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Return from SdC to UK by ferry from Santander - advice please

Tim-F

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2022)
Hi.

I'd like some advice please on a couple of points.

I'm getting the train from the UK to SJPP in early May, and planning to return to the UK via ferry (Brittany Ferries) from Santander to Plymouth or Portsmouth. All being well, this will be in mid-June, but I don't want to fix a definite date.

Point 1. Do people have experience of booking ferries from Santander to the UK? I assume it makes sense to book a flexible ticket now, then change if needed nearer the time.

Point 2. How easy is it to travel from Santiago to Santander? Train and/or bus? Is there somewhere interesting to stop for a night on the way?

Thanks!

Tim
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Tim,
To see most transport links try
Rome2Rio.
Search two journeys 1. SdC to Santander which will show bus and trains.2 Santander to Plymouth or Portsmouth for ferry costs, etc. Do check that foot passengers are accepted on the ferry.
Good luck and Buen camino.
 
Last edited:

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
Hi.

I'd like some advice please on a couple of points.

I'm getting the train from the UK to SJPP in early May, and planning to return to the UK via ferry (Brittany Ferries) from Santander to Plymouth or Portsmouth. All being well, this will be in mid-June, but I don't want to fix a definite date.

Point 1. Do people have experience of booking ferries from Santander to the UK? I assume it makes sense to book a flexible ticket now, then change if needed nearer the time.

Point 2. How easy is it to travel from Santiago to Santander? Train and/or bus? Is there somewhere interesting to stop for a night on the way?

Thanks!

Tim
Oddly enough I was looking at something similar over the weekend (Dover to Porto, 32 hrs by coach!)

You could go SdC to Ferrol by bus or train (I'd choose the train) and then catch the Feve to Santander

1649152107951.png
Feve Routes

I see from my notes there's also a bus service from SdC (leaving just after breakfast) to Torrelavega, change for Santander but the whole effort takes around 10 hours - one reason why I'd choose the train.

If you've the time to do it I imagine you'd see an interesting side of northern Spain - can't wait for Covid to end!

Edit: This is useful too Feve maps
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Jacobspad 2017
If you have the time, visit the caves of Altamira, at about 30 kms from Santander.

https://turismodecantabria.com/disfrutala/que-visitar/11-cueva-de-altamira

imagen.jpg
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
MinaKamina,

Great photo!
Were you able to visit the original cave or the newer nearby copy?
 

Skinnybiker

The Skinny Biker in Spain
Past OR future Camino
Norte, Frances, Primitivo May 2022
By bike
Brittany ferries website seems pretty intuitive, make a flexi-booking so it's changeable, June shouldn't be too busy as it won't be school holidays, try the market in Santander for their Boquerones en vinagre
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
There are also ferries from Bilbao with P&O ferries, I believe, it could be Bilbao or Santurce/Santurtzi, in case it is more convenient for you to go to Bilbao instead!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
There are also ferries from Bilbao with P&O ferries, I believe, it could be Bilbao or Santurce/Santurtzi, in case it is more convenient for you to go to Bilbao instead!
Assuming P&O Ferries are sailing to the UK by then!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 CF
Hi.

I'd like some advice please on a couple of points.

I'm getting the train from the UK to SJPP in early May, and planning to return to the UK via ferry (Brittany Ferries) from Santander to Plymouth or Portsmouth. All being well, this will be in mid-June, but I don't want to fix a definite date.

Point 1. Do people have experience of booking ferries from Santander to the UK? I assume it makes sense to book a flexible ticket now, then change if needed nearer the time.

Point 2. How easy is it to travel from Santiago to Santander? Train and/or bus? Is there somewhere interesting to stop for a night on the way?

Thanks!

Tim
I took the bus from Santiago to Santander a few years ago. At the time it left from the bus station, right next to the train station. Changed at Oviedo. it was a long(ish) journey but the buses were very comfortable. In retrospect, I should have spent the night in Oviedo.
 
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MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Jacobspad 2017
MinaKamina,

Great photo!
Were you able to visit the original cave or the newer nearby copy?

