There are many ferry routes to choose between, both to and from northern Spain and France, depending on the route you prefer to drive. There are no ferries that travel between the UK and Southern Spain – however, there are cruise ships which call at Seville, Malaga and Barcelona.
The approximate distance from Bilbao or Santander in the north of Spain to the Axarquia and the Costa del Sol on the Mediterranean in the south of Spain is 1,000 kilometres (600 miles). You can drive it in a day but it is not advisable as it will take a good 10 hours. It is better to take the opportunity to spend a night somewhere interesting on route.
To ensure you can get on a ferry at the time that is convenient and to reserve cabins or seats, it is generally best to book in advance particularly if you wish to travel with a dog. Over the internet is a good option except if taking a van with P&O. For this you need to book by telephone as they require assurance that you are only carrying personal or household effects and not exporting or importing goods.
Ferry timetables and prices:
Brittany Ferries – www.brittanyferries.com
P&O – www.poferries.com
A Ferry To – www.aferry.to