Driving from Calais to Amsterdam

  • Driving guides
  • The Netherlands
  • 5 min read
Driving from Calais to Amsterdam

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

Take in some stunning European cities as you drive 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.

Start your journey to the Dutch capital by travelling from Folkestone to Calais on LeShuttle. Formerly known as Eurotunnel, LeShuttle takes you through the Channel Tunnel in just 35 minutes. Booking your tickets from Folkestone to Calais couldn’t be easier.

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

The drive from Calais 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 from Calais to Amsterdam and deciding where you’ll stay, but let us guide you with a few of our favourite locations below.

The quickest route from Calais to Amsterdam – 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 to Amsterdam from Calais 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

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.

Naturalis Biodiversity Centre Leiden

Anyone who wants to learn more about nature and natural history should definitely stop by the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in Leiden. Housing the first T-Rex skeleton in Europe, the collections span everything from botany to palaeontology. Perfect for days when the weather is poor, this centre makes a great change from other hotspots.

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

The National Playing Card Museum Turnhout

If you’re planning to stop in Belgium (or even if you aren’t) don’t miss the chance to take in the National Playing Card Museum in Turnhout. Learn about the history of playing cards and enjoy a unique experience, which offers tours in either English or French, a steam engine which can be set in motion, and an interactive section which is great for children. 

Gerbrandy Tower Nieuwegein

Visit the Netherlands tallest broadcasting structure, the Gerbrandy Tower. Originally 383 metres, the tower still makes an impressive site even at its reduced height. If you’re visiting during the festive season, this spot is well worth the visit, as it is transformed into the world’s tallest Christmas tree!

I Amsterdam sign in Amsterdam street

Start your drive to Amsterdam with LeShuttle

The phrase, “It’s about the journey not the destination” could not be more true when it comes to planning your trip to Amsterdam. The journey begins with LeShuttle and a 35 minute crossing from Folkestone to Calais through the Channel Tunnel (also known as Eurotunnel). Our tips and guides make a great starting point for your adventures in Amsterdam.  

Frequently asked questions

Can you get to Amsterdam via LeShuttle (formerly known as Eurotunnel)?
LeShuttle provides a car train service to France from Folkestone to Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The drive from Calais to Amsterdam is then around 4 hours. 
How do I get to Amsterdam via the Channel Tunnel?
You can catch the LeShuttle service from Folkestone to Calais, and then drive from Calais to Amsterdam. 
How long is the Eurotunnel from London to Amsterdam?
Eurotunnel (or the Channel Tunnel) does not go all the way to Amsterdam. It runs from Folkestone to Calais, taking cars across the Channel on LeShuttle in 35 minutes. Drivers then make their own way by road from Calais to Amsterdam.
What is the cheapest month to go to Amsterdam?
The winter months of January and February are the least expensive times to travel to Amsterdam. 
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