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Getting to Spain a Problem!! Brittany Ferry Boo!

hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Have you considered the train ?
See more below for London to Paris

See this for Paris to perhaps Hendaye
on the Spanis border
 
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MinaKamina

Eclipsigrina ~ August 12, 2026
Time of past OR future Camino
Jacobspad 2017
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉

This is from 22 september 2022:

https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/guide-taking-bike-ferry

About Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries


Accepts bicycles with foot passenger bookings for a small additional fee on routes between Portsmouth and France (Caen, Saint Malo and Cherbourg), Portsmouth to Spain (Santander; £75 for cycle carriage), Poole to Cherbourg, and Plymouth to Roscoff in France, or Plymouth to Santander in Spain.


For the Portsmouth to Spain route, Cycling UK has heard some reports of people bagging their bikes and taking them on as luggage when booked as a foot passenger to avoid the £75 fee.

I tried to book a trip on line for March 2023 and the tab bicycle seems to have disappeared. o_O

You might go bold and contact both Brittany Ferries and Discover Ferries on social media about these cycle-unfriendly practices.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
tried to book a trip on line for March 2023 and the tab bicycle seems to have disappeared. o_O

You might go bold and contact both Brittany Ferries and Discover Ferries on social media about these cycle-unfriendly practices.
You need to choose motorcycle if you want to take a cycle with you.

Here is a quote from their website "
Motorcycles and bicycles
You can safely take your motorcycle or bicycle on any of our ferries. We also carry the following vehicles:

Trikes (can be booked online, please select 'Car' from the vehicle options on step 1)

Motorcycle and sidecar (can be booked online, please select 'Car' from the vehicle options on step 1)

Tandem bicycle (please call our Reservations Team on 0330 159 7000 to book)"
See: https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/...-information/booking-the-correct-vehicle-type
 
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Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!!

It is simply an internal (i.e. marketing) rule for BF. Cycle bookings start in April. Think it is only Santander.

I tried to book for March 2022 and found I couldn't but space appeared in the first week of April. As it turned out, my plans changed and I moved the date to September so suggest you pay extra for the "Flexi" ticket.

There were only 2 other bikes on the ferry that trip but I found out that Alsa can provide plastic bike bags if you want to do part of the trip on one of their buses. Will be trying that out next April for the VDLP.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First one in 2005 from Moissac, France.
Was this for Bilbao? Thar route doesn't take passengers without vehicles - if it was try the Santander route.
 

Skinnybiker

The Skinny Biker in Spain
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte, Frances, Primitivo May 2022
By bike
If you live in Devon how about the BF Plymouth to Roscoff ferry then local trains or buses through western France?

Yes, ALSA sell plastic bike bags for €12, I've bought several over the years.

Buen viaje
 

Walkerooni

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
Prior to my cancelled Camino in 2020, my plan was to go from Rosslare, Ireland to Bilbao as a walk-on passenger. Imagine my surprise when I was told I could not take the ferry unless I was taking a vehicle!
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Prior to my cancelled Camino in 2020, my plan was to go from Rosslare, Ireland to Bilbao as a walk-on passenger. Imagine my surprise when I was told I could not take the ferry unless I was taking a vehicle!
A lot of pilgrims on the Via Francigena have been frustrated at the ferry companies refusal to accept foot passengers on the Dover - Calais crossing in recent years. Though I think that may have changed recently. A post earlier this year pointed out the insanity of walking pilgrims having to buy bicycles just to be allowed on the boat!
Post in thread 'LIVE from Via Francigena, June 2022' https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...m-via-francigena-june-2022.75245/post-1037291
 
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steve 217

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances planning via del la plata
Regarding travelling on a ALSA bus with a bicycle i found that if you take the front wheel off and wrap the rest in rolls of cling film the buses were more then happy to take our bikes and cheaper then a 12 euro bag which you then have to carry onwards with you .
Just wish Uk train and Bus operators were so accommodating as they seem to do Everything to discourage you taking a bicycle in this country
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉
Is there an Ombudsman that this could be reported to? Refusal of Service in some countries is actually a human rights infraction as well.
 

