Calais is the most popular French port for travelers from the UK, as it is the closest to the English coast. Calais is most popular for its shopping, and many people just take the car across to load up on food and alcohol, although Calais has so much more to offer, plus there is easy access to the main French road network which will take you quickly to a range of destinations in France and nearby Belgium.


Journey Time
Dover to Calais23 per day1.5 hoursP&OP & O Ferries
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Dover to CalaisUp to 8 per day1.5 hoursMy Ferry LinkMy
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Dover to Calais10 per day1.5 hoursDFDSDFDS Seaways
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What is the distance from Dover to Calais in miles?
The Dover is about 26 miles from Calais, making it the shortest crossing point for ferries from England to France. The ferry crossing takes 1 and a half hours. There is a shorter distance between South Foreland in Kent and Pas-de-Calais, which is just 21 miles. However, this isn’t used by ferries – rather just cross Channel swimmers.

Do I need to book a cabin?
No, not at all. The crossing is quick and there are plenty of things to do on-board, such as visit a restaurant, do some shopping, or simply relax in the lounge or on deck. You’ll soon find that you’re making your way down to the car deck and be off on your onward journey in next to no time.

Which ferry company runs the route?
P&O ferries, MyFerryLink and DFDS Seaways run this crossing. MyFerryLink and DFDS are fairly new to this route, since they took over some of the SeaFrance crossings. SeaFrance unfortunately went into administration in 2012. DFDS also run the alternative Dover to Dunkirk route, as well as plenty of other routes.

Is this the fastest way to get to France with a car?
The Dover to Calais ferry is the quickest ferry crossing to France,  at 1 hour 20 minutes. The next quickest ferry route is Dover to Dunkirk which is 2 hours. However, taking the Eurotunnel car train through the Channel Tunnel is quicker, taking just 35 minutes.

Does the ferry sail overnight?
Well the journey is only 1.5 hours, so not exactly overnight. But there are indeed some very late and early crossings to and from Dover, from both P&O and DFDS Seaways.

Moving on from Calais

Because of its position near to the major road networks, Calais is a great starting point for many travelers looking to explore France and Belgium. It’s easy to get to big cities such as Paris, Strasbourg and Brussels, as well as other towns and cities in France. From Calais, you can reach Boulogne in twenty-two minutes, Dunkirque in thirty minutes, St Omer in thirty-five minutes, Le Torquet in forty minutes, Arras in one hour and ten minutes, Douai and Lille in one hour and twenty minutes, and Cambrai in one hour and thirty-five minutes. The A26 and the A16 are the two main motorways where your outward journey will most likely begin.