manchester to la manga ?

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14 Nov 2011 12:00 AM by itsshreck Star rating. 17 posts Send private message

hi i live in manchester and normally just jump on a plane to san javier  la manga

but was thinking of having a drive over


can anyone advise on the best cheapest and easy route to take


ie what ferry do i catch and were do i get the ferry to ? cost etc time scale dont really want to drive

but plane fairs keep going up and i do need to take a few things over


thanks everyone for your help

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14 Nov 2011 10:25 PM by JazII Star rating in Mar Menor and UK. 133 posts Send private message

JazII´s avatar

I'd recommend the Portsmouth to Santander route, we've done it many times and always found it much more enjoyable than flying.  Price wise, it can be expensive depending on the time of the year......but as you say with flight prices going up and taking into account car hire and parking it's becoming more comparable, especially if you're taking things out (as you mention below).  It's also great if on the return journey you want to stock up on lots of local produce


For me Pont Aven is the Cruise Ferry of choice, I always try to book our trips to coincide with when this vessel is sailing.  There's tons to do onboard and if you fancy a taste of luxury you can book Commodore Class Cabins with balcony (we always do).


What time of year are you thinking of travelling?  From end September to end March tends to be cheapest with prices from £300-400 for a return sailing with a basic cabins up to £850-£900 for a return sailing with Commodore Class Cabins (which include a balcony). Brittany Ferries have pictures of the various types of accomodation on their website.  



This message was last edited by JazII on 14/11/2011.

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15 Nov 2011 5:30 PM by itsshreck Star rating. 17 posts Send private message

hi thanks for reply as to when to go well when its at its cheapest really will have a look at there web  page


thanks for your reply

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16 Nov 2011 11:51 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5255 posts Send private message

Somewwhile ago I used to go to UK for 6 weeks each summer. 

At that time, probably not much different now,  it was cheaper to fly and rent a car in UK,  for up to a six week stay,  than to drive there. 

And that was using the Caen to Portsmouth ferry, MUCH cheaper than the ferries to Northern Spain.



This message was last edited by johnzx on 16/11/2011.

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16 Nov 2011 9:40 PM by JazII Star rating in Mar Menor and UK. 133 posts Send private message

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 Only if time is no object and you discount the cost of fuel for the (long) extra jouney 

Plus generally speaking, you'd need to pay for an overnight hotel and arrive well knackered after two long days driving across to Southern Spain.




This message was last edited by JazII on 16/11/2011.

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17 Nov 2011 9:31 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5255 posts Send private message



The journey from Malaga to Caen used to take about 20 hours actual driving. 1,200 miles, all on autovia (but not toll)  I used to camp, so no hotel cost, and at around 48 MPG the fuel cost was reasonably low,
But still it was cheaper to fly and hire a car in UK, for up to a six week stay.   And a lot quicker and easier.
I would not now consider driving either by the slow and expensive Northern Spain ferry route nor through France.

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17 Nov 2011 9:04 PM by jencoo Star rating in east Yorkshire/ Daya.... 131 posts Send private message

Hi itsshrek

we always drive down the long way through France. it can be done over three days easily but it is hard going with the long drives. It costs us about 250 each way with hotels and fuel and the ferry. Its worth it for us as we have the car for our length of stay. its not cheaper than flying but its your choice. If you would like any more info please pm me .

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19 Nov 2011 7:39 AM by Jontymellor Star rating in Warrington & Cabo R.... 144 posts Send private message

I always drive, I'm disabled and find the flight and airport horrable whether thats the Manchester or Liverpool route.

It is a long drive, as the wife doesn't do any, Warrington to Cabo Roig 1450miles via calais, fill up at the big truck stop in calais,  2 am ferry, £60 return, the drive down to DAX or Bayoune, my spelling bad sorry, use the N10 to keep off the tolls, it will be around 30e min, but I find it boring and pay around 56e, hotel cost betweem 40 or 90e with breakfast, then over thr boarder fill up in spain, you ay have to put 20e in the tank before this dependant on fuel consuption, my laguna 1.5l desiel does around 56 tp 60mpg.

