Dunkirk

Dunkirk travel guide

Dunkirk is one of the most famous port towns in Europe, and has been for generations. Synonymous for British tourists with the famous evacuation in the Second World War, it is a port town steeped in history.

Getting there

DFDS Seaways operate 24 daily sailings between Dover and Dunkirk, so you’re sure to find a sailing which suits your plans. Crossings take just 2 hours, but if you prefer then you can take the slightly-shorter sailing to Calais and drive along the coast.

What to see in Dunkirk

The beaches of Dunkirk are a popular spot for kite-surfers, sand-surfers and wind-surfers, with gorgeous natural views perfect for long walks or a relaxing afternoon by the sea.

The sweeping coastline isn’t just a hotspot for holidaymakers; they’re also the site of one of the most significant events of the Second World War. During a 9-day operation in 1940, over 340,000 French and British soldiers were rescued from advancing German troops by a swiftly assembled fleet of around seven hundred vessels.

Today, history enthusiasts can pay a visit to the Dunkirk War Museum, which tells the full fascinating story of this incredible rescue mission. The Dunkirk Town Cemetery also includes an extensive war memorial commemorating over 4,500 soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during the campaign of 1939-1940.

Head to Dunkirk’s belfry, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in the 1300s, for a stunning panoramic view of the harbour and the city. You can also visit the Museé des Beaux-Arts with its collection of French art or the Museé Portuaire, which details harbour life in the city.

Dunkirk’s unique and colourful carnival is one of the biggest and oldest on the Continent. Dating back to 1676, the carnival runs from mid-January to late March and includes over lively 40 street parades with marching bands, 60 balls, competitions, music, traditional food and drink, plus a lot of dressing up and friendly mischievousness!

Dunkirk is also an excellent destination for outdoor types, with beautiful scenery for hiking, cycling, kayaking and more. The recently-renovated, 27-hole golf course is also a must for any sports fans, as the new 9 holes are highly original, inspired by Dunkirk’s military fortifications.

Many tourists head to Dunkirk to pick up produce that they can’t get in the UK. Excellent quality wine and beer are available at knock-down prices in Pidou Superstore, just next to the port, making it the perfect place to stop off and stock up on the way home.

Where to stay in Dunkirk

Check our accommodation partner booking.com for a list of excellent places to stay around Dunkirk, whether you’re looking for high-end luxury or a more budget option.


Surrounding area

On arrival in Dunkirk, you’re perfectly situated to visit a number of the surrounding villages, all boasting traditional Flemish architecture and beautiful scenery to be explored on foot, by bike, canal or even horseback.

Why not enjoy a day trip or even a stopover in one of these beautiful destinations?


Tourist Office Information

For additional information on accommodation and restaurants in Dunkirk, visit the Tourist Office website at  www.dunkerque-tourisme.fr or call the tourist office on 00.33.3.28.66.79.21


Our ferries to Dunkirk

DFDS Seaways provides ferry services to Dunkirk from Dover with a crossing time of just under 2 hours with up to 12 ferry sailings per day in both directions. We offer great ferry fares and have regular special offers , so book a great value ferry fare between Dover and Dunkirk online with DFDS Seaways. 

We also run regular ferry services into France from Dover to Calais , Portsmouth to Le Havre and Newhaven to Dieppe . Take a look at our Ferries to France homepage for all the information you need.


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