Drive from London to Southern Spain-anyone done it, what are my options?

Hi all,

We're going to go and visit some relatives of mine who live in Southern Spain (not far from Malage airport) and It will be me, SWMBO and my 12 year old Son (who gets bored quickly!) and I suddenly started to wonder about driving down there.

Now, although I have driven abroad (US & Europe) many times over the years, I've never done a "door to door" journey like this.

I looked at taking the ferry over to Santander (from Plymouth) but I don't fancy 24 hours on a boat, so I'm thinking of driving to Folkstone, getting a Eurotunnel train to Calais and then driving down from Calais to Spain.

According to distance-calculator.co.uk it is 1044 miles from Calais to our destination and at 70 mph this should take..... 15 hours. :eek:

I can't decide between:

  • Booking a hotel in Folkstone for night before the tunnel journey. Get a horribly early (4am ish) train to Calais that arives circa 6am and then ploughing on with the rest of the journey, arriving at our destination in Spain at about 9pm.
  • Drive to Folkstone and get a later train (1pm ish) that arrives at Calais at about 3pm. Drive at least half of the journey until say 9/10pm, find somewhere to spend the night to break up the journey and then carry on with the rest of journey (6 or 7 hours depending on previous day's motoring) the next morning, arriving I would guess early afternoon.

Costs:

The flights (Easyjet) work out to circa £670 return (including luggage costs and Speedy Boarding).

The tunnel journeys are about £71 each way for the car and the 3 passengers and then I've factored in about £250 each way for fuel (so roughly £640).

I'm thinking although the car would obviously take longer, but we would get to see things and places on the way that we wouldn't by plane and it would just be a bit of a "different" experience.

Being a total n00b at this, is there anything I haven't factored in that would make a difference?

Have I over/understimated the driving time, is distance-calculator right in it's 15 hour estimation, etc etc.

All suggestions/advice welcome.

Cheers. :thumbsup:
 

Toko Black

In Memoriam
I'd split it so you do an overnighter in mid to southern France.
There are plenty of basic but reasonable motorway hotels like Formula 1.
The journey isn't that bad once you get on the autoroutes.

The food on the road in France and Spain is a hell of a lot nicer that the UK equivalents and you will see some amazing scenary. Especially nice to get off the main route and stop at a local restuarant, where it will usually be cheap, cheerful and tasty.

Never done the south of spain, but driven to the south of france and catalunia a fair bit as my father used to live in near the French border.

The roads tend to be a lot better than here in terms of conjestion and general maintainance.

Take a look at the train costs as well. Trains are cheap in Spain and I think they are cheaper in France as well.

Just don't forget about Tolls - could be upto 70 Euros to get through France.
 
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monkeyleader

Active Member
We did the train last year to Northern Spain ...

EuroStar then TGV .... took about 10 hours overall .. very relaxing way to travel IMO ...

Edit - pretty sure the train we were on was going onto Barcelona, Madrid and then turning for the South ..
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
I doubt you will do 1044 miles in 15hrs at an AVERAGE of 70mph.

You would need to be doing 90+ a lot of the time to get a 70mph average.At that speed you won't get much chance to see any sights.

Slow down stop off at a few places and take a couple of days too get there it will be so much nicer than driving like a mad man for 15hrs non stop.:D
 

Vitalija

Well-known Member
I would make sure I had a satnav that covered Europe. Apart from that, go for it, a far more interesting journey than flying. I would take my time and do it over 3 days.
 
I would make sure I had a satnav that covered Europe. Apart from that, go for it, a far more interesting journey than flying. I would take my time and do it over 3 days.

Yes I should have said that a satnav will be a given. :smashin:

@monkeyleader - i like the sound of that, I'm going to take a look into that now.

Thanks to everyone that has replied, keep 'em coming! :thumbsup:
 
We did the train last year to Northern Spain ...

EuroStar then TGV .... took about 10 hours overall .. very relaxing way to travel IMO ...

Edit - pretty sure the train we were on was going onto Barcelona, Madrid and then turning for the South ..

Thanks, was your initial journey on Eurostar to Perpignan?
 

monkeyleader

Active Member
Thanks, was your initial journey on Eurostar to Perpignan?

Nope ... just into Paris, then a quick hope on the RER across Paris to catch the TGV ... we changed trains just after the French / Spanish Border ....

