The Portsmouth to Bilbao route (along with Portsmouth to Santander) takes a full 24 hours and as such is the longest of all the major, regular ferry crossings from UK. It’s a magnificent journey, across the Bay of Biscay on one of the world’s finest cruise ships, Brittany Ferries’ “Cap Finistère”.


Journey Time
Portsmouth to Bilbao2 per week1 dayBrittanyBrittany Ferries
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How long is the ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Bilbao?
The crossing takes 1 full day when sailing during the week. The Sunday crossing takes around 32 hours. So this is more than your average Dover to Calais type of crossing – think of it more as a mini cruise.

Does the ferry sail overnight?
Yes, the crossing during the week takes one full day, and departs Portsmouth at 16.30, arriving at Bilbao the next day at 17.30. The Sunday crossing departs at 22.00 and arrives on Tuesday at 7.00 – a full 32 hours later!

What is it like on-board?
Brittany Ferries describe their Cap Finistère liner as offering “informal luxury”. There are restaurants, bars and cafes on-board, plus a cinema, swimming pool, Internet access, kids’ area, lounges and cabins.

Do I need to book a cabin?
Yes, there are no lounge seats available on this crossing. But there is a great choice of cabins – from standard to luxury.

Moving on from Bilbao

If you’re using Bilbao as a base to explore the area, or as a starting point for a driving holiday, you’ll find it very easy to drive onwards to your next destination. For a taste of the coast, Fuengirola is 470 miles, Madrid is 251 miles, or you can wind back up through France, as Calais is 557 miles.