So sansabastion to Papolona to Zaragosa, no tolls or around 24e, there is a option up to you, on to Truel, drop into valencia, use the inland cut through to Alicante, on to mucia on the ap7 or N332, 12e tolls.

Heavy driving first day, as we have to do the Dover miles, hotel around 7pm, second day allways take 10hrs.

Watch out traviling in November to March, I have been caught out in snow storms near the Piranees, bad ones.

I fill the car up on the way back with Fags, Wines, to pay for the tolls and hotel.



I Live in Warrington & Cabo Roig

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19 Nov 2011 10:15 AM by jeffsears Star rating. 36 posts Send private message

Plane versus car?  If you are only coming to Spain for a few weeks travelling by plane will normally be cheapest, especially if you need to rent a car whilst you are here.

However, if you are coming for a few months then using your own car to drive over begins to make economic sense. But do not do what many seem to do. To drive from the ferry non-stop to the hell holes of the British Costas is sheer madness and very dangerous. It is probably further proof of many Brits dislike of real Spain.

If, like us, you turn the journey into a holiday so that you can see more of France/Spain then it makes even more sense. Our driving limit is a maximum of 4 to 5 hours per day.By doing this you arrive at your overnight stop with time to explore.

 We like to plan our route using the fascinating Paradors hotel chain. They are not the cheapest but are usually housed in in fabulous buildings and the food is superb. If you are over 55 then join the Parador Amigos Club for extra discounts.

There are many cheaper hostals and hotels that you can find if want to do it on a cheaper budget.

The Portsmouth/Santander ferry is a good route if you want to avoid France which is much more expensive than Spain otherwise Portsmouth/Caen is good especially if you use the catamaran fast ferry (about 4hrs). The journey through the Pyrenees is wel worth the longer drive.


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19 Nov 2011 10:32 AM by afrouhuru Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

No one seems to have mentioned the cheapest way over the channel    Norfolk line from Dover to Calais (norfolkline. - .co I think - part of DFDS nowadays) .. can be as little as £19 each way for a car and plenty of people and the boats are superb ... but for us (from North Wales) I like the tunnel .. we leave home in the morning and drive to Dover, take an afternoon train (journey time just 35 minutes and trains are quite frequent) and we can be a decent way down France before nightfall.

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19 Nov 2011 10:44 AM by David24 Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

Not sure this will help but check out the Sunshine Challenge. 

This route was from Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire to Dover to Calais thro France over the Pyrenees into Spain & down to Gibraltar - all in aid of ABF The Soldiers Charity.  I drove the back-up motor home but we did have sponsors. 

We avoided the main roads & only covered around 65 miles (100km) each day.  Total  mileage was around 2,500.



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19 Nov 2011 11:00 AM by spanishpunter Star rating. 65 posts Send private message

I am a member of the Brittany Ferries Club Voyage and as my guest you can get a discount circa 10% or so

Just click on that you are a member when prompted and then type in my number S89341 and follow the instructions [you click on Guest]

and you will get a discount

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19 Nov 2011 11:27 AM by DonLochnagar Star rating in Mazarron. 161 posts Send private message

We drive from Scotland to Murcia.  We find Dover Calais is the best although we are going in December and I have booked the tunnel because of the problems with Seafrance who I had biiked and have now cancelled.  For us it is about 8-9 hours to get to Dover, so staying there or getting an evening boat, sleeping in the Calais area and getting a good start in the morning is better.  We've gone both ways through rance several times i.e. the east coast on the 'rue du Soleil' and down the west passing past Les Mans and down to Hendaye and across there heading for Zaragoza and then to Valencia and down to Murcia.  We break at about Bordeaux which is about 8 hours and that gives us about the same the next day.  It's also much cheaper in tolls coming that way and you can save about 80 Euros each way.  Fuel is cheaper in France and again cheaper in Spain than in France, particularly diesel, so remember that when driving across.  Keep a low tank and fill in France and do the same in Spain.

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19 Nov 2011 11:28 AM by lazybones99 Star rating in Balsicis at the mome.... 3 posts Send private message

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I do this Journey every winte at the end of November for my 3 months winter break and thus far I have driven all the way from the UK via Portsmouth Caen, driven from my summer home in the Vendee, and taken the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao / Santander .