Tandem Graham

E ultreia e suseia, Deus adjuva nos
Time of past OR future Camino
Bike UK-SdC, Lana
Walk Le Puy-SdC
'22: VDLP
We have been frequent travellers on Brittany Ferries' UK/Spain routes for 20 years. During 2022 we have travelled: Santander to Portsmouth (foot passengers in early May, booked at short notice after our walking Caminos);
Portsmouth to Santander (tandem bicycle in mid June, booked over a year ahead)
Portsmouth to Bilbao (by car, booking shifted from Covid-dashed earlier plans)
I have variously booked via the Camping Club, Boundless (formerly the Civil Service Motoring Club) and direct with BF. It is true that they don't always allow pedestrians on the Bilbao route, but I haven't known there be a problem to and from Santander. There have been some journeys with just half a dozen bikes on the car deck and others with up to a hundred (seemingly including an organised group).
I suggest that you call them again and, rather than asking for a specific date, ask which ferries/journeys have bicycle capacity and/or when you might be able to reserve the date you seek. They usually score very highly on their customer service.
 

Penny and Mike

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept Oct 2022
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉
If you can get on the forum Motorhome Fun and put a request for a lift with a camper or motorhome going with Brittany Ferries you might have some luck
 

MikeC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Cycled SJPP to SDC September 2016
Starting Camino Ingles June 2018
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉
I fell foul of this also. This policy was always the case with their smaller ferries on the routes to Bilbao but cyclists were welcome on the larger boat to Santander which is the route I took.
However, the Cycling UK organisation are complaining that Brittany Ferries are charging £75 to take a bike to `Spain, which is a bit steep but does imply that they will accept bikes an some Spanish routes.
Good luck
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉
 
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Rozenn

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April/may 2022 SJPP to Santiago
Prior to my cancelled Camino in 2020, my plan was to go from Rosslare, Ireland to Bilbao as a walk-on passenger. Imagine my surprise when I was told I could not take the ferry unless I was taking a vehicle!
Yes , i know !! I live in Brittany 35 mns from the Roscof ferry terminal .., impossible to cross Roscoff to Bilbao if you dont have a vehicle!
To go to Spain by the Ferry i need to do Roscof -Plymouth-Santander .,
Ridiculous isnt it??
Train to Biarritz you need to Change in Quimper Nantes Bordeaux ., with bad connections !

That s Why i generslly fly Brest Paris Blbao .., to start my Camino
I
Or Biarritz to SJPP!!
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I know that they usually are supposed to take bicycles - its just that when trying to book any date in March 23 - they said no bicycles because they wanted to sell the (as yet unsold spaces!!) to car/camper drivers - to ,make more money. We are meeting American friends - so have to get there mid March....
We did use BF to travel from Plymouth to Santander - with cycles - then did a one way car hire to Cadiz for the Vde P - but car hire companies now wont let us cross any borders - can't get a hire from Spain to Lisbon!!
Taking the train (which I would love!) is just too difficult. On fast trains - you have to bag your bike - have you ever tried carrying a bike bag - as well as 4 panniers and associated camping gear...?? It's impossible!
On the smaller trains - as someone pointed out above - it would take forever and the connections are dodgy.... if time wasn't an issue - we would - but we only have 90 days total in Europe (fog in channel - continent cut off...!!)
Oh - for freedom to travel and reasonable public transport ..... a first world problem!! Shouldn't grumble.... :rolleyes: 😄
Perhaps we will try the camper van option suggested above.... thanks for all the suggestions...
 

Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Cat skinning suggestion. Fly minus bikes to your destination and hire. Some really good bike hire companies in Spain. The additional cost is offset by the high ferry charges so it should be neutral - or at least this is what I find when deciding to take or hire a bike
 

Hansel

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
I know that they usually are supposed to take bicycles - its just that when trying to book any date in March 23 - they said no bicycles because they wanted to sell the (as yet unsold spaces!!) to car/camper drivers - to ,make more money. We are meeting American friends - so have to get there mid March....
We did use BF to travel from Plymouth to Santander - with cycles - then did a one way car hire to Cadiz for the Vde P - but car hire companies now wont let us cross any borders - can't get a hire from Spain to Lisbon!!
Taking the train (which I would love!) is just too difficult. On fast trains - you have to bag your bike - have you ever tried carrying a bike bag - as well as 4 panniers and associated camping gear...?? It's impossible!
On the smaller trains - as someone pointed out above - it would take forever and the connections are dodgy.... if time wasn't an issue - we would - but we only have 90 days total in Europe (fog in channel - continent cut off...!!)
Oh - for freedom to travel and reasonable public transport ..... a first world problem!! Shouldn't grumble.... :rolleyes: 😄
Perhaps we will try the camper van option suggested above.... thanks for all the suggestions...
I'm sure you'll get there,,
Good to see you are still keeping the cycling adventures going.
I managed on the last boat of the year from Santander to Plymouth,back in October /November 2020,can't remember the date,(doesn't help you),,
I took the ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge in the July.
glad Covid is much less of an issue now!
Bill
 

Sue127

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal May 23
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉
Possible on March 29th Plymouth to Santander but pretty pricey at £208.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Brittany Ferries are a pain in the you-know-what in this respect. I tried to book Cork-Roscoff for May this year and was told no bikes. @Xali1970 in the first post of their thread "Cycling for Pieta" reported crossing on this route at the beginning of September! Go figure.
Although I'm in Australia, my bike is in Cork. I left it with my son in 2019.
@Corned Beef, your suggestion about hiring is of course very sensible, but hire-bikes are usually tough, heavy machines that are no fun for me after being accustomed to my lightweight carbon.
If you can get on the forum Motorhome Fun and put a request for a lift with a camper or motorhome going with Brittany Ferries you might have some luck
This is a very interesting suggestion, worth following up.
 

AlpacaArte

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
St James “2020”
We did use BF to travel from Plymouth to Santander - with cycles - then did a one way car hire to Cadiz for the Vde P - but car hire companies now wont let us cross any borders - can't get a hire from Spain to Lisbon!!

Not correct. In the Schenghen zone there are no borders. Car and camper hire companies allow you to travel within the zone and even still the U.K. You seem to be putting up barriers that don’t exist.
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Time of past OR future Camino
Starting May 2023 from St Jean Pied de Port
Not correct. In the Schenghen zone there are no borders. Car and camper hire companies allow you to travel within the zone and even still the U.K. You seem to be putting up barriers that don’t exist.
It may be difficult (and expensive, if even possible) to do a one-way hire between different countries. I think I looked into it once and it wasn't really feasible.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
car hire companies now wont let us cross any borders - can't get a hire from Spain to Lisbon
I, too, find this difficult to believe. Car rental companies are free to decide whether you can take their cars across national borders and in particular whether they offer a drop off in another country but that is their business decision. I checked Avis.co.uk right now and it appears that they would allow this. Of course, it will cost you quite a bit but this is nothing new, see below:

1665126239896.jpeg
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
Not correct. In the Schenghen zone there are no borders. Car and camper hire companies allow you to travel within the zone and even still the U.K. You seem to be putting up barriers that don’t exist.
I attach last reply from Europcar - I asked for estate car or small van from Caen to Lisbon.....
mail
Dear Customer,
Thank you for contacting us.

Unfortunately we're do not permit one way international rentals for vans. If we can be of further assistance, please advise.

I have emailed yet again to reiterate that a car would be fine - but have received no reply....

Before this I tried 3 other companies - trying to hire car/van between UK and Portugal via ferry, car/van between France and Portugal and France and Spain....
In the past this was possible - but now sadly not... possibly because of Brexit....

