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15 Apr 2007 00:00 by SPANISHGRANNY2 Star rating in Devon.. 3 posts Send private message

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Hello all,

We need help with the car-route from our nearest ferry-to Spain via france.

Anyone out there know the quickest and toll free -way.

We are in Exeter Devon, We will be 2/adult''s and 1/femal dog-with passport, this will be our first time driving abroad for both of us and we are a bit apprehensive to say the least.

Any help would be appreciated, thank you.


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15 Apr 2007 22:15 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3573 posts Send private message

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The obvious route seems to be Plymouth - Santander if you're worried about driving abroad. That way you will avoid France altogether, which will avoid all the tolls (which are hard to avoid in France unless you have LOTS of time for the journey), and avoid the need for hotels and restaurants. If you do end up going through France, you will find Etap and Formula 1 hotels everywhere which are cheap and accept pets, and always have some sort of restaurant nearby. Start with the Accor group site: http://www.accorhotels.com/accorhotels/index.html they also include Ibis and Novotel if you want a bit more comfort.

Brittany Ferries operate the Plymouth - Santander route, and accept pets. All the info is here: http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid=499 about how your dog will travel. Only you know what your pooch will think of the arrangements!

Where in Spain are you heading? You can use an on-line route planner such as http://www.rac.co.uk/web/routeplanner/ or http://www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/gbr/dyn/controller/route-planner# to find a suitable route.

Don't forget to check the requirements for bringing your vehicle to Spain (headlight converters, spare bulb kits etc...)

Enjoy the trip!

 


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"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

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18 Apr 2007 19:46 by robmacm Star rating in West of Scotland. 83 posts Send private message

My wife and I travelled Plymouth to Santander last year. The ferry crossing is about twenty hours. The ferry was comfortable although the cabins were very cramped and the night that we crossed it was extremely rough. The food onboard was good and reasonably priced and overall the ship was very comfortable with entertainment during the day and at night. I think that a single crossing with car was around £260 so I imagine that a return would be about £500. The roads south from Santander are reasonably good but depending on the time of day, around Bilbao, if you go along the motorway, peak times can be very slow. As in France, if you take the toll roads it is a bit more expensive but much less stressful. Remember that many Spanish drivers indicate their desire to pass by driving closer to your back bumper than you would park in the High street but once you learn to blank them it gets much easier. I managed to drive from Santander to Toledo in one day in October and we had no hold ups. Depending on where you are going I would probably plan to miss Madrid because the roadworks are horrendous.

We've also went Dover to Calais a few times and that ferry is much cheaper, about £30 single if you book in advance. However you then have a very long drive of about 800 miles before you reach Spain if you are travelling down to cross the border at Perpignon and then on to Barcelona. If you do go that way then you really need to take the toll motorway. These tend to be very fast and I have never been delayed on the French toll roads so taking everything into account paying to drive probably makes sense as you also avoid Paris. The biggest traffic snarl-up I have ever experienced was on the Paris ring road and it isn't for the faint hearted! I witnessed two people total their cars on that road so unless you're up for a thrill I'd give it a miss! There are plenty of motels along the route but now we just do like the continentals and sleep for a few hours in the car before driving on.

In both France and Spain the majority of drivers will give you a bit of leeway when they relise that you are driving a UK plated car. Stick on some nice big GB badges and that should help. In Spain, as well as the spare bulbs you also need to carry two warning triangles and now also reflective jackets in the event that you have to get out of the car to change wheels etc. Halfords sell a jacket for about a fiver.

After having went Plymouth Santander last year we will not go through France again. It is a very long drive and that time is much better spent on the ferry relaxing. Hope this has been helpful.




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18 Apr 2007 20:14 by Pitby Star rating in Andalucía. 1919 posts Send private message

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Another route planner is Google earth  - I used both this and RAC website and found Google Earth to be the better one, for us anyway (but then our trip was planned from Paris to Duquesa and back, all in mainland Europe with no crossings from the UK).  Also on Google Earth, you can view hotels/stopovers that may be on your route.

Try a search on RAC or Google Earth (you have to download this and install it) and see what it comes up with!

I would absolutely recommend the toll roads - just so much more pleasant to drive, with less traffic (although you do encounter it sometimes).   If it's your first time driving abroad, would definitely recommend the toll road route!  We found the whole journey an absolutely delight, driving-wise, but then we are comparing the driving to Dubai!!!  The French, in particular seemed very courteous, a little more so than the Spanish, who seemed a little intimidating at times!!  That Latin passion!!!  But coming from here, we had no problem dealing with them!!!

