Whether you’re visiting Spain for your holidays or moving here permanently from the UK, you will need to choose your mode of transportation.
Although most of us will naturally go online and look for a flight, flying isn’t for everyone and many people forget that there are alternative ways of travelling between the UK and Spain.
One popular option is to get a UK ferry to Spain with a regular service in operation running twice weekly throughout the year between the two countries.
With a journey time of between 20 and 36 hours, getting a ferry between the UK and Spain is clearly slower than getting a plane and may even be viewed as a little ‘old-fashioned’. However, it’s still a viable option for those who need to travel by sea and where travelling by air may not be an option for them.
Below we cover everything you need to know about travelling by ferry between the UK and Spain.
You will learn:-
Why travel by ferry between the UK and Spain?
Firstly, many people simply don’t like to fly or have a phobia, so travelling by sea can be a much better option.
If you have a pet, travelling by air can be quite traumatic for them. Taking them with you on a ferry is going to be a far less stressful experience for your furry friend.
Other benefits of travelling by ferry include:-
So although the biggest drawback will be the time it takes, there are far more advantages to getting a ferry to Spain.
Which ferry routes are available between the UK and Spain?
There are three main ferry routes between the UK and Spain which run from the south of the country. They are:-
Portsmouth to Santander (Sailing Mondays and Fridays)
Plymouth to Santander (Sailing Wednesdays and Sundays)
Portsmouth to Bilbao (Sailing Thursdays and Sundays)
All three routes are operated by Brittany Ferries and provide weekly crossings throughout the year.
UK to Spain Ferry Routes Map
Below you can see a map of the main routes from Portsmouth and Plymouth in the South of England to Santander and Bilbao in Northern Spain.
What about ferries to Spain from Ireland?
If you are from Ireland you will be pleased to know that there is a regular service from Rosslare to Bilbao.
The trip from southern Ireland takes around 30 hours and is scheduled to run twice weekly via the vessel Connemara on Wednesdays and Fridays.
How long is the ferry journey between the UK and Spain?
This will vary slightly depending on the route you take but you can expect a journey of between 20 and 36 hours.
Below we share with you the current times (July 2022) with info taken directly from Brittany Ferries.
How much does it cost to travel by ferry between the UK and Spain?
This will vary hugely as prices are seasonally adjusted. However, you can expect to pay between £200 and £1,000 depending on the time of year.
How long will the drive take once I arrive?
Of course, this will depend on what your final destination is.
Spain is a very large country and over twice the size of the UK, so unless you are staying in the north of the country, you will most likely still have quite a bit of driving to do.
Below we have listed a number of common destinations for those travelling into Spain from the UK by ferry.
Looking at those distances, I think it is fair to say that if you are travelling to the south of Spain, taking the ferry route will leave you with a very long drive.
What services are available on board the ferries?
You will find that there is plenty of things to keep yourself and the family entertained during your trip.
Onboard each of the ferries you will have:-
Can you get a ferry from the UK to Spain with a dog or other pets?
The good news is yes, you can take your dog or other pet with you on the ferry.
Brittany Ferries provide pet-friendly cabins or alternatively, you can place them in one of the kennels which are available on some of the ferries.
All dogs must be muzzled when leaving the vehicle or cabin.
Bear in mind that any pet must have a Pet Passport or Animal Health Certificate (AHC) when travelling. They must also be appropriately vaccinated and microchipped.
If in any doubt, please check the uk.gov website for guidance on the current requirements.
The requirements are changing all of the time as more of us are vaccinated and the world learns to live with Covid.
If you are travelling to Spain, we would advise you to check with the ferry company to make sure you are prepared. You may also check the official UK Government website.
At the time of writing, facemasks are a requirement on board all of the ferries for those over the age of six years.
Health control forms are no longer required although those over the age of 12 will need to have proof of being vaccinated for Covid, a certificate to show you have recovered from Covid or have taken a (NAAT) test (e.g. PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) within the previous 72 hours of departure to Spain, or a rapid antigen test (RAT) taken within the previous 24 hours of departure, and tested negative
Map Image Credit: Brittany Ferries
September 22, 2023
September 12, 2023