Ferry ports in Spain
Ferries between the UK and Spain depart from Bilbao and Santander in Spain and Portsmouth and Plymouth in England. Each port has its own advantages and facilities that might make it more or less suitable for your journey. For most travellers taking a ferry to Spain the only factor that counts is how convenient the port is to their final destination.
Spanish ferry ports
Portsmouth is the English port that has most ferry crossings to Spain. There’s up to three crossings weekly to Santander from Portsmouth, and up to a further two from Bilbao. These crossings are all operated by Brittany Ferries and take between 23 hours and 30 minutes to 32 hours. Cabins are available and are bought alongside the ticket for the ferry. Ships departing from Portsmouth include facilities such as restaurants, cinemas, pools and sun deck. Portsmouth is the ideal port for most of the UK, especially those in the South East. It takes only two hours to reach the port from London thanks to the M27 motorway. An exit road from the M275 leads directly to the ferry port. Port parking costs £3 for up to two hours, with long term parking for £10 per day. For those travelling without a car, you can walk to the port from the town centre in about 20 minutes or from the train station in 30 minutes. Portsmouth is an attractive historic city and is a great place to spend a day or two prior to your ferry journey.
Plymouth is the second British city that offers ferries to Spain. Only infrequent crossings are offered, with Brittany Ferries operating a service to Santander. The crossing takes about 20 hours, making it the fastest ferry service between the UK and Spain. Plymouth is the ideal port city to start your journey from if you are located in the South West. Departures take place on Sunday afternoons, and return sailings are on Wednesday. Like Portsmouth, Plymouth is an impressive historic naval city, and it’s well worth considering spending a day here before travelling to your final destination. To get to the port follow signs in the town for the Continental Ferry Port. For foot passengers, the ferry terminal is only a 15 minute walk from the town centre. Parking costs £10 per 24 hours, and is free for up to two hours.
Santander’s port is located in the city centre, giving you immediate access to this popular Spanish destination. If you’ve travelled to this port previously it’s important to note there has been recent changes to the port exit and check-in facilities. If travelling to the ferry here follow signs for Puerto or Ferry.
Bilbao’s ferry port contrasts with Santander in being located far from the city centre. Bilbao isn’t a coastal town, and the port therefore is 21km away. To reach the port from Spain take exit 130 on the A8/E70 and follow the yellow ferry signs. If you’re travelling to the city of Bilbao, your journey by car from the port will take around 20 minutes. Foot passengers are advised to take a taxi either to their destination or the Santurtzi metro station which is around 3km from the terminal, as there is no public transit to the ferry terminal currently.