Whichever route you use, wish you the best journey!!



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18 Apr 2007 23:21 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3573 posts Send private message

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I agree about using the toll roads. I drove from Bilbao to Barcelona a while back, and tried the "old" road, to avoid the tolls. BIG mistake. Every juggernaut in Northern Spain had the same idea, and the potholes were deep enough to hide a donkey in (with just it's ears showing perhaps).

Pitby, if you think they're courteous in Frnace, try heading north next time instead. Last time I was driving in Germany, they were practically falling over themselves to give way! And every time I saw a Porsche in my rear-view mirror approaching at 150mph, it actually slowed down and kept a sensible distance while waiting for me to pull over, and then waved a thank you as it passed me and dissappeared over the horizon in 2 seconds. What joy!

I wonder when Google Earth will come up with "real-time" imaging, so you can actually watch your own progress!

(Someone will now tell me this already exists)


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"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain

 

 

 




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19 Apr 2007 14:28 by Pitby Star rating in Andalucía. 1919 posts Send private message

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A little off thread here, but Roberto, do you use the paid Google Earth app?  A friend and I were wondering, if you upgraded to the paid one, would you get regular updated layers/images?  Would be interesting to know!

Love Germany - drove from London to Munich and back about twenty years ago!!  Only thing didn't like was the on the spot fine of $100 dollars for speeding!  Contrary to popular belief, not all parts of the autobahn are without speed limits!!!  But yes, most courteous people.  And great "motorway service stations"!!!  A bit upmarket from those on the M6 (although I am going back many, many years and the last time I was on the M6 I can't recall!!).

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19 Apr 2007 18:21 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3573 posts Send private message

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Sorry, can't tell you about the paid-for Google Earth - I'm far too cheap for that sort of thing. I think I need to upgrade (to G.E.4, released in January, which I've just seen has more 3D images). Don't know how often they update images.

Regarding services, I must say that I find Spain second to none for food on the go. Even most of the larger and rather bland road stops serve up real fresh snacks &  meals as  opposed to the plastic "franchise" type fare you usually get further north, and certainly if you get off the toll roads and major motorways, you can always find somewhere serving an excellent  value "menu del dia". Same goes for overnight accomodation usually. OK, in France for example you always know what you're getting and for how much if you use the Accor group (Formule 1, Etap, IBIS etc.) but in Spain you'll usually be able to find similar value and something far more personal & inviting.


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"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain

 

 

 




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19 Apr 2007 22:01 by Pitby Star rating in Andalucía. 1919 posts Send private message

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Roberto, I've already upgraded to v.4 and haven't seen anything new, to be honest!!

I agree that the services in Spain are also great - I was comparing with the UK only, although in all honesty, as I said, I haven't really experienced those in a while!  I just recall those that we stopped at in Germany being excellent, down the quality of presentation, fantastic.

And always value for money!  So those travelling by car/road through Spain and/or France certainly won't have a problem if they get peckish!!

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20 Apr 2007 19:50 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3573 posts Send private message

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I already had V4 too; there was a new update available which I've downloaded, but I don't see any difference either!

Have to say I've never found it easy to eat in France. On the major routes and especially where there are Formule 1 or Etap hotels, which are always very conveniently located, there is always some kind of franchise rubbish. And off the beaten track, I've never found anything decent at an affordable price. I know many people rave about French "cuisine", but it doesn't do it for me. Same goes for Italy. I remember finding the border town of La Jonquera an absolute delight after slogging through Italy & south of France. It's an absolute dump of a frontier town, full of heavy goods vehicles, prostitutes & liquor stores, but oh the relief of a decent Spanish hostel: clean & comfortable lodging, and fantastic home cooked food & ample portions, all for less than the last toll in France!

It's so refreshing to be praising Spain for a change. I must be careful lest I get kicked out of the cynical party!

 


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"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain

 

 

 




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30 Apr 2007 22:52 by SPANISHGRANNY2 Star rating in Devon.. 3 posts Send private message

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To one and all thank you so much for all the information you have supplied us with.
 you are all very kind to two dim wits?
We ae sorry we havent repliedbefore but we have been away for a while on a short holiday in cornwall.
All the best to you and have a happy life.
Gloria


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11 May 2007 18:22 by jeffcoo Star rating in Marbella. 76 posts Send private message

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Jeff again!!!   sorry all.....

