Or vice versa if you like!
This is a trip he have done a number of times now and we have settled on the ferry as our preferred border crossing. Brilliant for bikes, convenient, cheap and even just a touch romantic. What’s not to like? (We are not sure whether or not it’s possible to use the bridge that carries the motorway, but in any case it looks very daunting.)
The ferry runs every day of the week, takes about 20 minutes for the crossing and leaves on the hour from Vila Real de Santo António and on the half hour from Spain. It costs about 8 euro for two passengers and two bikes. You can ride your bike on and while there is no obvious way to secure bikes on board, the boat is very stable and we have never had a problem with the bikes falling over or sliding about.
There is a terminal building on the Portuguese side, but not in Spain. Both sides have ticket offices. Both terminals are a literal stone throw from pretty squares with lots of cafes and restaurants.
When in Vila Real we stayed in the Arenilha Guest House. This was very modern and comfortable and they kindly allowed us to store the bikes in their secure inner patio. The hotel is 5 minutes from the ferry and surrounded by hundreds of places to eat and drink. In Ayamonte we stayed a the Hotel Riavela. This was a nice, family run hotel and they were very bike-friendly with good safe indoor storage. The hotel is 10-15 minutes from the ferry by bike, but a long walk from places to eat.
The ferry terminals are very easy to find, tiny and so very relaxed affairs.