All you need to know about Dunkirk

Welcome to the Dunkirk/Dunkerque Guide. This comprehensive guide to Dunkirk has been lovingly researched for you, our fellow channel hoppers.

Here we try to give you help planning a trip, including how to travel to Dunkirk, where to stay and eat while you are here and also some of the sights and activities you can see and do during your trip.

Dunkirk is France’s most northerly town and everything you will ever need to know about how to get there, where to shop, where to eat, sleep and sightsee, is just a click or two away. It’s all right here on this website and designed to help you get the most out of your stay in this historic port. We have in-depth information here, so be sure to make Dunkirk-guide your first port of call. 

Dunkirk Visits

Dunkirk is famous for being the location of the evacuation of allied soldiers from the beaches during Operation Dynamo from May-June 1940. This town has far more to offer than sites of historical interest though. Visitors can enjoy a trip to the fantastic Port Museum, view some stunning contemporary art, and soak up the sun on the sandy beaches.

You can find wonderful places to stay and indulge in some delicious food at the restaurants and bars found along the seafront. You can also enjoy some exciting events over the year. If you are a history buff though, never fear, there are multiple reminders and memorials of World War II in and around the town. All in all then, this former fishing village is a very attractive place to visit.

Interested in finding out more? Great! You’ve come to the perfect place. Here, we will give you some information on the Dunkirk Tourism Office and some of the available tours, including some tours which start outside of the town. Next, we will talk about some of the top attractions here, including the museums and art on display in the town.

We will then point out some of the best places to stay and eat during your time in Dunkirk, before moving on to highlight some of the shopping opportunities to be had in and around the town. For those who like taking a bit of risk, we’ll also give you a little information about Dunkirk’s Casino. In addition, we will give you some details about annual events held in Dunkirk.

Last but not least, we will give you some advice on how you can get to Dunkirk by car, bus, plane, or train so that you can easily plan a memorable trip.

Without further ado, let’s dive in. 


If you are planning your trip by car, motorhome etc using the ferry or Eurotunnel then be sure to abide by the stricter "Driving in France Requirements.

For in depth information on driving or motorcycling anywhere in France we would recommend you visit Drive-France.com
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Offered Tours

Dynamo Tour

You can either choose to go on this tour by coach or car. If you choose to do the tour by car, you’ll get a personal guide. You will be taken around the town and shown the sites relating to The Battle of Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo. Many of the locations were used during the filming of Christopher Nolan’s 2017 movie, ‘Dunkirk.’

Walking Tour- Dunkirk

A guide will lead you to the significant sites of the town, including the Church of Saint Eloy, the Belfry and the Leughenaer Tower, all of which have been witness to interesting historical events.

Seaside Resort Walking Tour

Dunkirk boasts what has been called the ‘most beautiful beach of the North.’ Those searching for something a little more original are bound to enjoy the walking tour of these villas at a seaside resort in East Dunkirk, founded by Malo-Les Bains at the close of the 19th Century. Much of the architecture on display is influenced by the 1920’s.

Coach Tour of the Town

This will introduce visitors to the main monuments in and around the town, as well as to the interesting architecture of the Rosendael district and Malo-Les Bains. You can find out more about World War II and Operation Dynamo on this tour.

Ships and Men

You will tour the centre where ships were and are repaired before finding out more about the commercial activities and industries that flourished in the area. This is a coach tour.

The Belfry

The belfries of Dunkirk were designated as a UNESCO world heritage site fifteen years ago. Here, you will find beautiful bells, which were fully refurbished in 2009. From the top, you will have a breath-taking view of the port, the town and Flanders beyond it.
Selected Tours from Elsewhere in France

Dunkirk and La Coupole Museum (Day Tour from Paris)

You will visit the historical sites of the Battle of Dunkirk. You will then take a trip to the La Couple Museum Bunker. This is one of the most impressive remnants of World War II. You can learn about Wernher von Braun’s V2 rockets here. These missiles, along with the American atomic bomb, were the most innovative devices technologies invented in World War II. Wernher von Braun’s inventiveness was also instrumental to the development of the rockets that first put man on the moon in 1969.

Dunkirk Operation Dynamo Battlefield (tour from Ypres, Bruges, Lille or Arras)

When you go on this tour you’ll get to see the beaches where more than 300,000 soldiers were evacuated in 1940. You can visit the Operation Dynamo Museum and spend the day the beaches exploring the places where history was written.

What to Do In Dunkirk: Top Attractions

There are many ways to fill your time in Dunkirk. Here, we’ve chosen some of the most popular attractions to talk about.

The Belfry

This is one of only a few buildings that weren’t destroying in World War II. It was built in the 13th century, with height being added in the 15th it has become Dunkirk’s clock tower. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. It was once connected to the church opposite before a fire and the construction of a road separated them. It is open from 10-11am and 2-5:30pm Monday to Saturday. Sunday you can visit between 10 and 11:15am and 2 and 3:15pm. It’s a great place to get a view of the harbour and the town itself. St-Eloi’s church opposite the Belfry is also interesting to see, particularly for the Flemish paintings, the stained glass windows and the grave of Jean Bart, who was reinterred there in the late 1920’s.

