Portugal - Driving Vs Ferry

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by wingman, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. wingman

    wingman Funster

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    Our main (summer) MH holiday is always in Europe, but as we've 'done' France, Switzerland, Belgium etc, this year, Mrs W fancies something different. Me? Well I know that to 'do' France would take a lifetime at least, but her ladyship wants a change.

    Consequently (and enthused by the Funster Nomads) I've been looking at other places a bit further afield. Never been to Portugal and as folk rave about it, it's come to the top of my list.

    Question is, to drive, or take a ferry to Bilbao or Santander. I notice a lot of Funsters take the ferry - even down to discussing the 'right' boat to use! BUT, Whoa, the ferry prices are a joke!!

    Because of Mrs W's work and having only the school holidays to play with, I got a quote for outbound July and return in August. £700 odd quid out and over £600 back :( I think that was Brittany Ferries no frills économie service too.

    Unless I'm pressing the wrong buttons to get a quote, (MH up to 8m x 3m heigh, no trailer or pets) WHO would pay £1,300 for such a voyage? It doesn't cost that much for a Mediterranean Cruise!

    • Do folk use the ferry to cut the stress of driving that far?
    • Is it to save VAT (vear & tear) on the van?
    • Is it one's proximity to a UK port like Southampton?
    • Is it the 'cruise' experience?
    • Is it to save time and get to Spain/Portugal soon-as?
    You certainly wouldn't spend £1,300 on diesel and tolls and as far as for saving time (assuming one wanted to) some of the crossings take 2 days and sailing days are limited.

    Perhaps the ferry is not for me; unless someone can put me right. I'm only an hour from the tunnel but I've got a 3.5 hour drive to Southampton. Therefore, I can be a few hours into France by the time I got to Soton. Cruise experience? Not bobbing about in the Bay of Biscay it isn't. Anyway, if I wanted a cruise, I'd book a hol on Royal Carribean :D

    So; help me out here guys.
     
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  2. sdc77

    sdc77 Funster

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    I'd have to agree with you .. would drive every time(y)
     
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  3. Mikeco

    Mikeco Funster

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    It seems to be far more expensive in summer, we go out in October and back in March towing a trailer for around £900. Cheaper to drive but for me not worth taking up a chunk of your holiday driving, I would stick to France.
     
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  4. maxi77

    maxi77 Funster

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    It is all a matter of personal choice. we have done both but certainly coming back allows us to do the vet trip in Portugal with vets we know and trust. Also we have 400 odd miles to do in the UK so having a break in the middle is good. I did the sums once and without any overnight stop costs the ferry was just cheaper if mpg was under 20, but since then prices have fallen for diesel. Also Mrs Maxi is not that keen on France, though one year we must do the D Day beaches
     
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  5. spongy

    spongy Read Only Funster

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    We have driven to Portugal twice, treat it as part of the holiday. The thought of 24+ hours on a ferry on a rough sea is not my idea of fun.
    It is still a fair distance from Santander to the Portugese border

    Spongy
     
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  6. shawn&emma

    shawn&emma Funster

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    We prefer the drive than spending that long on the ferry. Usually do Dover- Calais but this time we did Poole-Cherbourg. Single cost about £270 for 10m m/h and trailer. Landed early afternoon then drove to just south Le Mans first night then long drive next day to Capbreton. Then through Spain and into central Portugal near Marvao. Works for us.
     
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  7. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    May I point out a trick you may be missing! We have done the Santander crossing many times, and just love the crossing, but we do always book commodore or deluxe cabins (you have to book over a year in advance for those).
    Anyway, back on track, you do a one way to Spain, then do your trip down through Portugal, cross back into Spain at the Guardiana, and meander back North, ending up at Calais, and cross back there. It takes a little longer, but you get to see so much more!
     
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  8. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    Sensible idea, its very easy to run out of time if you have two long journeys there and back to do and what is the point of rushing down the toll roads ?
     
  9. maxi77

    maxi77 Funster

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    Mind you driving south through the rain and snow can be quite unfunny too. I have been crossing Biscay for some 50+ years now, and rough crossings are in the minority and all the ferries are stabilised. After all a large chunk of the ferry company profits come from what they sell you on board, if you are ill you are not spending.
     
