Are you driving from the UK to Italy

chris18 Image
06/20/2015 - 09:40

Are you driving from the UK to Italy this summer?  Which route do you take and which part of Italy do you travel too? 



Hi Chris, i cant believe how quicly the time has gone since we got back last summer!Taking the toll free route Alan H has recommended on numerous occasions.I think i will take a slight detour through France this time and pay the toll and go through metz- strasbourg so as to see if this route is more time effective as opposed to going through nancy- colmar (past metz). I find the colmar route going up the mountain quite time consuming especially as we are looking to get to our destination sooner rather than later.From then on in in Italy we will travel to Calabria pretty much the whole length of Italy which will take a good 20 hours of travel. How about you when are you going this year?I head off in 5 weeks !All the bestTony

Hi Tony,Great to hear from you.  I can tell you're looking forward to your travel to Calabria - a cracking part of Italy!We usually travel Calais/Metz//Colmar staying overnight in Colmar.  We used to stay in Strasbourg but I find if we can get a little bit further south then its less driving to do the next day. We stay on the toll road all the way.  I find it more expensive but quicker, see what you think.  Personally I think the roads are in better condition too and that's not a bad thing for the tyres.  We normally arrive in Lucca early evening of the following day, just in time for a beer and pizza.We'll be travelling to Lucca at the end of July, we can't wait.   I think the holiday starts as soon as you close the car doors and turn the key to go.CheersChris

Hi Tony,How did you get on with your trip to Calabria?  Hope all went well.We travelled to Lucca on 2nd August and stayed over in Metz for one night on the way out, arriving in Lucca late on 3rd August.  We stuck to the our tried and tested route of Eurotunnel, then french motorway to Metz, then on to Colmar, through the Gottard Tunnel and down the autostrada to Milan, taking the turn for Parma and on to Lucca.  Tunnel tolls seemed to be exactly the same price as previous year.   I think the weather from Kent right through to Lucca was the hottest we've experienced since driving to Italy.  

Hi Chris, good to hear from you! Our trip to Calabria seems like a distant memory now but we are starting to plan for next year now and can't wait to get back. We followed the same route as you but as we left and went over a weekend we experienced a horrendous amount of traffic at the St Gottard tunnel, I suppose its to be expected in the peak of summer. Journey was fine otherwise, we left the UK on a Friday evening on the eurotunnel and got to Calabria midday on Sunday 1700 miles later! On the whole we had a great time but experienced some freak weather as on a few days a tornado hit southern Italy with lots of flooding. When are you heading back, we have booked to go next August now and I am counting down the months!!

Hi there. Anyone travelling to Italy from the UK this summer?  We're heading to Lucca in July.  We''ll probably take our usual route of Calais-Colmar, Colmar- Lucca (via the San Gottardo tunnel), but are considering Calais- Geneva, Geneva- Lucca (via Mont Blanc tunnel) in the hope its a bit quicker.Have'nt driven since 2015 so i'd be pleased to hear from anyone who has driven either of the above routes recently. Any feedback much appreciated.

Hi. Chris ! Hope you are well. This will be my 5th year of travelling to the south of Italy by car. My preferred options since 2 years ago is to go through Strasbourg and pay the toll and keep to the motorway and avoid driving over the mountains. This route is slightly longer but as it's all motorway I think it saves time. My biggest bug bear with going through the gottard tunnel is that I always seem to get stuck in hours of traffic as I normally get there mid afternoon the next day and I find it very frustrating!  Funny enough I leave next Friday and will be spending 3 weeks in Italy I truely enjoy the trip and the time down there and get looks of amazement when locals hear I have driven 1750 miles to the very tip of the toe of Italy. i purchased a BMW 5 series last year and found that very comfortable for such a long trip.  Hope you are well? When do you leave? What car do you use for trip? great to hear you post again ! all the best and safe trip Tony 

