Top 5 Must-Visit Historical Sites in Dunkirk and Its Surroundings

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Top 5 Must-Visit Historical Sites in Dunkirk and Its Surroundings

Dunkirk holds a significant place in history for numerous reasons. It was the city that led to one of the most incredible evacuation efforts of all time during World War II, in which British soldiers were rescued by citizens using civilian boats. Subsequently, Dunkirk has been hailed as a city that symbolizes resilience, hope, and bravery.

That said, while Dunkirk is well known for its links with World War II, the city itself has its own special history. After all, it’s been around for well over a thousand years, so one would expect a few historical landmarks to emerge in such a long period of time.

On that note, we are about to cover five of Dunkirk’s top historical sites, so please read on and enjoy.

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Dunkirk Lighthouse

In terms of a fantastic vantage point to observe Dunkirk and its surroundings, it’s tough to think of a better spot than Dunkirk Lighthouse. This lighthouse was constructed close to 200 years ago, back in 1842, and it has clearly stood the test of time. Standing proudly on the northern coastline, the lighthouse's 60 km beam has undoubtedly guided countless voyagers over the years.

Additionally, it is a fantastic spot to visit since you can go all the way to the top, leading to spectacular views over the English Channel too.


Dunkirk Beaches

We referenced earlier about the significance of Dunkirk during World War II. Yet, to stress once more, Dunkirk’s beaches and the English Channel weren’t exactly places you’d want to be during such a troublesome period. These beaches can be observed clearly if taking a ferry from Dover to Dunkirk, yet they can also be visited in person, of course.

In particular, the nearby beaches of Zuydcoote and Malo-les-Bains are well worth visiting as these played the most momentous roles during the Dunkirk Evacuation of World War II. When you visit, it’s hard to imagine the struggles of the people involved back then. As for some other interesting beaches in Dunkirk and the surrounding area, you may like to explore the following too:

But with many reminders of those times dotted around Dunkirk Beaches, you will undoubtedly feel a sense of appreciation for the incredible sacrifices made by the thousands of humans to keep our world free.


Dunkirk War Cemetery

Given its strong links to World War II, we have another related historical site that is dedicated to the sacrifices made in those times. The Dunkirk War Cemetery serves as a memorial for the lives that were lost in that period. And with row upon row of white crosses, all visitors are reminded of just how precious life is.

One can only imagine the signs of anxiety, stress, and sheer terror that were displayed in Dunkirk during such a bleak period. But at the same time, as solemn as this cemetery is, you might just be reminded that you should live each day to the fullest.


Dunkirk Harbor

As you may know already, Dunkirk is a coastal city perched on the North Eastern coast of France. And like all ports, it has played a significant role in the trade industry throughout its 1000+ year history. Therefore, Dunkirk Harbor is an absolute must-visit spot for the history buffs among you.

Here, visitors can take tours around the harbor via boat, of course, and knowledgeable locals will explain the historical links to the tobacco, fishing, and steel industries. Additionally, visitors can admire some spectacular vessels as they glide through the harbor.


Saint Eloi Church

The final historical site that you just have to visit in Dunkirk is the Saint Eloi Church. This is a Roman Catholic church that was constructed during the 15th Century. With stunning Gothic architecture and a very impressive bell tower, the Saint Eloi Church is a symbol of the city's spirit and religious origins.

Additionally, many people believe that the Saint Eloi Church serves as a reminder of just how resilient we can all be. This viewpoint is held because the church has been the target of many intense attacks in the past, yet it always came back to serve as a happier and healthier spot for visitors.

How so? Well, no matter how badly damaged, the church’s foundations remained, and restoration efforts have breathed new life into the building. So, if you are planning a visit to Dunkirk, this church absolutely has to be on your list!

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