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How Long Is Ferry Ride From Dover To Calais


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Nerta Utter



Welcome aboard the exciting journey from Dover to Calais! The ferry route between these two enchanting coastal towns has long been a popular choice for travelers seeking to experience the beauty of the English Channel. Whether you’re embarking on a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, the ferry ride from Dover to Calais offers a unique and memorable experience.


As you set sail on the calm waters of the English Channel, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views of the rugged cliffs of Dover and the picturesque coastlines of both England and France. The ferry ride is not just a means of transportation but also a chance to unwind, relax, and soak in the scenic beauty.


For history enthusiasts, this route holds a special significance. Dover, known as the “Gateway to England,” is steeped in history, with its iconic Dover Castle overlooking the town and the famous White Cliffs of Dover creating a dramatic backdrop. Calais, on the other hand, hosts a rich legacy as a strategic port town, bearing witness to many significant events over the centuries.


Whether you’re visiting for the first time or are a seasoned traveler, the ferry ride from Dover to Calais provides a convenient and enjoyable option for crossing the English Channel. With several ferry operators offering daily services, there is a range of options to choose from to suit your preferences and travel plans. So, sit back, relax, and let’s explore the ins and outs of this exciting ferry route, including the duration of the journey and tips for a smooth ride.


Ferry Routes from Dover to Calais

The ferry route from Dover to Calais is one of the most popular crossings between England and France, connecting the southeastern coast of England with the northern coast of France. Several ferry operators provide services on this route, offering a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences.


One of the main ferry operators on this route is P&O Ferries, which operates multiple daily crossings throughout the year. Their modern, comfortable ferries provide a reliable and convenient way to travel between Dover and Calais. Another prominent operator is DFDS Seaways, offering a mix of ferry crossings and high-speed services, allowing passengers to choose the most suitable option based on their preferences and travel plans.


It’s worth noting that the ferry route from Dover to Calais is known for its efficiency and frequency. With departures available at regular intervals, you have the flexibility to choose a departure time that best fits your schedule. The crossing typically takes around 90 minutes to two hours, making it an ideal choice for a day trip or a longer visit.


Both P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways operate from dedicated ferry terminals in Dover, conveniently located near the town center and easily accessible by public transport or private vehicle. The terminals are well-equipped with amenities like cafes, shops, and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable experience for passengers.


When planning your journey, it’s advisable to make a reservation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This guarantees you a place on your preferred ferry and helps you avoid any last-minute inconveniences. Additionally, booking your ferry tickets online often comes with special discounts and promotional offers, allowing you to save money on your travel expenses.


The ferry ride from Dover to Calais offers more than just transportation; it also provides an opportunity to enjoy onboard facilities and services. Many ferries boast amenities such as restaurants, bars, duty-free shops, entertainment options, and Wi-Fi connectivity, ensuring a pleasant and entertaining journey.


So, whether you’re traveling for leisure or business, the ferry routes from Dover to Calais offer a convenient and enjoyable way to cross the English Channel. With multiple operators, flexible departure times, and modern facilities, you can look forward to a seamless and memorable journey.


Duration of Ferry Ride from Dover to Calais

The duration of the ferry ride from Dover to Calais typically ranges between 90 minutes to two hours, depending on various factors such as weather conditions, ferry operator, and the type of ferry being used. The English Channel is known for its changing tides and currents, which can affect the speed and duration of the crossing.


The distance between Dover and Calais is approximately 33 kilometers (20 miles), making it one of the shortest routes across the English Channel. The ferry operators on this route are experienced in navigating these waters, ensuring a safe and efficient crossing for passengers.


The duration of the ferry ride can vary slightly depending on the type of ferry being used. Some operators offer high-speed ferry services that can reduce the travel time to as little as 90 minutes. These fast ferries are equipped with advanced propulsion systems, allowing them to cruise at higher speeds and provide a swift journey across the channel.


On the other hand, traditional ferry services may take slightly longer, typically around two hours. These ferries are larger in size, accommodating more passengers and vehicles, and provide a more leisurely and relaxed journey. They often feature amenities such as restaurants, shops, and lounges, allowing passengers to enjoy their time onboard.


It’s important to note that the duration of the ferry ride may be affected by external factors such as adverse weather conditions. In case of rough seas or strong winds, the ferry operators may adjust the speed or temporarily suspend the services for safety reasons. As a result, it’s always advisable to check the weather conditions and any travel advisories before embarking on your journey.


Regardless of the duration, the ferry ride from Dover to Calais offers a scenic and enjoyable experience. As you sail across the English Channel, you’ll have the opportunity to take in breathtaking views of the coastlines, cliffs, and open waters. Many ferries also offer outdoor decks, allowing you to soak up the fresh sea air and capture stunning photographs.


To make the most of your ferry ride, it’s recommended to arrive at the terminal well in advance of your departure time. This ensures a smooth check-in process and gives you ample time to board the ferry and explore the onboard facilities.


Overall, the duration of the ferry ride from Dover to Calais provides the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and enjoy the journey as you make your way from England to France.


Factors Affecting Ferry Ride Duration

Several factors can influence the duration of the ferry ride from Dover to Calais. While the average crossing time is around 90 minutes to two hours, certain factors can cause slight variations in the journey duration. Understanding these factors can help you plan your trip accordingly and ensure a smooth and enjoyable ferry ride.