Hi Tony - great to hear from you.  What a speedy response!  You and I have exchanged a few posts on this forum over the years, and as I tapped in the last letter of my latest post I thought to myself i wonder of Tony S is still around this forum!Like you, i've headed to Strasbourg and through the Gottard tunnel each time we've driven.  I think some of the swiss service stations are worth a stop - the one at San Gottardo Sud would be worthy of a holiday in its own right given its beautiful setting. Driving through the Bellinzona area in the sun and on towards Milan, marvellous. Some of the views around Lake Como are breathtaking. I hope you enjoy your trip. 20 hours in a BMW series 5 sounds like a treat to me.  That's a superb car.  We are well thank you and hope you are too?, We leave a week on Wednesday in our diesel Range Rover, and I have to say its a pleasure to undertake the journey.  Each year we drive we'd love to stop off on the way and see a bit more of Europe, but the truth is each time we set off we simply can't wait to get to Italy.  What a country. Safe trip to you and yours too Tony!

"........... but are considering Calais- Geneva, Geneva- Lucca (via Mont Blanc tunnel) in the hope its a bit quicker."I wouldn't do that route.Last month I did Calais to Italy via Lausanne  and the Simplon Pass - absolute doddle and whilst slightly longer than via the Mont Blanc Tunnel, a fair bit cheaper [no charge for the Simplon] with a fantastic 'break point' on the top of the pass - great views and a couple of bars that do basic foodI do this route for a couple of reasons - saves the potential queue for Gotthard Tunnel, cheaper than Mont Blanc option - which is quicker, but more expensive, and a lot more Dog friendly - he loves the walk on the top of the Simplon PassGood luck

Thanks Alan,I've just checked the map and see what you are saying. No Gottard queue, no Mont Blanc expense.     Calais-- Lausanne then over the Simplon Pass into Italy.We take two dogs so it could be a good route for us too.Thank you 

In reply to by chris18

Travelling with DogsChris - we are retired, so we limit the daily drive to about 4 - 4.5 hours a day, as we find that minimises the stress of travelling for our poochWe go away for 4 weeks, spending 3 overnight stays on the way to and from northern Italy [lake Orta area].  This gives us 3 weeks at the house.--------------If you are looking for a dog friendly hotel about 90 minutes from Calais [we use the Shuttle, as the dog stays with us in the car, and it only takes about 45 minutes max], I can wholeheartedly recommend the Hotel De La Paix in Bapaume, which has 3 ground floor bedrooms that are ideal for travellers with dogs. It also allows dogs in their restaurant, and breakfast room.  We usually dine on the terrace, so seldom use the restaurant, but useful when it rains.  Adjacent to the hotel is a park where the dog can be walked.  We've stayed there about 4 times now - really good and friendly staff [family run] who speak english   

Hello We're off to Lucca by car from the UK in July and are thoroughly looking forward to it.Is anyone else driving out to Italy this summer? If so which route do you take?   Any experiences/travel tips you care to share are much appreciated 

Hi, i go from calais down and through mont blanc, then to udinese, pricey because of the tolls and the tunnel especially but was hassle free and the only queue was the tunnel, id be open to other suggestions that are nt as expensive if anyone has any tips

Hi StuFrom Eurotunnel Calais we drive to Troyes, and stay overnight - good restaurants and medieval centre.Next day we we drive through the Montblanc Tunnel and then on to Lucca. I agree with you, that tunnel is pricey at €45.60 per crossing, but way less traffic volume and delays, at least that's been our experience.  An alternative is the Gottard Tunnel, which we've used in the past. You pay for a swiss vignette which is 40CHF (about €36.50) when you enter Switzerland, but it lasts a full 12 months, so if you're making more than one trip a year (?) it's even better value for money than €45.60 for one trip through the Montblanc, and of course with the vignette no additional toll costs in Switzerland, so if any of your other motoring could be done in Switzerland you're potentially avoiding road tolls elsewhere. If you aimed to travel via the Gottard tunnel you might travel from Calais through belgium, through Luxembourg and  back in to France before entering Switzerland.  If you do, refuelling in Luxembourg is much cheaper than anywhere else on that route.  Enjoy your trip and when you come back drop us all a note as to how it went!

