things to do in calais

Last Updated on: 4th June 2024, 05:47 am

Imagine standing on the shores of a vibrant coastal city, the salty breeze caressing your face as you gaze out at the glistening sea. The possibilities are endless, and the world feels like it’s within your grasp. That’s the feeling I experienced when I first set foot in Calais, a hidden gem nestled in the beautiful Haut-De-France region of France.

Calais, with its rich history and captivating charm, offers a multitude of experiences that will leave you spellbound. It is a place where time stands still, allowing you to immerse yourself in a tapestry of art, culture, and natural wonders. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply in search of a tranquil escape, Calais has something special to offer each and every visitor.

Embark on a journey with me as we unravel the top attractions and hidden treasures that make Calais an enchanting destination. Let’s dive into a world of endless possibilities, where ancient buildings whisper tales of the past, pristine beaches beckon you to unwind, and cultural offerings ignite your imagination.

Things to Do in Calais, France

1. Explore Impressive Buildings

Calais is home to several impressive buildings that are worth exploring. Start with a visit to the Town Hall, which boasts a 75-meter belfry and has been named a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO. The Town Hall, designed in a renaissance revival style, offers a glimpse into Calais’ architectural history. Another must-visit building is the Calais Lighthouse, which offers breathtaking views from its top. Don’t forget to admire the stunning stained glass windows and grand staircase inside the Town Hall.

When exploring Calais landmarks, the Town Hall should be at the top of your list. This iconic building is not only visually striking but also holds immense historical significance. The intricate design and towering belfry showcase the impressive architectural prowess of Calais’ past. Venture inside and be captivated by the stunning stained glass windows and the grandeur of the staircase.

calais landmarks

If you’re a fan of lighthouses and panoramic views, a visit to the Calais Lighthouse is a must. Climb to the top and be rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas of the city, coastline, and the English Channel. As you ascend the stairs, take in the architectural marvel that is this beautiful structure. The Calais Lighthouse is not only a testament to the city’s maritime heritage but also provides a unique perspective of Calais’ surroundings.

Both the Town Hall and the Calais Lighthouse exemplify the rich history and architectural beauty of Calais. These landmarks are a testament to the city’s cultural significance and are must-visit attractions for any traveler.

2. Relax on Calais’ Beaches

Calais is known for its beautiful beaches, which offer a perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. The beaches in Calais are clean, safe, and ideal for picnics or leisurely strolls. During the summer months, the golden sand beaches attract visitors who enjoy swimming or playing beach games. The beach huts along the promenade add to the charm of Calais’ coastline. Additionally, just a short drive from Calais, you’ll find Cap Blanc-Nez beach with its stunning white cliffs and panoramic views.

Whether you are looking for a tranquil escape or some fun beach activities, Calais has it all. Spend a lazy afternoon sunbathing and reading a book, or take a refreshing dip in the clear waters of the English Channel. The beaches provide a picturesque backdrop for memorable family picnics or romantic walks along the shore.

The beaches in Calais are a true gem, offering a peaceful and idyllic setting for visitors to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the coastline. Whether you prefer basking in the sun or exploring the sandy shores, Calais’ beaches are a must-visit destination for beach lovers.

For those seeking adventure, Cap Blanc-Nez beach is the perfect spot to experience the thrill of hiking along the cliff paths and immersing yourself in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply enjoy being surrounded by nature, Cap Blanc-Nez is a must-see attraction near Calais.

Beach Activities in Calais

Calais’ beaches offer a range of activities for visitors of all ages. Here are some popular beach activities in Calais:

  • Swimming: Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the English Channel. The beaches in Calais provide a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.
  • Beach Games: Grab a frisbee or a beach ball and have some fun with friends and family on the soft sandy shores.
  • Picnicking: Pack a delicious picnic and enjoy a leisurely meal with stunning views of the coastline.
  • Sunbathing: Find a comfortable spot on the beach, lay back, and soak up the sun’s rays while listening to the gentle sound of waves crashing.
  • Beach Volleyball: Join a game of beach volleyball or start your own friendly competition on the sandy court.

With its breathtaking beaches and a wide range of activities, Calais offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, making it an ideal destination for all beach enthusiasts.

Beach Description
Calais Beaches Golden sand beaches with clean and safe swimming areas, perfect for leisurely strolls and picnics.
Cap Blanc-Nez Beach Stunning white cliffs and panoramic views, ideal for hiking and enjoying breathtaking natural scenery.

3. Discover Calais’ Cultural Offerings

For culture enthusiasts, Calais offers a range of cultural attractions. One must-visit destination is the Fine Arts Museum (Musée Des Beaux-Arts), where you can immerse yourself in the world of art. The museum showcases an impressive collection of works by renowned sculptor Rodin, including his masterpiece “The Burghers of Calais”. As you wander through the museum, you’ll also have the opportunity to admire notable paintings and watercolours from various artists. Additionally, the museum hosts a variety of art exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing the works of local and international artists.

Another cultural gem in Calais is the International City of Lace and Fashion (La Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode). This unique attraction allows you to explore the fascinating history of lace-making in Calais, a tradition deeply rooted in the city’s heritage. Marvel at the intricate lace creations on display and discover how lace has influenced high fashion designs. The International City of Lace and Fashion also features interactive exhibits and workshops, providing visitors with a hands-on experience of this delicate craft.

calais museum

Whether you’re a lover of art or interested in the history of lace-making, Calais’ cultural offerings are sure to captivate and inspire you.

4. Explore Nearby Attractions

If you have additional time in Calais, why not take day trips from Calais and explore some of the charming places to visit near Calais? Just a short drive away, you’ll find Boulogne-sur-Mer, France’s largest fishing port, which also boasts Europe’s largest aquarium, Nausicaa. Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing underwater world and discover a variety of marine species. Nausicaa is a must-visit for both adults and children, providing an educational and entertaining experience.

