The Guide To A European Road Trip- Springtime


Everything you need to know about taking a road trip through France, Spain, Gibraltar, and Andorra in the Springtime.

In April 2017 we travelled from our home in Guernsey with the aim of surprising my family in the Costa Del Sol, we couldn't just do a fly and relax holiday, it had to be special.

Below is our full itinerary, how to pack your car, where to stay, how easy it is to park your car, what to pack.

Day 1 Ferry from Guernsey to St Malo via Jersey

Journey time 2 hr 30

Tolls 0

Accommodation Hotel Campanile £42. Clean, decent space. Close to town. Parking. Recommend.

Nights stayed 1

Parking St Malo has free parking in Winter and Spring months, otherwise car parks are on meters.

Recommend 1 night as a base if arriving late.

Day 2 St Malo to San Sebastian

Drive time 8 hours 767km

Tolls €40 4 tolls

Accommodation Pension Anne £46. Quirky, room only, shared bathroom. Recommend.

Nights stayed 1

Parking San Sebastian has underground car parks at a premium. Prices can be up to €20 for 24 hours. Parking on street impossible to find.

Recommend 2 nights

Day 3 San Sebastian to Gaztelugatxe to Segovia to Madrid

Drive time San Sebastian to Gaztelugatxe 1hr 40 122km, Gaztelugatxe to Segovia 4hr 10 386km, Segovia to Madrid 1hr 10 90km

Tolls €42 4 tolls

Acommodation AirBnB £59. Gorgeous loft apartment, garden and parking. Trouble with owner, hesitant to recommend

Nights stayed 1

Parking Gaztelugatxe free parking nearby. Segovia on street parking few €'s per hour. Madrid paid parking hard to come by.

Recommend 2 hours at Gazteugatxe, as long as possible in Segovia if passing through 2-6 hours, or stay 1 night, 2 nights Madrid

Day 4, 5, 6 Madrid to Seville to Ronda to Costa Del Sol

Drive time Madrid to Seville 5hr 534km, Seville to Ronda 3hr 30 237km, Ronda to Costa Del Sol 1hr 30 107km

Tolls €11 -2 tolls around Marbella only

Accommodation AirBnB £62pn. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, secure parking, swimming pool, host helpful. Recommend

Nights stayed 3

Parking Seville on street paid parking, Ronda secure car parks few €'s per hour. Costa Del Sol, back streets free, marina few €'s per hour.

Recommend 1 night in Seville, 4-8 hours Ronda, 3 nights Costa Del Sol

Day 5 Costa Del Sol to Gibraltar day trip return

Drive time 1hr 30 120km

Tolls 0 one way as took the non toll road. €6.50 on return.

Nights stayed none day trip

Parking secure parking next to border. Arrived early to guarantee space. Few €'s per hour.

Recommend 6-10 hours

Day 7 Costa Del Sol to Granada to Valencia

Drive time Costa Del Sol to Granada 1hr 40 141km, Granada to Valencia 5hr 498km

Accommodation Hotel Ilunion £50. Out of city but good metro system. Recommend

Nights stayed 1

Parking Granada space at premium, secure car parks at few €'s per hour. Valencia didn't park in city, try to avoid and take metro in.

Recommend Granada 1 night, 2 nights Valencia

Day 8 Valencia to Barcelona

Drive time 3hr 30 350km

Tolls €14 3 tolls

Accommodation Ibis Cornella £56. Out of city, but price reflects this. Secure parking. Metro station nearby.

Nights stayed 1

Parking Secure car parks at few €'s per hour. Or park away from centre and take metro in.

Recommend 2-3 nights

Day 9 Barcelona to Andorra through trip

Drive time 3hr 216km

Tolls 0

Nights stayed drove through

Parking secure parking for few €'s per hour.

Recommend 1 night

Day 9 Andorra to Bordeaux

Drive time 4hr 50 425km

Tolls €34 3 tolls

Accommodation Formula 1 £20. Parking on site

Nights stayed 1 wouldn't recommend

Parking Didn't venture into Bordeaux.

Recommend 1 night

Day 10 Bordeaux to St Malo

Drive time 5hr 538km

Tolls €26

Accommodation Premiere Class £38

Nights stayed 1 wouldn't recommend

Parking Mont Saint Michel few €'s per hour in car park on site. St Malo free parking in Spring. Meter in Summer.