Have not seen any responses to this topic for a few years but know many of you still do the trip. Chris who originally started this topic, wondering if you are still around this forum?! Would be great to hear about any recent road tripping journeys to Italy from you fellow members ….. 

There are still a fair few of us driving to Italy. I have two main routes depending on the time of the year so that I see different things. I drive from the Midlands to Tuscany and allow 2 nights, though that always feels a bit of struggle for the return trip, perhaps age, end of holiday blues but also because I tend to stop near Sangatte to make the last UK leg easier. Always use the tunnel to save time which is better spent enjoying France. My summer route is Reims/Laon/Troyes, Gray/Langres/Besancon then Gran San Bernard pass, Pisa. Apart from dash to Reims, I avoid French motorways. The Winter route is one that others use so Reims, Colmar, then via Gottard, Pisa. I am curious to try the Simplon pass route. In the past I have done Reims, Annecy, via Petit San Bernard or Mont Cenis for a change. I rarely see a UK car on my Summer route yet it is the original Roman route that follows the via Frangicena. France is such a nice country to enjoy by car and nice to then have a car in Italy.

Thanks for posting Tony! I’ve just booked up to head back to Italy this summer. 

Was looking at eurotunnel vs ferry costing and have paid £336 return for 3 passengers and a dog to leave towards the end of July.

DFDS was the cheaper option at £219 but after about 40 minutes on the ferry and exhausting the duty free shopping tour I tend to wish Id gone on the tunnel instead and about ready to hit the French autoroutes.

You obviously get stung for peak season travel but I find the eurotunnel fares over priced (‘my biggest gripe is a + £44 return charge for taking your dog who just sits in the car anyway. 

I used to take ferries years ago when myself and family were young and I could easily cope with a longer driving day. Once I started using the tunnel I found I could mitigate part of the cost by booking early and you could triple the value of Tesco coupons so £10 became £30, it has since reduced to double value. I now avoid school holidays so that helps. I just find that too much time is lost with ferries and there is less flexibility. I think there is value in being able to use time saved to drive deeper into France or arrive somewhere early enough and fresh enough to enjoy it. My man maths tells me to spend on a quicker crossing and save on French tolls and enjoy those lovely N roads e en though some still have the silly 80kph limits and not returned to 90 kph. Just back yesterday from a flying visit to Italy and I did miss the drive but driving a a few weeks. Its the most expensive way to travel and the return trip always feels uphill but you see so much.

Totally agree with your sentiments that the ferry takes too long. In all honesty I’ve avoided the eurotunnel for a few years now just on the basis of the cost but this year I’ve taken your view that the time saving makes the extra cost incurred negligible.

We have a 1500 mile journey to southern calabria. It’s one heck of a road trip but we make the journey a holiday in itself. Stopping in Switzerland has become a real treat and it’s something we continue to look forward to before we navigate the full length of Italy. 

Massive respect to you driving to Calabria. For over a decade, I used to have a place near Benevento east of Naples. Southern Italy has a timeless beauty of times past before mass tourism, plus spectacular scenery and generally better value but I got fed up with the mainly motorway drive taking a extra day from Tuscany and the place wasn't well connected with bus and train for quick breaks so we changed to near Pisa where I also have links. Passed through Calabria on the sleeper train to Palermo and the region is still under-rated.

Yes it’s certainly not a drive for the faint hearted, last summer the temperature was around 40 degrees whilst we was heading deep into southern Calabria was very draining and the lack of shade at the service stations meant you had no respite from the constant heat. 

I’ve found southern Calabria to have very little tourism. The beaches we visit could be moved to the a  tropical desert island and you wouldn’t know you are in fact still in Europe but they are empty, it only seems to be the odd German or Dutch family that knows what untapped beauty Calabria has to offer! Personally we like the fact it’s not overpopulated with tourists it makes it a more relaxed and laid back experience and atmosphere. 

Swiss service stations are a holiday in their own right, we stopped off at San Gottardo Sud last summer and the surrounding were breathtaking