I visited the real cave when I was a kid. At that time, it was still possible. You had to lay down on a flat rock and look UP.... I remember seeing nothing at all. That was very confusing. Then someone pointed out to me where to look, how to look and all of a sudden, these figures started to appear.

If you are lucky, apparently the original cave can still be visited. Every Friday, 5 visitors are allowed in. If you arrive at the museum between 9.30 and 10.30 hrs., you can take part in a lottery draw and 5 participants will win the opportunity for a short visit to the cave.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
I visited the real cave when I was a kid. At that time, it was still possible. You had to lay down on a flat rock and look UP.... I remember seeing nothing at all. That was very confusing. Then someone pointed out to me where to look, how to look and all of a sudden, these figures started to appear.

If you are lucky, apparently the original cave can still be visited. Every Friday, 5 visitors are allowed in. If you arrive at the museum between 9.30 and 10.30 hrs., you can take part in a lottery draw and 5 participants will win the opportunity for a short visit to the cave.
MinaKamina,
I, too, visited it circa 1968 when I was 29. All was quite dark and very "spooky". Afterwards I had a very strong drink and a very good lunch at the nearby Parador to recuperate. It was an unforgetable day.
 
Last edited:

Dickwilbur

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2011, Primitivo, 2013, Via Francigena 2014, 2015 VDLP, 2016 Via de la Costa and Via San Francesco
I have always returned by ferry from Santander to Plymouth. Two reasons, I live in Plymouth and secondly and more importantly for me, I value the slower way as it helps me decompress. I shudder at the thought of the bustle of an airport and re integration so swiftly into 'normal' life. I have never prebooked a ticket. Just gone online when close to SdC. Last ferry of the year to Plymouth is October, pompey, year round. Like domigee, I get the Alsa Bus from either Santiago, or if there is spare time, La Corunna (It's the same bus). It's becoming part of the ritual for me to do it this way now
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Past OR future Camino
Starting May 2023 from St Jean Pied de Port
Hi.

I'd like some advice please on a couple of points.

I'm getting the train from the UK to SJPP in early May, and planning to return to the UK via ferry (Brittany Ferries) from Santander to Plymouth or Portsmouth. All being well, this will be in mid-June, but I don't want to fix a definite date.

Point 1. Do people have experience of booking ferries from Santander to the UK? I assume it makes sense to book a flexible ticket now, then change if needed nearer the time.

Point 2. How easy is it to travel from Santiago to Santander? Train and/or bus? Is there somewhere interesting to stop for a night on the way?

Thanks!

Tim
I wouldn't bother to book as a foot passenger. For a flexible fare you'll pay more, and you don't seem to need to travel on a particular day. There might even be cheaper last-minute deals.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
We travelled by train from SdC to Santander, we changed trains at Palencia . We then stayed nr. Santander for a few days.
The train station to ferry port is a short, easy walk.
The ferry from Santander to Portsmouth is about a 24hrs. crossing. Get yourself a cabin and enjoy the boat trip home.

For the train if you're over 60 there's a good senior discount. Get a (senior card) carte dorata (sp!) at the station before buying your train ticket.
 
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FLEUR

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
I am not sure foot passengers are allowed on the Brittany Ferries route from Bilbao but obviously do check. Bilbao ferry port is not as easy to access as the port at Santander which is right in the town.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
There are also ferries from Bilbao with P&O ferries, I believe, it could be Bilbao or Santurce/Santurtzi, in case it is more convenient for you to go to Bilbao instead!
Foot passengers are not allowed from Bilbao due to port access. They are allowed from Santander. If you want to you could check out the return fare with hotel nights, was 3 and could be in different places. Brings fare down and also gives hotel nights included so very cost effective. Worked with fixed dates and might with flexi travel date.😀
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15

amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Foot passengers are not allowed from Bilbao due to port access. They are allowed from Santander. If you want to you could check out the return fare with hotel nights, was 3 and could be in different places. Brings fare down and also gives hotel nights included so very cost effective. Worked with fixed dates and might with flexi travel date.😀
thanks for the info, I did not know the two routes had different conditions, interesting...
 
