Brittany Ferries ferry 'Pont Aven' sailing to Spain

Brittany Ferries' flagship, the superb Pont Aven.

Photo courtesy of Brittany Ferries...

Click to watch the video...

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  The ferry to Spain:  2-berth cabin on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven

A cabin on the Pont Aven.  At Santander, it's just a 7 minute walk to the railway station for a high-speed Alvia train to Madrid...

Cruising to Spain with

Why not cruise to Spain, on a luxury ferry that has more in common with a cruise liner than old-fashioned Channel ferries?  Brittany Ferries operates three direct ferry routes from the UK to Spain with ships capable of 27 knots and a crossing time of just 24 hours from Portsmouth to northern Spain.  With ferry passenger numbers growing whilst airline passengers to Spain have been falling, Brittany Ferries have been expanding their ferry service to Spain, taking over P&O's service to Bilbao in 2010.  For much of the year, Brittany ferries now offer an unprecedented 5 cruise ferry sailings a week direct to Spain.  You can take your car, of course, and on this page I'll explain the options for travel as a foot passenger with train connections.

  Which ferry route to choose

  Portsmouth to Santander

  Portsmouth to Bilbao

  Plymouth to Santander

  How much does it cost

  How to buy tickets

  Watch the video guide:  Madrid to London via Brittany Ferries

  What's it like on board the cruise ferry to Spain?

  Train travel between the UK and Spain

Which route & ferry to choose?

London Spain via the Portsmouth-Santander ferry...

London ► Spain via the Portsmouth-Bilbao ferry...

London ► Spain via the Plymouth-Santander ferry...

This route operates all year, usually once a week on Sundays at 15:30 arriving 12:00 the next day.  Operated by Brittany Ferries flagship, the excellent Pont Aven.

How much does it cost

How to buy tickets...

Watch the video:  Madrid to London via Brittany ferries

See for yourself how straightforward and comfortable a journey via Brittany Ferries can be!  This shows a northbound trip from Madrid Atocha to London Waterloo, on Brittany ferries 'Pont-Aven' from Santander to Portsmouth.

On board the cruise ferry to Spain...

Both the Pont Aven and the Cap Finistère offer a choice of restaurants & bars, standard & deluxe cabins, sun decks & cinema.  All cabins come with en suite toilet & shower, a small dressing table, and 2-pin European type power sockets for recharging laptops, cameras or mobiles.  The Pont Aven is the bigger ship, with a wider range of facilities including a small indoor swimming pool with poolside bar, two cinemas, and WiFi internet access if you bring your laptop (in public areas but not in cabins, £4 per hour or £8.50 for 3 hours, cards available from the information desk).  These ships make getting to Spain as much a cruise as a ferry crossing.  A great way to reach Spain with or without your car, flight-free.

Cabin types:  All cabins have a private shower & toilet, with bedding, towels, soap & shampoo provided.  On the Pont Aven you'll find standard inside cabins (1 or 2 berths), standard outside cabins (1-4 berths with window), Club cabins (similar to standard outside cabins but with two lower berths, satellite TV with several UK channels, and tea/coffee facilities), Deluxe cabins (with TV/DVD player, tea/coffee facilities, twin beds, complimentary continental breakfast served in the cabin) and Commodore Class cabins (similar facilities as the Deluxe cabins but significantly larger & with private balcony).

The ferry to Spain:  A Commodore class cabin on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven   The ferry to Spain:  La Flora restaurant on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven

Commodore class cabin on Brittany Ferries' flagship Pont Aven, with private balcony, shower & toilet, satellite TV & DVD player, minibar, tea & coffee facilities.


La Flora restaurant on board the Pont Aven.  The buffet hors d'oeuvre & dessert are excellent, as are the main courses and choice of wines.

The ferry to Spain:  The indoor swimming pool on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven   The ferry to Spain:  A standard 2-berth cabin on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven

The indoor swimming pool on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven.


Standard outside cabin on the Pont Aven, with 1 to 4 berths, shower & toilet.

The ferry to Spain:  Rack of lamb in La Flora restaurant on the Pont Aven   Alvia train from Madrid arrived at Santander station

An excellent rack of lamb at dinner in the Pont Aven's La Flora restaurant. The starter and dessert are buffets.


Train from Santander to Madrid & Alicante:  Santander station is just 7 minutes walk from the ferry.

Find hotels in Spain...


◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison. checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less! is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...

Travel insurance & health card...



Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see for info.



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