I have found a convoluted way to get to Lisbon - without flying... (I do not want to fly - and certainly not a 'short' one)
Cycle from Devon to Portsmouth - ferry with cycles to Caen - local FER trains to Irun (goes via Paris!) then there is the possibility of getting an ALSA coach to Lisbon (16 hrs) BUT we cannot book as the dates have not been released and they don't know when they will be. The dates in november are all booked - as they only allow 4 cycles per coach. So - they get booked up quick!!
We have to decide whether to risk not getting a booking - as we have to book the ferry - as they are nearly booked up for mid march!!
But at least if we can get tickets as far as Irun - it would only take a few days to get along the coast by small train if the coach proves impossible.
But it eats into our 90 days... we still have to get from southern Portugal back to the UK! (After cycling the coast!) We would love to cycle the French canals back across to Soulac on the coast - as we cycled up to Soulac on our return pilgrimage in 2009 - so to start the Atlantic coast there again would be lovely!
So it will probably be a leap of faith - and hope it all works out!! We would be happy cycling anywhere - (everywhere is beautiful most of the time!) but since our friends are making the effort to get from America to Europe to cycle with us - we really want to get to them!!
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I, too, find this difficult to believe. Car rental companies are free to decide whether you can take their cars across national borders and in particular whether they offer a drop off in another country but that is their business decision. I checked Avis.co.uk right now and it appears that they would allow this. Of course, it will cost you quite a bit but this is nothing new, see below:

View attachment 134295
This may work from major international airport to same...! But try it from a ferry port! I have tried several companies and loads of different places. But the fact is I need to get from home in Devon to the coast near Lisbon..... No company has allowed this so far. But as everyone is so adamant - we are going to go to a Europcar depot in Exeter and ask in person..... I don't see why all these companies would refuse on their websites when they actually do it.....!! But we will try....(there is a Hertz too - I think they are international so we will ask there too...)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I still doubt that this has much if anything to do with Brexit. Vans are a more difficult matter in this context and drop offs don't seem to be offered for Dublin to Paris either. They need to get the car back to its origin - I doubt they would just wait until a customer turns up for a suitable return trip from France to Ireland and who wants to have the steering wheel on the other side instead of the usual side - and it is presumably just too costly and too much hassle when they need to include a ferry trip.

As to a one way rental Caen to Lisbon - money can certainly buy it:
Avis.jpg

PS: I and others reacted to the claim that it was not possible to cross borders (from Spain to Portugal) in a rental car while the issue is actually the fact that you can cross such borders in rental cars but dropping off the car in another country is either too costly or not on offer. Or is there anything in the blurb of the car rental companies that says that one can't hire a car or van in the UK, drive to Portugal and back again to drop it off where one had picked it up initially?
 
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Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
So if car hire is out, there are two possible options once you get into the Caen/EU.

1. At Caen, box up the bikes and get DPD/Seur to send them to Lisbon (about €100 per bike). BikeIberia who are in Lisbon send their hire bikes all over Spain and use DPD/Seur to get them to Pilgrims. And back again to Lisbon.

With the bikes out of the way, you can use the TGV's to get to your destination.

2. The slow way if you want to have your bikes with you. SNCF within France to Irun (TER or the faster trains , capacity permitting). In Spain use the Media Distancia trains (capacity permitting as only 3 per train) all the way to Badajoz (Have taken a bike on this line. Good trains). You'll have to cycle across the border to Portugal as AFAIK there are no cross border trains Spain/Portugal. Then onto the CP system to Lisbon.

 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Or is there anything in the blurb of the car rental companies that says that one can't hire a car or van in the UK, drive to Portugal and back again to drop it off where one had picked it up initially?
Ooops ... apparently there is something. Seen on the avis.co.uk website: "With effect from 14th July 2022 we have stopped selling continental cover, meaning that it’s no longer possible to take our vehicles outside of the UK. We’ll honour cover for any reservations made prior to 14th July 2022, but are unable to offer it to any reservations booked from 15th July 2022 onwards." And sixt.co.uk for example does not allow their Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Volvo, or Jaguar cars to be taken to a group of certain EU countries ... I think that it's called free enterprise 😶.
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
We are looking into sending the bikes from home direct to Lisbon - some van companies go up and down - so that might be ok - then we could get the ferry to France and trains/coach to Lisbon. Boxing them up on the way is difficult - our bikes have sturdy pannier racks and you need the right size bike box - so its luck if local bike shop has any.... and you need to pack much of the camping/cooking gear with them - its hard to travel with 5 panniers and a tent each!! We have done it before when in Asia - but it was difficult and expensive!
I wish trains in Europe were like Thailand - you can turn up with a bicycle, a pig or a stack of metal benches - they don't bat an eye - just charge you a fiver and take it all in the guards van - then get it out ready for you at the destination station....if only we could be that advanced......
 
