If you want to see as much of Europe as possible on your next vacation, then you’ll probably be tempted to hop on a plane.

But did you know that it’s cheaper, as well as a lot more fun, to get around Europe by ferry?

And that in some cases taking the ferry is actually faster too?

Recent price analysis has found that in 12 out of 14 cases taking the ferry was significantly cheaper than flying in Europe, sometimes as much as 86% cheaper!

Here’s why you should consider exploring Europe by ferry:

Inter-Island Ferries

Perhaps the best example of when it is easier and more affordable to take a ferry in Europe is inter-island ferries. These are ferry services I use a lot!

love the Canary Islands and often take the ferry from Fuerteventura to Lanzarote.

The ferry ride costs 18 euros ($19) per person each way, and takes around 30 minutes.

Fred Olsen ferry in Playa Blanca Lanzarote

By contrast, flights between the 2 islands start from 39 euros ($41) and take 35 minutes. Plus the 2 hours you will spend passing through security and waiting at the airport, of course!

If you want to see the Scottish Islands then flying from Inverness to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis will cost from £103 ($129) for a one-way trip. But taking the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway will cost just £9 ($11) for a one-way ticket.

Admittedly, the flight is faster, taking 45 minutes, than the 2.5-hour ferry ride.

But you’ll need to arrive at the airport early to clear security. And on the ferry, you can enjoy dinner and sit on the deck spotting dolphins.

Caledonia ferry enroute to Isle of Skye

The scenery and wildlife on the journey is incredible during the summer months. I know which route is my preference!

When it comes to inter-island travel, taking the ferry feels like a no-brainer to me.

International Ferries 

The ferry is also a great way to travel between European countries.

The Stena Ferry route taking you from the UK to the Netherlands (Harwich to Hoek Van Holland) is one of my favorites because it’s so affordable and convenient for my family.

Deck on Ferry sailing across the Northsea during beautiful sunset

And once on board, it’s like a cruise ship in miniature. If you take an overnight crossing then there are a range of different cabin levels.

Then, you’ll find restaurants and cafes, bars, a cinema, a kids club, and even a casino.

During the summer months, there are kids entertainers on the ferries, too.

Stena Line also offers ‘rail and sail’ packages, which include your ferry crossing and your train tickets to get you to your next destination.

A Stena Line ferry which is loaded and ready to depart

The Eurostar train is popular as one of the fastest and most sustainable ways to travel between the UK and France.

But if you take the ferry between Dover and Calais then it’s 6% cheaper. And these ferries have restaurants, a duty-free shop, kids play areas, and plenty of room to walk around and explore.

If you’re interested in exploring Scandanavia then the same report found that travelling from Frederikshavn in Denmark to Gothenburg in Sweden is also much cheaper by ferry than by plane.

Other Benefits Of Ferry Travel

As well as being cheaper than traveling by plane, there are other benefits of ferry travel.

It is much more climate-friendly than other modes of transportation and, unlike when you fly, there are no luggage weight restrictions with ferry travel. If you can carry it then you can bring it!

Woman enjoying the panoramic view from the ferry Canary Islands

If you’re driving around Europe then one huge advantage of ferry travel is that you can bring your car with you. Often you will pay per vehicle rather than per person, which means that if you’re travelling with a family or a group then your journey is even cheaper.

We travel as a family of 4, and we prefer ferry travel, especially during the summer months when European flight prices are so inflated because of the significant savings that we can make.

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