Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain - There are generally 3 ferry routes operating between England and Spain offering a combined total of 7 sailings per week.  Cars and passengers are taken on all sailings and offer a range of cabin options and exciting onboard facilities and entertainments

Train from Santander to Benidorm  

A good alternative for those that don´t want to fly. Enjoy the sights, read a book, watch a film, listen to music. relax and enjoy the journey

If interested in traveling to Spain from London via train, you will find full details here 


Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain. Spain to UK - Coronavirus Information

Brittany Ferries operates 3 routes, Plymouth to Santander, Portsmouth to Bilbao and Portsmouth to Santander

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

Plymouth to Santander runs once per week.

This is the most direct route to Spain. 

Crossing time is 18 hours and 30 minutes

One sailing a week departing every Sunday Set sail at 16:45 on Sunday to arrive in Spain at 12:15 on Monday

Return sailing every Wednesday, Depart at 21:15 on Wednesday and arrive in Plymouth at 17:00 on Thursday

View the full Plymouth to Santander ferry timetable

Plymouth  Situated on the south coast of Devon in, with a history as far back as the Bronze Age and is home to the largest Naval Base in Western Europe, historically the British Navy set sail from Plymouth to defeat the Spanish Armada. The port of Plymouth is fully equipped with all facilities passengers need and has fast direct access from London via Great Western rail networks.

Santander   The historical port city of Santander is located on the north coast of Spain, the capital of Cantabria. The town has been built around the port in the centre of the town and has been used since before the occupation of the Roman Empire. The port offers good passenger facilities and access to the extensive road network and public transport.

The the mainline rail station in Santander, with links to Alicante via Madrid is only a few hundred metres from the ferry terminal and the bus terminal with a route to Benidorm is equally close by.

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

Portsmouth to Bilbao - There are at least two sailings each way every week with an extra sailing on Tuesdays during summer, autumn and spring. 

Travel from Portsmouth to Bilbao in 24 or 32 hours

The two return sailings from Portsmouth to Bilbao each week on Cap Finistère depart at 12:00 on Wednesdays for an overnight crossing and at 23:00 on Sunday for a two night journey**.

Cruise to Spain in just 24 hours Enjoy a cruise to Spain with Brittany Ferries' Portsmouth to Bilbao ferry route. There are at least two sailings each way every week with an extra sailing on Tuesdays during summer, autumn and spring. Choose a Sunday or Wednesday departure for a relaxing one or two night crossing aboard our luxury cruise ferry, Cap Finistère, and start your holiday in style.

** The Sunday departure departs at 22:30 and is a two night crossing. The ship stops in Roscoff on Monday morning for 1 hr 30 mins to allow for a change of crew and to load supplies (passengers may not disembark). The ship arrives in Bilbao on Tuesday morning.

économie ships - Tuesday sailings depart at 08:45 for an overnight sailing that arrives into Bilbao at 14:25 on Wednesday -  The économie service from Portsmouth to Bilbao departs at 08:45 every Tuesday. The  service is ideal for those looking for a cheap ferry ticket to Spain without the cruise-style experience we provide on our cruise ferries.

Portsmouth is the second largest city of the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth has been a significant naval port for centuries and is home to famous ships such as the Tudor Mary Rose and Lord Nelson’s flagship, The HMS Victory. The main ferry port has excellent motorway and rail links from all parts of the UK and every possible facility for passengers within the terminal building.

Bilbao  The Spanish city and port of Bilbao is the capital of the province of Bizkaia and lies on the banks of the Nervion River, which joins the Cantabrian Sea 11 km further downstream. The river has been important to the city's development since it was established in the 14th century. Along with the other towns that are situated along both banks of the river until it reaches the sea, Bilbao forms the Greater Bilbao area and has a lively cultural scene which visitors to the city enjoy. If performing arts is of particular interest then the Teatro Arriaga and Euskalduna Concert Hall are definitely worth a visit as is the Fine Arts Museum which is located at the edge of the Dona Casilda Park. The Park's famous neighbour is the famous Guggenheim Museum with its Frank Gehry designed building.

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

The Port of Bilbao is located on the Bilbao Abra bay, and along the Estuary of Bilbao, in Biscay (Basque Country). The main facilities are in the Santurtzi and Zierbena municipalities, approximately 15 km west of Bilbao. Brittany Ferries operate the Portsmouth to Bilbao route, with their boat, the MV Cap Finistère.

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

Portsmouth to Santander, this probably the best option if you intend to continue your journey by train.

Two sailings a week with a choice of departure times available.

Travel from Portsmouth to Santander in 24-32 hours

Cruise - Departing late afternoon on Fridays and Saturday mornings. Get into the holiday mood on the cruise ferries while you explore the stylish lounges and sundecks, have a delicious meal in one of the restaurants, visit the cinema or take a dip in the pool before retiring to relax in a comfortable, private cabin.

économie service from Portsmouth to Santander departs at 08:45 on Saturday. The service is ideal for those looking for a cheap ferry ticket to Spain without the cruise-style experience provided on the cruise ferries.

