Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

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Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:20 am

Guys, not the usual trip over this year and all very short notice so booking crossings was a nightmare with the limited crossings available still with spaces.

So on our return leg we sail back via Bilbao.

I was looking at just staying in Bilbao for the final night itself but now thinking about this plan.
We loved our stay in Miranda de Ebro last year and would love to visit again so we are thinking of a couple of nights there prior to catching the ferry.

Looking at the trip the hotel is aprox 110 km from the port and an estimated 1h 15m drive.

Ferry sails at 10.30am and for reference it will be a Tuesday morning.

So anyone who's used the Bilbao crossing recently, or insider info. from Mark would be really appreciated.

Are we likely to face heavy traffic en route?, any snags we should take in to account? Is port well signposted etc.?

Ideally we'd like to be there in good time..........8.30 ish, so would leaving 2 hours to make the short trip suffice do you reckon?

I know anything can happen on the roads but just wondered what the area is like in general for travelling at that time.

Many thanks as always.
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby markwilding » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:27 am

Stay in Bilbao. Beautiful city with great food and sights.

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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:32 am

Obviously an option Mark and not out of the question. It's just that the one fleeting night we had in Miranda was perfect, we loved the place and hotel was a gem too with very secure parking for the car..and easy walking distance to both historic and new town...a lovely place.

I'd love to see Bilbao but with the Ferry crossing hanging over us just felt the comfort zone of a place we knew and liked was the best option this time. I was just checking that we were not too far from the ferry to make it with no crazy early start or hassles.

Thanks for the tip though...I just wished I knew more about Bilbao, I've never been there.
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby costakid » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:14 am

2 hours to do 110km should be fine but with any long journey in rush hour there can be pitfalls. Accidents on main roads entering cities is quite common. Also if a car breaks down the tailbacks seem to be massive in no time.

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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:39 am

Yep, spot on there. Hence for the outward journey to Plymouth (Portsmouth was booked solid) we're not risking it and staying overnight near the port.

Was just hoping Bilbao would not be as crowded as the Cornwall/Devon Exodus but as you say anything can happen.
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Enrique » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:12 pm

Hi D.A.,

Looks doable........... AP-68, AP-8 then A-8 jct km 130...........for Port.......give yourself 3hrs.

I've only ever come in from West side and then the Port Turn is before Bilbao, thought the "entry" to the Port much better than Santander as you're not driving through the town.

"hotel was a gem too with very secure parking for the car."..........which one :?:

Also had a problem booking had to bring my departure (from Spain) forward a month.
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:13 pm

Thanks Enrique as always, I'll check that route out now and it's good to know we'll maybe avoid the centre of Bilbao. Only worry is the 3 hours you suggest..........OH may have other opinions about leaving Miranda at 5.30am, I'll run it past her before I book it.

The Hotel is Hospederia El Convento. We just booked it on the move last year whilst we were still travelling through France and glad we did.

We paid just 60e too for the night and it was very impressive for that sort of money.

An old convent as you'd guess with what is bordering on a Palatial interior with large inside gardens and super stonework and decor.
Rooms spotlessly clean and more than adequate.

It is situated within a 5 minute walk to both the Newer quarter which you walk over the bridge across the Ebro to and also the old quarter which is on the side of the Hotel. A great setting.

We've paid double on these trips for hotels that can't touch it with respect to its unique atmosphere and tranquility.

Makes the money we've spent on over priced supposedly flagship hovels in the likes of Nerja seem crazy......also the restaurants in the town are superb and again sensible money for authentic Northern Spanish Fayre.

One downside I'd mention though is that although boasting what looks like a superb set out restaurant it seemed to be a white elephant with nothing at all going on in the evening or for that matter at breakfast.....however with the amount of cracking little bars and restaurants in the town it was not an issue.

Thanks again mate.....hope all's well with you!
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby markwilding » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:31 pm

Bilbao is a little strange because it straddles 2 sides of a river, meaning that it’s actually impossible to avoid the centre of the city. It also means that motorways almost enter the city and from there to the port is around 20 minutes.
I live on the opposite side of the river to the ferry port but the first crossing point is about 10 minutes inland.
My son actually works in the port, right next to the ferry stop and leaves around 7:35 to be there at for 8:00.
Remember you would be heading out of the city against the rush hour traffic.
I would say you prediction of 75 mins from Miranda is about right but in truth, you will have few problems staying in and around Bilbao.

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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:10 pm

Thanks for that info. Mark, much appreciated. With my lack of knowledge of the area I don't quite understand the bit about heading towards the rush hour traffic, although it sounds like it could be a good thing. Your sons drive in is encouraging too as I'd guessed it'd have been more than that.

I'd love to see a bit of Bilbao and so would the OH.

We have not yet booked Miranda, so say we booked one night there instead of 2 would there be a hotel with easy parking and quick access to the port that you'd maybe suggest please? It would now thinking about it be great to see Bilbao and stay closer to the port on the last night. Only panicking a bit because if we miss this crossing there's no more and it'll be the hike down to the Eurotunnel.

