A major port and military base, and a large town, Brest is big, bold and dynamic. Destroyed by Allied air attacks during WWII, Brest was swiftly rebuilt after the war in utilitarian fashion. Though it won't win any beauty contests, it's a lively port and a university town, home to an elaborate aquarium and makes itself the gateway to the sea-swept Île d'Ouessant.
At the bottom of a deep valley sluicing through northeastern Finistère, Morlaix is a good-looking town that makes a fine gateway to the coast. The narrow, finger-like town centre is filled with ancient half-timbered houses that spill down to a small port at the end of a large coastal inlet.
An old Breton saying captures raw wildness of Île d'Ouessant: 'Qui voit Molène, voit sa peine, qui voit Ouessant, voit son sang' ('Those who see Molène, see their sorrow, those who see Ouessant, see their blood'). On a stormy winter day there's a palpable end-of-the-world feeling to the island (known as Enez Eusa in Breton, meaning 'Island of Terror', and Ushant in English).
If you sail in by ferry, Roscoff (Rosko in Breton) provides a captivating first glimpse of Brittany, with granite houses dating from the 16th century lining the pretty docks, a superb Gothic church and a surrounding landscape of emerald-green fields full of cauliflowers, onions and artichokes.
At the western edge of the Presqu’île de Crozon, Camaret is a classic fishing village – or at least it was early in the 20th century, when it was France's largest crayfish port. Nowadays, abandoned fishing boats dot the attractive harbour, which is populated by clanking yacht masts and lined by cafes.
On the water 2km south of Crozon, Morgat was built as a summer resort in the 1930s by the Peugeot brothers (of motor-vehicle fame), and it retains something of a period feel. It's one of the prettier resorts in this part of Brittany, with colourful houses piled up at one end of a long sandy beach – La Plage de Morgat – that has very safe bathing.
Argol is a quaint, quiet and rather anonymous little village, which is mostly of interest to fans of Breton history and mythology. At its heart is the 16th-century parish close of Église St-Pierre et St-Paul, famed for its monumental archway, upon which seats a statue of King Gradlon on horseback.