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Opal Coast (+ opt. hiking)

Saturday 13 May | 07h30 - 23h30
La Côte d’Opale
, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Additional Information

Coach pick-up point:
Place Schuman, Metro Yser, Metro Simonis, Basilique / Landsroemlaan, Basilix Shopping Center / Avenue Charles Quint, Leuven highway (at request), Ghent E40 - Kortrijksesteenweg (#14)
trip by 4* coach, on-board drinks and snacks, guided bus tour, great group of international people, a lifetime memory
Coach drop-off point:
Place Schuman, Place Rogier, Metro Yser, Basilique / Landsroemlaan, Simonis, Madou, Diamant
Child ticket available:
Yes, for up to 16 years (€50), First add regular ticket(s) and then select child tickets on cart page.
You can book as long as the [Book now] button is still active, even the evening before departure., For more (last-minute) information don't hesitate to mail us at info@expatclub.org or call 0495-345144.
Practical information for participants:

We still have a few spots available for this trip. You can book as long the “book now” button is still active. You can come then to Place Schuman (next to the ING/KBC banks) by 7h15, or Metro Yser at 7h25. All practical information can be found here.


One of our most beloved trips! At just 2 hours from Brussels starts the beautiful Côte Opal with its magnificent landscapes. This part of the French coastline received its name for its beautiful iridescent light. It stretches out about 120 kilometers from the Belgian boarder to Picardy, although the 40 kilometers between the cities Calais and Boulogne sur Mer are the most interesting. Besides beautiful wide beaches, rolling landscapes and lovely towns it is known for two spectacular viewpoints.

Gris-Nez cape and Blanc-Nez cape are respectively 45 and 134 meters high. While the first consists of grey clay, limestone and sandstone, the second one is a pure white chalk cliff. From its top you may actually see England on a clear day. This is namely the location where the Channel is the narrowest. This year we even provide you the opportunity to hike from one cliff to the other.

LindenCars logo

Today we leave early so we can make the best of the day. We depart from Place Schuman at 07h30 by luxury 4* coach  You can also get on board at Metro Yser, Metro Simonis, behind Basilique or at the Basilix shopping center. Of course this is early, but we simply need the time to visit various spots along the coast and have a enough time to just relax and enjoy the views and touristic places. The bus has an on-board toilet, a DVD system with flatscreens, air-conditioning and super comfortable chairs with extra leg space. We’ll provide you with some drinks and snacks while you can enjoy a movie or documentary. So we’ll make sure that you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Since this day is long we bring two professional drivers (in line with EU regulations).

Our first stop is in Dunkerque (or Dunkirk or Duinkerken), France’s third largest port that is just across the French-Belgian border. This harbor town is alive 24/7 due to the many UK-bound ferries that depart here. Its history goes back far over 1,000 years, but in particular the amazing evacuation of over 300,000 British soldiers in 1940, when the town was completely surrounded by German forces, has put this city in the history books. During Operation Dynamo every possible vessel was sent from England to France to pick up the trapped soldiers, whereas Hitler could have easily destroyed them.

Gravelines | LimoWreck (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Gravelines | LimoWreck (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Gravelines | Jean-Pol Grandmont (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Gravelines | Jean-Pol Grandmont (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

From Dunkerque we travel onwards to Gravelines, a beautiful Vauban-fortified town on our way to Calais. We only make a short stop here to see the fortifications and town square. It would namely be a pity to drive by it.

Our next stop is another major harbour city, Calais, even though it lies just 30 kilometers down the coast. From here many ferries leave for England and of course the city is known for the Eurotunnel that links the two countries by a 50,5km tunnel that cost almost 10 billion pounds, about 2 times the initially estimated amount.

Besides the opera house and the city hall there are not many beautiful buildings here. Fortunately there are still plenty of other things to see. In particular the harbour activities are great to look at, there is always a ferry leaving to or arriving from England. We’ll have lunch here as a group (optional) in a nice restaurant right next to the harbour with a great view of the beach and the ferries. You can walk along the quays, ascend the impressive lighthouse, walk towards the small one (picture above) or just spend some time at the beach and enjoy the views.

Our next destination is also just a short drive, namely the impressive Blanc-Nez cape that towers 134 meters above the Channel. We’ll stop here for a while to get a breath of fresh air, take some pictures, take out our binoculars, and wave to the people standing on the famous white cliffs of Dover. For those that want to go hiking, the bus will continue after arriving in Calais and drop you at the Cap Blanc-Nez after which you will walk to Cap Griz-Nez (about 13km, or 2,5-3 hours). Note that as a group of hikers you would need to navigate there on your own, but rest assured it’s not difficult as you can virtually always see the final destination. Water, lunch and snacks are required. You need to be fit for this hike, it’s medium difficulty.

After again a short drive we’ll also make a short stop at the Griz-Nez cape. Although it’s not as high as the first cape, it’s definitely worth a quick stop because also here the views are breathtaking.

The last stop of the day, where we’ll spend considerably more time, is the lovely coastal town of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Although the port is smaller than Calais and Dunkerque, it is the largest fishing harbour in France. This is a great place to stroll along the fishing boats, smell the sea, take some pictures. With all that fish around, guess what we’ll be having for dinner….?

In Boulogne-sur-Mer there are many things to do. Just walking around and halting here and there is probably a good start. Enjoy the port activities, the shopping streets, the belfry, the fortifications, the Basilique and the squares. You can either choose to be dropped at the “lower city” near the port, or you can join us to the upper historic city. We depart again around 20h30 and return to Brussels at 23h30.

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