Calais is the most popular French port for travelers from the UK, as it is the closest to the English coast. The ferry journey across the Channel from Dover is only twenty-six miles. Calais is most popular for its shopping, and many people just take the car across to load up on food and alcohol. But Calais has so much more to offer.

After World War II, the town had to be entirely rebuilt. Calais suffered greatly after the British completely demolished the town to prevent the Germans invading. Nowadays, it’s a picturesque little fishing port, busy with tourists looking for bargains in the many shops.

Why not take the opportunity to stay for a little longer next time you decide to take the ferry across? Calais has much more to offer than first meets the eye. There’s a rich history and culture here. You also get more for your money, as Calais is actually three different towns: Calais Oeust, Calais Sud, and Calais Nord. Calais Nord is the old town and harbor, a great place to wander around. This is also where you’ll find some smaller, trendy shops and fancy restaurants. Calais Sud is the centre of the town, and the main hub of the shopping. There are bigger stores here, with more shopping centers, so it’s always a little busier. Calais Oest is the location of one of the bigger shopping malls, Cité Europe.

If you’re looking for more that shopping, Calais is great for beaches. There are plenty of water sports to fill your days, such as sail boarding and yachting, or you might just like to make the most of the sun and do a bit of tanning on the sand. Port de Plaisance is particularly picturesque. This busy little fishing harbor is a lovely place for a bit of people watching in the afternoon. And if you’re looking for something to do after the sun goes down, there are a few wine and piano bars to while away the evening. You can even visit the town’s casino for a bit more excitement.
Calais is also full of history. The English ruled Calais between 1347 and 1558, so you’ll see plenty of relics leftover from the reign, particularly in the town hall. The stained glass windows are particularly impressive.

After your stay in Calais, you might like to travel onwards. Because of its position, Calais is a great starting point for many travelers. From here there are a number of major roads leading you on to bigger tourist destinations, such as Paris, Strasbourg, Belgium, and Germany, 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 that will lead you on to your final destination.