UPDATE 4 September.
This trip is confirmed and you can still join (also 15 minutes before departure).
Meeting time Place Schuman 06h45. So just book and come 🙂
Weather forecast: SUNSHINE, few clouds, 18-20˚ degrees!!
We could add a few new spots because we take a larger bus with us.
Still, we recommend not to wait booking your spot since it may fill up within no-time.
We have been in touch with the Belgian corona information line, the various tourist offices along the coast and of course the bus company. Travelling to these places is allowed. Click here to learn more about our corona measures (our apologies for the technical issue since the blog posts freeze after some seconds, please refresh the page and scroll down).
If you are alone, and would like to go hiking, no worries because there are many other hikers already and (smaller) groups always form.
About 50% of the group goes hiking, so you will not walk alone!
One of our most beloved trips, and back on the calendar after we had to cancel our first trip early this year! The beautiful Côte d’Opale, with its magnificent coastal landscape, begins just two hours away from Brussels. This part of the French coastline received its name for its bright iridescent light. It stretches out about 120 kilometers from the Belgian border to Picardy. The 40 kilometers between the cities of Calais and Boulogne sur Mer are the most spectacular, and that is exactly the part of the country that we are going to discover.
Besides wonderful wide beaches, rolling hills with yellow flowers, and lovely little towns, it is known for two spectacular viewpoints, the Cap Blanc Nez and the Cap Griz Nez. You can even wave to England from there! We top this with visits to the harbour cities of Dunkirk and Calais, the Vauban-walled town of Gravelines, the resort town Wimereux with its many Art Nouveau houses, and the historic city of Boulogne sur Mer. So many places we visit!! This is truly a superb day out! You can read here what one of our participants wrote about it.
You can also optionally join a 13-14 km hike from Cap Blanc Nez to Cap Griz Nez, a true classic! It leads over both capes, along the coast, over the beach, through a nice resort town and rural roads. Normally about 50% of the group decides to go for this hike, so you will certainly not walk alone if you join this trip on your own. If you do not go for the hiking trip, you will stay a bit longer in Calais for a nice lunch and some time on the beach, watching the ships go by from the world’s busiest ferry port!
Transportation by 4* luxury coach
Bottled water on outbound journey
Visit to Dunkerque
Visit to Gravelines
Visit to Calais (city hall & beach)
Visit to Cap Blanc Nez
Visit to Wissant (hiking group only)
Visit to Cap Griz Nez
Visit to Wimereux
Visit to Boulogne sur Mer
A great group of international people
A lifetime expat memory
Coach pick-up points
This trip starts at Place Schuman and from there we stop at various spots to pick-up you up if that is more convenient for you.
Place Schuman (bus stop next to KBC Bank on roundabout)
Metro Yser (long bus stop on main road leading to Basilique)
Metro Simonis (long bus stop on main road leading to Basilique)
Basilique (corner main roads behind the church)
Basilix Shopping Center (long bus stop on main road leading to highway)
Due to the late arrival, we will stop again at all the above stops and also the following ones if that is more convenient for you (if traffic conditions allow this!):
Woluwe Shopping Centre
Who can join this trip?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable.
Expat Club loves welcoming the youngest expats! If you want to bring your child(ren) up until 18 years, please first add the regular adult ticket(s) to the cart and then go to the cart page. On the cart page, there is a child ticket available for just €50 (lunch can be ordered during the day). This trip is particularly interesting for kids, with several stops, interesting viewpoints, ships, sea, and old towns.
Your trip in pictures
Just have a look at these stunning images.
Our first stop is in Dunkerque (or Dunkirk or Duinkerken), France's third largest port that is just across the French-Belgian border. This harbour 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. | by Velvet (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
The Vauban-walled town of Gravelines, a true hidden gem between Dunkirk and Calais | by LimoWreck (own work)via Wikimedia Commons
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. The City Hall of Calais has a magnificent Belfry.
The beautiful opera theatre of Calais | by Bodoklecksel (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
We will make stop at Calais beach, which is right next to the ferry harbour. During our stay at least a handful of ships will enter and leave the harbour. | by Tohma (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Our next destination is the spectacular Cap Blanc Nez
As with all Expat Clup trips, our program for today is carefully designed with realistic driving times. There will, of course, be enough time to visit all destinations, but since we travel on small routes along the coast, much depends on traffic conditions. The past six trips all worked out really well, but please keep in mind the below schedule is only a rough indication as times may change during the day.
07h00 Departure Brussels
14h15 Cap Blanc Nez
15h30 Cap Griz Nez
Hiking group 12h15 Cap Blanc Nez
16h45 Cap Blanc Nez
18h30 Boulogne sur Mer
20h30 Departure to Brussels
23h30 Arrival Brussels
Lunch in Calais
You can join us for lunch upon arrival in Calais. We’ll have about 1,5 to 2 hours to spend some time at the beach area of town, right next to the busy ferry port. There are various restaurants you can choose from, or just go for a quick snack at the cafetaria right next to the beach.
Alternative hiking program The bus, program and route are virtually the same as the regular program. You will be travelling with the group to Calais, but instead of spending time there (with lunch), the bus will bring you to Cap Blanc Nez. After you walk for about 4,5 hours (including resting), the bus will pick you up again at Cap Griz Nez. You will rejoin the group in Wimereux where you will still have some time to enjoy this historic little resort town.
12h00 – Calais
12h15 – Cap Blanc Nez
14h00 – Wissant
16h30 – Cap Griz Nez
17h00 – Wimereux
Note that as an individual or a group of hikers you will need to navigate to Cap Griz Nez on your own, but rest assured it’s not difficult as you can virtually always see the final destination. You will need to take water, lunch and snacks with you. You need to be fit for this hike; it’s medium difficulty.
Today we leave early so we can make the best of the day. We depart from Place Schuman at 07h00 by luxury 4* coach with reclining seats. You can also get on board at Metro Yser, Metro Simonis, Basilique or Basilix Shopping Center. We know this is early, but we simply need the time to visit various spots along the coast and give you enough time to relax and enjoy the views and touristic places. The bus has an on-board toilet, a DVD system with flatscreens, air conditioning and comfortable chairs with extra leg space. Since this day is rather long, we’ll bring two professional drivers, in line with EU regulations.