1. Weather Conditions: The English Channel is known for its unpredictable weather patterns. Adverse weather conditions such as strong winds, heavy rain, or fog can affect the speed of the ferry and potentially result in longer crossing times. Ferry operators prioritize passenger safety and may adjust their schedules or even suspend services temporarily during severe weather conditions.


2. Type of Ferry: The type of ferry being used can also impact the duration of the journey. High-speed ferries, equipped with advanced propulsion systems, are designed to travel at faster speeds, reducing the travel time between Dover and Calais. Traditional ferries, on the other hand, may have a slower cruising speed due to their larger size and capacity.


3. Traffic and Demand: Ferry ride duration can be influenced by the number of passengers and vehicles onboard. During peak travel seasons or busy periods, there may be more congestion at the ferry terminals, leading to longer waiting times before departure. Additionally, if the ferry is operating at maximum capacity, it may take slightly more time to load and unload passengers and vehicles.


4. Immigration and Customs Procedures: When traveling between England and France, immigration and customs procedures are necessary. The duration of these procedures can vary depending on the number of passengers, passport control efficiency, and any additional security measures in place. While ferry operators strive to streamline these processes, it’s important to factor in potential time delays during peak travel periods.


5. Tides and Currents: The English Channel experiences tidal movements and currents, which can affect the speed of the crossing. Depending on the direction and strength of the currents, the ferry may need to adjust its course or speed, potentially resulting in a slightly longer journey.


While these factors can influence the duration of the ferry ride from Dover to Calais, it’s important to remember that ferry operators prioritize passenger safety and ensure that the crossings are efficient and reliable. It’s advisable to check the ferry company’s website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information on crossing times and any potential disruptions.


By considering these factors and planning your journey accordingly, you can have a smoother and more enjoyable ferry ride from Dover to Calais.


Tips for a Smooth Ferry Ride

Embarking on a ferry ride from Dover to Calais can be an exciting and memorable experience. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:


1. Plan Ahead: It’s always a good idea to plan your ferry ride in advance. Check the ferry schedules and book your tickets online to secure your preferred departure time. This will help you avoid any last-minute rush and ensure a smooth boarding process.


2. Arrive Early: Arriving at the ferry terminal early allows you to check-in and board the ferry without any stress. It also gives you ample time to explore the terminal facilities, grab a snack or a coffee, and familiarize yourself with the boarding process.


3. Pack Essentials: Make sure to pack all the essentials you may need during the ferry ride. This includes any necessary travel documents, such as passports, tickets, and identification. It’s also a good idea to bring along some entertainment options, such as books, magazines, or portable devices, to keep yourself occupied during the journey.


4. Be Prepared for Customs and Immigration: During the ferry ride, you will be crossing international borders between England and France. Make sure to have your passport and any applicable visa or travel documents ready for immigration control. Familiarize yourself with the customs regulations of both countries to avoid any delays or complications during the customs inspection.


5. Check the Weather: Before setting off on your ferry ride, check the weather forecast for both Dover and Calais. The English Channel can be susceptible to rough seas and strong winds, which may affect the smoothness of the journey. Be prepared for potential changes in the weather conditions and dress accordingly.


6. Familiarize Yourself with Onboard Facilities: Most ferries operating on the Dover to Calais route are well-equipped with amenities and facilities. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the onboard facilities, such as restaurants, cafes, shops, and lounges. This will allow you to make the most of your time onboard and enhance your overall experience.


7. Enjoy the Scenery: As you sail across the English Channel, take the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery and capture memorable photographs. Many ferries offer outdoor decks from where you can admire the stunning views of the cliffs, coastlines, and open waters.


8. Be Mindful of Others: During the ferry ride, be considerate of your fellow passengers. Keep noise levels to a minimum, especially in enclosed areas, and follow any instructions or announcements provided by the ferry crew. Respect the designated smoking areas and dispose of waste properly, contributing to a clean and pleasant environment for everyone.


By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth and pleasant ferry ride from Dover to Calais, creating fond memories of your journey across the English Channel.



The ferry ride from Dover to Calais offers a delightful and convenient way to cross the beautiful English Channel, connecting the southeastern coast of England with the northern coast of France. Whether you choose to embark on a day trip or explore both destinations extensively, the ferry journey provides a memorable travel experience.


With the duration of the ferry ride typically ranging from 90 minutes to two hours, you have ample time to relax, indulge in onboard amenities, and enjoy the picturesque views of the coastlines and open waters. Factors such as weather conditions, the type of ferry, and traffic can slightly affect the journey duration, but reputable ferry operators strive to provide seamless and efficient crossings.


Planning ahead, arriving early at the ferry terminal, and packing the necessary essentials are essential for a smooth ferry ride. Familiarizing yourself with customs and immigration procedures ensures a hassle-free experience during international border crossings. Checking the weather forecast and dressing accordingly prepares you for any potential changes in weather conditions.


While onboard, take the opportunity to explore the various facilities available on the ferry, sit back and enjoy the remarkable scenery, and be considerate of fellow passengers to create a pleasant and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.


Whether you’re embarking on a new adventure, visiting loved ones, or simply exploring new horizons, the ferry ride from Dover to Calais allows you to immerse yourself in the charm, history, and natural beauty of both England and France. So, get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey and create lasting memories as you sail across the English Channel.