Cairn de Barnenez

2467 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel


Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

This is the only large dolmen in Southern Finistère and is in the same league as the megalithic remains around Carnac.

Cairn de Barnenez is a massive stone structure built on the highest point of the peninsula and overlooking the sea. There is plenty of parking along the road and the cairn is hidden by trees. The Visitor Centre is carefully built into the hillside and is unobstrusive. It has basic toilets and sells a small selection of books and tee-shirts. Some of the finds from the cairn are displayed in the centre.

It is a short walk to the cairn which is on a grassy site although surrounding tree and shrubs restrict views

This is the largest and oldest cairn in Europe and was built in two stages. The oldest part of the cairn is the eastern part. It was built about 4500BC from green dolerite and contained five chambers. The cairn was extended to the west between 4200-3900BC using granite which is slightly paler in colour. Six more chambers were added. The cairn is made up of steps of stone which gives it greater stability. It was in continuous use for over 2500 years.

In 1955, part of the north western part of the cairn was removed when quarrying for road stone. This exposed several chambers. Quarrying was stopped and the cairn excavated, plant growth removed and stonework restored.

Most of the eleven chamber entrances are blocked. There is no entry to those which are not. The quarry at the back reveals the structure of the chambers with the use of large upright stones and carefully packed smaller stones. Some chambers have flat stone slabs. Others have corbelled roofs made up of smaller stones (and a bit like the beehive cells of the Irish Monks).

We drove to the small settlement at the end of the road with beautifully restored old stone houses and private signs everywhere. Guide books said there were excellent views of Chateau de Taureau and Ile Sterec from the tip of the peninsula.The footpath to the east dropped rapidly and took us the wrong way. To the west the path was surrounded by high shrub hedges so there were no views. We gave up. This is one of the ‘must sees’ in the area and ranks equal with the megalithic remains around Carnac.


Silver Travel Advisor

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.