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aliandsas

Calais To Lake Garda Route And Stop Over Site(S)

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We are planning our first trip abroad in September and have set our hearts on going to Lake Garda. From advice we have read already I think we will go through Switzerland. Having already travelled down from Stoke, (hopefully with a few hours rest before the Eurotunnel), would we be able to get there with just one overnight stop, or should we plan two? If anyone can give us suggestions for stop over sites too that would be great. :) Thanks!

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You don't say if you are motorhome or caravan. ..

 

Going through Switzerland you have to pay for vignette (2 if towing caravan) which will set you back 66euros.

 

For this reason many people don't take the most direct route through Swizerland, but go via Austria.

 

Also you don't say if you intend to use French toll roads. Obviously quicker but again expensive.

 

Many people travelling to Northern Italy go from Calais through Belgium to Namur cut down throughLuxembourg for cheap fuel, then nip across to Stuttgart and down the autobahn to Fussen, over the Fern Pass to Innsbruck and down the Brenner pass to Garda.

 

Most of the way toll free. ..but it takes a bit longer.

 

Where you stop is a function of how far you travel in a day. Personally I wouldnt do Garda with just one overnight stop towing a caravan. It's 1200km at 90kph

Edited by ericfield

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Agree with Eric. I went to Ossiach in June, similar distance and stopped overnight on 3 occasions. It is a

long slog! :unsure:

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We are towing a caravan. I don't mind taking toll roads but are they much quicker considering I am towing anyway?

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We are towing a caravan. I don't mind taking toll roads but are they much quicker considering I am towing anyway?

They are more restful when doing long journeys and you can keep up a steady 90kph ( France) or 80kph (Germany, Austria Switzerland). I tend to fix cruise control at 85 ish everywhere.

 

Taking caravan via toll to Strasbourg will cost you c. £55 in tolls. Then from Stasbourg to Swiss border it's free. ... but then you need to buy 2 vignettes for Swiss motorways.

 

Bear in mind you lose an hour crossing from UK. For this reason we always use tunnel and stay in France on first night. You can then start at 7am and get some seriously mileage done on first day, starting fresh.

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Forgot to add. ..going through Switzerland invariably means going through the free Gotthard tunnel ( though you can tow the pass if you have a good towcar). You can get 'stuck' in queues depending on the time of day AND day of the week. For this reason we try to stop nearish the tunnel and get through first thing. Basel was slow going when we went through that way in May. ..lots of road works.

 

Another reason to consider rthe Austrian route.

Edited by ericfield

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In 2010 we did Caen to Lake Garda via toll roads and the Mont Blanc tunnel.

 

As we were doing Lake Garda for the first time we were happy to take the "easy" route.

 

But boy was it expensive. . the tunnel alone was €35 each way.

 

We resolved that if we do it again we will definitely go via Germany and Austria.

 

HTH,

 

G.

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From Calais we often overnight at Phalsbourg ACSI site, quite near to motorway and out of season 14euros.

We then stay at Fussen for a couple of nights . ..because we like the area. It is a holiday after all!

Then grab an 8 euro 10day vignette at the first gas station on the motorway, over the Fern Pass to Innsbruck. ...then on to Italy, via the toll road Brenner pass.

 

As an alternative we stay at Nattersee (Innsbruck) ACSI site. ..16 euros and superb site.

 

If you haven't got an ACSI card. ..it's worth getting to save lots on campsite fees out of season.

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We have been twice to Lake Garda from Sth Yorks & used the Hull - Zeebrugge route on a weekend (free caravan).From Zeebrugge it is an easy relaxing drive via Luxembourg, Germany, Alsace, Switzerland & Italy to the Lake.

You do pay for the vignette but you don't pay any road tolls as you would driving through France plus you don't pay for the Mont Blanc tunnel. You pay in Italy anyway so I,ll discount that.

We stayed at a nice campsite on the outskirts of Luxembourg city for a couple of days & took the bus in to town. Our next stop was in Switzerland just before the St Gothard tunnel, last stop was near Como.

On the way back we did Garda to the Swiss site in one go then a camping municipal at Eguisheim in Alsace with the last long run to Ghent & Camping Blaarmeerson, from there it is just over an hour to Zeebrugge & they will let you stay a bit later if you ask them.

If you need any more info on the campsites I'll try & find their info.

If you do go to Calais it could still be a viable route if you nip up the coast past Dunkirk into Belgium, Watch your speed limit though, I think I counted 5 different motorway maximums for towing.

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Thanks, I will have a look at the route and those sites. Again, is the Austria route realistically at least 2 overnight stops?

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Personally would never go via Switzerland if I was just passing through, fine if you intend to stay a bit. Most times we have been to Lake Garda its been via the Fern and Brenner passes. I tend not to go via Belgium as I don't particularly like their roads instead I go down through France to Chalons and then to Metz before joining the German autobahn system. It does involve some tolls but makes for an easier journey. Always best I feel to make the journey part of the holiday.

 

David

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Ok. .. I have spent the last 5 hours trying to sort a route out and I am now more confused than when I started! So I've gone back to my starting point which was just sticking Calais to Peschiera del Garda into the Michelin route planner (ticking caravan and selecting recommended route). This gives me three separate options. I don't think any of them exactly match anybody's suggestions, and I just can't work it out so I think I shall just pick one of those and definitely take the advice that doing it with only 1 stopover will be ambitious!

Thanks for helping me think about my options :)

Edited by aliandsas

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Last year the Mont Blanc tunnel was €45 if not more each way. I agree with avoiding Switzerland where possible and that realistically is the increasingly crowded E-43 round the east of Lake Constance to Innsbruck and then dropping south to Bolzano. It's a beautiful trip, though.

