Are we nearly there yet? – Europe by Ferry

europe by ferry

It’s quite something, to have the proximity to drive from France, to Belgium, Holland and Germany in less time than it takes to drive from London to Manchester. You could, if it’s sort of thing that tickles your fancy, eat a French croissant, some Belgian chocolate, a Dutch Stroop waffle and a German Bratwurst sausage, all in one day in their respective countries of origin. Challenge accepted? If you’ve been uncertain about where your holidays will take you this year, we invite you to look closer to home, and discover the open road when you travel to Europe by ferry.

Only a ferry boat away lies the road to Paris, the road to Berlin and the road to Bruges, ready and waiting to sweep you in the cultural heart of each country that pulsates with a different language, mouth-watering cuisine and breath-taking scenery and architecture. Our European neighbours have great taste, and we invite you to consider sailing the channel for a holiday that gives you the freedom to step on and off the tourist trail to indulge as you wish.

Who provides ferry routes to Europe?

DFDS Seaways sails from Newhaven, Dover and Newcastle, giving you the choice of convenient ports whether you’re travelling from north England and Scotland or South England and Wales. Travel to Calais and Dunkirk from Dover, to Dieppe from Newhaven and Amsterdam from Newcastle, with family, friends, dogs, cats and all the luggage you can cram in your vehicle with them – all for less than the cost of flying!

Driving Distances in Europe

driving distances in europe

Planning a road trip, camping holiday or tour or Europe? We’ve plucked the numbers with the help of DFDS Seaways for accurate driving distance information, so you can plan your trip with ease, and make the most your visit! Whether you’re planning to indulge in French cheese boards or cycle through Dutch parks – there’s plenty of variety on our doorstep. Where will your road trip take you?

Amiens981hr 30mins
Paris1792hrs 50mins
Dijon3534hrs 45 mins
Strasbourg3855hrs 21mins
Nice76010hrs 29 minutes
Brussels961hr 35mins
Cologne2383hrs 30 mins
Berlin5498hrs 5mins
Brussels1252hrs 25mins
Bruges1542hrs 55 mins
Cologne1603hrs 20mins
Hamburg2884hrs 12mins
Rouen411 hr
Deauville821hr 30 mins
Paris1212 hrs 14mins
Reims1812hrs 43 mins
Nantes2774hrs 5 mins

Calais to Dijon


Yes, the town where that irresistible mustard recipe rose from, and the capital of the rich Burgundy region; Dijon has all the French charm and wine you could wish for. The route via Reims is considerably faster, under 5 hrs driving time at best, but if you’ve got the time to travel slower, why not take the route through Paris? You’ll be able to capture the romance of the capital at the small cost of an hour added to the journey time to Dijon, and even break up your trip with an overnight stay in a chic Parisian hotel.

Dijon At a Glance:

  • Admire six centuries of work from European painters, Francois Rude’s sculptures in the Saint Etienne Church and Egyptian art in the architectural art of the Musée des Beaux-Arts
  • Invite your tastebuds to embark on a trip to the Cote De Nuit region or to the ancient city of Beaune to sample delectable wines on small group wine tasting tours
  • Eat well – fine French cuisine can be found in grand Michelin-star restaurants at top end of the scale, and bustling, authentic petite eateries at the other.
  • Tasteful apartments to be your home-from-home for the trip, or a plush 5-star hotel – the choice is yours!

Dunkirk to Bruges


DFDS Seaways offer cheap ferry crossings from Dover to Dunkirk almost every hour, so if you fancy a whirlwind trip to Europe – the picturesque town of Bruges is a mere hour’s drive once you sail into Dunkirk. Perfect if you want to escape to Europe on a minimal budget, and would rather spend as little time on the road as possible. Its proximity means it’s not been left undiscovered by tourists, so we’d suggest going mid-week or in the winter months when you’ll have the frosted, cobbled streets to wander free of the crowds.

Bruges At A Glance

  • An architect’s paradise, a muddle of 13th 14th and 15th century buildings including the Gothic Stadhuis, the baroque Bruges Vrije palace, and the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (home to Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child statue) make for easy-wandering and sightseeing
  • Full-day tours to plunge you into the Somme Battlefield in WW1, for a sharp reminder of a troubled European past.
  • Belgian Beer; there’s plenty of it served in characterful and bustling bars – so drink up!
  • Belgian Chocolate. So rich, so pleasurable, you might just buy family presents and keep them for yourself. There is of course a Choco-Story Museum, if you’re interested in more than simply eating it.

Amsterdam to Cologne


Start with the Dutch capital and end in the cultural sprawl of Cologne, popular for its diverse attractions that popped everywhere as the city recovered from its destruction in WW2. You’ll have a choice of hundreds of art galleries and museums to peruse and get lost in during the day, and lively bars and clubs to enjoy the night. The route through Utrecht and Nijmegen allows you to enjoy the Dutch way of life outside the tourist trap of Amsterdam if you’re taking the time to enjoy the roadtrip, otherwise the direct drive is a pleasant 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Cologne At A Glance

  • The largest cathedral in Germany – the gothic Kölner Dom towers over Cologne with grace and grandeur. A must-visit.
  • Absorb and marvel at art and history; the Römish-Germanisches Museum has a spectacular collection Roman Artefacts on the Rhine, while the Museum Schnütgen houses medieval religious sculptures and art.
  • Eat schnitzel or pork chops accompanied by a cold beer for a taste of Germany, or mix it up authentic French and cool European cuisine
  • Enjoy a scenic Rhine river cruise for a romantic day or even a night of fine wine and dining

What are you waiting for? Grab your ferry tickets for less with our DFDS Seaways vouchers and cruise away to embark on a European adventure that’s unique to you, and make the journey part of your holiday escape this year. For more inspiration, browse our offers for Stena Line or take a cheap trip to the emerald isle with deals for Irish Ferries, all available online or through the vouchercloud app!

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