Author Topic: France or Spain to UK?  (Read 5732 times)

lubricated

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France or Spain to UK?
« on: July 09, 2011, 01:16:55 PM »
We?ve just booked our next Ferry crossing to the UK and back.  We spent a fair bit of time analysing the various options between Spain and Northern France, and the various UK ports. Individual preferences will depend on a number of things, but for us we have again concluded we are better off travelling direct from Spain rather than going via France.

Last time (our first) we used the Brittany Ferries (BF) sailing from Bilbao which arrived reasonably early the following day in Portsmouth. To avoid an overnight drive here in Spain we travelled up the day before and stayed overnight near the Ferry terminal. Now that we know what the journey through Spain is like we?ve decided to sail from Santander, sailing 15.30.  It means a bit of night driving at the beginning of the journey, but it saves the need and cost of overnight accommodation in Spain.

Coming back, we are again taking the Sunday departure from Portsmouth for Bilbao. This stops off at Roscoe (France) for Crew changes, so instead of being a direct 24 hour crossing it?s a 36 hour crossing.  The advantage is that it lands in Bilbao early morning (about 7.30am), giving all day to drive back to Vera.  Again no en-route accommodation needed.

In effect, we?re using accommodation on the ships rather than finding B&Bs or Hotels en-route. (Obviously, if you have a camper-van, caravan, or tent, different considerations come into play, and travelling via France might become a more competitive consideration)

The routes we?ve chosen are both operated by BF. They run a club which offers various discounts. The website is a bit confusing regarding membership; we though the initial cost was going to be ?250 for the two of us, but, having phoned them, it turned out we could get what we wanted for ?200. This is a one-off registration fee of ?100 and an annual charge of ?100. The year runs from date of sign up to the end of that month the following year, so if you sign up 1st August 2011 it runs to 31 August 2012. Then, on current rates, it?s another ?100 for the following 12 months.

Membership is instant, so we were able to get an immediate discount of ?118 on the Ferry fares and we will get a further ?30 benefit in breakfast vouchers. In addition we can get other discounts depending on what we buy on board. And since we know we will be travelling again before 31 July next year, we will have recovered all our initial membership costs! And when we throw the potential savings from annual membership of BF?s club into the melting pot, the direct route Spain to UK becomes even more favourable for us!

Hope someone finds this useful.
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John and Maureen Berry

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 03:19:35 PM »
While I understand what you are saying, and if time is at a premium, the journey is possible from Bilbao to Vera in a day, but there are some wonderful places in central Spain that make amazing stop-overs.
We have stayed in Toledo, Aranjuez, Madrid, and Segovia.  All are to be highly recommended.

We generally try to get to our stop-over at about 4pm or 5pm, and have a lovely evening and night enjoying a new place, then hopefully get the ferry in the afternoon, or then have the opportunity to have a more leisurely drive to Vera the following day.  But then we spend many months in Vera, so we have the time, then on the way back in Spring we normally spend 6 weeks or so meandering back through Spain and France. 

The luxuries of retirement!

We have done the trip many times, and financially there is very little difference between the Spanish ports and the northern France ones, but then we only get about 25mpg, so the fuel costs and motorway tolls (if we're in a hurry) eat up all the savings on the ferry. 

To estimate costs the site www.viamichelin.com, as well as route lanning, will tell you the estimated cost of your journey, including fuel and motorway tolls,
Happy owners and winter residents at Vera Playa, our piece of Naturist Paradise.

lubricated

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 11:05:19 PM »
We're newbies in more than one sense.  We've got all the exploring in front of us- hopefully.  I'm sure as time goes on we will extend our journey time to allow us to visit other places; we've already got in mind a slow meander along the French Atlantic coast visiting the numerous naturist centres; if anyone can recommend any we'd love to hear about them.

Has the moustache come off yet?!
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macc lad

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santander to vera
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 07:49:32 PM »
hy any advice on route from santander to vera we are in camper, thanks colin

Bisnick

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 09:52:24 PM »
I drive down from Roscoff to Vera each year. The best site for route planning I have found is Via Michelin. Play with the options section on the left and you can work out tolls if you want to use the AP motorways or plan your route on free motorways. It will work  out fuel costs as well. We use the journey through France and Spain as part of our holiday.

Sorry, didn't read the previous post from John and Maureen.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 09:54:16 PM by Bisnick »

macc lad

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 02:21:27 PM »
many thanks :y :y

John and Maureen Berry

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 09:04:35 PM »
It's okay,  great minds think alike!
Happy owners and winter residents at Vera Playa, our piece of Naturist Paradise.

John and Maureen Berry

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 09:48:23 PM »
We don't have a camper, we do car & caravan, so we can't do Aires and wild camps.  But for camp sites, if you're travelling out of season, we recommend first ACSI  Buy your book from Vicarious Books,  (Internet searches will find both)  great campsite guide with discounted stays out of season,  2 nights will pay for the book.  Depending which route you decide on (round Madrid or not - via Albacete)  if you're going round Madrid don't miss Aranjuez, just south of Madrid, fabulous city / town,  fabulous campsite.  If we're doing that route we normally do Riaza,  Aranjuez, Granada,  (campsite 20 km away but bus service right outside site into city) Vera. 

But we also do Camping cheques, now up-dated with chip & pin cards - both systems save you a lot of money.

It's a real treat, the travelling back and forth,  I think it's the highlight of our year!

Any specific questions, just ask or PM us - we've made the drive, via umpteen routes, scores of times.
Happy owners and winter residents at Vera Playa, our piece of Naturist Paradise.

macc lad

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 07:18:49 PM »
hy is possible for some one to tell me the route around madrid on to vera many thanks colin.

John and Maureen Berry

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 09:59:14 AM »
You just go round the ring road,  clockwise.  You need to decide which way you're going after that, either via Albacete or straight south,  via Granada.  Via Albacete is quicker / shorter but a bit boring.

Before we had sat-nav we used viamichelin, which is excellent, very detailed and even works out your costs including tolls.

http://www.viamichelin.com



Happy owners and winter residents at Vera Playa, our piece of Naturist Paradise.

macc lad

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Re: France or Spain to UK?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2013, 12:22:05 PM »
You just go round the ring road,  clockwise.  You need to decide which way you're going after that, either via Albacete or straight south,  via Granada.  Via Albacete is quicker / shorter but a bit boring.

Before we had sat-nav we used viamichelin, which is excellent, very detailed and even works out your costs including tolls.

http://www.viamichelin.com