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Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Time of past OR future Camino
Starting May 2023 from St Jean Pied de Port
In Greece you can send virtually anything on the bus. You don't even have to travel yourself. They do just leave it at the bus stop though, so not very secure unless you have someone to meet the bus and collect.
 

Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
We are looking into sending the bikes from home direct to Lisbon - some van companies go up and down - so that might be ok

Hope you'll share the name if you find one. I have a "lead pig" to ship back.

* Lead pig - an ebike with a flat battery.
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way

hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
Thanks - I have looked at them - but the only dates they have are in october and all the bike slots are taken - or it says no bike slots left.... so either very popular or they don't want bikes on! I did email to find out for dates in March - but they cannot say - you just have to wait and see!!
We may have to just wait until february and then get there by hook or crook - which will be stressful - as our American friends need to book flights now!!
 

Sue127

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal May 23
Thanks - I have looked at them - but the only dates they have are in october and all the bike slots are taken - or it says no bike slots left.... so either very popular or they don't want bikes on! I did email to find out for dates in March - but they cannot say - you just have to wait and see!!
We may have to just wait until february and then get there by hook or crook - which will be stressful - as our American friends need to book flights now!!
Hi - I live in France and have just thought of a way that might help you out, depending on the dates that you have to travel. I live about 60kms from the ferry port at Ouistreham and know that Brittany do take cycles to there from Portsmouth. So long as the dates were ok (I have a visit to UK booked at the end of the month) you could stop over here and take a train from Saint Lo. (I haven't checked out the bike situation on the trains, but in theory, it should work). I used Rome2Rio for Saint Lo to Biarritz, but there are many other options, depending where you want to meet your friends. Good luck and do PM me, if this will help you out.
 

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Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
OK, since this thread is still going and nobody has mentioned it in this thread - it does get a mention in other threads: the DFDS ferry serving the line Newhaven to Dieppe does take passengers with bikes. They have done so without interruption for years. Plus I've seen people with bikes on this ferry in recent years and with my own eyes :cool:.

So, if you want to be certain now, book with them. Then either medium/slow trains through France and Spain (these trains do take bikes) or hire a van in the north of France, drop it off in the south west of France, say in Biarritz, in order to avoid high transborder drop off charges, cycle over the border, hire another van in the nearest town in Spain. Also, you need to get back to the UK again, I suppose? So the same thing again in reverse. Good luck with whatever you do, whether it is wait and see or booking now.
 
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AlpacaArte

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
St James “2020”
DFDS are a reliable, unfussy and indeed cheap option. To be honest though I can’t help thinking it would be much simpler to use their own car with a bike rack (assuming they have one). Stress free and without all the hassle and changes.
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I went to Europcar- but they said that they did not do any one way hire outside the UK. You could take a hire car to Lisbon or elsewhere but you had to bring it back to where you hired it. They have no connection with European Europcar - and could not tell whether a Europcar abroad would do a one way hire...!
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
DFDS are a reliable, unfussy and indeed cheap option. To be honest though I can’t help thinking it would be much simpler to use their own car with a bike rack (assuming they have one). Stress free and without all the hassle and changes.
I did look at taking our car - so we could use the Santander ferry - but we would have to leave it at Lisbon somewhere for weeks, then get back to pick it up - with or without bikes as we don't know if we can book the coach with bike yet....then do the same with France, leave car for 4 weeks, find a way back to pick it up - my husband just said a flat 'no' - and I can't blame him - it would put an extra £1000 price on the journey - and be really complicated....
I'm hoping that maybe the EU will let long distance cyclists have visas - so we can just cycle - it would be so much easier!!
 

