Calais is one of the most famous beach resorts in
France, and is a popular destination in its own right for British tourists. From Calais, there are excellent links to the rest of Europe, making it the perfect place to begin a trip to France,
Germany or other European destinations.
There are 20 daily
sailings between our ports in Dover and Calais, which take just 90 minutes, so it really couldn’t be easier! Calais is also just a short drive away from our port in Dunkirk, if that is a more convenient entry point for you.
What to see in Calais
The city of Calais is separated into two distinct parts, the old town, known as Calais-Nord, and the modern town, known as St-Pierre. Calais-Nord is located on a unique man-made island bordered by canals and harbours, while St-Pierre lies further to the south, and houses the city’s bustling shopping and restaurant district.
Many British tourists travel to Calais to visit French supermarkets and pick up excellent deals on local produce, as well as cheap wine and beer. The city’s most popular high street is the Rue Royale, which has been extensively renovated in recent years and is now home to a wide range of boutiques, cafes and bars.
Head to Marques Avenue for great prices on famous names including Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Nike, Calvin Klein and Guess can all be found among the dozens of designer shops all housed under one roof.
Calais Lighthouse is a steep climb, but gives you a remarkable view of both the city and across the sea. On a clear day you can see the famous white cliffs of Dover, and on a stormy one you can enjoy the thrashing of the sea.
Where to stay in Calais
Calais has a number of hotels, apartments and hostels both in the city and nearby. For a full list then please check out partner
Shopping in calais
Calais is well known for its extensive shopping district, long popular with tourists and day-trippers in search of low-cost goods, from beer and wine to designer clothes and specialist items. The city’s most popular high street is the Rue Royale, which has been extensively renovated in recent years and is now home to a wide range of gorgeous boutiques, cafes and bars.
For great prices on a huge selection of designer brands, a visit to Marques Avenue is a must. Famous names including Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Nike, Calvin Klein and Guess can all be found among the dozens of designer shops all housed under one roof.
Most shops in Calais open between the hours of 9am and 7pm from Monday-Saturday, with relatively few trading on Sunday.
The sandy beaches of Calais are represent an ideal spot for spending a sunny day. Rows of white beach huts on soft sand make for the perfect picnic location, while the seafront plays host to numerous fun activities for the whole family, including beach volleyball, windsurfing, a mini golf centre and seasonal funfairs. There are also some excellent cycle paths for active sightseeing.
With a rich history and a vibrant culture, there are many interesting places to visit in Calais. Here are just a few of the city’s must-see tourist attractions.
Calais Lighthouse – Standing at 51 metres and with a 271-step spiral staircase to the top, ascending the Calais Lighthouse isn’t a task for the faint hearted, but the spectacular views across the English Channel from the very top are well worth the effort.
Rodin’s Six Burghers – The most famous landmark in Calais, this unique sculpture depicts the six French Freedom Fighters who in 1347 surrendered themselves to England’s King Edward III to be hanged, in the hope that their city would be granted freedom from the English rulers in return. The King’s wife Queen Philippa de Haunault took pity on the men and begged for their lives to be spared, although Calais would remain under English rule for another two centuries.
Notre Dame Church – Calais’ oldest church is a striking mixture of Flemish and English architectural styles. Heavily damaged during World War II, the ancient building has recently been the subject of significant renovations.
Fort Nieulay – Long ago, when much of Calais was just marshy land, a single road via the River Hames was the only entrance point for visitors. The Nieulay Bridge, which connected Calais with the west, was protected by a small fort that was designed in such a way that it could flood the land in front of the town in case of enemy attack, making it virtually impossible for invaders to breach the city. Today, the ruins of the Nieulay Fort form an integral part of a beautiful surrounding park.
Our ferries to France
DFDS Seaways provides a Dover to Calais ferry service with a crossing time of around 90 minutes, with up to 10 ferries per day in both directions. We offer competitive fares and run regular special offers, with voyages running from early morning to overnight 365 days a year.
We also run regular ferry services into France from
Dover to Dunkirk and
Newhaven to Dieppe. Take a look at our
Ferries to France homepage for more information about our services.
For more information, visit the Calais Tourist Information Office which can be found at 12 Bd Clémenceau, 62100, Calais or visit their website before you visit.
Prices are subject to availability. Credit card & telephone booking fees apply. Terms & Conditions apply.
WE'RE AWARD WINNING
It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ in the 2014 World Travel Awards. We've won this award for 4 years running.