Visit Calais in the North of France | An easy journey from the UK

Where is Calais located ?

Calais is a pretty little town situated next to England. Thanks to this proximity it is very easy to reach the town from the United Kingdom. On the most beautiful days, when the sky is blue and there are no clouds on the horizon you can even see the English cliffs from the coast of Calais.

The town of Calais has an exceptional location in the heart of the Opal Coast, 30 kilometres from the English borders but also from major cities such as Brussels, Paris and Lille. It is a city that is easy to get to because you can find a TGV station and a link with major motorways such as the A16, which is also known as the "english motorway".

Calais can therefore be the starting point for a visit to France as well as your next destination for a holiday or weekend!  

How to come to Calais from the UK ?

The journey between France and England is very simple and the Brexit will not change the proximity between our two countries. You should know that there are three different ways to get to Calais. The first is to take the ferry (with your car or as a pedestrian) from Dover to the port of Calais.

Then you can take the shuttle and cross the Channel Tunnel from Folkestone to Coquelles (which is an area just outside Calais). The last option if you want to go fast is to take the train: the Eurostar leaves from London or Ashford and reaches Calais in 1 hour.

As you can see, you have no excuse! Reaching France is very easy and will suit everyone! If you want to come as a family, with your pet or as a couple, you'll find the solution that suits you best. 

Find out what to do in Calais, France and stay at our holiday residences

Why should you visit Calais ?

It is common for people from the UK to just pass through Calais. It's a shame though ! You have to know that Calais is a fantastic city and it is very nice to spend a few days there. The good news is that you can easily make the round trip from England over the day.

But if you have a bit more time to spend in France we advise you to spend a few days in Calais to explore the city and its surroundings. To fully enjoy the city and the wonders that surround it, we advise you to stay in our residence in Oye-Plage, for example, which is only a few kilometres from Calais. 

It is a city full of treasures, you will love to discover its architecture, history & culture. The town also has a long sandy beach which is very nice. In summer as in winter it is very pleasant to stroll along the seafront, between the beach and the port while enjoying an ice cream or a waffle! You will even be able to watch the incessant ferry journeys between Calais and England

Where to go shopping in Calais ?

If you wish to make the most of your stay in France and enjoy shopping, Calais is the ideal place. Indeed you can go to the Cité de l'Europe in Cocquelles just next to Calais to do your French shopping. It is one of the largest shopping centres in the region with 140 shops. The Cité de l'Europe shopping centre also has a hypermarket, a cinema, a playground where you can bowl, play billiards etc. There is also a food court with bars, restaurants and fast food outlets. 

Just next door you will also find the Channel Outlet Store where you can find brand name products at low prices. The Calais shopping centre is very conveniently located right next to the entrance to the Eurotunnel, ideal for last minute shopping before heading back to the UK or continuing on to France.

Find out what to do in Calais, France and stay at our holiday residences

What to do in Calais ?

There is a lot to do in the city of Calais. To get started we would advise you to visit the heart of the city. 

The city is full of wonderful historical monuments such as the Watchtower and the citadel. The belfry is also a must during a stay in Calais ! You can climb the steps and admire the view from a height of 75 metres : you will discover a breathtaking view! You can take the tour in small groups, which will allow you to learn a little more about this early 20th century building. 

If you're fancy about Art & history you should definitely go to the Museum of Fine Arts ! You'll discover some very nice artwork such as "The Citizens of Calais" which is a masterpiece of sculptor Auguste Rodin. In general, there are permanent and temporary exhibitions with works ranging from classical to contemporary. 

If you're more interested in the Second World War then you should definitely go to the Museum of Memory 39-45'.

Finally a visit in this town cannot be made without a beautiful panoramic view of the city!  Go to the Calais lighthouse, you'll find the most amazing view over the city, the harbour & the sea. When the weather is beautiful outside, you can even see the English coastline ! Incredible, isn't it ?

