Dinard is often associated with Saint-Malo, and for good reason, the town is located opposite its cousin, the Corsair City. Being a small but particularly lively seaside resort in the summer, Dinard charms with its Belle Époque-style villas and its superb view of the Emerald Coast.
Often confused with Dinan, discover today all the things to do in Dinard in France, whether you are just passing through or staying longer.
12 things to do in Dinard
Whether you choose to stay in Saint-Malo and want to spend a day visiting Dinard or your Breton journey takes you directly to Dinard, don’t miss any of the must-do activities in Dinard during your visit.
Take a stroll on the Clair de Lune promenade
The Clair de Lune promenade is absolutely beautiful. It’s by far my favorite thing to do when I go to Dinard.
This little cemented path winds between the rocks and runs along the seashore. It can be easily accessed at various points, but the promenade starts in the West, on the Prieuré beach and continues to the Anse-du-Bec-de-la-Vallée jetty, to the East.
This is the best viewpoint to observe the Emerald Coast. You can also see the Forts located offshore, and even Saint-Malo on the other side of the bay. But the Clair de Lune Promenade is also highly appreciated because it is protected from the prevailing winds, making the stroll even more enjoyable. Surprisingly enough, you’ll find Mediterranean-type vegetation and even a palm grove, created in the 1930s.
During the summer, animations are organized along the promenade. Besides, you can even see a little sound and light show when night falls.
Naturally, access is completely free.
Observe Saint-Malo from the Écluse beach
Of the 9 kilometers of coastline in Dinard, the Écluse beach occupies the most. And that’s convenient because it’s also the most accessible!
It is located in the city center of Dinard and is lined with numerous restaurants, snacks, and bars. In the summer, it is recognizable among all thanks to its famous small blue and white striped beach cabins that can be easily rented. You also have the option to rent deck chairs if you don’t like having your feet in the sand.
But you’ll also find “definitive” beach cabins, all named after a celebrity who has left their mark on the British Film Festival, held every year in Dinard.
Visit the Rance Dam
To reach Dinard from Saint-Malo by car, the quickest route goes over a bridge above the Rance Dam. Often, we pass by without really paying attention, but did you know that you can visit it?
The Rance Tidal Power Station was launched in 1996. It operates thanks to the tides, which are among the largest in Europe. They allow for the production of hydroelectricity, which is the leading renewable energy! For your information, it produces the equivalent of the consumption of 225,000 inhabitants every year.
EDF (the electrical company is France)offers different types of visits including an outdoor circuit, guided tours, as well as a space with a panoramic view of the engine room.
All access and visits are free. However, you need to book in advance for a guided tour.
Admire the Belle Époque villas
As I mentioned, when we talk about Dinard, we inevitably think of the Belle Époque villas that dominate the bay.
Throughout the Clair de Lune Promenade, magnificent villas have been built in a style inspired by English villas.
But the most famous is undoubtedly the villa Les Roches Brunes. It has become a true emblem of Dinard over time. Located on the point of Malouine, it overlooks the bay and the Emerald Coast.
Built in 1893, its architecture is remarkable, especially its brown facade which gave it its name. The villa is classified as a Historical Monument and was bequeathed to the city in 2007.
For this reason, it is now possible to visit it or go there to see exhibitions or concerts.
Explore the Market Halls
Dinard is also known for its market which sets up in the Halls of Concorde every morning from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm.
3 days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), an outdoor market complements the one in the halls. In summer, it is quite impressive as you can find more than 300 vendors!
Local crafts, fruits and vegetables, or freshly caught fish, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
My advice? To fully experience a Breton market, don't forget to enjoy a "galette saucisse" on the spot! It's a salty crepe with a sausage inside.
Swim in the Saltwater Pool
If you read my article about Saint-Malo, you know that there is a saltwater pool that made the Bon Secours beach famous, but know that there is also one in Dinard.
This one is located on the Écluse beach, at the foot of Pointe du Moulinet. It allows you to swim in saltwater without having to walk hundreds of meters, especially when the tide is low.
However, while the Bon Secours pool is easily covered, even during the lowest tides, the one in Dinard has to wait for the highest tides to be at the same level as the sea.
Take the Maritime Shuttle to Saint-Malo
There are different ways to reach Saint-Malo from Dinard, and one of the most fun is probably the maritime shuttle.
In less than 10 minutes, you can connect the two cities by boat. A very pleasant little cruise. But above all, an ideal means of transportation if you want to spend the day in Saint-Malo (or vice versa) without having to worry about parking.
In high season, there are up to 80 departures per day! But note that the sea bus does not operate between November and spring. As for the fare, costs range from €8 per adult for a simple round trip to €12.70 if you want to bring your bike.
Take a Cruise on the Rance
If you really enjoy boat tours and find the Dinard-Saint-Malo crossing too short, know that many cruises are organized every summer in the bay of Saint-Malo.
The most well-known is probably the “Baie du Corsaire” organized by the Compagnie Corsaire which allows you to discover the bay of Saint-Malo and its forts.
But from Dinard, you can also explore the Chausey islands, go to the port of Dinan, and even venture to Cancale.
Visit the Casino
Another particularly well-known point of interest in Dinard is its casino.
Whether you like gambling or not, the casino has left its mark on Dinard. Especially thanks to its restaurant and panoramic view of the Écluse beach and the Emerald Coast.
Slot machines, lotto, and other table games will keep you entertained if you’re looking for a festive evening (in moderation, of course). But you might also have the opportunity to attend a show in one of the casino’s halls.
We know that the weather is not always perfect when strolling in Brittany. But you may not be a fan of museums. So I suggest you take a trip to one of Dinard’s institutions: Antikcostume.
Open since 1997, Antikcostume specializes in the reconstitution of clothing from the past. Staged through various exhibitions, you can admire these costumes entirely handmade, but also buy some in the shop. You probably won’t spend hours there, but the visit is worth it if you are passionate about history.
Take a Reading Break at Port-Breton Park
Located facing the Prieuré beach, Port-Breton Park probably offers one of the most beautiful views of Dinard by mixing vegetation and seaside.
Over nearly 23 hectares, the park offers many points of interest for visitors. It will appeal especially to the youngest with its small animal park. But you might also opt for picnic or bike ride options! Whatever you choose, the possibilities are not lacking.
Attend the British Film Festival
If you are a film enthusiast, this festival might make you happy. Organized in Dinard for over 30 years, this annual festival is ideal for cinephiles attached to the United Kingdom.
Every year, you’ll find big names and a prestigious jury. In fact, the festival has left such a mark on Dinard that the city decided to put a statue of one of the most illustrious British filmmakers: Alfred Hitchcock. It can be found on the square above Écluse beach in 2009.
Dinard is a very pleasant small seaside resort to discover. However, while Saint-Malo is lively all year round, Dinard tends to be quieter during the low season. Ideal if you want to avoid tourist crowds, but it can cool you off if you’re looking for more activity!