Caen is a beautiful city on France’s northern coastline. In terms of ferry ports, you could say it’s somewhere in between Le Havre and Cherbourg. Caen itself is a little inland (about 10 miles) from the coast, on the Orne River, with the port area actually in a place called Ouistreham. Caen is famous in England for its association with William the Conqueror, and the famous Bayeaux Tapestry is just 18 miles away in the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux.


Journey Time
Portsmouth to Caen4 per day3.5 hoursBrittanyBrittany Ferries
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What ferry companies go to Caen, France?
Brittany Ferries operate the crossing to Caen from Portsmouth.

How long is the ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Caen?
There are actually 2 types of crossings available. Brittany offer what they call their “fast craft” option with their ship called the Normandie Express, a speedy ferry taking you from England to France in around 4 hours. Alternatively, you could take one of the cruise ferries, either the Mont St Michel or the Normandie, where the crossing time is around 7 hours.

Does the ferry sail overnight?
There is an option to take an overnight cruise ferry (where the crossing takes 7 hours) so that you can get some sleep on your journey. Thee are plenty of comfortable cabins to choose from.

What is it like on-board?
The faster ferry (Normandie Express) has comfortable seating, plus a café, bars, and shops. There’s room for 850 passengers and around 230 cars.

The larger Mont St Michel and Normandie cruise ferries have endless choice of things to do, including restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas, sun decks, kids’ entertainment, and the night crossings also have a DJ and entertainment (during high season), as well as a choice of cabins.

Moving on from Caen

There are plenty of options for an onward journey from Caen. For example, you could drive from Caen to Paris in around two hours. Or try Rouen, famous for its cathedral, which is about 1 and a half hours away. Further afield, Nice is over 700 miles, and Bordeaux is 370 miles away.