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Top 10 points of interest & tourist attractions in Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais area
Calais Travel Guide: Tourist attractions on map • Journey & Trip reviews • Vacation & Resort deals
Located in the northern department of Nord Pad-de-Calais, the town of Calais has for years acted as a gateway to France for visitors arriving from Britain. While many of these head straight for some of the country’s more popular tourist destination, Calais itself is actually a hidden gem in France’s tourist trade.
Visitors making their way to France from the U.K. can do so by ferry, car or rail. Ferry services connect Calais and Dover while the Channel Tunnel links Folkestone in the U.K. to nearby Coquelles. Eurostar – a high-speed rail connection – departs London and stops at Lille, which is located about an hour from Calais. Those planning a trip to Calais from further afield should fly into one of the major airports in the region (Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Brussels, or Lille) and drive the remaining distance. Of these airports, Paris is furthest away, but the scenic journey takes little more than two hours.
The town of Calais holds very few traditional landmarks or tourist attractions. Visitors can visit the town’s Fine Arts Museum, World War II museum, or the International City of Lace and Fashion, the latter of which details the history of lace, all of which are located within the town. Calais’ lighthouse is also a popular destination, especially for the views it offers at the top of its 271 steps. On a clear day it is possible to see the famous white cliffs of Dover.
But landmarks and tourist attractions are not what Calais is about. Instead, the quaint northern town offers peace and quiet as well as some of the friendliest locals in all of France.
Visitors will enjoy rummaging around one of the region’s many markets, while the miles and miles of beached coastline make for a great getaway. Walking and relaxing are chief activities here, while the likes of bird-watching, shopping and, of course, dining are thoroughly recommended.
For those with the time, a Calais trip plan should include excursions to nearby Gravelines, Boulogne and Le Tourquet, all of which offer a different charm. Boulogne is a fishing port with exceptional seafood cuisine while Le Touquet is a popular seaside resort.
Those looking for a day or overnight trip can make their way to the likes of Lille (68 miles away ), Brussels (122 miles), Le Havre (169 miles) or Paris (180 miles).