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Dover to Calais: What you need to know


Calais is the closest French town to England, a mere 34km from the Port of Dover; it’s so close to the UK, sometimes you can even see the white cliffs of Dover from the French city. The Port of Dover is the UK’s biggest ferry port, with around 12 million passengers crossing the channel to and from France each year. The Port of Calais has the highest levels of ferry passenger traffic in France.

Which company operate the ferry route?

Ferry companies operating on the Dover to Calais route are P&0 ferries and DFDS Seaways, who together, run 39 sailings each day.  

How long does the ferry take?

The journey takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes on average, with both the P&0 and DFDS sailings taking around the same amount of time.

Why you should visit Dover

Dover is known as the gateway to England, and although many travellers may simply use it as a portal into the rest of the country, there’s plenty to see in the town itself. Dover is a beautiful place, most famous of course for its white cliffs, but it's also home to 2000-year-old ancient castle. Dover Castle sits on the edge of the coast, built as a defence mechanism against potential European invaders. The castle has a number of underground wartime tunnels, the guided tours are a well worth paying for.

Can I park my car at Dover port?

At Dover port, you’ll find a free drop off car park outside the Eastern Docks, which you can use for up to 15 minutes. However there are no long stay parking spaces at the port, and the port recommends you contact the independent parking company 'Relyon Parking’ for advice on where to leave your car.

Why you should visit Calais

Due to the city’s strategic position and maritime core, Calais is one of the most important areas of France. As a result, the city is rich in history - full of museums, theatres, statues and sculptures. The coastline is also worth checking out – there’s a light tower which you can climb up overlooks the sea (there’s even a museum inside). On weekends there are markets, and due to the lower taxes on alcohol of France, establishments have been set up to cater to day trippers coming for cheap booze. 

Can I park my car at Calais port?

If you are dropping someone off, direct access to the port is available from the short-stay car park, which is free for up to 30 minutes. You can leave your car at the medium and long-stay car park, which is free for up to 2 hours, which you’ll find 2 minutes away from the terminal. After 2 hours, prices go up to €3 for up to 4 hours and €6 for up to 12 hours. Day parking costs €7, and the prices increase by €4 each day after that. 7-day prices cost €30.

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