As i say - very relaxing, scenery very nice, take some grub on, grab a beer ... we got to our hotel around 7pm, quick shower and were out by 9pm for something to eat - didn't feel too bad despite the travel ...
 
Nope ... just into Paris, then a quick hope on the RER across Paris to catch the TGV ... we changed trains just after the French / Spanish Border ....

As i say - very relaxing, scenery very nice, take some grub on, grab a beer ... we got to our hotel around 7pm, quick shower and were out by 9pm for something to eat - didn't feel too bad despite the travel ...

Ah-did you take the car on the train?
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Last year I drove from Sussex to Perpignan using Le Tunnel to get into France.

We split the journey at Clermont-Ferrand. Even with the split it was hard going with about 8 hours solid driving each day (and 4 days of the holiday were taken up with driving).

We used the toll roads as much as possible and have always thought them good value in the past - but beware we had done relatively short journies before and when you do such a long one the tolls really begin to mount up - can't remember exactly but £100-£200 each way.

I'd have to conclude that it was okay but not particularly pleasant or relaxing - certainly very glad to arrive at the destination.

Your destination is that much further - so I don't think I would contemplate driving that far - if I were insistent on driving I would take the overnighter to Santandar but I know that is expensive (because I looked at it as an option for Perpignan) and you would still have loads of driving to do.

Personally, if it were me, I'd fly and pick up a hire car.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

BB3Lions

Distinguished Member
My uncle retired to Mallorca about 5 years ago and we drove his car from Manchester to Mallorca in 6hr shifts, it took including the chunnel and the speed ferry from Barcelona to Palma 23hrs door to door.

It's a really nice drive Manchester - dover - Lyon - straight down to Barcelona. We were in a rush so we were pretty ratty when we got there, i would suggest an overnight stay..

BB
 
My uncle retired to Mallorca about 5 years ago and we drove his car from Manchester to Mallorca in 6hr shifts, it took including the chunnel and the speed ferry from Barcelona to Palma 23hrs door to door.

It's a really nice drive Manchester - dover - Lyon - straight down to Barcelona. We were in a rush so we were pretty ratty when we got there, i would suggest an overnight stay..

BB

I'm thinking an overnight stay is the way to go. :thumbsup:

How does this sound:

  • Leave Folkstone at 10am.
  • Arrive in Calais at 11.30am (local time).
  • Leave Calais at 12pm local time.
  • Drive until say 8pm or so (stoppping en route as necessary) and find somewhere to stay overnight.
  • Next morning, have breakfast and set off for remainder of journey at 8am.
  • Continue driving (stoppping en route as necessary) until we arrive (3pm ish?).
 
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Just found this on Yahoo Answers....

Driving south from Calais, your fastest route would be south on the A16 motorway towards ROUEN (avoid Paris, the traffic is horrendous).
Then take the N138 to Le Mans and then the A28 motorway to Tours and the A10 to Poitiers and on to Bordeaux, then the N10 on to the spanish border.
Once in Spain take the motorway towards Bilbao, then direction Vitoria and on towards Burgos, from Burgos the N-I to Madrid, Take the M40 around Madrid, then the N-IV south to Cordoba. From there they are building a motorway towards Malaga, and there is only about a 30 km stretch still unfinished, so it is now worth the while to take. Go from Cordoba to Lucena and on to Antequera, then Málaga. From Málaga take the coast road direction towards Torremolinos. From Fuengirola you have a tollway to Marbella, Estepona and Algeciras. At Algeciras go on towards Tarifa and Vejer de la Frontera. Conil is a few kms. past Vejer.
The worst time of year to take these roads is from july 15 to august 15, because most of the northafrican immigrants residing in France and other EU countries drive home on their annual holiday. So be very careful as they are not the best of drivers, especially when they are tired after crossing most of Spain.
As to parking on your route. Always stay in service areas that are well lit and with a petrol station (not the ones that are only for picnic/rest areas). If possible one of the travellers should remain with the car, for safety purposes. (That is what my husband and I do). If you are travelling alone, try and park within view of the place you will be stopping at, and keep an eye on your vehicle while taking your refreshment . If you want to take a short siesta, do so inside the car, and lock the doors from within.
Go to the loo when you pay for your petrol at the station, and lock your vehicle before going in to pay.
Petrol is much more expensive in France than in Spain, try and calculate the amount you will need to cross France and buy just enough to cross into Spain. Then fill up as needed. The price is about 0,25€ less per litre.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
•Leave Folkstone at 10am.
•Arrive in Calais at 11.30pm (local time).