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  10. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    You did buy a MOTORHOME not a ship. Enjoy what you see out of the screen, rather than a load of waves. I see a lot of Spanish and Portuguese lorries here in Dover, so there must be an economic reason for them to do it, why not you as well.
     
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  11. Tea Bag

    Tea Bag Funster

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    Hi.
    We live in Portugal,can do it easily to Coimbra,between Porto and Lisbon in three days,from Derbyshire-Tunnel-Rouen-Salamanca-Guarda. That includes,stopping for walking the dog,while a meal is being prepared and not hitting the bricks till gone 09.00hrs. First wife has gone to roost,but will let you know rough costs of Tolls tomorrow.(She does money,me,transportation). The drive down is not stressful,the only thing i have to watch is the speedo ,the road is a joy. We have done it in two days,but we both have 500mile kidneys,the poor old growler,needs "Comfort breaks" more often now,but that is not a problem,with huge service areas with plenty of "Walkies" room in the rest areas .
    Money wise, not a lot in it,will post the tolls tomorrow,mileage is about 1.350,i work on 25mpg.. with a Renault PVC.
    Tea Bag.
    PS. I would rather you kept your tales of doing 48mpg with a Renault PVC,to yourselves,i have convinced first wife,that 25mpg is good...LOL.actually it shows on the speeedo readout 27mpg.
     
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  12. trophychap

    trophychap Funster

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    We went to Albufeira the other year for the winter, drove from Calais to the Spanish border at Irun approximately 650 miles, then across Spain to the Portugeseborder at Badajoz then down to Albufeira another 740 miles.

    So assuming that Diesel is £4 a gallon the cost of crossing France (assuming 25MPG) is roughly £100. So I cannot for the life of me see how it can be cheaper to go by ferry to Santander or Bilbao judging by the prices I see for a crossing.

    We spent about £25 on tolls we didn't use many toll roads but did use free autoroutes along the way.
     
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  13. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    You can catch ferry from Poole or Southampton to France.
    Must be cheaper and saves you the drive?
    Are you limited by time? Must it be august?
     
  14. sdc77

    sdc77 Funster

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    I gotta say one of the reasons we have a motorhome is for the drive. I enjoy driving it and couldn't stand being cooped up in a ferry for ages. Then there's the dog. He lives for travelling in the van, loves the Aires on the journey and the new smells. Each to their own though.
     
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  15. Mikey RV

    Mikey RV Funster

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    We did Poole to Cherbourg in November then down through France into Spain across Spain into Portugal opposite lisbo down to algarve. We had plenty of time so took us six weeks, did about 1500 miles and cost in fuel was £245 because fuel is cheap. The roads are empty and good apart from Portugal. Better than sitting on a ferry for hours.
     
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  16. Dave and Ginny

    Dave and Ginny Funster

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    We have always driven down to Spain normally by way of the tunnel. We're currently down in Spain, came down this time using Portsmouth to Bilbao. I have to say that despite some preconceptions brought about by reading far too many posts on here that it was a very pleasant experience despite bad weather.

    It cost us about £320 for a 6m motorhome including the cabin. Once ashore we had one overnight before reaching our destination.

    It's all a matter of personal preference, now we've tried it we will happily do it again, except when we fancy that lovely meander through France.

    Edit: No I wouldn't pay the kind of price you have been quoted, but just wanted to say that it can be done cheaper at the right time of year. Remember also that a lot of funsters are happy to share their Brittany Ferry discount code that will get you 10% off the booking :).
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
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  17. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    I guess that is a one way trip @daveandginny

    Martin
     
  18. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    James, we would always take the tunnel and drive. But we are both retired and can take our time. If one of you is restricted because of work then the ferry gives you 3 or 4 more days where you ultimately want to be. And Portugal is a very nice place to be.
     
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  19. Dave and Ginny

    Dave and Ginny Funster

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    It is Martin
     
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  20. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    It will cost me £900 going out in May returning July with a 6.50 MH. I'm very happy to pay that as we enjoy the voyage and we live about ten minutes from the ferry port at Plymouth. I bought a MH to tour in, not drive five hundred miles a day.

    Cost isn't everything, otherwise we would all be in tents, but it is very much a personal thing, so do what suits you and don't try to suggest those of us who use the ferry to Spain are profligate idiots! :)
     
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