Ostend is a beautiful Belgian seaside city known for its great shopping streets, white sandy beaches and of course, amazing food. For many British People Ostend was a Christmas or summer destination or just a place where you would be able to buy cheap alcohol and even cheaper cigarettes. As the ferry would bring you straight into the centre of this Flemish city, it is not hard to see why the ferry to Ostend was so popular with people from the UK.
In this guide we will go over whether or not there is still a ferry to Ostend, if there is a ferry from Dover to Ostend, where to get the ferry to Ostend from UK and what other Belgian ferry ports you might want to have a look at!
Table of Contents
Where is Ostend?
Ostend is the largest seaside town in Belgium. It is located in the centre of the coastline with easy train access to Bruges, Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp. In Ostend you can expect wide shopping streets, lots of cosy bars and restaurants and of course an amazing promenade and lots of space for tanning and catching a bit of sun on the white sandy beach.
As the ferry to Ostend from the UK was a very popular one, there is an Anglican church (the first in Belgium) in Ostend as well as many British pubs and even British snack bars serving fish and chips.
Is there a ferry from Dover to Ostend?
There currently is NO FERRY FROM DOVER TO OSTEND. The Ferry from Dover heads to either Calais or to Dunkirk. If you want to visit Ostend and live close to Dover you can best take the ferry to Dunkirk as it is often cheaper and less busy than its Calais counterpart. Dunkirk is also closer to Ostend than Calais.
Ferry to Ostend from UK
Is there a Ferry to Ostend from UK? At the moment there is no ferry to Ostend from UK. The city council of Ostend is trying to come to an agreement with ferry companies as the city only recently renovated their ferry terminals. At the moment Ostend only receives cruiseships.
If a ferry line would open from Ostend to the UK it would most likely be a line between Ostend and Hull.
How to I get to Ostend from the UK?
There are a couple of ways you can get to Ostend from the UK.
The first way you can get from the UK to Ostend is by taking a ferry from Dover to Calais. There are currently three companies offering ferries from Calais to Dover: DFDS, Irish Ferries and P&O. It is best to book your ferry well in advance as this will allow you to save on crossing prices.
You can also choose to take the ferry to Dunkirk. In fact, if you are planning on travelling to Ostend I would recommend choosing Dunkirk as your destination. Why? Because this route is often less busy, cheaper (Almost half the price!), and you come in a lot closer to Belgium. The Dover to Dunkirk line is only operated by DFDS.
Another way to get from the UK to Ostend is by taking the Eurotunnel. The Chunnel is a train service operating between Folkstone and Calais. It allows you to board a train with your car (you stay in your car at all times). The Chunnel will slash your travel time as a trip under the English Channel by train will only take you 20 minutes while most ferries take between 1h 45 minutes and 2 hours. The Eurotunnel is a lot more expensive though, so if you are on a budget this might not be the perfect fit for you.
Belgian Ferry ports
What Belgian ferry ports are there? Can you take a boat to another Belgian ferry port instead of crossing Dover to Calais or Dunkirk?
The most important Belgian Ferry Ports are:
Sadly, there are no ferries going from the UK to any of these ferry ports. There is a ferry going from Purfleet in Essex to Zeebrugge, but this seems to be for freight only. You can always try on Aferry to see whether or not you can book a spot.
In 2020 P&O Ferries quit its line between Hull and Zeebrugge – the last ferry line between the UK and Belgium.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!