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Tim-F

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2022)
Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. You've given me some really useful information to digest. What a great resource and community this forum is.

I think the main thing I've gathered is that I have options. So I can collate the relevant info and make decisions/book as I (hopefully) approach Santiago. Exciting times!

Buen camino (assuming newbies are entitled to say that :))
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Hi Tim -

A terrific thing you can do on the ferry from Santander, if the weather is fine, is to go up to the top deck and go to the dogs’ playground. The dogs all play together and their owners chat - it’s a fabulous way to spend an hour or two.

Buen Camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
travelling from SJPP in early May 2014
Hi.

I'd like some advice please on a couple of points.

I'm getting the train from the UK to SJPP in early May, and planning to return to the UK via ferry (Brittany Ferries) from Santander to Plymouth or Portsmouth. All being well, this will be in mid-June, but I don't want to fix a definite date.

Point 1. Do people have experience of booking ferries from Santander to the UK? I assume it makes sense to book a flexible ticket now, then change if needed nearer the time.

Point 2. How easy is it to travel from Santiago to Santander? Train and/or bus? Is there somewhere interesting to stop for a night on the way?

Thanks!

Tim
Hi Tim, About 8 years ago I took the bus from SDC to Santander in June. I booked the day before at a travel agents. I don't recall any changes on route. There were regular stops for refreshments. I was dropped off in Central Santander. Very convenient. The ferry port is right at the town center. As a foot passenger I don't think a flexible open ticket would be necessary. Nice boat, good food.
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Jacobspad 2017
MinaKamina,
I, too, visited it circa 1968 when I was 29. All was quite dark and very "spooky". Afterwards I had a very strong drink and a very good lunch at the nearby Parador to recuperate. It was an unforgetable day.

My parents had a caravan and we were on holiday near Bilbao. One morning we had to get up early, very early for the trip to Santander. In my memory, it was very far, Santander looked brownish (?) and it took a while before we were quite awake.

The entrance of the cave was on a small hill with a path, more like a trail, through grass and weeds leading to it. A few people were waiting, in the drizzle, it was a very grey day.
It was all as unassuming as could be.

We left Bilbao when it got too hot there for our liking. One evening, we boarded the ferry from Bilbao to Portsmouth, spent two nights and one day at sea and later ended up in Cornwall near the ocean.

I've asked my mother if she remembers that holiday, and she does. 'Except for a few Spaniards and us there was no one at the caves, it wasn't like nowadays at all.' She also remembers the ferry. 'You children wanted to go, you had seen the signs to the ferry all around Bilbao.' Apparently we became very exited: 'Oooh we can go to England, we can go to England!'
'Surely we left because there was this awful heatwave,' I tell her, but to the best of her knowledge it was all due to the kids.

We both agree that a boat trip is a wonderful way to end a Camino, much better than joining the crowd on a plane.
 

Paul Young

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2015, 2022
Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. You've given me some really useful information to digest. What a great resource and community this forum is.

I think the main thing I've gathered is that I have options. So I can collate the relevant info and make decisions/book as I (hopefully) approach Santiago. Exciting times!

Buen camino (assuming newbies are entitled to say that :))
Hi Tim. Sorry I am a bit late to respond. The ferry is a good choice to return (and go) to the Camino. Not as environmentally friendly as walking but better than flying. Certainly more relaxing especially if you like to be at sea.

I am hoping to go by Brittany Ferries, Portsmouth/Santnder, travelling out late May and return mid June. I have travelled this route before and enjoyed it. Brittany Ferries are, in my opinion, better than P&O. It can be a bit expensive - £110 for the crossing as a foot passenger (but that includes a breakfast and a dinner) and £125 for a cabin. When I travelled before I just crashed out in the lounge for which you pay £12 for a reserved seat.

As regards somewhere to break the journey between SDC and Santander I would recommend Leon. For myself, I will likely go straight by train to Santander, or close by, and spend some time in that area. I have been to Leon but not explored the Santander area yet.


Buen Camino!
 
