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Alternative routes

A top 7 alternative routes for the most famous Calais-Dover crossing.

Instead of Calais-Dover and Dover-Calais, you, of course, also have Dover-Dunkirk (by DFDS), we wanted to guide you through the best alternatives out there when you want to cross the channel to France.

The seven alternatives to travel to France

You have various alternatives to this crossing. You could, for instance, take the “Le Shuttle” and travel towards France by train. There is a difference between where and how you need to book these tips with the car (le Shuttle) or without a car (Eurostar). Keep in mind though that the train can be expensive compared to the ferry crossings.

A map with all possible connections to travel from the UK


Here you can see all connections that lead from the UK to France or The Netherlands.

Our Top 7 Alternatives when traveling to France

  1. From Dover to Dunkirk (FR) (Operated by DFDS) is known for being mostly a bit cheaper than the direct Calais-Dover Crossings, especially if you are traveling from Dover to France.
  2. From Newhaven to Dieppe (FR), despite the harbor of Newhaven not being the best looking harbor in the UK this crossing is mostly used by truckers who want to avoid hassle at the Dover harbor. You can book this crossing at DFDS.
  3. From Harwich to Holland (NL) The harbor you arrive at is the harbor of ‘Hook of Holland’ in Dutch to be pronounced as ‘Hoek van Holland’. Very close to Rotterdam and also only an hour away from Amsterdam. Operated by Stenaline, easy to book at Directferries.
  4. The Train from Folkestone to Calais (FR). This option is fast but remains more expensive than the ferries, and it’s also less fun to travel by train.
  5. From Portsmouth to Saint-Malo (FR) You will instantly travel to a city in France which is a great tourist destination. However, the tickets are not as cheap as the other alternatives. Also, don’t forget this is an 11-hour trip. Easy to book at Directferries.
  6. From Portsmouth to Caen (FR) Operated by Brittany Ferries, 3 sailings per day, 6-hour trip. Easy to book at Directferries.
  7. From Portsmouth to Cherbourg (FR) Operated by Brittany Ferries, 3 sailings per day, 6-hour trip. Easy to book at Directferries.

How to choose between all these ferries to France

Your choice of which route to take depends on the following:

  • Which city/region you are leaving from.  
  • Your final destination in France or in the UK.
  • When you are going: It’s best to avoid the Calais and Dover port when it’s extremely busy due to lines at the border control. These things might be fixed in the near future, but at the moment, there are still issues. 
  • The price is all more or less the same, long ferries, however, cost a lot more, so search for short crossings when you want to travel as cheaply as possible.
  • If you want to go by car or not, also it’s important to do your research on parking at the ports, for Calais-Dover, we gathered all parking data.