Driving guides

Driving to Amsterdam from Calais

Complete with its elaborate canal system and iconic narrow houses, enjoy your journey from the French coastline to Amsterdam.

Take in some of Europe’s most stunning cities as you journey from Calais to Amsterdam. Sit back as you travel along the French coastline and into the beauty of Belgium. Take time to stop and enjoy Ghent and Antwerp before reaching your destination.

If you don’t have the luxury of time on your trip to Amsterdam, fear not! Our shuttles will get you to Calais from Folkestone in just 35 minutes. Booking your tickets couldn’t be easier.

How long does it take to drive from Calais to Amsterdam?

From Calais, the drive to Amsterdam should take roughly 4 hours which makes it not only a quick and easy way to travel but also a fantastic way to see more European cities on the way. Plan stops in Ghent, Antwerp (or both!) as you travel through Belgium. Famed for their buildings and art deco respectively, both cities are incredibly picturesque and a great way to get the most out of your trip to Amsterdam.

Eat like a local, sample the different cuisines in the countries you visit and have fun playing tourist while you travel. Enjoy planning your route and deciding where you’ll stay but let us guide you with a few of our favourite locations below.

The quickest route – via E40 through Ghent & Antwerp

If you’re pushed for time during your trip and want to reach Amsterdam as early as possible, the fastest route might be your preference. Take the E40 through Ghent and Antwerp, which will help you reach Amsterdam in the least amount of time. Crossing over into Belgium gives you the chance to enjoy its countryside as you travel, and as service stations and rest areas are plentiful, you’ll have the chance to stop at your leisure.

Via Rotterdam on the A4

Alternatively, take the chance to visit Rotterdam using the A4 toll road on your way to Amsterdam. Known as the Netherlands second City, Rotterdam is filled with world class architecture and urban design, including its famous Cubic Houses. Cafés of all shapes and sizes dot the city, and the quality of the coffee served is second to none; making this the ideal pit stop for any caffeine aficionados or for a mid-drive energy hit.

Worm’s eye view of abstract yellow buildings

See more of Holland via Eindhoven on the A2

Taking this route will allow you to see more of Holland on your way to Amsterdam. Heading away from the French coastline, explore more of the Netherlands before reaching your destination. Known as the Dutch design capital, Eindhoven enmeshes its industrial heritage with its vibrant urban culture to create an experience which is totally unique to all visitors. Like Amsterdam, Eindhoven is also a city famed for its cycling culture, so take the chance to stretch your legs on the world’s first ever floating bicycle path.

2 black bikes propped up against a flower planter on the pavement

Places to visit on your drive to Amsterdam

No matter which route you take, the journey from Calais to Amsterdam provides endless opportunities for you to make the most of your trip and explore. Visit the ‘castle of the counts’ in Ghent, rent a bike and cycle through Rotterdam, or grab a drink in Café De Muze, Antwerp’s world-famous Jazz café, the possibilities are endless!

One of the best things about taking a road trip like this is that you make it your own. Follow the French coastline along the A2 or E40 or head West into Holland and enjoy the “look-in” museum in Eindhoven.

Use our guide below to choose your favourite stops and plan your route from Calais to Amsterdam.

While the journey is one of the best parts, being in Amsterdam itself is also a fantastic experience. One of Europe’s most popular spots, Amsterdam offers so much to its visitors. Wander along the sidewalks and the canal works to take in the iconic narrow houses that line them. Visit secret haunts scattered across the city, including underground restaurants and Schellingwouderpark, a space dedicated to preserving the local ecosystem.

Boat on the canal with brown building and trees in the background

Combine shopping and sightseeing by moving away from the beaten track in visiting places like Nine Streets and De Jordaan, with boutiques that stock unique pieces and give you the chance to bring something from your trip away with you.

Stedelijk Museum Breda

Where there was once a quarry, the Siebengebirge Nature Park is now a preserved landscape you won’t want to miss. There are over 125 miles of hiking trails across this green oasis, with views that have inspired painters, poets, and travellers of every kind for years. Dense forest and rocky paths cover the Siebengebirge mountains, which tower above the river Rhine and you can spot rare creatures such as the black woodpecker or the rock bunting that have made the forests and valleys their home.

Naturalis Biodiversity Centre Leiden

Stunning cherry blossom lined Heerstrasse

In contrast to the mountains and volcanic landscapes, this garden in Rheinaue Park is a tribute to Japanese horticulture. What it lacks in size it makes up for in peace and tranquillity. It’s designed in a Kyoto style, which celebrates Japanese landscape art and has a beautiful display of unique and rare bonsai trees. In March and May, a show is held to showcase the trees, and some are even available to buy.

If Japanese horticulture is your passion, or for lovers of all things pink, Heerstrasse, also known as Cherry Blossom Avenue, is a must-see, especially if you want to brighten up your Instagram feed. The blossom trees that line this picturesque street are simply stunning, coming alive with colour every spring. These Japanese cherry blossom trees were planted here in the 1980s, and although the exact dates for the bloom vary from year to year, they usually happen sometime in April. What’s more, unlike some blooms which may only happen for a few days, the Bonn cherry blossoms tend to linger for two or even three weeks. Heerstrasse is only about a fifteen-to-twenty-minute walk from most of the major tourist attractions in downtown and is in the Nordstadt neighbourhood which is home to the famous Beethoven House.

Trees and multicolored buildings lining a curved river with their reflection mirrored in the water

The National Playing Card Museum Turnhout

The perfect city for a long weekend, one place which mustn’t be missed if you visit Breda is the Stedelijk Museum. The youngest city museum in the Netherlands, the City Museum Breda, combines its permanent collections with temporary ones making it extremely versatile and a fun way to spend a few hours.

I Amsterdam sign in Amsterdam street

Start your drive to Amsterdam with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

The phrase, “It’s about the journey not the destination” could not be more true when it comes to planning your trip to Amsterdam.  Begin your journey with Eurotunnel and end it with your own new adventures. We can take you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, and our tips and guides make a great starting point.

Open a My Eurotunnel account to stay up-to-date with travel information, holiday inspiration and special offers.

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