Hansel

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
P
I did look at taking our car - so we could use the Santander ferry - but we would have to leave it at Lisbon somewhere for weeks, then get back to pick it up - with or without bikes as we don't know if we can book the coach with bike yet....then do the same with France, leave car for 4 weeks, find a way back to pick it up - my husband just said a flat 'no' - and I can't blame him - it would put an extra £1000 price on the journey - and be really complicated....
I'm hoping that maybe the EU will let long distance cyclists have visas - so we can just cycle - it would be so much easier!!
I had a similar problem getting from Santiago to Santander for the ferry with my push bike in 2020, ending up getting a one way hire,
Lady in the car rental near to the train station was really helpful,
once you get to Santiago you could do that,

on the way there looks like two lots of car hire,and at least one night in between.
good luck
Bill
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
So if car hire is out, there are two possible options once you get into the Caen/EU.

1. At Caen, box up the bikes and get DPD/Seur to send them to Lisbon (about €100 per bike). BikeIberia who are in Lisbon send their hire bikes all over Spain and use DPD/Seur to get them to Pilgrims. And back again to Lisbon.

With the bikes out of the way, you can use the TGV's to get to your destination.

2. The slow way if you want to have your bikes with you. SNCF within France to Irun (TER or the faster trains , capacity permitting). In Spain use the Media Distancia trains (capacity permitting as only 3 per train) all the way to Badajoz (Have taken a bike on this line. Good trains). You'll have to cycle across the border to Portugal as AFAIK there are no cross border trains Spain/Portugal. Then onto the CP system to Lisbon.

Highlighted bit above no longer true. 2 CP trains daily go Badajoz>Entroncamento and return. Then you can get on a train just about hourly from Entroncamento down to Lisbon. The cross-border service is the only one connecting Spain and Portugal at the moment. The night train from Lisbon > Madrid was cancelled in 2020 and has not been reinstated.

As the story below from 2017 states, this service was started that year. Earlier this year (2022), they put on a second train.



I've taken the train (both directions, but not as far as Badajoz). It's not very heavily used or very full. Taking bikes on it shouldn't be a problem. The last time I took it (this spring) one of the passengers had his large dog, leashed but otherwise loose, with him!
 
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Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Checked Rail Europe for Caen - Entroncamento. 5 changes and 31h and 56 minutes.

Caen > Paris St Lazare > Valence TGV > Barcelona Sants > Madrid (overnight) > Badajoz > Entroncamento

You'll need sandwiches and some reading.
Never said it was fast. The Badajoz > Entronc section is interesting, though! ;)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
I don't understand this "supposedly-better-thn-flying". I would definitely fly directly to Lisbon from the UK. I have flown my bike twice from my home in W Australia to Perth, and then Perth-Madrid with no problem. All this ferry and rail seems like a big hassle to me by comparison.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I don't understand this "supposedly-better-thn-flying". I would definitely fly directly to Lisbon from the UK. I have flown my bike twice from my home in W Australia to Perth, and then Perth-Madrid with no problem. All this ferry and rail seems like a big hassle to me by comparison.
People choose surface travel for a number of reasons. Some enjoy the actual business of slower travel and watching the landscape gradually changing. Others point to the pollution impact of flying. Some years ago my wife decided not to take flights for environmental reasons. Which meant that when she decided to visit family in Thailand and China she made the return journey overland from the UK. Something she has now done twice. Almost certainly an even bigger hassle and cost than getting a bike on a ferry to Spain! :)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
People choose surface travel for a number of reasons. Some enjoy the actual business of slower travel and watching the landscape gradually changing. Others point to the pollution impact of flying. Some years ago my wife decided not to take flights for environmental reasons. Which meant that when she decided to visit family in Thailand and China she made the return journey overland from the UK. Something she has now done twice. Almost certainly an even bigger hassle and cost than getting a bike on a ferry to Spain! :)
Fair enough. But I still disagree.
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
People choose surface travel for a number of reasons. Some enjoy the actual business of slower travel and watching the landscape gradually changing. Others point to the pollution impact of flying. Some years ago my wife decided not to take flights for environmental reasons. Which meant that when she decided to visit family in Thailand and China she made the return journey overland from the UK. Something she has now done twice. Almost certainly an even bigger hassle and cost than getting a bike on a ferry to Spain! :)
We don't wnt to fly for environmental reasons too - and as we are semi-retired we do have more time (in general - just not in EU!!)
That's great your wife went overland to Thailand - I would be interested in how she did it!!
 
