Travelling Between Spain and the UK and Ireland by Ferry

The prevalence of budget airlines means that many people forget that there are other ways to travel to Spain. But as well as packing your suitcase and taking to the air or jumping in your car and preparing for a long drive, it is also possible to take a ferry between the Uk and Ireland and Spain. Whilst not as popular as air travel, travelling by sea has an old-fashioned charm, and is certainly the best way to travel if you wish to bring either your car or your pets with you, as both are permitted to travel on the following ferry routes. Not to mention a great option for anyone with a fear of flying! Here’s everything you need to know about travelling between Spain and the UK and Ireland by ferry:

Travelling Between the UK and Spain

There are three ferry routes available between Spain and Southern England. These routes travel from:

  • Portsmouth – Santander . Depending on the weather, this route takes between 24 and 32 hours, and covers a distance of 532 nautical miles
  • Plymouth – Santander. This route takes 21 hours and 30 minutes, covering a distance of 430 nautical miles.
  • Portsmouth – Bilbao. During the summer months this route operates twice a week and takes between 24 and 32 hours, depending on the vessel that is used. The journey length is 555 nautical miles.

These routes are all operated by Brittany Ferries and operate weekly throughout the year, although the routes are occasionally prone to disruption due to bad weather.

Regardless of which of these routes you choose, the price you will pay for your journey will depend on how far in advance you book, as well as on the time of year. Generally speaking, tickets between the UK to Spain are cheapest during autumn and winter but can double during the peak Summer season. During the winter season, one-way voyages can cost £200 (roughly €240), but can rise to as high as £700 (€840). If you’re thinking of making this journey you are advised to book your ferry crossing as soon as you plan your trip for the best price: availability for car passenger can also go quickly, so this is also important if you are hoping to travel with your car.

Travelling Between Ireland and Spain

The only route from Ireland to Spain goes from Rosslare in southern Ireland to Bilbao and is a trip of 553 nautical miles. Under normal conditions, when the weather is fair, this journey takes around 30 hours and includes an overnight stay on the vessel. Expect to spend between €223 to €468 each-way for this trip.

Facilities On Board

The facilities you can expect to find on board will vary from ship to ship, with some of the vessels operating these routes signifcantly older than others. But generally speaking, you will find that there is a mini cruise feel, and many passengers incorporate their ferry travel into their holiday. Expect to find cafes and/or a restaurant, shops, and a variety of leisure facilities. Some will have video game areas, playrooms, and even soft plaay areas if you’re travelling with small children. It may take much longer than travelling by air, but it also feels like a very different, more luxurious experience.

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