Recommend 1 night including visiting Mont Saint Michel

Day 11 St Malo to Guernsey

Journey time 3hr

TOP PLACES TO VISIT

San Sebastian, Segovia, Ronda

Gibraltar, Granada, Valencia

Barcelona, Andorra, Mont Saint Michel

ORGANISING IN ADVANCE

Accommodation- +3 weeks. We used Expedia and AirBnB.

Tours- Book online for La Sagrada Familia +4weeks, Alhambra +6 weeks, Seville's Alcázar +4weeks

Transport- If hiring car look around +8 weeks before

Travel Insurance- Start insurance policy when you start booking as the insurance will cover you from then on.

HIRE CAR v OWN CAR

We have travelled around Europe a few times before and this time wanted to take our beloved Mini Cooper with us. We weighed up the liability costs of hiring a car against our own. What would be worse, causing damage to our own car or a hire car? If using own car you need to kit it out and get insurance for being abroad.

Either way if you are from UK or another right-hand drive country, you will be driving on the wrong side of the road, what is easier, being in a right hand car on right side of road or being in left hand drive in right hand side?- Really once you get in the driving seat it all becomes rather natural.

PACKING YOUR CAR

Get prepped by having your car serviced, tyres inflated, water and oil topped up and spray bug repellant on the windscreen. (You will encounter a zillion dead bugs)!

Fill the car with essentials including- In most EU countries they now require you to have an "EU driving kit" which includes alcohol breathalyser, stickers to change headlights, hazard triangle and hi viz jacket. (If stopped by the police and are required to take a breathalyser test you will use your own kit). Car parts- check spare tyre. A head-torch is always handy too.

Basic but essential items include- tissues, wet wipes, sanitiser, SatNav, a usb charger which plugs into cigarette lighter. And although sounds odd, a bath towel or two, these can be used for the intended purpose but also acts like a cover to hide all your bags and items underneath when leaving the car unattended, can also be used as a blanket on those cool early morning starts.

A good book or two a hot playlist or stack of CD's if you're like us, and sunglasses. Oh and food, snacks such as biscuits or jelly sweets and a few bottles of water.

PACKING

We like to keep everything in its right place, so we end up with several zip bags (like toiletry bags) containing everything.

A small First Aid kit- containing plasters, hay fever tablets, Rennies, paracetamol, Savalon, Immodium, deep heat and importantly sun tan lotion.

A bag for phone chargers, laptop charger, camera chargers. EU plug adapter (found easily on Amazon).

A bag for toiletries- if staying in hotels you should get some kind of shower gel/ shampoo, but razor, toothpaste, deodorant, perfume/aftershave

A bag for make up- minimal make up for me on trips as it is less time consuming.

A folder for important documents that you can keep handy including International driving licence, passport, euros

Taking your own car means no excess baggage charges at the airport so you can pack more, we had one large suitcase which was easy to zip open and closed, and a 50L backpack. We would only take one the bags out of the car at each destination, so fill both bags with a mix of clothes/ underwear. This makes it easier to carry. Half way through, have all clean clothes in one bag and other bag can now be for dirty laundry. Pack a separate bag containing shoes, this will be easy to grab what you need at each destination.

We had one rucksack which was filled with cameras, MacBook, chargers and important documents.

WHAT CLOTHES TO WEAR ON A EUROPEAN CITY/BEACH TRIP

Pack versatile clothes that you can wear more than once like shorts, cardigans, bags, shoes.

Shoes 1x comfy 1x night 1x flip flop- shoes in separate bag

I packed cute tops, practical tops, dresses, white jeans, shorts and cardigan. And one multi use bag.

Shannon packed t-shirts, shorts and chinos.

OUR STATISTICS FOR 10 DAYS

Drive time total- 4,860km 49 hrs standard, no queues, we probably could add on another 6-8 hours

Tolls total- €177

Fuel stops total- 10 at €436 cheapest Andorra 1.129 expensive Bordeaux 1.47. Ave 1.1728

Total cost accommodation- €567 (£497) We stayed in motels, hotels and AirBnB

Average food/drink €40 x 10

Ferry €323 (£283)

Travel insurance €45 (£40)

=€1,948 (£1,708)

We had 10 full days and would recommend longer, we drove up to 8 hours a day average and then left early next day. Either don't visit as many places or we would recommend 14-18 days. This guide would also work for Summertime, the prices of accommodation may be more expensive though.

Have you road tripped around France, Spain, Gibraltar and Andorra? If so, how long did you take?

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