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Isca-camigo

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Time of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
It's a crazy set up BF run, it's a pity there isn't some sharing system where cyclists could contact willing drivers of mobile homes to see if the bikes could be stored for the journey on the mobile homes or in them.
 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
People choose surface travel for a number of reasons. Some enjoy the actual business of slower travel and watching the landscape gradually changing. Others point to the pollution impact of flying. Some years ago my wife decided not to take flights for environmental reasons. Which meant that when she decided to visit family in Thailand and China she made the return journey overland from the UK. Something she has now done twice. Almost certainly an even bigger hassle and cost than getting a bike on a ferry to Spain! :)
I guess you can go for the journey and the destination or just the destination. Often governed by time and increasingly environmental concerns. Yes I have caught the train from London to Beijing* stopping at a few points. 2 weeks to get there and 10 hours to fly home! I was hoping to go to Tokyo Olympics by catching train to Vladivostok but sadly Covid put paid to that! But where there is opportunity to catch long distance trains I gladly dive in. New York to San Francisco, Toronto to Vancouver, Delhi to Mumbai and Johannesburg to Cape Town for example. Oops gone off topic.

*London to Brussels to Koln to Warsaw to Moscow to Irkutsk to Ulan Bator to Beijing.
 
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Vendee52

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino France's SJPdP to Finisterre (2019)
Glad to find this thread- I live in France ( and have had enough of bagging my bike) want to cycle Seville to Santiago in 2023 and have spent many hours investigating how to get my bike to Seville. Media distance trains from Santiago to Santander and ferry ok for return but to start? …
 
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Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Media distance trains from Santiago to Santander and ferry ok for return but to start? …

Have you thought about sending the bike by courier (DPD/France Poste) to your start point and taking the much faster TGV's. MD trains are slow.

You could even courier and then fly. Courier would be about €100 - €150

1. At Caen, box up the bikes and get DPD/Seur to send them to Lisbon (about €100 per bike). BikeIberia who are in Lisbon send their hire bikes all over Spain and use DPD/Seur to get them to Pilgrims. And back again to Lisbon.
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
We took the ferry to Santander then did a one way car hire down to Cadiz - then cycled the VdeP..... but they don't seem to allow it now!
But whether you go by slow train or send your bike - enjoy the VdeP - tis an excellent route and we thoroughly enjoyed it - even the snow...!
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I have spent HOURS looking on the French train websites and come to the conclusion that there is no way to travel all the way to even Spain with bikes!! You have to make the journeys so short to ensure you stay on TER trains - then they just don't seem to connect up....
Having one last shot at finding a van company who will take bikes and kit direct - so we could take the fast trains.... I assume I would have to book a B&B/hotel in Lisbon and ask them if they will take delivery of our bikes and keep till we get there...!
No wonder everyone flies......😓🥴🤬;)
 

Vendee52

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino France's SJPdP to Finisterre (2019)
I have spent HOURS looking on the French train websites and come to the conclusion that there is no way to travel all the way to even Spain with bikes!! You have to make the journeys so short to ensure you stay on TER trains - then they just don't seem to connect up....
Having one last shot at finding a van company who will take bikes and kit direct - so we could take the fast trains.... I assume I would have to book a B&B/hotel in Lisbon and ask them if they will take delivery of our bikes and keep till we get there...!
No wonder everyone flies......😓🥴🤬;)
Hi
Just checked my SNCF app and I can book a train ticket from Paris to Hendaye with change at Bordeaux - fully assembled bike paid space possible to Bordeaux- free onwards but I agree - what happens next …? Have found media distancia train to Madrid (assembled bikes accepted) but haven’t sorted what happens afterwards since I want to get to Sevilla. Let me know if you find further solutions?
 

Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
To get to Seville from Madrid on MD, you go Jaen > Cordoba > Seville. Think it’s about 8 hours with changes. I have a spreadsheet somewhere with the details
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
Hi
Just checked my SNCF app and I can book a train ticket from Paris to Hendaye with change at Bordeaux - fully assembled bike paid space possible to Bordeaux- free onwards but I agree - what happens next …? Have found media distancia train to Madrid (assembled bikes accepted) but haven’t sorted what happens afterwards since I want to get to Sevilla. Let me know if you find further solutions?
I have given up and changed my plan!!
We are hoping our American friends can join us another time - maybe in autumn - but then the days are shorter for cycling/camping....
We will get a ferry to France (Portsmouth - St Malo) and get local trains down to the Med - (we hope!) then cycle back along the canals to Royan, then up the French coast to Roscoff, ferry to Plymouth and just a day's cycle home!! All being well..... ;)
 

Kat Kostrzewska

Online guide https://caminodesantiagobybike.co.uk
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018), Via Tolosana (2012) Camino Norte (2014)
I hope not too many pilgrims were planning to travel by ferry (supposedly better than flying i thought...) to Spain or Portugal.....
We cycled from Lisbon to SdC many years ago.
But - recently I tried to book the ferry from the UK to Spain to do another cycle trip (down the rest of the Portuguese coast) and was told that despite the ferry having many spaces - it would not be possible to book at all in March for 2 cyclists.....they said that they needed to keep the bookings for car/camper drivers who may book it...!! I argued that we took no room on the car deck, were happy to not book a cabin - if they wanted them for drivers.... but we would still be spending money in the restaurants and bar.....but they still refused us - so I suppose walkers would be the same...
This seems very mean - especially when we are all being told to cut carbon and travel more lightly......!
What do others think?
And any bright ideas on getting to Spain/Portugal - with a bicycle - I would be delighted to cycle all the way there and back - but at my age I just can't do it in the measly 90 days.....:rolleyes:🤬😉
I read the tread you have started, and I smiled wide. Personally, I consider touring an extreme sport. You have to have nerves of steel to do it. We are sorry but we do not take bikes today because it is Olympics, this bike is not packed properly we won't take it on the plane, we understand that you travelled from this airport seven times, but we changed our rules two months ago, no this train doesn't take the bikes - can't you just leave it at the station???
And the most recent - We are sorry, but this summer Eurostar doesn't take bicycles, no we won't give you your money back. Yeah. This is how I discovered Britanny Ferries and how I got to France this year. It was actually brilliant, and I thought that I found my new perfect way of getting to France/Span....
 

Vendee52

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino France's SJPdP to Finisterre (2019)
To get to Seville from Madrid on MD, you go Jaen > Cordoba > Seville. Think it’s about 8 hours with changes. I have a spreadsheet somewhere with the details
Thank you so much - it works! It’s a real puzzle try to sort routes even with the connection map in front of you - with the arrival leg sorted now thank goodness… I’ve looked at getting back from Santiago and it’s problematical - is it sensible to consider packing my bike into a box and sending it back home via correos ie the Post Office?
 

Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Is it sensible to consider packing my bike into a box and sending it back home via correos ie the Post Office?

Yes. And it is probably worth checking with La Poste to see if you can do it the other way too.
 

Vendee52

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino France's SJPdP to Finisterre (2019)
Yes. And it is probably worth checking with La Poste to see if you can do it the other way too.
Probably could - but I’m anxious that my bike could arrive damaged when I want to start cycling and taking time to fix - not so critical on my return? Would be interested in the experience of cyclists who have used the service?
 
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Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Would be interested in the experience of cyclists who have used the service?

I've used them to send a bike to the UK. No problems at all. You just pop into the Correos office down from the Cathedral and they will dismantle and pack it for you. Arrives about 5-7 days later. For France about €85 including the cost of the bike box. Think some insurance is included but you can purchase more.

Regrettably they have stopped the service to the UK but I always go in and ask when I am in Santiago. And they always say no due to customs.

When I was there last month, they were very busy with bikes and bags but they are open till about 8:00 pm

Edit: You can always take one of these plastic bags with you (2kg) and fly the bike back in the hold. Bag is about €10 and flight supplement for the bike can be as low as €49. Bag also useful for buses too.
 

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