Travel Advice

Driving in Europe

One of the great pleasures of a camping and caravanning holiday is that you are free to choose your own route and plan the journey to suit yourself. If you've never driven on the continent before then rest assured the roads are quieter, better signed and generally more picturesque than here in the UK, and driving on the 'wrong side' soon becomes second nature.

Planning your Journey

Below we have listed some general points to help you when planning your itinerary.

If towing, it is reasonable to estimate your journey on the basis of 45mph on motorways and 30mph on other roads (excluding stops) and somewhat quicker if you are not towing. If you are intending to use routes through holiday areas or travel through hilly country, progress could be slower. You should allow extra time for crossing large towns and cities.

Are you giving yourself enough time to get from site to port to catch your homeward ferry? Remember that you should arrive at your ferry at least an hour before sailing.

Are the distances which you are planning to cover in Britain and on the Continent practical? Bear in mind how well the children travel, unfamiliarity with continental driving conditions and time taken breaking the journey and remember to allow some time for unforseen delays.

You should plan to arrive at your site by 7.00pm at the latest. Should you be delayed, a quick phone call to the site or to our reservations team (during office hours) will ensure that the site will be expecting you.

Please note that particularly during high season (July and August) many sites prohibit the circulation of vehicles until 8.00am. You should bear this in mind if planning an early start.

Should you wish to stop off on the way to your chosen destination you are quite free to do so. All customers will receive our free guide to sites suitable for overnight stops close to the main routes and ferry ports. The guide will include the location, addresses and phone numbers of the sites, should you wish to book in advance. We can book pitches just for one night at many of our sites featured on this website and also have a selection of well located sites that we specially recommend for overnight stops - see overnight stops. You will find, however, that many sites have pitches kept aside for 'passing trade'

Another alternative is to stay overnight in a hotel and we can make reservations at a number of hotels - see our overnight stops guide. If you prefer to find your own hotel, it is a good idea to arrive before 6.00pm, especially during July and August.

Driving regulations on the Continent

Rules and regulations vary from country to country, so do pay attention to the road signs, and ensure you know the regulations relating to speed limits, consumption of alcohol, child seats etc before you travel.

There are several regulations that are commonplace across the majority of European countries, so take note of the following to ensure your journey is trouble-free.

  • As in the UK, it is illegal to drive whilst using a mobile phone, unless it is a hands-free system. In Spain, this law has been extended to cover anything that may distract the driver, such as in-car DVD or GPS system.
  • All right-hand drive cars should be fitted with headlight deflectors, even if you don’t intend to drive during the night.
  • You must carry spare bulbs in the car.
  • Your country of origin must be displayed eg GB sticker.
  • On the spot fines for driving offences are issued in most countries.
  • You need to carry a warning triangle for use if the car breaks down; in Spain & Italy you need to have two warning triangles plus a reflective jacket, which can be purchased from service stations for 10 to 15 Euros.
  • A fire extinguisher should also be carried; this is compulsory in Spain.
  • In Austria & Switzerland you need a motorway “vignette” to display on your windscreen if you intend to travel on motorways or A-roads. These can be purchased at major border crossings and at larger post offices. Motorhomes over 3.5t chassis and twin-axled caravans must be registered in the ‘commercial vehicle customs area’ at the point of border entry, where a ‘UK weighbridge certificate’ must be produced in order to purchase the correct Vignette and avoid on the spot fining.
  • Italian caravan size limits are as follows:
    maximum length 6.5m for single axle, and 8m
    for twin axle; maximum width 2.3m.
  • If you do have the misfortune to be stopped, photographic ID is required so if you don’t yet have a photocard UK licence you must carry your passport with you too.

Car with or without baggage trailer Car + Caravan or trailer tent or Motorhome
Euros Euros
Caen - Paris
23.20 38.90
Calais - Paris
18.90 27.00
Le Havre - Paris
19.50 33.30
Calais - Reims
21.70 32.20
Reims - Lyon
40.00 60.70
Lyon - Aix-en-Provence
24.20 38.00
Aix-en-Provence - Nice
23.80 36.30
Paris - Lyon (A6)
32.90 51.50
Lyon - Montpellier
24.40 38.30
Montpellier - Le Perthus
13.80 22.00
Paris - Bordeaux
53.90 84.60
Bordeaux - Toulouse
18.00 28.80
Toulouse - Le Perthus
18.90 29.00
Paris - Nantes
35.90 55.10
Paris - Strasbourg
37.40 57.20
Paris - Clermont-Ferrand
36.10 56.90
Pont de Normande (Le Havre)
5.30 6.10
Pont de Tancarville (Le Havre)
2.50 3.10

 

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