Travel to Belgium by ferry from the UK
Where in the past there was a direct ferry from the UK to Belgium this crossing has ceased to exist. From Hull, there was a ferry route to Zeebrugge, close to Bruges in Belgium.
If you now want to travel to Belgium by ferry you have a couple of options. 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-Calais (shortest connection)
- Dover-Dunkirk (short connection, close to Belgium)
- Harwich-Hook of Holland (cheap connection)
- Hull-Rotterdam (close to Antwerp BE)
- Newcastle-Amsterdam (cruise experience)
To get a detailed overview of the best ferry routes to Belgium you should take a look at our ferry map which includes all connections listed above.
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Map with all ferry routes to Belgium
Belgium is located between the Netherlands and France. So you can choose to either travel via France or the Netherlands by ferry as the ferry to Zeebrugge is discontinued. Depending on where you live in the UK and how long you want to drive you can choose one of the ferry routes above.
Calais-Duinkerken as #1 option?
To Belgium there isn't a clear #1 option, Calais-Dover is a fast connection but can be very busy at peak times in the summer which you want to avoid. The Ferry from Rotterdam is more in the north so that one connects well to Antwerp. If you want to travel to Brussels all options are more or less the same. Our first option would be to Duinkerken however since this is almost on the border with Belgium and it's a very convenient harbor to use.
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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.
Hull and Newcastle are the best choices when departing from the North of England or Scotland.
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 the Drive 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 crossings are probably the connections from Dover to Dunkirk (2 hours ferry + 1-hour drive) and Calais (1 hour 30 min ferry + 1 hour 30 min drive) But depending on where you live and where you need to be in Belgium the crossings from Harwich, Hull or Newcastle could be way better options.