From Dover to Dunkirk

In just 2 hours sailing by ferry from England to France.

⇒ The best alternative to the crossing from Dover to Calais.
⇒ From Dunkirk the drive to the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium is slightly shorter, and the crossing takes a little longer by ferry.

Dover to Dunkirk ferries

A shorter drive to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Book your tickets online to avoid any surprises.
Prices start from £78 for a car including 4 passengers.

Quick crossing from England to France, an ideal alternative to Dover-Calais and your best option when travelling to the Netherlands, Germany, or Belgium

An overview of this crossing.

The ferry from Dover to Dunkirk is much less well-known than the nearby alternative from Dover to Calais, which is rather surprising.

This crossing only takes half an hour longer from the port of Dover compared to Calais but brings you closer to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Additionally, the port of Dunkirk is less busy, which is a big plus in our opinion.

What makes this ferry a great option?

Are you planning a trip to Europe and finding the ferry crossings to Calais to busy? And the ferries Netherlands inconvenient due to their long duration, overnight stays?
In that case, considering the other ferry crossings from France to England might be worthwhile.
Depending on your point of departure, the crossings from Dover to either Calais or Dunkirk might be interesting. Dover-Dunkirk is anyways a great alternative route compared to Dover-Calais.
Calais offers the most ferry crossings per day to England, while Dunkirk is a bit closer to Belgium, the Netherlands and France reach and is a less busy arrival port.

Furthermore, it’s a budget-friendly crossing, with prices starting from £78  for up to 4 people in a car at the time of writing. When we tested this in the booking module of DFDS, we even found a price of €77. This is for a one-way trip, meaning it’s less than £20 per person.

When living closer to Portsmouth, Plymouth or Poole you also might want to check the ferries of Brittany Ferries that have a lot of crossings to Bretagne and Normandy. 
Dover - Dunkirk ferries pricing

Travelling across the Channel between England and France

Dunkirk | About Dunkirk

From Dover, Dunkirk is approximately a 2-hour journey and an excellent alternative to Calais, particularly if you’re travelling from England to France and onwards to Belgium, Germany, or the Netherlands, as it’s located more northerly than Calais. Multiple ferries depart daily from Dunkirk to Dover. Dunkirk is situated just across the border from Belgium. The DFDS terminal is positioned slightly further south, in the direction of Calais. 

Historically, Dunkirk is a Flemish city renowned for its crossing, as well as its historical significance during wartime and its portrayal in films depicting Dunkirk.

Dover | About Dover

Across the Channel from Dunkirk lies Dover in the county of Kent. Dover serves as the arrival point for ferries from both Calais and Dunkirk. In the past, boats from Boulogne and Ostend also arrived here, but these connections have since been discontinued. So, your current options are Dunkirk-Dover and Calais-Dover.

Are you traveling from England to France or vice versa? Then the most logical ferries are those from Dover to Dunkirk and Calais. Further southwest, you can also take ferries from places like Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Poole to various Normandy and Breton port cities, such as St Malo, Le Havre, and Cherbourg. You can book these through Brittany Ferries.

The DFDS terminals in Calais and Dunkirk are half an hour’s drive apart (under normal traffic conditions). This is also precisely the difference in the duration of the crossing. So, regarding time, it doesn’t matter much which crossing you take. Ultimately, it will come down to the price of the crossing or whether you prefer to spend a bit longer on the boat and less time driving or vice versa.

You may also want to avoid crowds. In that case, Dunkirk is often a better option than the port of Calais.

In Calais, you also have more choice in terms of ferry companies; from Dunkirk, only DFDS operates.

For this crossing, you are expected to come with your own vehicle. It’s not possible to book as a foot passenger only. To Calais, however, this is possible, for example, if you book with P&O Ferries.

Book economy for a lower price, flexi for more flexibility.

Booking your crossing in advance often helps in finding a budget-friendly ticket. If you’re certain about your travel plans, you can opt for an economy ticket, which is a bit cheaper but less flexible. If you want to book in advance to save money but also desire more flexibility, then choose a flexi ticket. For a small additional cost, you’ll have the option to adjust the time/date later on.

Check out the options at DFDS ⮞


It’s wise to book in advance: you often receive a early booking discount, and it guarantees that your car or caravan can board the ferry.

The distance between Dunkirk and Dover is approximately 40 miles

This crossing takes you across the channel in 2 hours.

DFDS is the sole ferry company on the Dover to Dunkirk route. Alternative companies like P&O Ferries and Stena Line operate from the Netherlands and nearby Calais. Brittany Ferries operates routes to Normandy and Brittany.

Yes, with DFDS, you can sail from England to France with your dog. However, there are some rules that apply.