In pure economic terms the cheapest is Portsmouth Spain ferry, this year the cost is £563 return which includes a dog friendly cabin, the ferry docks at 1730 at Bilbao and I drive down to just outside Madrid (4.5 Hours) where I book into a hotel (50€); the next  day leaves me with another 4.5 Hours down to San Javier all in a total of 554 miles, I must add that the ferry fare is the Brittany Ferries discount rate for frequent traveler club members and for me  therfore £117 cheaper, membership of this is a no brainer for anybody who crossess to the continent more than once per year.

Driving from Caen down through France one can take either the route down through Northern Spain or the route through Southern Spain along the coast.

Its 1053 miles on the north route and 1153 miles via the south route, I discount the route from Calais which is around 1200 miles as those extra few miles are realy not worth the time and effort and basicly it adds a day to your traveling the only upside is that it saves a fair bit on the ferry fare.

There are nutters who do this trip either in one hit overnight or with one overnight stop, personaly any drive of over 5 Hours is more than enough for me so I split it into at least two overnight stops.

You may think that a pleasent troll down through France is a nice way of traveling but last year traveling form the Vendee, the snow and cold chased me all the way down very nearly to the Med, yes it is a pleasent trip in the summer and you may even want to linger a while en route but I dont recomend it in the winter.


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19 Nov 2011 2:47 PM by peter-c Star rating in South Wales/Golf La .... 21 posts Send private message

We live in West Wales and have a property near Alicante. The majority of our journeys are by air, and we hire a small car when we arrive. We have travelled by car, on two different routes - one using the Plymouth to Santander ferry and driving via Madrid to Alicante, the other through France [via Luxembourg] and down the coast via Barcelona. Both these routes have some beautiful scenery and interesting places to stop and stay if you wish. If using the Santander route, we take two days, sleeping overnight on the ferry, and arriving at Santander at lunchtime, then driving to Alicante in around 8 hours. Through France takes longer obviously - we go via Luxembourg [my sister lives there and we stay overnight] and the second day gets us to around Carcassone or Barcelona, finishing the journey on the third day. Costs are very relevant, and the length of stay is important. The Santander [return] route costs around £600 for the ferry [depends on time of year], with fuel costs of around £300 [at 35mpg]. The France route costs around £50 for the ferry [or cheaper] and fuel around £500, two overnight stay at perhaps £50 each [you really cannot safely do it in one or even two days], the road tolls in France of around £80 or more. Then, for both routes, you have extra insurance cover for your car, and perhaps roadside assistance, and the cost of all your meals en route. And don't forget you lose a number of days off your visit.

For stays of up to 6 weeks or so, it is much cheaper to fly and hire, especially when hire charges are low - you can hire a small car at the moment for around £40 a week! [Much higher I know in summer].

Hope this helps.


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19 Nov 2011 4:27 PM by stuffit Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

Hi. We have for the last 3/4 years chosen to drive from Ayamonte to Cherborg to go to Poole.We stop 3-4 times at either Ibis hotels( if you book at least 20 days befrore you get about  1/3rd reduction)  or any of the other hotels that are dog.friendly.

We make it a part of our holiday so it is enjoyable.We have to travel by ferry as we have a dog, We take the toll roads whenever possible which are good with not much traffic.As we stay for about 3 months we need a car and hiring for this length would be very expensive.We have not used the ferries from Northern Spain as it is overnight and we believe that our dog would have to be crated on an upper deck, and she is too big to travel like this without severe discomfort.

I think it may be cheaper to fly but the pleasure of the places that you see while "on the road" and the people you meet are far nicer than waiting around to be herded like sheep aound the packed and officious Airport with limited baggage allowances. Yes ,its the ferry for us every time!!!

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19 Nov 2011 6:59 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 We are just getting our dogs ready for the first time to travel out to Spain via ferry in 2012.   We are doing it because it is the best way to get the dogs there, but we also reckon that car hire for 12 weeks, plus the luxury dog hotel or house sitter for the dogs if left here, mean it will actually be cheaper for us.  So we are watching this thread with interest.   



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19 Nov 2011 10:20 PM by bobg Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

I live outside Stockport and do the journey to Murcia twice a year departing end of April returning early July and again departing end of August returning end of October,we have been doing this for  a period of 7 years

We have driven from Calais via A28 Rouen,N154 Louveires,Evreuex, Dreux,Chatres to join the N10/A71 at Orleans.