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

économie service Ferry

Find full details and prices here

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

Ferries from Ireland to Spain

Rosslare  to Bilbao Ferry

This route has replaced the Cork to Santander 

Two sailings per week from Rosslare and Bilbao

Either an overnight or 2 night sailing

All sailings will enjoy at least one night on board. In March, set sail from Rosslare on Mondays at 23:30 for a 2-night crossing arriving into Bilbao at 08:00 on Wednesday morning. Or choose a Friday sailing at the same times to arrive in Bilbao on Sunday morning.

From 25 March onwards, Monday sailings switch to Wednesdays at 11:00 for an overnight crossing arriving into Bilbao at 16:00 on Thursday. Our Friday sailings will remain unchanged.

Return to Rosslare on an overnight sailing from Bilbao on a Thursday or Sunday. Set sail at 12:00 on a Thursday to arrive back in Rosslare at 15:00 on a Friday or choose Sunday sailings at 12:00 to arrive back in Ireland on Monday at 16:00.

More details and prices can be found here 

Disabled Passengers

You should inform Brittany ferries of any disability or impairment you have on step 4 of the booking page.  Wheelchair Accessible cabins (subject to availability) can be booked on step 3.

Please tell us, at the time of booking, if you will need to bring any equipment, such as a wheelchair, mobility scooter or oxygen.

All of the cruise ferries have lifts to help you when leaving the vehicle decks and while moving around the ship during the voyage. If you need to be parked close to a lift, it is essential that you mention this when making your booking and again at ticket check-in. The limited spaces for wheelchair passengers close to the lifts are only allocated to passengers with a disability on a first come first served basis, at the time of booking. The loading crew will do their best to help you.

There is a limited number of wheelchairs available in the port and on the ship for emergency use only - if you need a wheelchair onboard please bring your own.

Cabins - There is a range of wheelchair accessible cabins, some have bunk beds and your travelling companion/s may need to use an upper bunk. Cabins that are not adapted for wheelchairs have narrow doorways and a step into the bathroom.

Visual Impairment - The ships have some Braille signage onboard but not all services have information available in Braille. If you or a member of your travelling party has a visual impairment, please report to the Information Desk onboard and a member of crew will assist you with your orientation of the ship. It is recommend that you travel with a fully sighted companion if you are likely to require further assistance during the journey.

Hearing Impairments -  If you or a member of your travelling party has a hearing impairment, please report to the Information Desk onboard. The crew will make arrangements to ensure that you receive all important messages being made over the onboard speaker system.

Assistance Dogs - If you are travelling with a registered assistance dog, it is essential that you notify the company at the time of booking. The dog must comply with the PETS Travel Scheme.You must carry proof that your animal is an Assistance Dog. You will be responsible for the welfare of the dog at all times. Please note that sea travel can be distressing for animals and the safety and comfort of other passengers should not be compromised.

At the Port - All Passenger Terminals have disabled access and facilities. If you require additional assistance getting onboard or around the ship, please give at least 48 hours in advance

Travel by Ferry, UK to Spain

Advice on taking your pet abroad

Pet passport or third country certificate  Follow and keep up to date with DEFRA guidelines.  Allow between 1 and 4 months before travel to start the Pet Travel Scheme process. Don't forget to visit the vet to organise booster vaccinations in time.  Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website 

Getting your pet ready for travel

Make sure your pet is happy to travel in your car, potentially for long periods and in hot conditions - especially if you are travelling in the summer.

If your pet has to stay in the car during the crossing, make sure you leave them plenty of space along with food, water and some toys!

Don't give your pet too much to eat or drink before the ferry sails and allow adequate time to enable them to exercise, go to the toilet and settle down before boarding.

During the crossing

Unless you have booked a pet-friendly cabin, your pet will spend most of their time at sea by themselves. The car deck is closed and remains locked once the ship has sailed. You therefore need to prepare in such a way which ensures your pet is comfortable and happy during the journey.

In some circumstances however, it is possible to arrange to visit your pet mid-voyage. To visit your pet during the sailing you will need to be escorted by a crew member. Please ask at the Information Desk on board to arrange a time to visit.

If you are leaving your dog in your vehicle rather than in a kennel, make sure there is enough ventilation for your pet. Creating a flow of fresh air can be helped by opening both the driver and passenger front windows. Take care to ensure that your dog cannot escape from their carrier or your vehicle. It's well worth bringing window grilles with you to help with ventilation and preventing escape.

Your pet will need plenty of space during the journey and when left in the vehicle. Whether unconfined or in a crate he or she will need to be able to sit and stand up at full height, turn around easily and lie down in a natural position, and must not be able to escape.

These are some of the most essential items you should bring for your pet to make their journey more comfortable.

  • A muzzle for dogs - they must be muzzled when outside of your vehicle
  • Absorbent bedding for your car or the kennel
  • Nappy sacks and tissues in case of accidents
  • Some of their favourite toys to help make them comfortable
  • Water in a spill-safe container that can be attached to a travelling crate or left on the floor of your vehicle

Make sure your pet's water container is filled with clean, fresh water and that they can reach it throughout the sailing.

Arriving in Spain

Once you have left the ferry, find somewhere safe to pull over and get your dog out of the car. This will allow you to check them over and gives an opportunity for them to go to the toilet and stretch their legs.

The vets can often get quite full, so book your vet appointment as soon as you can for your return journey. Check the opening times of the vet local to your stay as soon as you arrive.


If interested in traveling to Spain from London via train, you will find full details here 

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