Most people think of Roscoff as a transit point rather than a final destination - tourists arrive at its port on ferries from Plymouth or Cork and usually head straight inland. Although the commercial port has only been open since the 1970s, Roscoff has long been used as an entry-point to France. Mary Queen of Scots landed here when she came over to marry the French king’s son, as did Bonnie Prince Charlie as he fled from Britain.

Although the smallest of France’s ferry port towns, Roscoff deserves more than a quick glance through the car-window. This quaint, pretty old port is well worth a visit, expect to see beautiful historic harbours and buildings surrounded by sandy beaches such as Laber, as well as a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy centre and an excellent sailing school.

Language and Currency

French is widely spoken, however the old languages of Breton and Gallo are still used, but far less frequently. Take some Euros with you for any purchases.


Roscoff can be fairly chilly, even in summer where the mercury only hits around 17'c! Don't expect a white Christmas here either, December is the wettest month of the year.


The harbour is lively and authentic, a cheerful tangle of boats, nets, and old buildings. Many of the houses here were built by rich ship owners in the 15th and 16th centuries, characterised by intricate gothic gargoyles, chimeras and mullioned windows. Head to the white fisherman’s chapel for great views of the bay, where you can watch the to-ings and fro-ings of the fishing boats. Wonder around the beautifully preserved Croas-Batz Church to learn about Mary Queen of Scots' voyage to France in the 1500s. This large church is situated on the rue Gambetta and also boasts an ornate belfry from which stone cannons face proudly out to sea.

An array of unusual museums are dotted about the town. You can take part in Algae workshops at Centre de Découverte des Algues or venture to the equally unusual Maison des Johnnies et de L’Oignon Rosé museum which traces the history of the Roscoff men (known as Johnnies) who tied locally-grown pink onions round their necks and bikes then sailed across the channel to flog their wares in Britain.

Alternatively, take a day trip from the harbour to nearby Ile de Batz, a windswept, sparsely populated island where you might well end up with a whole stretch of sandy coastline to yourself!

If your skin’s feeling rough after all that wind and sun, head to the Thalassotherapy Centre. The centre has been providing hydrotherapy treatments here for more than a century, using seawater and marine matter in its baths, showers and massages to stimulate healing and relaxation. Such luxury comes at a price, though, a day in the spa including 2 treatments start at €125!

If wrapping yourself in seaweed isn’t your thing, why not embrace the sea in a more active way? The Ecole Francais de Voile hire out everything from dinghies and catamarans to proficient sailors, and even offer lessons on sailing and sea-kayaking!


You can buy all manner of local produce at Roscoff’s weekly Wednesday markets, held at the old port. For a more unusual shopping experience, try the fish auctions held daily at the ferry port. Visit in July and August to catch a tour given by an English speaking guide who will walk you through how the auction house is used!

Don't expect any chain stores to line the streets in Roscoff, in fact, expect the exact opposite There are supermarkets for basic needs, but no designers or fast food! Many British visitors stock up on tobacco and liqueur products to take home - be sure to visit some of the authentic bars and coffee houses!

Dining out and Nightlife

There are plenty of restaurants in the town centre, with seafood being the unsurprisingly dominant theme. You'll frequently find fresh Lobster and Muscles on the menu, as well as traditional Fish Pies or grilled sardines with mussels and pink onions (this is a popular local dish!) Food connoisseurs should head to one of the Michelin-starred eateries for a culinary treat, but save room for dessert and head out to get a fresh crepe from along the rue Amiral Réveillère. Be sure to eat early as most restaurants close at nine.

After night falls find yourself a little bar by the old port and settle in for the evening - there is little else do to here. Unless, of course, your visit coincides with the Annual Pink Onion Festival in August. The weekend festival includes day-time events like an onion market, a bike race and an onion-tart competition, but also provides night-time activities like concerts in the old port and a torchlight procession to the fisherman’s chapel.


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Tourist Information

  • Office de Tourisme, Le port s'éveille, 46 rue Gambetta, 29680 Roscoff, France
  • Phone: +33 298611213
  • Website:


Most visitors arrive via ferry from Plymouth or Cork, but if you want to fly the best option is Brest Bretagne airport, 55 kilometres from Roscoff.

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