Treasures Of The Opal Coast

August 28, 2021

The Côte d’Opale is not only the name of our newest ship to join the English Channel, but the name of a region in northern France which boasts 120km of coastline. From sandy beaches to rugged cliffs, historic port towns to charming villages, there is plenty to explore on the Opal Coast. To inspire your next trip we’ve given a run down of the best places to visit in the region which inspired our very own Côte d’Opale ship.

Le Touquet

Once known as the ‘Monaco of the north’, this stylish town boasts a beautiful beach and a vibrant town centre. Head to the art deco listed covered market on a Saturday morning, pick up some pastries and enjoy an alfresco breakfast on the beach while watching the waves ebb and flow. Later on, take a stroll along the sand, try some sailing or visit the Canche Lighthouse which towers over the town centre at 57 metres. Climb the 274 steps for stunning views.



Belle Époque houses line the promenade by the beach and the UNESCO World Heritage belfry offers great views across the coast. Bright beach huts sit on the sand and plenty of water sports are available to try too. If you fancy discovering some of the sea life of the area without being stung, a visit to Nausicaa, Europe’s largest aquarium, is a must.

Côte d’Opale Top Ten Facts - Le Touquet

Clifftop hiking at Le Grand Site des Deux Caps 

Comprising of Cap Gris Nez and Cap Blanc Nez, Le Grand Site des Deux Caps or the Great Site of the Two Capes, is the ideal place to enjoy a hike. Walk the chalky cliffs to see bunkers and craters from WW2 and for beautiful views across the coast. On a clear day you can sometimes see as far as the white cliffs of Dover.


Boulogne sur Mer

Steeped in 2000 years of history, Boulogne sur Mer was once an ancient Roman naval base. Today you can explore its medieval ramparts, its 18th century Imperial Palace where Napoleon once stayed, and its 19th century cathedral. Stroll from the old town to the harbour to see traditional fishing boats bobbing in the bay. Sample some fresh seafood in one of the harbour-side cafes and take in the life going by around you.


Saint Valery sur Somme

Wander the flower lined streets down to the colourful fishermen’s cottages, some which bear the names of the very first inhabitants above the door. Pop to a local patisserie or the weekly Sunday market to stock up on fresh baked goods then head to the Chapel de Saint Valery for a picnic with stunning views across the bay. To explore the wider region, hop onboard the historic Baie de Somme railway which has been in service since the early 20th century. Dating back to the Belle Époque era, it travels through the countryside of the region, offering stunning landscapes you can view from the comfort of your carriage.

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Berck sur Mer

The multi coloured beach huts which line the seafront are a great backdrop for the perfect holiday photo and the traditional sweets sold in the area provide an ideal seaside snack! Visit Succes Berckois to see the bonbons being made exactly how they have been for over 100 years! Back outside the beach is perfect for wildlife spotting and sunbathing.



Hardelot offers a peaceful seafront with shops, cafes and hotels as well as verdant countryside filled with forests and dunes. Try your hand at wind surfing, sailing, or how about a pony trek through the forest? Charles Dickens lived here in the 1800s and loved it – no wonder, coming from smoky Victorian London, the fresh air, sea and sand here would have been a delight for him!


Montreuil sur Mer

The home of Victor Hugo’s famous character Jean Valjean, Montreuil sur Mer is a town filled with history. Walk the 3km medieval ramparts around the town and see the 16th century citadel which overlooks the area. The town’s position overlooking the Canch valley means you can enjoy the sprawling landscapes of the hills of Ponthieu on one side and the horizons of the Opal coast on the other.



Wissant is one of the last villages in France to use a flobart (a wooden boat) and the beach attracts hundreds of surfers and kite surfers. Local restaurants serve delicious local food including moules frites, no doubt using mussels caught from the very bay in front of you!



This charming fishing village has a population of less than 700. Head to the central market square to buy fresh seafood, bread and cheese to enjoy as a picnic on the beach. Take in the historic houses as you stroll to the seafront and dip your toes in the sand as you relax.


Remember DFDS sail Dover – Calais, which is less than one hour away from some of these beautiful places.

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