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Ferry service between the UK and Spain is offered by Brittany Ferries, out of Plymouth, Devon, UK and Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK, with destinations on the northern coast of Spain. Portsmouth is 103 km (64 miles) southwest away from London, off the M27 – you can connect easily from the Midlands and the North via the M3 and the M25. Plymouth is the port to use if you’re coming from Wales or the West Country.
If your destination is Santander, Spain, there’s weekly service from Plymouth and twice-weekly service from Portsmouth. If your destination is Bilbao, Spain, there’s twice-weekly service from Portsmouth.
Brittany Ferries uses two ships on these routes, the Pont-Aven and the Cap Finistère. The Pont-Aven was launched in 2004 as Brittany’s luxury ferry, able to carry 650 cars and 2400 passengers in 650 two-person and four-person cabins. The Cap Finistère is less luxurious, able to carry 500 cars and 790 passengers in 239 cabins. The fare for a round-trip between the UK and Santander is from £200 per person for one car and two people. It takes 20 hours to travel from Plymouth to Santander and 24 hours from Portsmouth to Santander. The Cap Finistère departs from Portsmouth noon every Wednesday. The Pont-Aven departs from Plymouth 3:30 PM Sundays and from Portsmouth 5:00 PM Tuesdays (times subject to change).
For the return trip to the UK, the Cap Finistère leaves Santander 3:30 PM Thursdays bound for Portsmouth; the Pont-Aven leaves Santander 3:00 PM Mondays bound for Portsmouth and 9 PM Wednesdays bound for Plymouth. You can mix and match the UK-departing and Santander-departing ferries as you like, staying in Spain as long as you want.
The Bilbao route is serviced only by the Cap Finistère; the trip can take from twenty-four to thirty-two hours. Fares are about the same as the UK/Santander run. The Cap Finistère departs from Portsmouth on Sundays and Fridays at 10 PM and makes a return trip from Bilbao on Saturdays and Tuesdays, also at 10 PM. The Sunday departure from Portsmouth makes a Monday morning non-disembarking stop at Roscoff, France, for supplies and new crew — this stop is what makes this journey thirty-two hours long, with an arrival in Bilbao 6 AM on Tuesday. Check with Brittany Ferries for a possible new ferry service soon to begin between Plymouth and Bilbao.
To book direct with Brittany Ferries, click here.