The Port Museum

This excellent museum has a brilliant collection of period film footage, models of ships and interactive exhibits designed to bring the colourful history of the town to life. The museum was first opened in 1869 and was formerly a tobacco warehouse.

Three ships make up the exterior of the Port Museum. The Duchesse Ann is a 3-masted, square-rigged ship used by the German Merchant Navy for training purposes in the early part of the 20th century. The other two are of French origin. The Guilde is an old barge and The Sandettie (1949) is the last French light-ship.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts

There’s much to admire about this Fine Art Museum. Well-known French, Dutch, Flemish and Italian sculptures and paintings from 14th-20th Century, including ‘A Dune at Dunkirk’ by Corot can be viewed here. The death mask of James II of England can also be found here.


If you’re on the hunt for something more contemporary, you need look no further the Lieu d’Art et d’Action Contemporaine. It displays many changing exhibitions and its static collection includes Andy Warhol’s ‘Car Crash’ and other works from the 1940-1980’s.

The Reginal of Collection of Contemporary Art

Here, you can take in some international works of art, from both the present day and the past. Common themes in the works of design revolve around the present day issues of sustainable development and globalisation.

The World War II Sites

The Dunkirk Tourism Office, as previously mentioned, offers good maps and information about World War II to help you visit Operation Dynamo sites and other landmarks and monuments of historical interest.

Dunkirk Casino

The Dunkirk Casino can be found just 30 minutes from Belgium. You can have fun on the slot machines, the English roulette tables, the poker tables and the black jack tables in an art deco setting, tropical setting. You can also enjoy a meal and a drink at the bar and restaurant. Each weekend you can see a show here too. You’re sure to have a memorable evening.

Places to Stay

If you’re stuck for accommodation, you can always visit the Tourism Office for more information. Here are a few options open to you.

The Hotel Borel is conveniently located around the corner from the Port Museum. It is comfortable and has good amenities. The offer breakfast, but there is no restaurant. Rooms are offered at reasonable prices.

The Apart Hotel Dunkerque can be found in the university district. The apartments are of a good size and boast basic kitchenettes designed for those looking to stay in Dunkirk for a little longer. Prices vary according to your wants and needs. There are studio apartments available, as well as apartments for families.

There are many hotel chains operating in the town, including Ibis and Formula 1 hotels, plus the B&B Hotel close to the train station.


If you are driving or motorcycling to Dunkirk, in France, then make sure you have adequate breakdown and holiday travel insurance.
Where to Eat in Dunkirk

See our restaurants section for a listing of some of the many options available in and around Dunkirk.

Events in and around Dunkirk

The Carnival. This lasts for nearly three months from January to March. Common themes are fish and fishermen.
The sailing event, The Tour de France à la Voile starts in Dunkirk and finishes in Nice.
In October, the first weekend of the month boasts an Oyster Festival, while the last weekend of that month hosts a Wine and Beer Festival.

Getting to Dunkirk

All that’s left to plan now is how you will get to Dunkirk and how you will travel around Dunkirk itself. There are several ways you can travel to Dunkirk.

By Train -You can board a train from St. Pancras International, then get the Eurostar 9114 towards Amsterdam Central. From the Brussels South railway station, take the TGV 9830 towards Marseille-St-Charles. Then, at Lille Europe board the TER 844509 towards Dunkerque. From the Gare de Dunkerque, it’s a 10-minute walk into the town itself. 

By Bus - Euro lines FR operates a bus from London to Dunkirk twice a day. The journey usually takes around 4 hours 50 minutes.

By Plane - There are no direct flight in operation between London to Dunkirk. Therefore, the usual practice is travel to Dunkirk from London via Exeter or Manchester. This makes the typical flight duration around 1 hour 43 minutes.

By Car - To get to Dunkirk by car from London you can travel to the Eurotunnel. First drive approximately 67 miles to Folkestone to get the Eurotunnel to Calais-Fréthun (25 minutes). The train runs every 30 minutes. From Calais-Fréthun. It’s about a 35 minute drive to Dunkirk. 

You can also drive to the ferry at Dover from London. It’s around a 1 hour 35 minute drive from London to Dover. The car ferry from Dover to Calais takes 1 hour 30 minutes. From Calais, it’s about a 35 minute drive to Dunkirk. 

When you arrive in Dunkirk itself there is a local bus service you can use to get around if you choose not to take your car with you. There is also a shuttle bus that operates in the summer. 

Plan your Dunkirk visit today

Here at the Dunkirk Guide we’ve hopefully given you a flavour of what Dunkirk has to offer and encouraged you to explore some of the great attractions Dunkirk has to offer. We’ve detailed some of the tours you can enjoy and talked about some of the main attractions of the town, including the Port Museum. 

In addition, we’ve listed some of the restaurants, hotels and eateries you can take advantage of during your stay. We’ve also highlighted some of the many shopping opportunities to be had both in and around Dunkirk. We’ve also mentioned some of the annual events held in Dunkirk. Finally, we have offered travel-related tips on the ways you can get to Dunkirk which hopefully make it easier for you to plan your trip. 

We hope this website has intrigued you and heightened your interest in this fascinating town. What more is there to think about? Don’t delay. Start planning a trip to Dunkirk today.
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