Ferries to Spain from the UK
Because of the huge amount of traveling by air that people do these days, flying is no longer fun and for most people their holiday only starts once they have reached their destination.
So is there an alternative? Is there a way that you could also enjoy they journey and in this way actually make your holiday more fun and longer?
Well I feel that a ferry to Spain can offer a chance for you to try something new. There are people that will go on a cruise, where they spend most of their holiday aboard a boat and whilst even the best ferries to Spain arn't quite as grand as a 5 star cruise on the Med, they are pretty comfortable with plenty of distractions on board to keep you well entertained.
Take the new service from Brittany Ferries who use their luxurious flagship, mv Pont-Aven taking your from Plymouth or Portsmouth to Santander in Northern Spain. Onboard you will find a Live band, DJ, cabaret & pianist, a children's entertainment programme, Pool & leisure area and Mezzanine, 2 Cinemas, video games room, 2 restaurants, a coffie shop and 3 bars!
Routes: Ferry Crossings to Spain
The main ferry routes from the UK to Spain are below, follow the links to get more details.
Below is a map showing the main Spanish ferry crossings from the UK.
The UK's largest ferry operator, P&O Ferries operates the ferry crossing between Portsmouth and Bilbao. There are departures every three days, throughout most of the year.
Pride of Bilbao
You will be travelling aboard P&O's luxury Pride of Bilbao with comfortable accommodation and plenty to do:
Standard cabins - Cheap Ferries to Spain
There are 2, 3 or 4 berth ensuite cabins that have beds or bunks and a choice of either inside or sea view.
Eensuite Club cabins have a sea view and are located in a quiet section of the ship. They have more space than the standard cabins with a colour television, fresh fruit and tea and coffee making facilities.
Eating & Drinking
- First class menu in Langan's Brasserie restaurant
- International Food Court with its carvery and buffet-style dining
- Enjoy a snack and a drink in the coffee shop
- Enjoy a drink at the Sunset Show Bar for the best in cabaret-style entertainment from the house band or any one of the other bars on board.
- Live cabaret show in the Show Bar
- Have a flutter in the casino
- Onboard shopping areas, with savings of up to 50% off UK high street prices
- Bureau de change onboard, offering commission free foreign exchange
Portsmouth to Bilbao
When I last checked the Portsmouth to Bilbao ferry leaves every Wednesday and Saturday at around 21:15, cruising for 2 nights and you arrive at 08:00 on the 3rd day (please check these times as they can change at any time)
Bilbao to Portsmouth
The Bilbao to Porstmouth ferry leaves every Friday and Monday at 13:15, cruising for 1 night and you arrive at 17:15 on the next day (please check these times as they can change at any time)
Apart from Spain, P&O Ferries also oerate ferries to France, Belgium and Holland.
Prices and Booking
To check the timetable, prices and to book follow click on the banner below which will open a new window and take you to P&O Ferries.
The city of Bilbao is located in northern Spain not far from the border with France and is not only an ideal ferry to take to visit Spain, but Portugal and the South of France. Bilbao is easily accessible from the excellent motorway network and is 4 hours from Madrid or 6 hours from Barcelona. Bilbao has the renowned Guggenheim museum and many excellent shops and restaurants.
Puerto de Bilbao (Santurtzi)
Muelle Vizcaya Espigón, 3
Directions to Bilbao Port by car:
The Bilbao ferry terminal is located in a fishing village called Santurtzi, accessible from both the west (Santander) and the east (Madrid and Barcelona) via the A8. To get to the port, take the N644 turn off and follow this road to the ferry port. There are no car parking facilities in the village, however you can leave their vehicles at the port at no cost, but it must be reported to the Port Authority upon arrival to cover security issues.
Rail Connections: There are direct rail connections with major Spanish cities and the entire Iberian Peninsula
Best Beaches in the Area
Playa de la Concha, San Sebastian
La Concha beach, located in north eastern Spain not far from the Spanish and French border and only an hour away from Bilbao. It is said by many to be one of the best city beaches in Europe.
The huge disc shaped sandy beach is not the place to get away from it all as it does get crowded in summer. There are plenty of places to eat and drink nearby. San Sebastián is a wonderful coastal city with fantastic traditional tapas bars, restaurants and hotels and one of the nicest beaches you'll find anwhere in Spain.
The route was only opened in 2009 and is operated by Brittany Ferries and uses their flagship, the mv Pont-Aven. It is said to be the fastest, most luxurious ferry service from the UK to Spain, with an average sailing time of 24 hours. Currently there is one return trip per week that departs at 11am on Wednesday or 5pm on Tuesday and returns on Monday from Santander at either 3pm or 4pm.
mv Pont-Aven (Brittany Ferries)
The mv Pont-Aven cost £100 million to build and launched in March 2004 and the crossing time from Portsmouth to Santander is 24 hours.
The mv Pont-Aven boasts stunning features including a superb pool and leisure area, a wrap around promenade for pleasant deck strolls, a dramatic five deck high atrium with panoramic views from the lifts, and outstanding accommodation.
