Open Jaw Ferry

There are a number of open jaw ferry routes, where the arrival and departure ports are joined by bicycle paths, that can be reached from the UK or Eire.  We show the basics here and if you want more information email us and we will develop this section.

You can cycle onto the ferry, ride off in Europe, follow a bike route and come back on another ferry to the original port.  Simple!  And of course you can leave your car at the port of departure or bring it as a support vehicle if some of your party do not ride.  Routes and useful links, as at summer 2011, are:
The much vaunted Roscoff to Kiev European bike path LV4 will eventually cover several of the above routes but has yet to be put fully in place.  Until then you will find the basic information to start planning your trip on this page.

Rosslaire: Roscoff to CherbourgFerry points

  • E is Rosslaire
  • C is Cherbourg
  • R is Roscoff
  • Bike route distance is roughly 400 km
  • Book the ferry


Poole: St Malo to CherbourgHarbours

  • P is Poole
  • C is Cherbourg
  • M is St Malo
  • Bike route distance is roughly 222 km
  • Book the ferry 




Portsmouth: St Malo, Cherbourg, Caen, le HavreHarbours open jaw


  • P is Portsmouth
  • M is St Malo
  • C is Cherbourg
  • X is Caen
  • H is Le Havre
  • Bike route distances below
  • Book the ferry 


 From/to in km Cherbourg  Caen  Le Havre
 St Malo
 221  185  265
 Cherbourg    137  218
 Caen      84


Dover: Calais to DunkirkHarbour open jaw

  • D is Dover
  • C is Calais
  • X is Dunkirk (Dunkerque)
  • Bike route distance is roughly 40 km
  • Book the ferry



Harwich: Hook of Holland to EjsbergHarwich Hook of Holland and Esberjg

  • X is Harwich
  • E is Esbjerg in Denmark
  • H is the Hook of Holland
  • Bike route distance is roughly 800 km



  • For information, train times and ticket purchases, we find that thetrainline is better than most of the other commercial sites and can be used to book Eurostar and trains onto the continent.
  • Note that the London Underground (the Tube) does not take bikes, unless they are bagged and do not look like bikes.
You may also find this Bikes on Trains article by a MyBikeGuide contributor useful reading.


We like travelling by P&O and DFDS Seaways and booking direct often gives you a good price.  For other routes we have found Direct Ferries to be a reliable ferry booking agent.  
If you want to take your car in the tunnel under the Channel then use Eurotunnel.


Driving Rules

The rules vary by country and you should double check current requirements before setting off.  If you are a member of a motoring organisation, it should be able to provide up to date information, as should the national tourist board web sites, or see here.  At the time of writing, the most stringent requirements required for all of France, Netherlands, Germany and Belgium are:

  • carry your passport, driving licence, vehicle registration documents and certificate of insurance
  • display a country of origin sticker (GB etc) on the back of the car
  • use mobile phones only with "hands free" kit
  • children should sit in the back
  • all passengers should wear seat belts
  • fit beam converters to the head lights of a right hand drive vehicle
  • carry a warning triangle and spare light bulbs

It is mandatory in France (and spreading to other countries) to carry a reflective vest, fire extinguisher and first aid kit. 

Both foreign registered cars and hire cars are targets for thieves so never leave anything, not even a jacket or jumper, visible in the car when you leave it.  If you have to leave your car unattended with bikes on it, eg for an overnight stop en route, you would do well to find a secure car park.

Fines are levied on the spot and must be paid in cash (Euros).

For further details, click here.


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