Saint Malo is a beautiful port city in the north west of France. Ferry services run daily from Poole and Portsmouth, but a great many visitors miss out on the delights Saint Malo (or as the locals call it, the ‘City of Corsairs’) has to offer, because they are travelling onwards into France. Why not stop awhile next time you drive over, and experience what the city has to offer?

One of the easiest and most popular ways to explore this gorgeous walled city (especially if you are only staying for a day), is to take a trip on the Vagabond train that snakes around Saint Malo’s biggest tourist attractions. The journey starts just opposite the gate at Porte Saint-Vincent and takes around half an hour, with a commentary on places of interest. Particularly interesting stories are those of pirates and voyagers from history. But you’ll also be informed about the bays biggest tides in all of Europe, as well as histories of the local buildings, including the port itself and the local cathedral. It will also give you an overview of the rebuilding process after World War II.

If you have a bit more time on your hands, it’s definitely worth taking a longer look at the attractions. Take an afternoon to wander around the Old Town. This part of the city was first built at the opening of the Rance estuary, on a rock-strewn island, which enabled the locals to fully observe the seas and ships coming in to do business. It’s a particularly attractive part of the town, and is considered by a lot of tourists to be one of the most beautiful ports in France. There are an abundance of quaint cafes, restaurants, shops and bars that line the cobbled streets. The squares dotted around town are littered with enormous granite houses, which only add to the city’s character.

If you’re looking for a day of rest and relaxation, then the beaches in Saint Malo are perfect for exploring. Once the tide has ebbed, there are some beautiful sandy beaches waiting to be explored. At low tide, you can walk almost halfway around the entire town. There are timetables of the tide available at most tourist information offices in the centre of town.

If you’ve driven across on the ferry, Saint Malo is a great base to explore some of Brittany, and parts of Normandy too. Only fifty kilometres away is the gorgeous Mont St-Michael. To the south, around twenty kilometres away, is Dinan, and incredible city dating back to medieval times. And if you want to explore the coastline, some of the best and most traditional resorts can be found along France’s Emerald Coast.

It’s quite easy to drive on from Saint Malo to other cities in France. If you’re in the car, Calais is 235 miles, Bordeaux is 271 miles, and Paris is 199 miles. If you set off in the morning, you can be well into France by the end of the day.