A visit to the port of Calais is also essential as it is the place where the city comes alive. In particular, you will be able to see the Watch Tower which dates from the 13th century. From the port, you will not be far from the beach. Calais' beach is several kilometres long, making it ideal for relaxing and enjoying various sporting activities. 

Speaking of sports activities, there are many in Calais. There are plenty of things to do such as hiking, kite flying, cycling or kitesurfing. It all depends on what you like to do and what attracts you the most! If you have never done kite surfing or sand yachting don't worry, the clubs offer initiations for those who have never done it before. 

Still not convinced? If you are rather attracted by fashion & local handicrafts we recommend you to visit the international city of lace and fashion. It's an incredible museum that traces the history and craftsmanship of an entire region. Did you know that on Kate Middleton's wedding dress there was Calais lace?

Finally Calais has had a little novelty for some time. Indeed if you come to visit the city of Calais you might see a huge dragon in the city centre! The dragon of Calais is walking on the beach dike and it is possible to take a little walk on its board.

The walk takes about an hour, counting boarding and disembarking. It is an original trip that will please children and adults alike! You can go and see it for free but if you wish to board it will cost €9.5 per adult and €7.5 per child. If you wish to book your ride, go to the official website of the dragon of Calais

Where to sleep in Calais ?

 We would be delighted to welcome you in the comfort of our Evancy residences which are located near the city of Calais. To be as close as possible to the city, we recommend you to stay in our holiday residence in Oye-Plage which is located only ten kilometres away.

If you plan to visit the town for just one day and stay elsewhere on the Opal Coast, you can stay in our other residences in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Bray-Dunes, Equihen-Hardelot or even Sainte-Cécile. The good news is that wherever you are staying it will be very easy to reach Calais thanks to the motorway that links the whole of the Opal Coast. 

If you're looking for more information about this town & about what to do you should visit Calais' website ! In any case we guarantee that you will not regret your visit to Calais and that you will enjoy your french trip there. 

What to do near Calais ?

You can also make beautiful discoveries near Calais. We even recommend a stay of several days in the town so that you can wander around in the surrounding area, which is just as beautiful.

For example, we advise you to go to Oye-Plage to take advantage of an exceptional natural park: the platier d'Oye. If you are a nature lover you will really love this place which is still preserved and wild. 

You can also visit the cities of Dunkirk and Bray-Dunes, which are both very different. Dunkirk is an interesting but rather industrial city, while Bray-Dunes is ideal for a day trip to a typical small seaside resort. Moreover, we have hotel residences which are located only a few metres from the beach of Bray-Dunes. 

Further west, you can enjoy the beach at Sangatte. If there is an exceptional place not to be missed, it is the Cap Blanc nez & Cap Gris nez: a place classified as a UNESCO heritage site and which you must absolutely visit. The small villages of Wimereux, Wissant or Ambleteuse are also very cute and all have their own little charm. These are the perfect places to discover the charm of the French coast without being too far from Calais. 

How to get around Calais ?

The best way to get around Calais is to have a car. You can either come with your own or you can find several rental agencies in the city of Calais. It's an easy way to get around, especially if you're planning a road trip around the region. 

However, if you have no choice but to rely on public transport to visit the city of Calais, we have a solution. There are several bus lines in Calais which serve the city. In addition, Calais is not a very important city, so you can also get around on foot. 

Find out what to do in Calais, France and stay at our holiday residences

Do not rely on the "bad reputation" of Calais

When we talk about Calais it is not always to talk about positive things. You may have heard about it on television on frightening themes : asylum seekers, migrants, the Brexit, the blockades at the port... but Calais is not just that and you should know that its situation is tending to improve.

You should not be afraid to visit Calais because of the jungle in Calais, the migrants or the difficult situation with the Brexit. None of these elements will prevent you from having a good stay in the city. On the contrary, Calais is a lively city that is looking forward to welcoming you.