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Thread: Cheapest ferry route UK to Santander or Bilbao - recommendations please?

  1. #1
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    Question Cheapest ferry route UK to Santander or Bilbao - recommendations please?

    I might have the opportunity to use an event in Lisbon as an excuse for a mini-adventure.

    I live inside the M25 in South London and I'm trying to figure out the cost and time difference between taking ferry over to Calais and riding to Lisbon from there VS taking a ferry from the south coast somewhere over to Santander or Bilbao. The price for the latter seems extortionate and some fares insist you HAVE to book a cabin - but then I think I might gain a day or two and won't have the cost of overnight stays somewhere (sorry - not camping).

    Any of you done the numbers or have gone through the same thought process??

    Any advice appreciated.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    I live in Plymouth and have often explored the option of the ferry from here to Santander. I have always found the pricing to be bonkers, but I suppose it's supply and demand. Every time I look it's cheaper to use another crossing and bimble down staying in hotels a couple of nights. I'm hoping to either be pleasantly surprised some time or perhaps forget I'm actually a Yorkshireman and just pay the going rate! I'll watch your thread with interest.

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    I had balked at the cost of the ferry to Spain in the past but as I now have hip pain when riding, the cost seems better value.

    Google says it's 750 miles from Calais to Bilbao and a further 500 miles to Lisbon. In the past I would have ridden to Bilbao with 1 overnight stop in Tours but the days of sitting on an autoroute for that long are in the past as it is just too uncomfortable.

    So, in September, I will ride down to Plymouth and get the ferry to Santander. I will be relaxed and pain free when arriving in Spain, ready to enjoy bimbling around Iberia for 2 weeks. 150-200 miles in a day max with a couple of days off the bike and plenty of breaks on days when riding.

    With the way fuel has increased in price, the cost I agreed with Brittany Ferries some months ago is looking better value. A Parisien friend showed his local petrol pump, with 1,609€ on the display. Factor in that a return journey of 2500 miles on motorway will square off a set of tyres and push you closer to a service interval then is it such a high cost? A 2 berth cabin for 1 person costs about the same as a night in a mid-price hotel.
    This space deliberately left blank as the author writes too much pretentious bollocks as it is.

  4. #4
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    PM sent with BF discount. code.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GADGET View Post
    PM sent with BF discount. code.
    Many thanks!

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    Looking at it this way ...... you make perfect sense!!!

    If I can swing things my way, it will be the ferry ��

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    Work out how much time it will take and how much it will cost to ride overland – lots of petrol, potentially lots of tolls, food costs, some hotels.

    Personally, I'd allow four days to ride to Lisbon, or five to make a proper holiday of it visiting nice places on the way and spending more time on decent roads and less time on motorways. You could easily take longer, but doing it faster is a challenge; three days would have to be almost all motorways to cover the distance; my mate Johnny Mac rode an H2 SX back from Lisbon in two dull, expensive, exhausting 700-mile days. But if I did four days each way, bringing them in at about £80-£100 a day, that'd make the round trip in the £720-£800 kind of ballpark.

    So if you set that against the cost of the ferry... it can begin to make sense of a £600-ish round trip fare. You will still end up spending more money this way, as you have to get hotels and food etc on top of the ferry cost, but the difference is that your eight days can be spent entirely on good roads between Lisbon and Santander - not mostly on French or Spanish motorways hoping to get to some good roads.

    It does make it an expensive trip, but it's worth it.

  8. #8
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    Phone Brittany Ferries direct, do not use the in-line booking system; their customer service is 1st class. Plus if you book a nights accommodation (in Spain) through them as a package you may be surprised at the outcome.
    Paul

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    ...some fares insist you book a cabin...

    You'll be glad of your cabin, it's a long old trip. But take a book, do your route planning, have some wine, chill and transition your head between 'work mode' and 'riding mode'.

  10. #10
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    Personally I wouldn't chose the cheapest option. Go for pon' avon it's the best boat to be stuck on for 24 hours of your life.

  11. #11
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    Or save yourself a shitload of money and don't go.

    Do something else instead.
    Herr Smogbob's Number One

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarka View Post
    Do something else instead.
    like count the pennies


    The OP should remember its a Holiday not an endurance test of both the person and their wallet, choose the travel option which best suits them, pay the money and enjoy the trip

  13. #13
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    ferry

    I've just returned from the Pyrenees.
    Rode all the way from North Yorkshire, Dover/Calais
    and the same return.
    3500 miles in 12 days.
    Never again, got an arse like a blood orange.
    Next year I'm going to use one of the many bike freight companies
    to take the bike to Malaga or Toulouse and fly to meet it.
    Probably ride home though.

  14. #14
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    The boat to me is a part of the holiday, love the ride down to either Plymouth or Portsmouth knowing it's over 24 hours to catch up over a drink or 2, have a meal and chill before getting off usually in brilliant weather right near brilliant roads.

    Even if it did work out more expensive it's worth every penny

    I'm not convinced that it does work out more though

  15. #15
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    I've ridden back to the UK a few times from Santander and used the ferry there and back.

    There is no way I'd ride there and back, unless I had at least 10 days to spare.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul nicholls View Post
    I've just returned from the Pyrenees.
    Rode all the way from North Yorkshire, Dover/Calais
    and the same return.
    3500 miles in 12 days.
    Never again, got an arse like a blood orange.
    Next year I'm going to use one of the many bike freight companies
    to take the bike to Malaga or Toulouse and fly to meet it.
    Probably ride home though.
    Maybe consider something like bmwmotohire - we rented an apartment and 1200gs for around 1,100 per week, including a pick up and drop off from Malaga airport.

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