Best way to drive from durham uk, to murcia? Tunnel or ferry? Help!!

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12 Nov 2012 5:51 PM by aliandk Star rating. 7 posts Send private message

Wondering if any of you could help.
We are planning on living in murcia, Spain next year and want to take a small van with belongings and dog. We are from Newcastle way and wonder which way is the easiest and quickest. I don't like driving through mountains as I hate heights but is it easier to get a ferry to Santander and drive across Spain or easier to get the euro tunnel to France and drive down through France to murcia.

Any suggestions welcome and any tips or info we may need to know. Thank you all in advance

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12 Nov 2012 6:03 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2253 posts Send private message

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 We've done the Santander/Bilbao to southern Costa Blanca several times.  Easy drive, virtually all motorways and no tolls (or very cheap ones on the ringroad round Madrid).  Just be careful on what time of year you are going, though.  We had two ferries cancelled (one from UK and one from Spain) due to bad weather and it usually means being stranded for a week.  Did the France trip once but 3 days driving was not my idea of fun (suppose it would be better if you had someone to share the driving).  

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12 Nov 2012 6:50 PM by gerrryuk Star rating in Mezquitilla, near To.... 179 posts Send private message

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Thanks for that Bob I wondered which would be best. I suppose financially there is nothing in it, nor time wise either, although I've not done any costings or drive times.

Do unto others as you would want them to do to you. I am always willing to talk and converse to ladies or gents in a sensible way.

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12 Nov 2012 7:59 PM by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 282 posts Send private message

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 We used to do this trip a regularly with our large dog. The ferry does have dog kennels and some cabins to share, but can be pricey.

Recommend you do some comparison on ferry prices.

For road route the attached link show costs from Newcastle to Murcia without ferries,

(edit - sorry won't let me post the whole link so inpput start and destination on website)

Typically, we would get an early Eurostar and drive to south of Paris. The down to Narbonne. French hotels are very good with dogs, IBIS B&B etc. We have stayed north of Barcelona in an IBIS as well, also in Valencia. We used to make a holiday of it and the french toll roads are easy peasy. The Millau bridge is spectacular. Also driving through Jumilla is fun. If not in a hurry, the road route is a good one.


Have a good trip


This message was last edited by juansheetisplenty on 12/11/2012.

This message was last edited by juansheetisplenty on 12/11/2012.

This message was last edited by juansheetisplenty on 12/11/2012.

This message was last edited by juansheetisplenty on 12/11/2012.

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12 Nov 2012 9:43 PM by henryreed Star rating in Berkhamsted Herts an.... 154 posts Send private message

Portsmouth  to Bilbao is a good route, if you take the 1030pm ferry you get two nights on board  and arrive in Bilbao at 0730 which gives you plenty of time to drive,  take comfort breaks for the dog and still arrive in Murcia at tea time. The route out of Bilbao isnt particularly mountainous and is all motorway or toll roads, very easy to drive, only slightly tricky part is going round Madrid , but there are good ring roads- satnav should do the trick. As mentioned elsewere Brittany ferries have dog kennels and dog friendly cabins plus plenty of walking space on deck. If you decide to go this way send me an email, my membership should give you 10% discount.


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13 Nov 2012 4:33 PM by marlowjen Star rating. 73 posts Send private message

We have tried all the routes and sailing to Bilbao or Santander is easy "if you are a good sailer", I am not!! The route down to Narbonne is very scenic and unless mid summer is usually very quiet. We have also used the French B&B and Ibis chain many times, they have an easy website. It is also very easy to change or cancel these bookings on line. We also had one Santander crossing cancelled due to a bad forecast, but that was late October, so we changed tack and drove up to Caen via Narbonne from north of Valencia, then crossed to Portsmouth. If there are two drivers it is much easier than people think.

If you decide to use the fast Brittany Ferries route to Caen or any other Brittany Ferris routes you can get a good discount with them using our French membership details. We do like the fast ferries but they do not run in the winter unless they have changed their timetables. Incidentally if you do have any questions, Brittany F's staff are excellent over the phone.

Just ask if you ever need them.

It really is an easy drive through France but you have to take the tolls into consideration. Via Michelin routes are excellent and will help you with the timings.

