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Day Trips to France & Europe

Looking for holiday information between 1 and 3 hour's drive of Eurotunnel Le Shuttle?

Day Trips France and Europe Sights

Perfect places for day trips to France and Europe.

Here at Eurotunnel Le Shuttle we understand that some days you just want to get away from it all and see something different. That's why we created our amazing day trip offer to France, because what a difference a day can make!

When you've got limited time to explore it's important to know where you're heading and what you want to see there. We therefore present our guide to five top day trips in northern Europe.

Calais

This historic Roman port is often overlooked by day trippers who stop off purely to stock up on cheap booze and cigarettes. However, if you venture beyond the supermarkets you quickly find that Calais has plenty to offer for sightseers.

Much of the town was destroyed during World War Two, but of the surviving buildings a must see is the stunning Flemish Renaissance-style town hall, with a clock tower which can be spotted from miles out to sea. Open to visitors daily (8am-noon and 1.30-5.30pm), the building features elaborate interiors and houses several historic paintings of historic events in the area.

Immediately in front of the town hall is a cast of one of Auguste Rodin's most famous works, The Six Burghers, which depicts the surrender of the town keys to the English in 1357.

A 15 minute walk away lies one of Calais' best kept secrets – a beautiful sandy beach dotted with white wooden beach huts and offering the opportunity for a spot of sunbathing, or even a quick dip into the Channel.

Other sites to take in include the stylish 19th Century lighthouse, the medieval Place D'Armes and the Fine Art Museum, which features works by Rodin, Picasso and Dubuffet. So next time you think of Calais, don't just write it off as a destination for booze cruisers, get to know the real Calais and maybe you'll find a new day trip destination that's closer than you think.

Driving distance from Calais terminal: 0km – you can't get more convenient than that!

Le Touquet

Relive the high society chic of the 1920s with a visit to the seaside resort of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage.

Popular with England's rich and famous, Le Touquet's hotels have played host to film stars and even royalty over the years, and now the town's faded seaside glamour is attracting a whole new generation of socialites and sightseers.

The long sandy beach is large enough for visitors to find their own quiet space and a promenade and dunes provide excellent walking or cycling opportunities. For the kids there is a water park and a magnificent period carousel.

Sports fans will not be disappointed either as Le Touquet boasts three golf courses as well as sand yachting, sailing and riding opportunities. And if all that sounds a bit tiring relax in the 1930s covered market at the junction of Rue De Metz and Rue St Louis, which is held every Thursday and Saturday and where you can buy a wide range of fresh fish, meat, bread and delicacies.

If you're looking for an active day trip in France Le Touquet is the day trip for you.

Driving distance from Calais terminal: 70km, 1hr.

Lille

For a more cosmopolitan destination head inland to the city of Lille.

France's fourth-largest metropolis, Lille was chosen as the 2004 European Capital of Culture, which is reflected in its magnificent architecture and artistic richness, from classic to modern.

An entire day can be spent happily exploring the city's museums including the extensive Fine Art Museum (Palais des Beaux-Arts, closed Monday mornings and all day Tuesdays), which houses hundreds of works by prestigious artists, from Rubens and Van Dyck to Raphaël and Rodin.

For more modern exhibits head to The Contemporary Sacred Art Centre, or if you're more of a science fan check out the excellent Museum of Natural History (closed Tuesdays and Saturdays).

If you're content just to pound the pavements Lille offers up a great many architectural rewards for the casual wanderer. In the middle of town the Grand Place features a striking monument of a bronze goddess commemorating the city's resistance to the Austrian siege of 1792. The nearby Grand Garde also dates from the 18th Century and now houses the Théâtre du Nord.

Further afield don't miss the magnificent Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral or the Art Nouveau Coilliot House, designed by the man who also developed the famous entrances to Paris's metro.

Lille is the ideal destination to surround yourself in European culture for a day.

Driving distance from Calais terminal: 113km, 1hr30mins.

Dunkerque

The port of Dunkirk, or Dunkerque in French, will forever be emblazoned in history as the scene of the mass evacuation of French and British troops from the advancing German forces in World War Two.

Since the war the town has been totally rebuilt and is now a working port, but its museums allow a fascinating insight into a past which has played a pivotal role in the history of mankind and are a must for anyone with an interest in the subject.

The Operation Dynamo War Museum is open daily from April to September from 10am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 5pm and is housed in a 1939 French army headquarters. Featuring a plethora or equipment used during the evacuations and the testimonies of soldiers involved the museum helps you get closer to what Churchill described as "The miracle of Dunkirk."

For a different era of history try the Port Museum which gives an insight into the rich fishing heritage of the town. And after exploring the famous beaches take time to stroll around the ramparts for impressive views of the area.

For history buffs of all levels a day trip to Dunkirk is the ideal way to get a little closer to the past.

Driving distance from Calais terminal: 50km, 40mins.

Bruges (Belgium)

Not many people realise that the historic Belgian town of Bruges, or Brugge in Flemish, is in fact within easy driving distance from Calais to make an ideal day trip destination. Bruges has been called "The Venice of the north" due to its canal-lined streets and stunning architecture.

With something to see at every turn Bruges is filled with some of Europe's finest surviving medieval buildings. This includes the Church of Our Lady, the tower of which is the highest structure in the city, and inside can be found a highly treasured statue of Madonna and Child by Michaelangelo.

Not to be missed is the Groeningemuseum, which houses a huge collection of art spanning more than 600 years, including works by the Flemish master van Eyck.

Throughout the year Bruges plays host to a huge number of festivals, celebrating everything from accordion music to jazz, beer, film, circus and even canals, so there is always something to see.

Mixing history, culture and entertainment, Bruges makes a great day trip for those willing to venture further afield than France.

Driving distance from Calais terminal: 120km, 1hr 20mins.

Wherever you want to spend your day trip in Europe, Eurotunnel can help get you there with time to spare. Be sure to take advantage of our special offer of Day Trip tickets!

Getting there and around

Calais, Dunkerque, Le Touquet, Lille and Bruges are perfect places for day trips!

Just minutes or hours drive on the motorway from Eurotunnel's Calais Terminal.

Travel from just £23
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Photo Credits: Calais by davey-boy, Le Touquet by bramus!, Lille by Claude Fabry, Dunkirk by phileole and Bruges by Bert K..
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Book travelTravel with Eurotunnel from £23Prices start from£23per car, each way*
*£23 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day.