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Hi Aliandsas and welcome to caravan talk I get the impression that you've never driven abroad before! Not wishing to be a Kill joy

I wouldn't recommend this trip to somebody that hasn't driven far before!

We went to Venice last year which is further and we stayed up lake Garda for one of our stops which was the fouth stop of our journey to Venice.

If you want to know more of our journey I'm happy to post it.

Andrew.

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We went down to Peschiera in 2012 and we had 3 stops on the way down. We used the Brussels, Leige route then had our first stop at Oberweis, Nr. Bitburg (close to Luxembourg border). We had 2 nights here. Then it was down through Germany to pick up the A8 and we had an overnight just east of Stuttgart at Hohenstadt. Our route then took us over the Fern Pass and down to Innsbruck, where we were fortunate to have the time to spend 4 nights at Innsbruck, before the final leg over the Brenner Pass and down to Lake Garda.

 

All I will say is that it's a long journey and if you have the time you should make the journey part of the holiday.

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So where have all the "driving in Europe is easy, you'll love it" people gone?! I will get my maps out again later and have another look. Thanks.

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It is easy, but it's also a big place, hence the choices of route and distances/times to work out.

 

We went just North of Rome a few years ago, and Garda was my 3rd stop on the journey - ie I took 2 stops to get there from Nottingham. I wouldn't have wanted to do Garda with just one stop; too tiring.

 

Whichever route you take, it'll be wonderful.

 

t.

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So where have all the "driving in Europe is easy, you'll love it" people gone?! I will get my maps out again later and have another look. Thanks.

Driving in Europe is a lot more relaxing than in the UK ( with the exception of Holland where roads can be as busy as ours). Drive at a weekend and there are virtually no lorries on the road for a start!

 

So it IS easy! But as TonyV just said . .it's a big place. So all I and others are advising is to recognise the maths. 1250km at 80kph (if you manage to AVERAGE that) is 16 hours driving. Add 2or three breaks for food and rest and you are talking 24hours on the road.

 

Trying to do it in one stop is putting you and your family under unecessary stress.

 

Leave at 7am and you are arriving at your campsite at 7pm. Same next day.

 

 

You will love camping in Europe. You will love it a lot more if you take your time and. ..'smell the roses'.

 

 

 

Most people will agree that the best route is to go from Calais to Strasbourg area. Whether you go by the Belgium, Luxembourg (free road, cheap petrol route) or go via the French toll route (better road surfaces, less traffic but will cost you £50) you arrive at same decision point. Continue on French side of Rhine down through Switzerland or cross the Rhine and travel down through Austria?

 

Switzerland will charge you 66 euros for a return trip through their country. Austria charge 8 euros for a10day pass, 25euros for 2?month pass. Although Switzerland is most direct, it has Basle (roadworks) and Gotthard tunnel( delays) that MIGHT slow your progress. Not to mention going round the Milan outer ring road!

 

The Austrian routes a little longer. So some of the cost differential is eroded. There is also a small hiatus getting over the Rhine and onto the Stuttgart to Fussen motorway. ..but then it's direct route to Austria and Italy beyond.

 

Check out the route in two sections. Calais to Stuttgart and Stuttgart to Garda.

 

As mentioned before . ..we stay in the Phalsbourg area or nearer Stasbourg at the end of the toll road after the drive from Calais. This leaves you fresh an alert next morning navigate into Germany and pick up their motorway.

 

A second stop near Fussen enables you to enjoy the next part of the journey with glorious scenery all the way to Garda. Or continue to nattersee, Innsbruck for your second stop. Leaving a shorter journey next morning.

 

Just one other point. ..arriving late afternoon often means the best pitches have been taken. We always try to arrive about 2-3pm for best choice. This also dictates the length of that days drive!

Edited by ericfield

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Thanks everyone, this is all really useful and boosts my confidence again. I think my brain just got a bit frazzled looking at it last night! I will check it all out later.

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Hi

 

We have an overnight stop "somewhere" near Calais/Dunkqerque, and another Strasbourg area. We are from Yorkshire so a bit further to the port etc.

 

We have overnighted in the past in Belgium, France (Chateau Salins or Besancon or Strasbourg), Switzerland (Lake Susee) or Lake Lugano. We never plan it, just see how it goes.

 

Its about 750 miles from Calais. ... A figure of 24 hours has been mentioned, that's about right in my reckoning, 82 trips to Lake Garda later!

 

Russ

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Have a look at our route on here on page European Routes,which is the one Glen and Les followed. We have done this route over many years and either coming and going to Austria/Italy over the last 11 years with the caravan. We did first part of the route this year. No problems with Belgium Motorway around Brussels they have improved their roads over the last 2 years. All camp sites are list on the routes too. If you have any questions please ask aliandsas will be glad to help.

DianneT.

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Yes that is the one the beginning of th route is same as route 1.

Snooks

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We are picking up our rebuilt classic VW T2 camper just before Easter. Looking at undertaking a trip to Lake Garda for our first trip setting off over Easter. Time taken doesn't really matter, but is there a route that doesn't involve doing any windy or snowy trails? Fancy an easy drive as this will be our first run.

 

Any thoughts on easiest, not necessarily cheapest route?

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Just like to add my five penneth of experience if I may I live in Lancaster so I went to Hull and got the ferry to Rotterdam on a weekend as it was cheaper, drove through Holland and up to Frankfurt where I stayed for a couple of nights I was intending one but liked what I saw, then to Innsbruck overnight (bought the vignette at a Garage ) and via the Brenner pass into Italy, apart from the approach to the campsites if was all dual carriageway and I did it in February . The original post I think was made from Stoke so it's worth looking at . ..and the Ferry was big and beautiful it was a little mini cruise, it takes overnight and you arrive at the other end early in the morning and fresh as a daisy.  

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