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Pilgrim9

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
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Ferrol-SdC (2018)
Ferrol to Santander by FEVE is a two day journey but don't let that put you off. It's a great ride and a night in Oviedo is a welcome break. Take a picnic, no catering on FEVE
Thank you, Tincatinker.

I would very much like to take the north-coastal-ish trains from Ferrol to Oviedo, Oviedo to Santander, and finally Santander to Bilbao, staying at least a few days in each location to explore, with extra days in Bilbao. Slow all-stops trains would be great.

On Google Maps, clicking on the stations reveals schedules for these sort-of-local north coast trains, however, I have been unable to find a way to pre-purchase the needed tickets.

A humble question addressed to anyone who knows, please and thank you: May one, or must one, simply show up at the originating station a day or two before the day of departure, and buy the needed tickets in person?
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
A humble question addressed to anyone who knows, please and thank you: May one, or must one, simply show up at the originating station a day or two before the day of departure, an
You can simply turn up on the day and buy tickets at the larger stations. If there is no ticket office or ticket machine simply get on board and pay the conductor. I don't think it is possible to make advance reservations on the FEVE trains.

PS: This article gives a good idea of what travel by FEVE is like. A scaled-up version of a child's train set :cool:

 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
Thank you, Tincatinker.

A humble question addressed to anyone who knows, please and thank you: May one, or must one, simply show up at the originating station a day or two before the day of departure, and buy the needed tickets in person?
You're welcome. I've never but turned up at the station on my day of travel and bought a ticket. As @Bradypus says some of the remoter station are un-staffed. You have to flag down the train if you want it to stop (really! Wave a white hanky!) and purchase a ticket from the Guard.

This site may help you with planning https://www.renfe.com/es/en/suburban/cercanias-feve
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
When we travelled on the FEVE we were able to buy a pensioners reduced fare using the Tarjeta for those who are 'jubilados' It was originally called Tarjeta Azul, then Tarjeta dorada. You have to show evidence of age. On one occasion they asked for a photo copy of the page of our passport giving age and passport number as this number goes on the Tarjeta. At the time it cost about 6 euros and gave half price fares. Well worth checking if it is still available and current terms and conditions. It could only be bought at main stations (eg Ferrol, Oviedo, Santander etc) but was valid right along the line.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
The Tarjeta Dorada is still available and still only €6. Some confusion in Málaga María Zambrano three weeks ago as to whether valid for over 60's or over 65's. Neither relevant to this old Tinker once I'd whipped out me passport. Discounts currently vary between 25% on laborables and 35% on weekends & festivos. Oh, and a whole range of variables around Cercanias, Media Distances, AVEs & AVANTS. None of which merit much effort in trying to interpret the RENFE website: you'll get a discount of some form or another.

Hah! According to the RENFE/FEVE website it's over 60 & 50% discount. Don't tell RENFE ;)
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
You can simply turn up on the day and buy tickets at the larger stations. If there is no ticket office or ticket machine simply get on board and pay the conductor. I don't think it is possible to make advance reservations on the FEVE trains.

PS: This article gives a good idea of what travel by FEVE is like. A scaled-up version of a child's train set :cool:

Thanks for this - have always fancied including the FEVE as part of my See Spain Without Walking Too Much itinerary. The stations remind me of Doleham in East Sussex. We asked somebody in the nearby cottages when the next train was due and the response was "I think there's some kind of calendar by the shelter . . . "

1653670402646.png
 

legless

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances March-April 2022.
I took an Alsa bus from Santiago to Santander, it was about 8 hours in total but it did stop for a break a couple of times. When I got the ferry a few weeks ago foot passengers couldn't travel to Plymouth only Portsmouth. I had a lounge seat for. £12 (booking wasn't allowed without one of those or a cabin) and the crossing took 30 hours. It was a nice relaxed way to travel back to the UK.
 
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Marcus-UK

Old Git
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017
Tried using my West Sussex bus pass in Seville a couple of weeks ago. That bus driver had no sense of humour.....
I also found that using my Alabama state driving license was not appreciated in the UK. Especially since I have a strong Yorkshire accent.
 

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