Different options to think about if you are traveling to Spain
Are you looking to travel to Spain? I have spent a lot of time in the county and love Spain. I have also traveled to Spain from the UK using different options and thought a blog post on this might be interesting – maybe not but fingers crossed. I mean its pretty obvious really: Plane, train, boat or car! But what are the pros and cons of these?
Traveling to Spain via Plane
The most popular way to travel to Spain is by plane as the majority of main Spanish airports are well connected to most European and non-European countries. Due to the increase of low cost airlines, getting to and from Spain can now be very cheap. This type of travel and the low prices will only increase the number of visitors, and considering that most European destinations are only around 2.5 to 3 hours flying time away, it is a big factor in people making up their minds to actually relocate to Spain on a more permanant basis.
Traveling to Spain via Train
The Spanish railway network is now considered to be one of the best in the World with much of the track now changed to handle the high speed trains. This has resulted in journey times being reduced and longer trips now completed within a good time.
Traveling to Spain via Boat
It is possible to get to Spain by boat but it certainly is not the quickest method. You can sail from the UK to the north of Spain usually to Santander or San Sebastian but it is a 2 hour trip across the Bay of Biscay.
Traveling to Spain via Car
Access to Spain via road requires traveling through France. If you are travelling from the UK it will realistically take 2 days depending upon where in Spain you are heading to. The easiest roads for both France and Spain are the toll roads. Although this will add to the cost of your journey, the roads tend to be much quieter and better quality, usually skirting around villages and towns.
So which one?
After the summer we have had in England it is no surprise that people would want to head off to warmer climes next year. Yet with the problems experienced at airports and the rising costs of air fares – not to mention the nightmare of hiring cars at European destinations with hirers making false claims and charging ridiculous amounts for necessary insurance!
For this reason why not considering driving to Spain either via the tunnel or with the aid of boat/ferry?
1. The car – through the tunnel
The Pros: If you have the time driving through the beautful landscape of France and enjoying the sites is a wonderful way to start and complete a holiday in Spain.
The Cons: The drive is very long through France and also whilst this may seem like a cheaper option the cost could add up when you include petrol, food, accommodation and of course don’t forge the toll charges. (I guess it really depends on your tastes and how long you are willing to drive for without breaks.
2. The car – via boat/ferry
The options are from Portsmouth or Southampton to Santander or Bilbao.
The Pros: The cabins are what you would expect – tiny but there are lots of places onboard to sit, eat, drink, read, chat etc.
The Cons: You can get unlucky when disembarking and be one of the last vehicles off and this could take up to one hour – so patience is needed!!!
Tips on Ferry Crossing:
- The big factor is the boat you choose – there are two boats Pont-Aven and Cap Finistere
- Pont-Aven is the bigger boat and has a lovely restaurant and dinner must be booked as soon as you board – and I mean quickly as a long queue develops within the first 30 minutes and it is impossible to get a window or a popular time.
- There is also a cheap no-frills option on a much smaller boat but I have had no experience of this nor would I want to!!
- The boat can be very busy too so sometimes sitting on the deck is not an option as there is often no room – especially on a sunny day.
- There is a cinema on board and wifi is available but only in limited spaces which again can be very overcrowded.
- It is therefore very important to take along something that will keep you occupied and that certainly applies if you have young children
- I would always recommend you try and split the journey equally over the two days. By that I mean try and get an afternoon crossing which will arrive the next afternoon – 24 hours later. It can be very boring on board especially if you have the whole day ahead of you – splitting it makes it easier!!
- If you have a late arrival and don’t fancy driving too far into the night then Burgos is a must just 2 hours south of the ports and one and a half hour north of Madrid and it is truly a beautiful city. Just make sure that you have made time to have a look around the next morning before you head off to your next destination.
Whether you choose to drive using the tunnel or use the boat its great to have your car if you have the time and desire to explore. On top of this the Spanish roads are a delight, some are toll roads but well worth the money – they are quite highways with some spectacular scenery. However if you only have a short time then traveling to Spain via plane is the obvious choice!
If you where traveling to Spain which method would you take?
If you are going to Spain then you must check out El Caminito del Rey
Finally if you happen to be heading to the Costa del Sol check out my review on three restaurants here