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This crossing is operated by DFDS, P&O and Irish Ferries. Always check the prices and the latest travel information when booking before departure.

Destination(s) France, United Kingdom
Operated by DFDS, Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries
Duration 1h 30 mins.
Sailings Up to 55 times p/day
Distance 26 miles, 42 km
2p+Car+Return in our estimation £ 74
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The ferry crossing from Dover to Calais is the shortest crossing between the UK and France. The ferries only have to travel 26 miles here and they do it in 90 minutes. This route is very popular and can be counted among the busiest crossings in the world.

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Dover to Calais ferry

There are dozens of ferries going back and forth on the Dover-Calais route every day. Both DFDS, P&O Ferries, and Irish Ferries sail on this route and in total offer up to 55 daily crossings.

On this page, you will find practical information about the ferry to Calais and Dover. Do you have to book through P&O or DFDS, for example? And are there good alternatives for this crossing?

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Map Dover-Calais ferry

The Calais-Dover route is very popular for Brits traveling to mainland Europe. But also the other way around, Great Britain can welcome many travelers from, among others, France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Not only is it easy to board with your own transport, but the ferry is also a green alternative to the plane.[1]Ferry Emissions Research: Carbon Footprints Compared, On this page you will find a lot of information and tips about this ferry service.

Dover-Calais availability and costs

Depending on how (with or without a car, caravan, etc) and when (high or low season) you make the crossing, costs associated with the crossing can vary. Below is an indication of the costs and prices of these crossings. Generally, the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. In addition, there are sometimes offers that you can take advantage of. For the Dover-Calais crossing we booked tickets with the following prices (one way):

  • 1 adult foot passenger (P&O only): £30
  • Car+ 2 adults: £74
  • Motorhime+ 2 adults and 2 childeren: £115

P&O Ferries vs DFDS vs Irish Ferries

The fastest and most convenient way to compare ferry tickets is usually by using the Direct Ferries booking engine. This website compares the three ferry operators + the Eurotunnel. Although it is an intermediate party, we found no difference in cost when booking a Dover-Calais ferry. However, if you don't want to use a company like this you can also simply choose to book directly with the ferry operator via the buttons below.

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irish ferries dover-calais route prices
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Irish Ferries

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You will see that the P&O and DFDS prices are very close to each other. Irish often seems a bit more expensive, the difference however is only a few pounds.

Departure, Sailing time and Arrival

Dover-Calais ferry terminal in France

How long in advance do you have to be present? This differs per ferry company. In any case, make sure you are present well before the final check-in time. DFDS Check-in on the Dover Calais crossing closes at the latest 45 minutes in advance. It is of course wise to be present at the DFDS terminal in the port of Dover well in advance. DFDS advises 90 minutes. At P&O Ferries you are expected on board at least 90 minutes in advance. So 120 minutes in advance is wise. Irish Ferries' latest check-in time is 1 hour before departure.
Departure Dover In England you depart at the port of Dover. From there you can start your onward journey. In summer on the busiest days queues might appear for the border checks at the harbor. So be early if you book in mid-summer on the busiest days. The DFDS terminal is for navigation: Eastern Docks, Dover Kent CT16 1JA United Kingdom. The P&O Ferries and Irish Ferries terminals in Dover can also be found at the same address. So also the Eastern Docks in Dover. Just follow the signs to get to the right harbor.
Dover Calais duration The sailing time between is approximately 90 minutes. The exact sailing time may differ due to weather conditions and currents.
Arrival Calais If you travel From Dover with P&O, you arrive at the e P&O Terminal in Calais. In that case, the address is Terminal E, 62100 Calais, France. In most cases, however, you will make the crossing with DFDS. The navigation address for the DFDS crossing is Terminal Car Ferry Gare Maritime Est, 62100 Calais, France.

Dover-Calais Schedule

DFDS makes the crossing up to 30 times a day. P&O up to 15 times a day and Irish Ferries around 11 times per day. So plenty of choices for your crossing. The biggest difference is that as a foot passenger you can book with P&O and not with DFDS, DFDS expects you to bring a car, bike, or another form of transportation. There are even stories from passengers trying to quickly buy a bike before they depart with DFDS.

Due to Brexit, passport controls can take up to several hours on some of the busiest days. In 2022 this happened early in the summer in Dover and late summer in Calais.[2]Dover Queue, What do do?,[3]Traffic Chaos in Calais, Fortunately, the trip usually just goes according to schedule.

Timetable Dover – Calais

The timetable may be subject to changes, so check this carefully when booking.

Check in closesDepartureArrival

Timetable Calais – Dover

Check in closesDepartureArrival
Keep in mind that during the return journey you will have to deal with the time difference. On the clock, the return crossing will take 2.5 hours, while in reality, it will be 1.5 hours.

Alternative routes

There are plenty of good alternatives to this crossing that can fit into your schedule as well. Popular ferry alternatives are Dover-Dunkirk and Newhaven-Dieppe. The Dover-Dunkirk brings you closer to Belgium and Holland and Newhaven-Dieppe takes you further south in France.

But only the ferries connect Dover with Calais. Every day, thousands of passengers and vehicles are transported through the Channel Tunnel by the Eurostar (foot passengers) and Le Shuttle (passengers with vehicles).

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a number of questions that are frequently asked for the crossing between Dover and Calais

How long does the crossing to Dover and Calais take?

The crossing between Calais and Dover normally takes up to 90 minutes.

Why do people choose the ferry instead of the train?

The train is faster than the ferry. Yet many people choose to go by boat. The reason for this is that the ferry is usually cheaper if you travel by own transport. There are also people who do not like the long tunnel and prefer to get a breath of fresh air on deck.

Can I bring my pet on board?

Yes, if you travel with or without your own transport, you can bring your pet (dogs, cats, and ferrets) with you. Kennels are available. There are rules for pets from the British government and the ferry companies that must be followed.

Can you bring a bicycle on board the ferry?

Yes, you can easily select when booking that you want to take a bicycle on board the ferry. A bicycle costs €8 per trip. With DFDS you can't even travel without a bicycle.


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