Calais - Rome - which way?

08/01/2013 - 08:34

Hello,I am driving from the UK to Rome in August - probably through Dover-Calais.Which route to people recommend? The shortest appears to be through France which I assume is the way the SatNav would take me? However, there are tolls on France.Do people avoid the tolls by going through Germany?Thanks,Iain.



Standard Answer from meDover - Dunkirk [DFDS] is usually cheapestCalais -Dunkirk, Lille - into Belgium - Charleroi, Namur, and on to Luxemburg - all toll free motorway. Fill up with petrol in Luxemburg [at services entering or leaving the country - cheapest on your route. Then toll free motorway to Metz, Nancy and towards Colmar [becomes single carriageway for part ner Colmar]. Toll free motorway from Colmar to Mulhouse, then over to Germany and down towards Basle.  Take turning off to Lorrach to avoid Basle [can be bad]  So far, still no charges Travel through Switzerland needs a vignette  - about 35 Euros [I think] at the services on the German motorway [at Bad Bellingen] - but thats the only charge [vignette lasts one calendar year - actually Dec to January (14 months)]Through Gotthard Tunnel [no charge] and down into Italy and on to Italian autostrada and toll charges Good luck

Probably nearer 100Km, if that - but you save a ton in toll charges and time paying toll charges (plus border queues [if you go through Basel), so the overall time diifference won't be massive.  Plus cheap petrol.Still its up to you  [and the route planner you use]

Not too badThe Gotthard Tunnel is always open, and the Swiss keep the motorways pretty clear.The only real problem area might be in France, on the 'non dual carriageway' between Nancy and Colmar, when, if it is snowy,  it might pay to do a bit of autoroute [with tolls] from Metz to Strasbourg, but you could decide at the last minute, depending on weather and road conditions

Avoiding ColmarIf the problem is fog/rain at night, then probably the best bet is to drive up to Strasbourg, avoiding Colmar and the cross mountain roads,  [probably on the German motorway] and then pay to use the autoroute from Strasbourg to Metz. It will cost about 13 Euros, but would be worth it for the peace of mind. This site -   gives an idea of autoroute toll charges

most of all the above is true.Personally i always drive thru Germany not only or because there are no tolls but because of that there are many exits which allows one to break the journey very easily and stay in very clean reasonably priced hotels/gasthaus etc.Plus if they're not digging up the autobahns again one can drive very fast on numerous parts of the motorway which i like. 

Careful ........."Or go via the Colmar tunnel instead of over the col. Not toll-free but it's cheap and gets you out near St Die and on to the good road to Nancy"The only problem with this route is that the roads to/from the tunnel, [[the roads here aren't that good], are just as likely to be affected by the 'bad weather' that worried 'tonys'

The only problem with this route is that the roads to/from the tunnel, [[the roads here aren't that good], are just as likely to be affected by the 'bad weather' that worried 'tonys'Maybe it's a while since you went that way - the N59 is a very good road at both ends of the tunnel. You don't have to take the minor roads into Colmar itself as the route out to the motorway is only a little more in kms, but less in time.I think the charm of this area is that there are so many options - one time I chose to go via the tunnel, it happened to be shut for maintenance - the diversion gave me a different route over the top which made a nice change from the usual Col du Bonhomme route. 

Thanks for the input especially Alan h, I think paying 13 euro's with hindsight would have been very sensible and going through Strasbourg.

As a matter of interest what is the difference going through epinal instead of colmar? Is it less mountainous?

Route through EpinalHave done it many times [until we found the Colmar option]We think Colmar route is easier.  Its a beautiful drive over the mountains on the Epinal route, but the approach to Mulhouse is a long drag through built up areas/villages, and is relatively slow, and pretty boring.I think there are more overtaking oppportunities on the Colmar option, and there seem to be less trucks than on the Epinal route

Winter Tyres, I have never used them on the route.  The roads are 'always' kept clear of snow.Winter tyres are not a legal requirement, but they are 'recommended'. From Swiss Federal website;- in SwitzerlandIt is not mandatory but highly recommended to equip your car with winter tires between November and April. Your liability might increase should you be involved in a snow induced accident with a car not equipped with winter tires.However, if you drive on roads where snow chains are required, you have to mount chains on at least two driven wheels, even if your car has an active four-wheel drive.You are allowed to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tons with spikes between November 1 and April 30. Your car will require a sticker on the back indicating that you are using tires with spikes. The maximum speed for cars with spikes is 50 km on main roads and 80 km/h on national highway. You are not allowed to drive on highways (exceptions: Thusis – San Bernadino Tunnel – Mesocco, Göschenen – Gotthard Tunnel – Airolo).Alan