France

Things to do in Calais

Despite the fact that it is most well-known for being a port, there are plenty of things to do in Calais for visitors who have time to explore before or after their ferry crossing, or have decided to stop over for a little longer.

The Haut-De-France region in which Calais is located has recently undergone a major rejuvenation, so this whole area has become more popular with those travelling to France, and it is very conveniently located for those reaching the country via the Channel.

There are things to do in Calais regardless of whether you love art, food, historical sites, relaxing on a beach, or wandering around parks, and you can reach this up and coming destination in just 90 minutes when you sail with us from Dover.

 

DVR

Dover Port

CQF

Calais Port

Morning

02:00

04:25

06:50

09:15

Midday

11:40

Afternoon

14:05

16:30

Evening

18:55

21:15

23:40

Calais beach at sunset

Things to do in Calais

The Calais de Dragon

The city of Calais is fortunate to welcome a dragon made of steel and sculpted wood with impressive dimensions: its length is 25 metres; its height is 12 meters and its width is from 5 to 17.5 meters for a weight of 72 tons. It moves on the coast with a speed of 2.48 mph (4 km/h) and it can spit water, fire and smoke.

Its expressiveness is one of its greatest qualities: its eyes, eyelids and ears are mobile. Moreover, it is agile thanks to its capacity of 280 movements orchestrated by 4 to 6 machinist pilots.

Get aboard its panoramic terrace built into its back for about 45 minutes and enjoy a breathtaking view of the beach. The Dragon awakens, slides on the seafront and a unique journey begins. Enjoy a 360° view of the landscapes of Calais to the rythm of this exceptional animal created by the French artist François Delaroziere.

Calais Dragon

City Hall in Calais

View Impressive Buildings

Those who love architecture will have a great time exploring some of the impressive buildings that Calais has to offer.

The first place to head to is the Town Hall which boasts a 75 metre belfry and has been named as a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO. Although it looks like an old building, Calais’ Town Hall was actually built in the 20th century but was designed with renaissance revival style giving it its historic look.

The Calais Lighthouse is another impressive building that is worth visiting while you are in the city. You will need to climb a total of 271 steps if you want to reach the top, but you will be rewarded with views that can stretch as far as Dover on a clear day. The Lighthouse is located in the Courgain Maritime quarter, Calais’ historic fishing district, which you may enjoy exploring.

 

Calais’ Beaches

During the summer, Calais’ beaches offer a great place to catch some rays while you lay back and relax on the stretches of golden sand. It is perfectly safe for you to take a dip or have a swim in the sea to cool down, as although the water may be chilly outside of the warmer season it is shallow enough for everyone to enjoy.

The white beach huts that line the sand are one of the beach’s main attractions, and by the promenade you will find bars and restaurants, plus you can have a fun game of mini golf too!

Just 10km west of Calais you will find the beautiful Cap Blanc-Nez beach which has white cliffs that are just like Dover’s famous landmark. Walk up to the top of the headland for amazing views towards Great Britain, and watch the ferries sail across the Channel too!
 
Beach in Calais

Bologne

Outside of Calais

When you have ticked all the things to do in Calais off of your list you may have time to head a bit further afield and explore some of the great places nearby.

Just half an hour outside of Calais you will find Bologne sur Mer, France’s largest fishing port, which is also home to a UNESCO inscribed belfy. In addition to this, Bologne sur Mer is where you will find Nausicaa which is Europe’s largest aquarium and great fun for adults and children alike! Boasting 58,000 animals, Nausicaa is a must-visit for anyone who loves nature and is fascinated by sea life.

History fans will love Saint-Omer as it is filled with historic buildings, impressive architecture, and a stunning Gothic cathedral. Located just a 40 minute drive from Calais, Saint-Omer boasts fascinating yellow brick buildings, a rich ceramic and textile heritage, and plenty of excellent dining options including lots of delicious fresh fish.

With so many great things to do in Calais that can be reached via ferry in just 90 minutes, why not make this your next holiday destination and discover all that it has to offer for yourself?
 

During the summer, Calais’ beaches offer a great place to catch some rays while you lay back and relax on the stretches of golden sand.

Featured Blog Post Best Places to Eat in Calais

Whether you’re visiting Calais on a day trip, or passing through on your way to or from the port, there are plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal.

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