Wow - 13.5 hours on the folkstone to calais ferry - nasty ;)

Seriously though you have 8 + 7 hours driving in your schedule - don't think that is enough.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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bearman3784

Member
Driven to Southern Spain the last 2 years, and doing it again in August. Usually get the 10pm ish eurotunnel and drive through the night as no traffic all the way until somewhere like Montpellier for the night, this year we arent stopping until Barcelona though. For costs also remember to factor in toll roads in France and Spain. Even with that though i much prefer the driving experience compared to sitting cramped up on Easyjet
 
Driven to Southern Spain the last 2 years, and doing it again in August. Usually get the 10pm ish eurotunnel and drive through the night as no traffic all the way until somewhere like Montpellier for the night, this year we arent stopping until Barcelona though. For costs also remember to factor in toll roads in France and Spain. Even with that though i much prefer the driving experience compared to sitting cramped up on Easyjet

Aha-I like you style with the late night initial journey (although we will have a 12 year old with us who will be ready for bed by the time we leave home!)

What kind of costs are we likely to incur with tolls etc?
 

bearman3784

Member
Aha-I like you style with the late night initial journey (although we will have a 12 year old with us who will be ready for bed by the time we leave home!)

What kind of costs are we likely to incur with tolls etc?

if you stick to all main roads, basically the fastest most direct route they are around £80 ish iirc

if you put your route planner through here it will tell you the exact toll costs :thumbsup:
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
What routes did you take and how long did it take you?

As ever, worst part is Aberdeen to the UK ferry port...:mad:
Ferry Dover to Calais, then down the A1/A10, if I remember correctly.
If you're setting off from London, you're halfway there already (compared with me).:thumbsup:
 
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As ever, worst part is Aberdeen to the UK ferry port...:mad:
Ferry Dover to Calais, then down the A1/A10, if I remember correctly.
If you're setting off from London, you're halfway there already (compared with me).:thumbsup:

I thought about stopping overnigth at Perpignan and so I did a search via Google maps which came up with the following:

  • Calais to Perpignan=706 miles and 10.5 hours.
  • Perpignan to Malaga=758 miles and 11.5 hours.

:eek:

Now I'm presuming those are non stop driving figures, so we'd obviously have to add refuelling stops, leg stretch breaks etc, so that will make doing that even longer and bloody horrible won't it? :(
 
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FZR400RRSP

Banned
I thought about stopping overnigth at Perpignan and so I did a search via Google maps which came up with the following:

  • Calais to Perpignan=706 miles and 10.5 hours.
  • Perpignan to Malaga=758 miles and 11.5 hours.

:eek:

Now I'm presuming those are non stop driving figures, so we'd obviously have to add refuelling stops, leg stretch breaks etc, so that will make doing that even longer and bloody horrible won't it? :(

Look at the average speeds they're reckoning on though.
Pretty poor.
In reality, you should better those easily.
We just battered on until we got too tired.
We stopped overnight at an 'F1' branded hotel somewhere way down France, I forget where.

My advice would be to 'suck it and see'.
If you plan to stop somewhere, you might get there quicker than you think and wish you'd kept going.
But I admit I'm a 'get there asap' kind of guy, I hate stopping for anything other than fuel.:D
 

SanPedro

Well-known Member
My experiences...

If you have loads of time then use it to make the trip part of the holiday. Otherwise go Easyjet/Ryanair and hire a car. 20 hours driving is no fun. We did a 'roadtrip' to get to Lithuania when the ash cloud was coming down. TBH I'd rather have gone Ryanair.... but that's maybe because the scenery was dull. Driving over the Pyrenees will be much more entertaining.

I've just looked on the RAC routefinder and they reckon 20 hours Calais-Malaga. That's a lot of driving. I've done manchester to Bilbao by car and then back on the ferry. So you could consider a return trip via the ferry as there is nothing worse than contemplating a 20 hour drive just to get back home.

Make sure you get a portable DVD player or something similar to keep the young 'un entertained though....

BUT.... if I was considering the drive I reckon I'd like to spend some time in France and Spain to see some stuff on the way down and then catch the return ferry from Bilbao or Santander.
 

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