Well i have decided on driving to Spain, and wanted to know if anyone had any experience to share, i dont want to use the Plymouth to Santander crossing, im starting out from Portsmouth and wondered which was the quickest and most efficent route, using Toll roads, ( as various folk on EOS have suggested using them), is Dover to Calais a good option?  or is the Portsmouth to Cherbourg better. then drive through Franceand into Spain..dont get me wrong i have a Garmin and am looking and searching websites like RAC and AA route planner, but i do find the information on this site useful and life saving!   sometimes listening to someones own experience and how they have dealt with a situation is so benificial to me,  and this is the place as i have read a lot of you guys have driven to Spain, i realise its a long drive and intend to book into a hotel or a B and B, the girlfriend is flying,  ( economy! )    :=)    so its me and the nephew on what could turn out to be one hell  of a good and fun road trip  !  :)   im looking forward to it really as we havnt spent much time together for ages just the 2 of us, he is a sensible 22 and im a not so sensible 36, so perhaps he will teach me a few things about life he he!! anyway sorry to bore, go on and ask these questions, any help whatsoever will be much appreciated.

thanks kindly  Jeff



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11 May 2007 18:51 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3573 posts Send private message

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ROADTRIP! Forget France, it's so dull. Take the Harwich-Hook of Holland ferry and spend the first night in Amsterdam (of course!). Cross into Germany, head down the Mosel Valley (as long as you don't mind getting held up a bit by caravanners), then swing east and let rip on an autobahn, and keep going until you cross into Czech Rep. Prague is lovely this time of year. Then it has to south-west towards Munich, to take in a few beer halls, after which you'll have to rely on your Garmin to find the most ridiculously challenging route through the alps into Italy. Head down to the coast and Genoa, which is a Godforsaken hell-hole of a place, but if I'm not mistaken, there is a ferry that departs there for Tangiers. Should take long enough to recover from the drive so far and get completely bladdered without worrying about who's turn it is to drive next. Once in Morrocco, it's a simple case of geting the fast ferry over to Algeciras, and there you have it. You're in Spain. Chances are your girlfriend's luggage will still be en-route anyway, so she should have no complaints.

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"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain

 

 

 




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11 May 2007 18:54 by JeansSis Star rating. 2512 posts Send private message

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This message was last edited by JeansSis on 5/19/2007.



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11 May 2007 20:25 by conrad Star rating in Milton Keynes and Dr.... 304 posts Send private message

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Jeff,

 

I have driven from Calais to our place in spain the only thing that I would say about the route that our tom tom gave us is that it took us over the grand massive mountain range and in the dark it can be daunting you climb then fall then climb again also it takes round the boulevard perephireque round paris all told it was fairly easy all main autoroutes and tolls were not to bad.

Couldn't tell you about cherbourg route

have you tried the michelin route planner it tells you the toll price

http://www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/int/tpl/hme/MaHomePage.htm





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11 May 2007 22:45 by MaggieB Star rating in Dunfermline,La Marin.... 52 posts Send private message

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Was thinking on options to safeguard the bits I would take and had thought of Santander/Plymouth as our son lives there? but? still a long drive,and could hubby do it ha! ha!,regarding Dubai driving,the Middle East is all the same!! been there,Abu Dhabi,Qatar and Saudi,if you are looking for courtious!no chance, and you have to adopt their attitude to progress!!not the best,but then we brits are open??As long as you remember you are in another country!!and you will always be wrong?unless you have a really good laqwyer!!

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11 May 2007 22:55 by jeffcoo Star rating in Marbella. 76 posts Send private message

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THANKS jEANSIS , YOU SOUND LOVELY TOO!

 

Conrad, did the journey take long?  and did you sleep over if so any suggestions?

 

thanks for the help guys!!



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12 May 2007 01:44 by conrad Star rating in Milton Keynes and Dr.... 304 posts Send private message

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Jeff we only stopped for a couple of hours as we both did the driving and in total it took around 22 hours - 24 hours we could have stopped and if it is only 2 of you I would stop in one of the accor group of hotels which are Formula 1 etc

Acccor website is

http://www.accorhotels.com/accorhotels/index.html

under find a hotel you can put in your start place and your end place and it will show all the hotels on that route





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12 May 2007 10:38 by jeffcoo Star rating in Marbella. 76 posts Send private message

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thanks Conrad, will check the link out, super,  dont know if its of  any interest, but i booked the Newhaven to Le Harve route, only 5 hours and rather cheap only £50, but cuts a lot of the  journey out going Via Calais, the same company also goes to Dieppe, they are called transmancheferries.co.uk  run by LD lines,.   The boats leave from Newhaven, which is not far from Brighton, and its quite an easy route, and just  another option for those who dont want to spend so long on the Plymouth to Santander  or Portsmouth to Bilbao. ferries....Just a thought!



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