Planning a great road trip - from London to Athens by road - recommendations for campsites needed and general tips please

(30 Posts)
lisalisa Wed 10-Jun-09 11:25:39

No - i am not mad!!!! Dh and I just inspired by a fabulous trip we have just done to the Loire ( 6 hours on french soil plus ferry plus 2 hours in england to get to ferry ) which all went without a hitch. We took our 5 dcs aged between 3.5 and 12. All were great - the youngest is a particularly good traveller and probided we stop regularly for poos for our 8 yr old who has a spectacular ability to poo 3 or 4 times per journey (!) and pump 12 yr old wiht quells ( travel sickness) we reckon it would be great.

Google route is through west of france and then down through switzerland and along the lenght of italy to brindisi in the south.

From there we take a ferry to greece ( not sure where yt - any advice would be amazing on that score ) and then along the coastline to athens.

I would love some recommednations for campsites - not our own tent - we will stay in mobile homes- for campsites along that route as well as tips on timescales/rest points/things to bring/avoid and general tips.

Thanks smile

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Wed 10-Jun-09 12:37:48

Have no tips but wow! Am jealous of your courage and spirit of adventure. Is enough for me to manage to take dd (18 months) and complaining DH to Cornwall for the w/e. Will be watching thread with fascination!

DeepGoat Wed 10-Jun-09 13:18:57

bridisi is a toilet! don't stay there. you can get the boat straight to port south of athens and train in. boat also stops at corfu which would make a nice stop over.

or you could go overland via albania if you want a real adventure!

lisalisa Thu 11-Jun-09 09:52:56

deepgoat - thanks for the tip. When you say I can get boat straight to port south of athens is that still from brindisi? Is taht port igoumenista? Sorry for spelling.

Lucycat Thu 11-Jun-09 10:09:07

ooh my first thought was a red London bus and Cliff!

didn't Cliff have trouble in Albania too?

I'd ask on ukcamping as there are lots of hardcore travellers who'll ahve done that sort of trip.

Good Luck sounds fab!

lisalisa Thu 11-Jun-09 15:41:07

Not going through Albania - don't need too adventurous a time as we will have 5 kids with us.

Thanks for heads up about ukcamping - never hread of them before.

bump for afternoon crowd....

littlestarschildminding Thu 11-Jun-09 21:55:07

We did a similar trip a month across france,all round spain and back up through france last year. Me, my sis and 5 kids in a Zafira grin was FANTASTIC....bit short on luggage space...for the final leg of the journey we even had to pack things underneath the seats lmao!!

Obv rubbish reply as no tips for you as nowhere near where you are going...but just wanted to say go for it..you will have a ball.

jkklpu Thu 11-Jun-09 21:56:54

Have a wonderful time and make sure you get decent travel insurance, EHIC cards for everyone, have enough cash, copies of your passports, etc. etc.

Ivykaty44 Thu 11-Jun-09 23:01:57

set off early to srive when it is cooler, that way you can get a few miles in and stop around midday for a rest.

From Calais - head north and go across Belgium, Lux and then head towards Mulhouse. This way you do not have to use payage (they add up for a small fortune -from calais to Barcelona is £140 on payage) and you get to use good moterways and far cheaper petrol - with only slightly more miles (not ovr 100 more)

Make copies of your ccards aswell

Dont forget Swiss - dont do euro!! they have swiss franc and will most of the time take euro but not always....

lisalisa Thu 11-Jun-09 23:19:39

ooh thanks - some nice tips there ivykaty44 - had completely forgotton teh swiss dont do euros. What is payage? Do you mean toll roads?

Ivykaty44 Thu 11-Jun-09 23:23:03

yes the french call it payarge (sp) and it can add up - there petrol prices are more expensive than here - thus the using the belgium and lux routes as Lux is really the cheapest in eu and belgium cheaper than france

lisalisa Thu 11-Jun-09 23:25:57

Hmmm - I wanted to go down through switzerland then Italy - can i do this by going via belgium and lux and then south or does this bugger it all up?

Ivykaty44 Thu 11-Jun-09 23:42:08

Yes you still do - you get to lux and turn south towards mulhouse - which is in eastern france and on the way down to swixx

I will go and google map it and be back

Ivykaty44 Thu 11-Jun-09 23:43:47

this shows A as mulhouse

You can see lux and Basel is on the edge the A in red ballon is mulhouse

Ivykaty44 Thu 11-Jun-09 23:46:16

brugge gent brussels and across to lux then down towards metz

this shows gent and brussels over then to lux and metz

Ivykaty44 Thu 11-Jun-09 23:48:30

I like the campsite pool at aosta

The campsite was ok but the mts view in the pool was fantastic

Cadmum Fri 12-Jun-09 01:23:34

Wow! Sounds fabulous and familiar... (Currently living in Switzerland and just back from Croatia camping trip having been a few times to Italy as well.)

