glénan are accessible from the port of Concarneau. To reach this you must start a 9.4 mile journey, or about 1 hour of navigation. Here is an itinerary of 4 days and 3 nights to discover the Glénan during a long weekend.

STEP 1 : Concarneau – Saint-Nicolas (9.4 nautical miles – 1 h 30)

Concarneau welcomes a charming little port in the heart of its old town. Take the opportunity to stroll around the city before setting sail. Once your boat is ready to sail, it’s time to leave the port to go to the most famous island: Saint-Nicolas. Concarneau is an ideal port of departure as it is easily accessible day and night without tidal constraints.

Once the journey has been completed you can stop for a picnic on the beach of Saint-Nicolas, which is particularly famous for the beauty of its sea bed and its translucent waters. It is permitted to anchor near this sandy beach. In the afternoon, take advantage of the afternoon walk along the wooden path that goes around the island.

STEP 2 : Saint-Nicolas – Penfret Island (2.5 nautical miles – 30 minutes)

At the end of the day, after your visit to Saint-Nicolas, get back on your boat to go to sleep at the Anse du Phare de Penfret. This anchorage area is ideal for spending the night in if there is a north or east wind. If you are facing a west wind, you should prefer the port aux Anglais on the other side of the island.

The second largest island of the Glénan, Penfret Island is particularly famous for its lighthouse but above all for the sailing school it houses.

STEP 3 : Penfret Island – Loch Island (2 nautical miles – 25 minutes)

Take your boat back to discover a new island, the Isle of Loch, which remains one of the largest islands in the Glénan. It is an ideal bird sanctuary for walking and birdwatching. Moreover, take your afternoon to explore the island and leave your boat at anchor on the large beach. This anchorage is sheltered by north, west and south winds. If you have an east wind we advise you to anchor your boat on the other side of the island at Stervat cove.

STEP 4 : Loch Island – Stork Island (0.8 nautical miles – 15 minutes)

After a good night’s sleep, set sail again towards a true paradise island, the Stork Island. So called because of the shape of the island, it is famous for its fort and the transparent waters surrounding it. Once arrived, enjoy a relaxing morning on these beaches.

STEP 5 : Stork Island – Concarneau ( 12 nautical miles – 2 hours)

In the early afternoon, it’s time to leave this small Breton paradise to reach Concarneau. On the way back, drive around the island of Drénec to admire its magnificent coastal landscapes. Once back in Concarneau, check out the boat and enjoy a last stroll in the port of Concarneau. The Glénan archipelago is home to a large number of wild islets that you will be able to discover as you sail.

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