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Cousteau

History buffs will be delighted to visit Saint-Omer, a picturesque town known for its historic buildings and captivating Gothic cathedral. Take a stroll through the town’s winding streets and admire the well-preserved architecture. Don’t forget to indulge in some delicious fresh fish, a specialty in this region. Saint-Omer offers a charming glimpse into France’s rich history and culture.

These nearby destinations offer a variety of activities and attractions to complement your visit to Calais. Whether you’re interested in marine life, historical sites, or simply exploring new places, day trips from Calais are a fantastic opportunity to expand your horizons and create lasting memories.

places to visit near calais

Recommended Day Trips from Calais:

  1. Boulogne-sur-Mer: Explore Nausicaa, Europe’s largest aquarium
  2. Saint-Omer: Discover historic buildings and Gothic architecture

5. Enjoy Outdoor Activities

For those who enjoy outdoor adventures, Calais offers a range of activities. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or a water sports lover, there are plenty of options to satisfy your adventurous spirit.

Explore the Coastal Dunes and White Cliffs

One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Calais is by exploring the coastal dunes and white cliffs of Cap Blanc-Nez. Put on your hiking boots and embark on a journey through the picturesque landscape. As you hike along the cliffs, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Bay of Wissant. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning vistas and make everlasting memories.

Thrilling Water Sports

If you’re in the mood for some adrenaline-pumping action, Calais’ beaches are the place to be. Test your skills in windsurfing as you ride the waves and feel the wind in your hair. For those who prefer a more leisurely water activity, try kite flying and let the colorful kites soar high above the sparkling sea. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Calais offers the perfect conditions for water sports enthusiasts of all levels.

From hiking along the cliffs to indulging in thrilling water sports, Calais provides outdoor activities that cater to every adventurer’s interests. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to explore the natural wonders that await you in Calais.

Outdoor Activities in Calais Description
Hiking Explore the coastal dunes and white cliffs of Cap Blanc-Nez for breathtaking views of the Bay of Wissant.
Water Sports Experience the thrill of windsurfing and kite flying on Calais’ picturesque beaches.

6. Experience Local Cuisine

No visit to Calais is complete without experiencing the local cuisine. Explore the vibrant street food scene, where you can try delicious French delicacies. Calais is also home to charming pubs and clubs where you can enjoy a drink and live music. Don’t forget to visit the local restaurants, which offer a variety of culinary delights ranging from fresh seafood to traditional French dishes. Sample the local flavors and indulge in the culinary offerings of Calais.

Street Foods in Calais

One of the highlights of Calais’ food scene is the abundance of street food options. From food trucks to market stalls, you’ll find a wide variety of mouth-watering treats. Try the famous gaufres (Belgian waffles) topped with powdered sugar or Nutella for a sweet delight. For something savory, grab a classic Croque-Monsieur or a delicious Crêpe filled with cheese and ham. Experience the buzz of the local markets and take your taste buds on a journey through the vibrant street foods of Calais.

Pubs and Clubs in Calais

After exploring the city, unwind with a visit to one of Calais’ charming pubs or clubs. Enjoy a pint of local craft beer or indulge in a refreshing cocktail while soaking in the lively atmosphere. Many establishments feature live music, making it the perfect opportunity to listen to talented local artists and experience the vibrant Calais entertainment scene. Whether you’re a pub lover or a party-goer, Calais has a venue to suit every taste.

Calais Restaurants

For a more traditional dining experience, Calais offers a wide array of restaurants where you can savor the flavors of the region. From cozy bistros to elegant seafood restaurants, there’s something for every palate. Treat yourself to freshly caught seafood dishes like Bouillabaisse or Moules Marinières, or indulge in classic French cuisine with dishes like Coq au Vin or Escargots. Calais restaurants pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a truly authentic dining experience.

Immerse yourself in the culinary delights of Calais, from the tantalizing street foods to the charming pubs and clubs, and the exquisite local restaurants. Let your taste buds guide you through this gastronomic adventure and create unforgettable memories of the flavors of Calais.


Calais, France offers a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to both young adults and families with kids. Whether you’re seeking adventure or a leisurely day out, Calais has something to suit every taste. Explore the city’s historical landmarks, such as the Town Hall and Calais Lighthouse, to immerse yourself in its rich heritage.

For those looking for outdoor adventures, Calais’ beaches and nearby Cap Blanc-Nez provide stunning natural landscapes for hiking and water sports. And the best part is, many of the attractions and activities in Calais are free, making it an affordable destination for all.

Whether you’re traveling with young adults who crave excitement or planning a family vacation with kids, Calais offers a perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and leisure activities. So pack your bags and get ready to explore all the amazing things that Calais has to offer.


What are some popular tourist attractions in Calais?

Some popular tourist attractions in Calais include the Town Hall, Calais Lighthouse, and the Fine Arts Museum.

Can you recommend any outdoor activities in Calais?

Yes, Calais offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking along the coastal dunes of Cap Blanc-Nez and enjoying water sports on the beaches.

What are some nearby attractions that I can visit from Calais?

Some nearby attractions that you can visit from Calais include Boulogne-sur-Mer, which has Europe’s largest aquarium, and Saint-Omer, known for its historic buildings and Gothic cathedral.

Are there any free things to do in Calais?

Yes, many of the attractions and activities in Calais are accessible for free, allowing visitors to make the most of their visit without breaking the bank.

Are there any activities in Calais suitable for young adults and families with kids?

Calais offers a range of activities suitable for young adults and families, including exploring historical landmarks, enjoying outdoor adventures, and visiting museums and exhibitions.