Travelling by plane is quick but, nowadays, it can be a huge hassle and renting a car when you get to your destination can be fraught with potential rip offs. As such, many people travelling to France or other countries not too far away are opting to take their own car and travel by ferry. Not only does this have the advantage of getting to drive your own car that you’re familiar with and has the gearstick on the normal side, it is actually quite cost effective especially since prices have actually dropped in recent years. New routes open all the time and ferry technology has developed to the point where crossings are probably much quicker than most travellers would expect so here are some of the fastest and cheapest ferry crossings to mainland Europe.
There’s nothing new or original about travelling to France via the Dover to Calais crossing but it is very quick. P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways both offer 90 minute crossings with a combined frequency of 38 crossings a day. If that isn’t a very handy incentive to travel this way, the price tag of £78 per car with up to nine passengers (let’s hope that isn’t in a Mini) for the cheapest crossing with DFDS Seaways certainly should be.
An even cheaper option is to take the Dover to Dunkirk route where the cheapest option for one car with up to nine passengers is £70 with DFDS Seaways. It’s a slower route at around 2 hours and there are 12 crossings a day.
Quickest of all is to forgo the ferries and take the train. Eurotunnel crosses from Folkstone to Calais in an amazing 35 minutes and the cheapest fare is £158 per car.
If smaller more northerly French ports are more your thing, there are slightly longer crossings to a variety of French ports which cost a little more, have considerably fewer crossings per day but there are cabins available. There are two speed options when travelling to Le Havre from Portsmouth, a 3 hour and 45 minute fastcraft crossing or a 5 hour and 30 minute crossing with the cheapest costing £170 per car with up to two passengers. The cheapest overnight cabin costs an extra £43. No cabins are available for the Portsmouth to Cherbourne route but it only takes 3 hours and costs £138 for a car and two passengers.
It’s not all about France though. Journeys to the Netherlands are significantly longer but most offer overnight crossings and cabins included in the price. One such is the Newcastle to Amsterdam route which is a 12 hour night time crossing costing, at its cheapest, £316 including a two berth cabin. Hull to Rotterdam is exactly the same but the cheapest fare is £338.
Even Longer Crossings
For people who like a long slow and slightly luxurious crossing, cruise-ferries are available to take you to Bilbao and Santander. Both crossings take 20 hours, sail on a weekly basis and prices include a car with two passengers and a cabin. Fares are £558 and £588 respectively.
Whichever option you pick to travel to destinations around Europe, ERV’s European travel insurance is a great choice to cover you for everything you need without needing to pay over the odds. Start your quote here.