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Crossing the Channel to Dunkirk and then traveling to Bruges

While honoring the historic significance of this journey, is it simply too impractical? After a 2 nights stay in Canterbury, we wish to cross from Dover to Dunkerque and without renting a car, make our way to Bruges for a two night exploration of the village with an excursion to Ghent before heading to Reims.
Boats, buses and trains preferred, hiring a driver or taking taxis preferred to car rental, letting them do the driving while we do the seeing.

Posted by
4684 posts

It's quite possible if you are confident using public transport. From Dunkirk you can take local bus route 2 across the border to the Belgian Adinkerke, take the Belgian Coastal Tramway from there to Ostend (the world's longest streetcar line, running the entire length of the Belgian coast) and take the train from Ostend to Bruges. The difficult bit will be getting between public transport and the boat at Dover and at Dunkirk - cross-channel ferries are almost entirely directed at people with cars now.

To get from Bruges to Reims, you need to take the train from Bruges to Brussels Midi, then from Brussels to Paris Gare du Nord. Then walk from Gare du Nord to Gare de l'Est (about ten minutes on foot) and take the train to Reims. The train fares from Brussels to Reims will be significantly cheaper if you book about four months or more in advance, but be warned that the cheap fares are for specific trains and you will have to buy a full-price ticket if you miss one.

Posted by
3661 posts

I'm no travel agent, and I haven't travelled your proposed route, but it's possible to do what you want.

It seems that the direct ferry from Dover to Dunkerque does not take foot passengers. But you can take a bus from Dover to the port and then take the Calais ferry on foot. From Calais there are buses to Dunkerque. There is train service from Dunkerque to Bruges, with train changes in Lille and Brussels. There are frequent trains between Bruges and Ghent.

Posted by
1768 posts

Another option to consider is taking the train or bus to Ashford International and from there the direct Eurostar to Brussels-Midi and further one of the frequent trains to Bruges. As far as I can see there is only one direct Eurostar each day and leaves early from Ashford, but is the cheapest and quickest option. City centre of Bruges is at walking distance from the train station.

There is also a bus connection between the two, but it takes over 6h to travel.

For planning you can use Belgianrail (+ tickets) and Rome2rio.
http://www.belgianrail.be/en/Default.aspx select international travel
https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Canterbury/Bruges

Posted by
253 posts

Thank you. All very helpful as we dream, consider, sketch and dig into the logistics to make the dream a reality. We intend to go slow and soak it all in. And, while we're at it, go smart!

Posted by
13540 posts

On the topic of train services: there is also a direct connection from Dunkirk to Arras, if you should need that.