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13 Nov 2012 5:34 PM by johnmcmahon Star rating. 331 posts Send private message

has anyone worked out the cost of driving to Murcia. Petrol, ferry etc. Can it be cheaper than air ?  What if you send excess luggage on ahead either by air or by white van man

anyone done the sums ?

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13 Nov 2012 7:09 PM by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 282 posts Send private message

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 John, the big differential here is the dog. Dogs are very expensive to transport on a plane. We have been doing this trip for the winter now for over 5 years now, and our estimation is that it costs around £700 for us all to get down there including ferries, hotels, meals, fuel,  tolls etc. It is not a cheap option, but when your best friend has four legs and a tail, likes to stop every four hours, and enjoys living it up in hotels (not to mention freaking out hotel guests), it if the best way to travel. 



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13 Nov 2012 8:37 PM by henryreed Star rating in Berkhamsted Herts an.... 154 posts Send private message

Michelin guides show Bilbao to Roldan Murcia as 830km  and estimate cost as €90 with driving time  of a bit over 8 hours.

I drive a bit more slowly in a 1.4 car and take about 12 hours including 3 stops , cost including tolls around €80.

Ferry cost  depends on when-  could be £600 or £700 but take your discounts off. The  other thing to take into account when comparing to flying is the saving on car hire - all depends on how long you have to hire for.

With  a dog dont see much alternative to driving, only issue is do you drive thro france or ferry to spain.

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14 Nov 2012 6:13 PM by jencoo Star rating in east Yorkshire/ Daya.... 131 posts Send private message

 of all the replies sent on this post, no one has mentioned the west coast route down through france. We do this all the time now after trying many of the other routes. We use the non toll route down to Bordeaux and around the mountains at the French /Spanish border. We have an overnight stop at Bordeaux, which gives us a 12 hour driving day through France and 10 hours to the Costa Blanca without exceeding the speed limits. Hotels are mostly dog friendly, we used to bring our cat, for a small extra charge. We use the tunnel and catch an early crossing 7 -8 am. There are lots of roadworks on the route from Bordeaux to Bayonne but they didnt slow us down much as they are well managed. 

Should you require any further info please pm me 



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14 Nov 2012 6:18 PM by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 282 posts Send private message

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 Yes we have done that route to, but you tend get a lot of Heavy Goods Vehicles. Using the the other Peage route via Millau there is a lot less traffic and we deliberately bought a car with cruise control, which makes life a lot less stressful. It's pretty much motorway all the way down. Horses for courses I guess.


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14 Nov 2012 7:54 PM by ant and andi Star rating. 479 posts Send private message

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,Hi  I live in Washington,have travelled to Murcia via Brittany ferries,around 9 times Portsmouth/Bilbo,,,Plymouth/Santander in car with 2 dogs ,used both kennels and pet friendly cabin, both very good ,Leave ferry and head for Burgos, then Madrid,Albacete,Murcia, stop  around 3 times takes around 8 1/2 hours ,no toll roads ,just nice big motorways , also travelled from Murcia up through  Spain through France usng toll roads cost around  90euros then tunnel ,then home, ,Both journeys are good it is cheaper to travel through France ,but not that cheaper as you need to book a hotel  overnight and there is the tolls and extra petrol, Hope this has helped,also remember you also save on having your own car ,when you reach your destination, Happy motoring which ever way you decide,

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17 Nov 2012 4:15 AM by jontymellor Star rating in Warrington & Cabo R.... 144 posts Send private message

We go Dover Calais drive through to Poitier down to wards dax, stay over night San Sebastián, Pampolona, Zaragoza, treuel, Valencia, sax, alicantie, cabo roig. 1450 miles.

Fill up at home, Calais , then you may need a top up, then San Sebastián .

My car does around 50+ to the gallon, 4hrs to Dover from Warrington , 11hrs to dax, 10hrs next day to cabo roig .

I'm disabled and can not handle the planes, so I do the twice a year, would be best if the wife did some of the driving, but we get there ok, except for once in march, we had to hotel it near treuel first time they had seen snow for 20 years I was driving through it????

I Live in Warrington & Cabo Roig

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