- Deluxe Cabins
- Club 4 cabins
- Four Berth cabins (with and without porthole)
- Two Berth cabins (with and without porthole)
- Reclining Seats
Eating & Drinking
- Main restaurant (Le Flora)
- Self Service (La Belle Angele)
- Coffee shop (Le Café du Festival)
- Main Bar (Le Grand Pavois)
- Piano & Cocktail Bar (Le Fastnet)
- Pool Bar (Les Finisteres Pool Bar)
Onboard entertainment & facilities include:
- Live band, DJ, cabaret & pianist (seasonal)
- Children's Entertainment Programme (seasonal)
- Pool & leisure area and Mezzanine
- Wrap-around promenade deck
- 2 Cinemas * Children's Playroom
- Video Games Room & Slot machines
- Tourist Information & Bureau de Change
Santander is a little further from the French border than Bilbao and so if you are planning on traveling to Southern France, it would probably be better to travel on the Portsmouth to Bilbao route. Having said that Santander has glorious beaches and dramatic mountains and so you could just enjoy your holiday in this area or explore Madrid, the Costas and Portugal.
Santander has to be one of Spain's most beautiful cities, with a wonderful coastline and beaches to match.
Located in northern Spain, most of the beaches are clean and have excellent facilities and now with the ferry crossings is easy to get to, so could this be a real alternative to a Spanish beach holiday on the Mediterranean?
For more, check out the beach holiday guide to the best beaches in Santander
Driving Distances from Santander
|From Santander Miles (Km)
Like the Portsmouth to Santander route, the trip from Plymouth is operated by Brittany Ferries and you uses the same luxury ship, the mv Pont-Aven, it just travels on different days.
Interesting the sailing time from Plymouth is shorter than that from Portsmouth, only taking 20 hours (as apposed to 24 hours), with 1 return sailing per week that leaves from Plymouth on Sundays at either 12pm or 4pm and returning from Santander on Wednesdays (at 3pm or 4pm) or Thursdays (at 9pm).
Getting to Plymouth
Plymouth has good connections to the motorways via the M5 and M6 and is ideally situated for access from the North, Midlands, Wales and the West Country.
Cheap Ferries to Spain
Well as there are only two major companies offering a car ferry to Spain, there is not as much competition as you find on other more popular routes. It is however worth just checking with both if you don't have a preference on weather you arrive in Santander or Bilbao. you can either do this through each company individually or use a one stop ferry shop!
Ferrycheap.com - All Routes
With ferry cheap, you can compare and book a ferry from all of the UK's major ports and not only those going to Spain, but for ferries to the rest of Europe as well.
P&O Ferries - Portsmouth to Bilbao
Brittany Ferries - Portsmouth & Plymouth to Santander
Other Spanish Ferry Routes
Other than from the UK, there are many other routes to and from Spain below are some of the most often used and which may be useful if you plan to do some further touring.
Ferries to Spain from Algeria
- Oran to Alicante ferry with 6 crossings per week
- Ghazaouet to Almeria ferry with 1 crossing per week
Ferries to Spain from Formentera
- Formentera to Denia ferry with 7 crossings per week
Ferries to Spain from Gran Canaria
- Las Palmas to Cadiz ferry with 1 crossing per week
Ferries to Spain from Ibiza
- Ibiza to Denia ferry - 7 crossings per week
- Ibiza to Barcelona ferry - 6 crossings per week
- Ibiza to San Antonio Barcelona ferry - 5 crossings per week
- Ibiza to San Antonio Denia ferry - 10 crossings per week
- Ibiza to Valencia ferry - 1 crossing per week
Ferries to Spain from Italy
- Genoa to Barcelona ferry - 5 crossings per week
- Civitavecchia to Barcelona ferry - 6 crossings per week
- Livorno to Barcelona ferry - 3 crossings per week
Ferries to Spain from La Palma
- Santa Cruz de La Palma to Cadiz ferry - 1 crossing per week
Ferries to Spain from Lanzarote
- Arrecife to Cadiz ferry - 1 crossing per week
Ferries to Spain from Mallorca
- Palma to Denia ferry - 7 crossings per week
- Palma to Valencia ferry - 6 crossings per week
- Alcudia to Barcelona ferry - 7 crossings per week
- Palma to Barcelona ferry - 7 crossings per week
Ferries to Spain from Menorca
- Mahon to Barcelona ferry - 3 crossings per week
- Ciutadella to Barcelona ferry - 7 crossings per week
- Mahon to Valencia ferry - 4 crossings per week
Ferries to Spain from Morocco
- Tangier to Algeciras ferry - 4 crossings per week
- Tangier to Tarifa ferry - 8 crossings per week
- Tangier to Gibraltar ferry - 2 crossings per week
- Tangier to Barcelona ferry - 1 crossing per week
- Tangier to Algeciras ferry - 6 crossings per week
- Nador to Almeria ferry - 6 crossings per week
Ferries to Spain from Sardinia
- Porto Torres to Barcelona ferry - 6 crossings per week
Ferries to Spain from Tenerife
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife Cadiz ferry - 1 crossing per week
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