Best way to Drive: London to Malaga

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06 Oct 2008 00:00 by johnf Star rating in London / Costa Del S.... 66 posts Send private message

Hi all,

Can anyone help or advise the best route to drive from London to Malaga. 

(1) Chanell Tunnel: Folkestone to Calais.

(2) Plymouth - Santander.

(3) Ferry crossings.

We are planning to travel at the end of November or early December.
If anyone has travelled this route could you please help or advise the best routes / hotels / cheapest methods / best hotels etc.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.



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06 Oct 2008 13:08 by morerosado Star rating in Guardamar del Segura.... 6942 posts Send private message

morerosado´s avatar
Hi John

You'll find endless discussions about routes, hotels, travelling by car with animals etc in the Driving in Spain board.









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07 Oct 2008 15:45 by hugh_man Star rating in Kent/Roda . 989 posts Send private message

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I have sent you a pm, i hope you can open it.

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16 Jul 2009 20:59 by ratchie Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

Hi John, just out of curiosity I am planning the same journey this year and wondering whether you completed it successfully. Im finding very hard to get any help. Many thanks.

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17 Jul 2009 12:12 by b4ssy Star rating. 24 posts Send private message


I have sent a pm to John. If I can find a way of copying and pasting it I will send it to you as well.

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25 Jul 2009 16:59 by Vynehound Star rating. 29 posts Send private message

Hi John. We're going from Andover in Hampshire to Benalmadena for Xmas. After much thought and advice, we're going on Sea Cat from Weymouth tp St. Malo, its £200 return for Mondeo and 2 people. We will stay overnight in St Malo as the ferry gets in at 7.10pm. Then down to Madrid for overnight at Travellodge 30 euros per room, then down to Costa del Sol.


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04 Aug 2009 12:03 by Sonia El Star rating in Wales / Carvajal, F.... 213 posts Send private message


Will there be more than one person driving?  I've commented on here before that we've be doing this trip (to North Africa) for over 30 years and it usually takes 3 days - especially in the winter.  If you don't know the roads it's better to stop whilst you still have some daylight, even if you've got a hotel booked finding it is another matter. 

We usually do Dover - Calais (I acknowledge that St Malo is a bit further down the country so saving a few hundred miles) and can make it to Bodeaux by dusk then Madrid area the following day, completing the journey next day.  The bit from Madrid to Grenada is very long, very straight and very boring.  In winter it can also be very cold.  Don't forget you're also crossing the edge of the Pyrennes and you can get snow across the northern bits of Spain.

It's a trade off between arriving exhausted, not only by the length of the journey but also the drivers! or arriving refreshed and ready to go. From experience we now go for the latter. Having said that we love the drive down and have only done the horrid Portsmouth- Santendar return crossing once and never again.

Hope it all goes well for you.

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04 Aug 2009 13:41 by Vynehound Star rating. 29 posts Send private message

Hi, thanks for your reply. We shall get to St. Malo after dark, so thought we would stay there overnight, setting off in the daylight next morning. We can both drive, although I dont like to abroard. I did say I would do the  bits where theres no roundabouts, cant do them, I'm ok on the long  stretches where theres no chance of me ending up on the wrong side of  the road !!!

Do you think Malaga is too far to aim for the first day?  We hoped to do it in the two days, do you think that will be pushing it a bit?Also is it better to book the overnights, or just turn up?Weve got Tom Tom Live, which will give live info in France, but not Spain, although it might go live in Spain by then.We have booked the St.Malo stop over, but not the others.




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05 Aug 2009 17:41 by Sonia El Star rating in Wales / Carvajal, F.... 213 posts Send private message

Hi Yvonne

We've never booked as you can't guarantee that you'll get where you need to be in time plus you can waste time looking. 

That said we've had some very variable stop-overs.  Best was in a little village off the motorway near Osasuna (south of Madrid).  Only place to stay was a cafe with rooms above, was presentable so risked it.  After a wander around we asked about getting some dinner and were told to go through to the back. There was a little courtyard restaurant full of Spanish who were having an impromtu singalong and invited us to join in.  One of the most fantastic nights we've ever had in Spain. But then once we stayed in a roadside hostel that was next to a pig farm but we didn't realise until the next morning when it was light! 

We have done Fuengirola to Bilbao in one day but that was full on all day driving (and not always within the speed limit) and pretty good December weather. Left in the dark and arrived in the dark - not recommended if looking for a hotel including frayed tempers. My OH will not let me drive on the motorways as he says I'm too slow which is fine as I hate it.

I'd say go for it and stop when you've had enough. Motorways are much nicer in France than Spain where you have to leave to find any services and make a journey into the unknown.



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11 Aug 2009 01:25 by PrincessK Star rating in Warwickshire / Duque.... 27 posts Send private message


My OH and I drove from Birmingham to Manilva in June - 1,710 miles door to door with 2 drivers.  We chose to do the tunnel and as it was our first trip we made a slight error when exiting the tunnel (signs said one thing - sat nav told us another !)  Experience of the trip made me rely on the sat nav as 9 times out of 10 it was correct.  We were not in a hurry and used the time to see a bit of France (as 30 years since last made the trip) having lunch in La Rochell before moving on to northern Spain. We covered between 400/500 miles per day.  We left home at 8am and arrived just outside Paris around 2pm but were heading towards Le mann for our first overnight stay.  The roads were very good, the weather a bit hit and miss until we were around the Spanish border. We had 4 over night stops - the final being in Ronda (I just love the place).  We didn't pre-book any accommodation, we used sat nav and our instincts on the area.  I must say there was only 1 place that didn't live up to expectations but we were late finding it (1 star hostel) and it was the only place open.  We visited Pamploma - the tapas bars were fantastic (I'd like to come back and spend a weekend).  I must say we really enjoyed the whole experience - everyone was so helpful and friendly.

Were taking the car back at the end of September but this time were doing the coast of Spain up to Reims before heading over to the tunnel - estimating 6-7 days and some 2,066 miles.  I'd love to stay in a Chateaux the last night before the tunnel, finish the holiday/journey in a spectacular way - well it is our anniversary.  Just need to find a map of France now to find out where they are located in relation to our scheduled journey - unless anyone knows of any ?  I'm really looking forward to doing this trip - if anyone has any recommendations please don't hesitate to let us know.




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11 Aug 2009 14:39 by randolph Star rating. 158 posts Send private message

We use the Portsmouth - LeHavre ferry.  It is an overnight crossing so it takes care of the first night accommodation.

HOwever - the biggest advantage is that it avoids Paris


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13 Aug 2009 02:35 by foxbat Star rating in Granada. 1114 posts Send private message

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Portsmouth-Caen-Nantes or Portsmouth-St.Malo-Rennes then;

Nantes or Rennes-Bordeaux-Bayonne-Irun-Donostia (San Sebastian)-Vittoria Gasteiz-Burgos-Madrid (M50)-Valdepenas-Linares

then either Linares-Jaen-Granada-Malaga or Linares-Cordoba-Antequera-Malaga.

Overnight if necessary Caen or St Malo, then outskirts Madrid.

Use the M50 around Madrid; it starts about 30kms North of Madrid near the old Jarama Grand Prix circuit, then routes in between Barajas and Torrejon Airports and finishes about 30kms south of Madrid when it links up with the E5 South.




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