We only have four from 3-12 but great-traveler and travel sickness are also our book-ends.

I shall look through our records and make suggestions tomorrow in the light of day so clearly I don't think you're mad. (Not that that counts for much!hmm

lisalisa Fri 12-Jun-09 09:47:17

Way hay thanks ivykaty44 and cadmum. Look forward to hearing from you cadmum on swiss campsites and tips and also on italy. How is Croatia btw? wE could have gone over the top of italy and then through slovenia, croatia and bosnia and macedonia to greece but was worried about facilities and safety in bosnia and macedonia.

lisalisa Fri 12-Jun-09 09:48:08

Lucycat - thanks for your welcome on uk camping but apart from you and one other person no-one even bothrerd to reply!

Astrophe Fri 12-Jun-09 11:37:01

Hey, we did a 4 month round trip - UK, Belgium, Luxemburg, South Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Czech, Italy, France, Spain, France and back to UK last summer. It was great - you will have such a great time.

I will try and find our diary to recomend specific campsites we liked, but will have to do that tomorrow.

Off the top of my head - Switzerland is just SO gorgeous in every way. Ignore anyone who tries to tell you its 'too expensive' - we didn't find it more expensive (apart from the fact that we chose to do some expensive activities - cog railways, cabel cars etc) - meals etc seemed the same as anywhere else.

We stayed at the Jungfrau campsite in Lauterbrunnen and it was lovely - it wasn't the cheapest site we stayed in (although also not the most expensive), and the facilities were very good - family bathrooms etc. I don't know if they have cabins, but did have tents you can hire.

There is a fab (free) mountain pass from Switzerland into Austria - we stumbled upon it and has some of the best views of the trip...I will try to find the name.

We stayed in a site we liked in Luxembourg - had a nice playground (again, I will check the name) - Right in the middle of Lux there is the most amazing playground we've even been too - it really is worth visiting - my kids spent hours there but could have spent days! And we liked the city too.

My top tip for travelling with kids (although sounds like you've already done a bit) is to plan to do very little, and expect to do even less than you plan. The travel itself is half the experience, and chilling out in a town souaking up the atmosphere is just as worthwhile as seeing 'the sights'.

I'll be back...

DeepGoat Fri 12-Jun-09 14:18:56

boat from brindisi went to Piraeus 7 miles south of athens via corfu.

we slept up on deck which is the best thing about ferries in that region.

albania isn't too crazy these days is is v. beautiful (according to dh)

lisalisa Sat 13-Jun-09 23:12:55

Oooh thanks eveyrone - getting v excited now. Can't decided whether to do route via belgium and lux or france into switzerland. For some reason belguim and lux always struck me as expensive and boring countries - apologies to any MNers who hail from there. Seems I'm about ready to stand corrected on that front there though.

Cadmum Sun 14-Jun-09 08:51:42

I really intend to come back with more concrete help but in the mean time I wanted to say that Slovenia and Croatia are beautiful but that I cannot vouch for the safety or practicalities of camping in Croatia, Bosnia or Macedonia...
There were certainly many signs warning about mines in Croatia and very few camping signs so we stayed in hotels for that part of the journey.

Cloudspotter Sat 20-Jun-09 07:41:59

Great tips here - we are doing a smaller version of this, probably going down through belguim /switzerland and back through provence / dijon.

will bear a lot of this advice in mind.

good luck lisalisa, initially i thought we were mad too, but our youngest is 3 now, and that makes a lot of difference compared to when they are younger.

i think it will be great for your kids, and i am quite envious of you having so many. I grew up in a large family, and i know how much fun you will all have!

Elenio Sat 20-Jun-09 09:35:19

You cannot take a boat to Piraeus anymore from Italy as unfortunately its not possible to pass the Corinth canal.

The best way is from Venice as the boat passes through the Venice canal and it is quite amazing! From Venice you can get the boat to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patra. Driving from Igoumenitsa to Athens takes about 7 hours and from Patra about 3. Must warn you though the road from Patra to Athens is pretty horific!!
The two boat companies that do the crossings are called Minoan or Anek if you want to take a look at there sites.

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