Many thanks again.
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby peteroldracer » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:52 pm

" the outward journey to Plymouth (Portsmouth was booked solid) " If it makes you feel any better the Pont Ven is running on 3 of 4 engines, so our Santander/Portsmouth has been changed to Santander/Plymouth - adds over an hour onto our drive to Leeds, and gets in later so possibly another overninght to add! I just hope the three working engines keep doing that - working!
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:23 pm

Yep, on the Pont Aven for the sail out but under no pressure to get to the house at any exact time. When did you sail Peter?
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:43 pm

Ahhh, I misread that Peter, your journey on the Pont Aven is upcoming? Yep Plymouth is a pain for us too as opposed to Portsmouth.....hence why we opted for Bilbao-Portsmouth for the return. Engine gets changed next year I've just read!
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby markwilding » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:20 am

There are plenty of hotels with easy reach of the port. It actually depends when you will be here and how long due to the fact during August normal parking restrictions don’t apply.

You could stay in Bilbao and include parking in your budget or stay closer to the port and take the underground or a taxi to and from your hotel.
One thing I always find strange about Spain is the infrastructure and as in many cities there are two motorways from the city to the port. The pay one is usually absolutely without traffic so you would be in the port within 15 minutes.

You would be traveling against rush hour traffic because cars would be heading in the other direction.My son is in traffic going towards Bilbao until he crosses the Bridge, then free of traffic when he travels towards the port in the opposite direction on the other side of the river.

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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby 1bassleft » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:36 am

About 10 years ago now, but Bilbao was one of my stops when I Euro-trekked in the Focus. We stayed at the Ibis (Mrs Oz has an Ibis fixation), which was central and very decent. It was a Basque festival week and street pintxos restaurants were literally around the corner. I only remember Ibis Barcelona being a real parking annoyance so, although it would've been extra cost, it can't have been inconvenient. The other thing I remember was that streets were close together and buildings tall so my satnav had regular eppos and lagged, confused, giving me terrible advice and a local police car and I gesticulating at each other; "you can't do that", "this thing's telling me to" stuff.

Mark of course knows more than my recollections, but I liked the place. Seemed like all the long streets with tall buildings had these amazing vistas at the end of each one. Stopped outside the Gugg, of course. Had no traffic problems but 8:30 is a different proposition to my "still scratching until 11:30" hotel regime.

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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:15 am

Thanks again Mark and 1bassleft, great info. once more.

I now understand what you mean Mark after looking at exactly where the port is and the lay out of the town.

Problem is though once more is that a lot of the hotels we liked the look of are booked solid for the nights we need, we've earmarked a couple just outside the centre but will have to book them today once we finally decide if it's 2 nights in Miranda or one......I think it'd be risky trying to book on the day as we normally do in Sept/Oct.

Also on the trip out, with ferry not arriving until late afternoon in Santander we are finally going to have a night in Lerma at the Alisa hotel which was advised to us on another thread 2 years ago. Then a gentle 8 or 9 hour journey to the casa.

Thanks again guys, appreciated.
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:02 pm

Thanks guys, all sorted. A lot of places were booked up but hopefully touched for a nice looking hotel for 2 nights in the town/suburb of Muskiz.

Anyone know the area?

Looks an easy jaunt to the port and also looks excellent for a bus in to Bilbao central for a day there.............I hope haha.

Cheers
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby ashtondav » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:11 pm

Devils Advocate wrote:Thanks again Mark and 1bassleft, great info. once more.

I now understand what you mean Mark after looking at exactly where the port is and the lay out of the town.

Problem is though once more is that a lot of the hotels we liked the look of are booked solid for the nights we need, we've earmarked a couple just outside the centre but will have to book them today once we finally decide if it's 2 nights in Miranda or one......I think it'd be risky trying to book on the day as we normally do in Sept/Oct.

Also on the trip out, with ferry not arriving until late afternoon in Santander we are finally going to have a night in Lerma at the Alisa hotel which was advised to us on another thread 2 years ago. Then a gentle 8 or 9 hour journey to the casa.

Thanks again guys, appreciated.


In Lerma we stayed at the magnificent but relatively cheap (they had a special deal for their amigo members) Parador. Even if not staying there it is worth a visit to have a drink in the gorgeous atrium.

Lerma’s a great place to stop.

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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Beachcomber » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:19 pm

The good thing about the Alisa in Lerma is that it has a secure underground garage, a must if your vehicle is laden with much of your worldly goods.

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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby Devils Advocate » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:43 pm

Thanks ashtondav, depending on what time we get there, hopefully late afternoon, we'll certainly try to get in to the town for a beer and try your suggestion, we'd both like that I'm sure.

Good to know that Beachy and thanks. I googled the place and there does seem to be stacks of parking space although I never knew about the underground car park. Probably best to use it if it's there although car will be virtually empty. Lightest we'll have ever travelled to Spain this time around. Got a few super looking places booked for the journey back which I'll relay on here if they live up to expectations. That's the great thing about booking.com and similar. For the stays on the way home we really want a few really nice places and some which we fancied mentioned parking being dreadful in the reviews.....and we probably will need secure parking for that journey.

Thanks guys.
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Re: Bilbao ferry/overnight stay. Any tips please?

Postby bobdun » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:30 pm

Just one quick comment the Portsmouth ferry terminal at Bilbao is further along than the main port terminal. First time I used it I along with others got it wrong and ended up going around in circles.just carry on up the road past turn off for main port there are some ferry signs but just be sure .


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