This route avoids the Paris  ring roads, which are normally very congested 7days a week unless you are passing by between circa 1.00am and 4am when it is relatively quiet. ( I worked in France for three years and know it well)

From Orleans you can either head for Tolouse via A71,A20 A62, A61 then cross the end of the Pyranees via A66, Pamiers, Foix,Tunnel de Puymerens, Bourg Madam,Tunnel de Cadi then down into Barcelona, this route is not recommended in winter due to the high ground beteween Tolouse and Barcelona.

Alternatively you can drive straight down the A71/A75 over the Milau Viaduct to meet the A9 at Beziers and follow the coast to the Spanish frontier , then take the A7 to Murcia via Barcelona and Valencia.this route is circa 1210miles from Calais to Murcia and takes circa 18hrs of actual driving.

Leaving Stockport at 6.30am arriving at Dover allowing plenty of time for hold ups( M25 nightmare) makes a 1.00pm sailing to Calais possible, arriving in Calais at 3.30 local time, we always stopped somewhere near Chartres by circa 6.30/7.00pm and stayed in a small hotel ( Logis de France, Kyraid, Ibis etc) costing about 50euros a night for a double room plus meals. The following morning we could reach Perpignan comfortably by 5.00pm, then the following day the final slog to Murcia arriving about 5.00pm allowing for pit stops. It is a very tiring drive, however some brave and in my opinion reckless souls drive it none stop with a change of drivers.

A typical distance for the route via the Milau viaduct is 1210 miles with the tolls costing 125 euros each way.

( if you look this route up using an online routing website this will be confirmed, it costs this route at 385 euros each way including.  for petrol and tolls) plus say about £130 for a day crossing ferry Dover - Calais return.


We gave up driving through France and we now take the Brittany Ferries crossing from Plymouth to Santander, you can also go from Portsmouth but it is a 5 hour longer crossing and the journey to Portsmouth involves the delights of the M3 to negotiate, it also takes about 5hrs to drive to from Stockport.

It takes us 5hrs to Plymouth( allowing for hold ups), the ferry sails at 4.00pm and arrives in Santander at 12.00am mid-day, the drive from  Santander toMurcia takes circa 8hrs with no tolls  if you take the toll free motorway around Madrid.The distance is 550miles and there are plenty of filling stations with cheap tapas en-route.

In the summer the ferry sails at 900pm from Santander to Plymouth leaving plenty of time to drive there from Murcia departing at 7.0am. The Portsmouth sailing is at 17.30pm which makes it very tight to drive there in a day however an overnight stay just the other side of the bay is only 45euros for a double room in three star rated hotel.

The ferry costs about £518 return for two persons in a car and using a two berth inside cabin, there is a self service resturante on board, plus a silver service one and a cafeteria.

We prefer to pay the extra for the comfort of an outside four berth cabin for two, two berth top bunks are very easy to fall out of.

If you add up the true cost of the routes through France including hotels, meals, tolls etc and those via Santander you will find that you are saving very little or even paying out more, plus you would be adding circa 1400 extra miles on your car.





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20 Nov 2011 8:21 AM by chordiant Star rating in La Torre Golf Resort.... 40 posts Send private message

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 We have undertaken this journey several times - Manchester to Murcia and return

Others have advised a variety of routes - it's a case of: 'you pays yer money and yer takes your choice:.

The only advice I can give is:

1) Take regular breaks


2) Use Eurotunnel rather than a ferry. Cheaper prices + Only 30mins from Folkestone/Calais + Speedy loading/unloading (minutes!) + You sit in your car + Trains every 20 minutes + NO RELIANCE ON WEATHER CONDITIONS...!!

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20 Nov 2011 8:59 AM by afrouhuru Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

Chordiant - and others - the ferry by norfolklines (see my post of 10.32 yesterday) can be even cheaper than the train, and there is a depature every two hours.  You book a time and can go on that one or (subject to space) the one before or the one after at the same fare.  But I personally love the train for its speed and convenience, as you say.  But at the end of the day, yes indeed yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice!

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