Leaving summer behind needn’t fill you with dread. A hop across the Channel to the Continent can bring warm temperatures, fewer crowds and lower prices, all just a short-haul ferry crossing away.

Making the journey simple and affordable, DFDS is offering return crossings from Dover to Calais or Dunkirk this Autumn from just £35 on bookings made from now until 10 December 2017. To inspire those wanting to explore what Europe has to offer during this vibrantly coloured season, DFDS has compiled a selection of driving itineraries, from day trips to short breaks.

France in a day – The Northern regions of France boast some of the country’s most fascinating towns and landscapes, with history dating back to the Roman invasion. A coastal crusade along the Opal Coast offers 120km of coastline featuring pine forests, beautiful greenery and rich expanses of farmland – perfect for hiking to catch some of the best views across the Channel. Head to Boulogne for some fine dining in one of 200 restaurants and for a taste of medieval architecture and take a look at the Basilica of Notre-Dame. Following that, a short drive along the coast takes you to 1920s glamour in the seaside resort of Le Touquet – known for featuring in Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale. Return, same-day crossing start from £35 for a car with up to nine passengers.


The charming town of Bruges boasts cobbled lanes, elegant squares and romantic canals

Three day trips to France or Belgium – Spend a little longer across the Channel and discover France’s historical heritage and striking architecture in the medieval town of Lille, or the amazing natural landscapes, World War II sites and eponymous Bayeux tapestry in Normandy. Across the border into Belgium and the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Bruges is charming as ever, with cobbled lanes, elegant squares, atmospheric churches and romantic canals to explore. Markets and boutique shops sell everything from beer to lace – not forgetting the ever-famous Belgian chocolate! Return, three-day trips start from £59 for a car with up to nine passengers.


Brussels is home to over 40 museums, with a diverse range of culture

Five day trips to France, Belgium, Luxembourg or Germany – A longer stay gives you the ultimate freedom to explore more of Europe on a short break with the choice to venture south to the heartlands of France, North into Belgium, or West into Germany’s famous Rhine and Moselle valleys. The Champagne Route Tour gives travellers the ultimate champagne and wine tasting experience. From Reims – the jewel in the crown of the Champagne region and home to some of the most famous champagne producers – drive on through vineyard-clad hills to Epernay, home of G.H. Mumm before continuing to Troyes, which is a medieval treasure trove. Watch the grapes being harvested and pressed, or the champagne being blended as you explore this beautiful region’s scenery and world-class French cuisine. In Belgium, Brussels is home to over 40 museums, with a diverse range of culture from fine art to the Belgian Comic Strip Centre, which tells the story of Tin Tin! The spectacular Grand Place is a must-see, and the town square is packed with beautiful Flemish architecture. Though small, Luxembourg is packed with fairytale charm. Located just 139 miles south of Brussels, The Old Town of Luxembourg City is UNESCO-listed for its beauty, and the Wenzel Walk gives you the perfect opportunity to see it all. Further east in Germany, the Rhine and Moselle Valleys are among the country’s most naturally beautiful regions with lush countryside and vineyards producing some of Germany’s best wine. Head to Koblenz first, where the Rhine and Moselle meet, and enjoy stunning views across both valleys. The winemaking town of Rudesheim am Rhein is only a short drive away and part of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage site. Finish your road trip in Mainz, the capital of the Rhineland-Palatinate, which is filled with history and is even the home to the first ever printed Bible, in the city’s famous Gutenberg Museum – a bookworm’s haven. Return, five-day trips start from £69 for a car with up to nine passengers.


DFDS offers up to 56 daily sailings on its Dover to Dunkirk and Dover to Calais ferry services. The ships café’s serve hot and cold drinks plus light snacks; a self-service restaurant offers hot and cold meals; shop with up to 20 per cent off high-street prices on fragrances, skin care and cosmetics, plus a range of travel essentials and duty-paid goods; and a Kidz Club children’s play area provides entertainment and activities for children during the holiday period. All of the company’s ships also feature a premium lounge, which can be booked for an additional £12 per person each way.

For more information, or to book an autumn short break, visit: dfds.co.uk