One of the things I love about Northern France is that it has many long, beautiful strands of beaches that are super large and wide. They are among the must-see places in the region, especially during summer or on any clear, sunny day. In this post, we’ll zoom into the two most popular beaches in northern France: Calais Beach in Calais and Malo-les-Bains Beach in Dunkirk. Which one should you visit? Let’s figure it out!

Calais Beach

The beach in Calais is lovely and large. It has a well-developed, paved esplanade filled with easy access to food and drink stands. These food stalls sell reasonably priced French fries, kebabs, ice cream, crepes, waffles, a variety of drinks, and many more.

A video clip showing what it’s like to be in Calais Beach during summer.

There are also restaurants and cafes in nearby coastal buildings. In certain parts of Calais beach, you will also find seaside restaurants and bars that are a nice stop for a refreshing cocktail glass on a sunny day while enjoying the views of the beach.

A long queue of people waiting to buy cheap lunch on Calais Beach.
Families enjoying their time on the beach in Calais with the nice lighthouse backdrop.
Calais Beach (French: Calais Plage) on a beautiful sunny day!
The famous Calais Dragon ride on Calais Beach in Calais, France.
Despite its large space, Calais Beach can get crowded in summer when the weather is good.

Malo-les-Bains (Dunkerque Beach)

One of the standout characteristics of Dunkirk’s Malo-les-Bain beach is that its seaside boardwalk or esplanade is very, very long.

It is so long that it feels neverending; it is definitely much longer than the one at Calais Beach. If you are thinking of cycling or doing a long leisurely walk along the sea coast, the beach in Dunkirk can easily be a better option.

Dunkirk is also a better option when it comes to the abundance of restaurants by the seaside. However, it lacks the cheaper food stalls I found on Calais Beach, which makes visiting the beach more flexible for those with tighter budgets.

The beach in Dunkirk, like all beaches in Northern France, is vast and wide.
Some wind sports are commonly done on the beach in Dunkirk.
The esplanade in Malo-les-Bains is long and filled with restaurants.
This coastal walk in Dunkirk feels infinite. It’s great for having long walks and cycling provided there are no strong winds.
A view of the seaside dike and boardwalk leading to Dunkirk’s town centre.

Is Calais Beach better than the beach in Dunkirk?

I would easily choose to visit Calais Beach if I was torn between it and the beach in Dunkirk.

While these two beaches are both highly accessible from their respective train stations, I find that Calais Beach offers a bit more.

There is also a bus that passes by the beach that you can take if you wish to visit the famous Cap Blanc-Nez hill or visit the town of Escalles and the nearby Cap Blanc-Nez beach. If you have plenty more time, you can even choose to hike to the quaint fishermen’s village of Wissant which makes the trip to Calais Beach a wonderful experience.

You can also visit the nearby Cap Blanc-Nez beach if you visit the village of Escalles from Calais.

Which visit would you visit? Drop your thoughts in the comment section below.

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