Ferry to Belgium from UK
11 Routes, 7 operators and 3 unique maps
Directly to the maps:
If you want to travel to Belgium by ferry, you have 11 options from 4 . You can either travel by ferry via the Netherlands to Belgium, or you can choose to travel by ferry via France to Belgium. You in fact have the same options as when traveling to Germany or Denmark by ferry.
To sum things up, these are the most logical options to travel to Belgium by ferry:
- Dover-Dunkirk (short connection with 2 hours, very close to Belgium)
- Dover-Calais (shortest connection with 90 minutes)
- Harwich-Hook of Holland (cheap connection, quick to reach Antwerp)
- Hull-Rotterdam (also close to Antwerp, ideal route from Northern UK or Scotland)
- Newcastle-Amsterdam (Ferry with cruise experience)
To get a detailed overview of the best ferry routes to Belgium, you should look at our ferry maps. These maps include all possible routes to reach Belgium.
Map #1: 11 ferry routes to Belgium
On this map, you can see all the different routes and the time involved in reaching the Netherlands and or France to get to Belgium. A few interesting things you can spot quite fast:
- From Rotterdam and Calais, it's the same time to reach Brussels by car (about 2 hours).
- If you want to reach Antwerp it's better to travel to Rotterdam and/or Hook of Holland.
- Dunkirk is close to Belgium, which makes it the shortest ride to reach Belgium from the UK indirectly.
Map #2: Interactive map with routes to France
While the Western routes are not top of the list the eastern routes to France are very interesting to reach Belgium.
Map #3: Interactive map with the best routes
Belgium is located between the Netherlands and France. The ferries that arrive closest to Belgium are the ferries that land on the Hook of Holland, Rotterdam, Dunkirk, and Calais.
Calais-Dunkirk as the best option
Our first option would be to ferry to Dunkirk. You'll arrive 15 minutes away from the border of Belgium. The Calais-Dover is a fast connection but can be very busy at peak times in the summer, which you might want to avoid. It's an excellent second option, however.
The Ferry to Rotterdam is more in the north so that one connects well to Antwerp.
Check out our video about the ferry to Belgium
Step 1: Get a ferry to Netherlands or France first
If you want to travel by ferry to Belgium you have to sail to one of the French or Dutch ports first. Depending on where you live in the UK you can choose from where you want to sail to either France or the Netherlands. There are 5 ferry options to consider. When you depart from the south or center of England, you can choose to book a ferry from Dover or Harwich.
There are more options to travel to France by ferry, but most of those ferries would not make sense to use if you want to travel to Belgium.
Step 2: Get to Belgium
From Amsterdam (IJmuiden), it takes a 1 hour and 45 mins drive to Antwerpen in Belgium. From Hook of Holland and Rotterdam, you'll be on the road for about an hour to Antwerpen.
If you're traveling from Dover then the most logical would be Dunkirk if you want to travel to Belgium, you can of course also choose to sail to Calais as the regularity of sailings is higher to Calais.
From Dunkirk, you can drive to Brugge in about an hour; from Calais, thedrive is roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Frequent Asked Questions: ferry to Belgium
No, not anymore. In the past, you could sail from Hull directly to Zeebrugge but this route was discontinued. It is however easy to travel to Belgium by ferry via the Netherlands or France. Either the routes from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk or from Harwich to Hook of Holland and Hull to Rotterdam are good alternatives.
The shortest crossing is the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk (2 hours ferry + 1-hour drive).
Ps. Don't you think Belgium needs a unique ferry route to the UK, being less dependent on The Netherlands and France? (Like the old connection Zeebrugge-Hull?) Let us know!