7 Tips for Taking the Ferry between Dover and Calais

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
Dec 11, 2012 / 0 comments

Yes, you're taking the ferry from Dover to Calais (or back again), and although everyone seems to have done this, a few tips and answers wouldn't be remiss. After all, it's all part of the journey!

Ferry from Dover to Calais

1. By Plane, Train, and Automobile?

Actually, you can travel the ferry from Dover to Calais by car, on foot, or with your bicycle. No planes, trains, or Danny Devito on this route.

2. How long does it take?

The ferry crossing takes around 1 and a half hours.

3. How much does it cost?

It depends on how you're crossing (by foot, bicycle, or with your car) - and how many people are going (if by car). It's generally cheaper to take a full car than to take 4 people by foot. Do your research to find the best prices.

4. How often does the ferry run?

The ferry can run up to 24 crossings a day. It depends on the day (and the weather). Plan ahead so you're not waiting (on either end).

5. Can kids travel alone?

Generally, yes after the age of 16, with a letter from their parent/guardian.

6. What do you see?

Well, when you leave the UK (or arrive), you'll see the famous White Cliffs of Dover. They are beautiful, especially on misty days, rising out of the water. When you arrive (or leave) Calais, France, you'll see the port (which has been around since the Middle Ages). Calais is on a man-made island, and has been critical to trading and transportation routes since it is so close to the UK, and is at the far north tip of France.

7. How do you while away the time on the ferry?

Well, if you've got kids, have them get out their digital cameras and document the ferry and trip. This should take a good fifteen minutes, more if you include out of the way items to photograph (such as license plates from different countries, different colors, etc.).

The ferries usually have a coffee shop, a restaurant, and bar, so if you are so inclined and the crossing is smooth, feel free to eat and imbibe.  There will also be a shop, video arcade, kids playzone, children's entertainment on some crossings, and, of course, the view from the deck.

If you're not sure where you're going once you arrive, some ferries have an information desk to help you with general travel information.

You can always bring a good book to read, although I am usually distracted by the view (both scenic and people-watching).





Photo of P&O Ferry Spirit of Britain (Dover to Calais) courtesy of flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/tipsfortravellers/7739198904/