Driving holiday from UK to Rome over new year - advice please!(13 Posts)
Planning on taking 5 adults and 8yo DS in 2 cars on 8-10 day driving holiday to Rome over new year.
We have a friend in Torino and we'll stay with him for a 1-2 nights. We've never been to Italy before.
Does anyone have any advice on places to stay/see over the trip?
The idea of driving in congested Italian cities is a worry. Should we plan to stay on the outskirts of Rome but with good public transport links or should we aim for something more central?
Any advice much appreciated!
No, I would not drive. I would fly to Italy or use trains instead rather than take the car.
This is a good website as well that you would do well to read because you will not be able to park in many areas of Rome (due to their proliferation of ZTL's (Zona a Traffico Limitato) :-
Be prepared for traffic jams around the alps and in the tunnels. Massive, massive traffic jams.
I think that we're pretty fixed on driving. From the sounds of it we should get parking or a hotel on the outskirts of the city.
What advice for the must see items?
Once we're in Italy any suggestions on where to stay?
Just check the winter requirements for your car for the countries you'll go through.... depends on your route of course but for example.....
will you need winter tyres (germany and prob switzerland)
toll prices (switzerland you need a prepaid sticker for your car to use motorways) (france - is it worth getting the gadget to use the automatic toll lanes?)
Where are you leaving from in the UK? It's a long way to Turin from the coast - how do you plan to break the journey? What weather precautions have you looked at?
Perfectly doable if you're planned and prepared - have a great time!
I wouldn't usually contradict someone when you have said you are pretty set on something but driving really isn't a good idea in my opinion. I live in Italy, just south of Rome and regularly drive to Cannes, south of France, and in the summer to the French Alps and Switzerland (a lot less then you are planning). viamichelin.com says London to Rome via Torino is 25 hours driving - that is without any hold ups, problems etc. So that will be an absolute minimum of 50 hours in the car over 8-10 days - more if you are coming from further north in the UK.
You will probably need at least 2 stops before Turin, then say 2 nights with your friend, then say two nights in Rome, before at least 2 nights on the way back. That is your 8 nights gone with only 2 days spent when you are not in the car on a long trip - you will probably be spending at least 6 or 7 hours in the car on each of those days, quite likely more.
Motorways in Italy, especially in the mountains, the stretch along the coast through Genova, and a lot of Tuscany are mostly two lane, with many tunnels - very scenic but a nightmare driving when it is busy (which is most of the time, they are full of lorries) and possibly in bad weather. You will also probably be driving in the dark some of the way. A car in most Italian cities is a liability - I live 20km from Rome and never go there in the car (and I am allowed to drive in any part of the city). If you do stray into a limited traffic zone, even for a minute (and they have them in other cities as well), the fine will be about 80 euros.
We drove to Cannes last week, due to bad weather, parts of the motorway being closed and other delays it took us 10 hours each way - a bit more than usual but not that unusual. We stopped 3 times going there and back but only for 15 minutes each time. If you are planning to go through the Mont Blanc tunnel you can expect a delay of 1 or 2 hours even on a not particularly busy day if you can't plan to get there at about 6am. You are probably looking at about 60 hours in the car over the 8 days without any significant delays - which are not that unusual. Worse case you could get stuck somewhere - the weather in the north of Italy has been horrendous the last few weeks, floods and landslides everywhere.
If you do go, it will cost you around 450 euro each way (from viamichelin), plus the cost of hotels, petrol here in Italy is very expensive. You will need to change to winter tyres and carry snow chains, that is just for Italy.
Sorry this has been so long and very negative, but seriously, take the plane - no way would I attempt that trip over 8-10 days in winter, with an 8 year old, and two cars trying to keep track of each other. Yes, you can do a lot with good planning but you can't make the distance any shorter and you can't make the roads better, and you can't move the mountains.
Sorry - to add on a bit more positive note - you can fly from London to Turin in 2 and half hours, then direct train to Rome in 4 hours. You can then sit back and enjoy the scenery and have a good few days in each place to enjoy Italy. Apologies for referring to London all the time if you are not from there, it is just a convenient point of reference.
Why on earth do you want to drive? It sounds like more of an endurance test than a holiday.
I have a friend who takes the car on skiing holidays every Christmas. They put the car on the train for most of the way because the driving is so awful. The queues to get out of the mountains coming home are dreadful.
I don't think it's a good idea. Driving holidays are best done in the summer: there's more light, no chance of snow, and it's much quieter in the Alps. Am I right in thinking that your plan is 6 days driving, and 2 in Turin? Frankly, it sounds horrific.
Thanks to everyone for their advice.
I was thinking of something like:
Overnight en route (somewhere interesting)
Overnight en route
Overnight en route
The idea was to make the driving a part of the trip and see some interesting places.
It's actually 6 adults plus 8-year old. Flights would work out at around 1550 (as opposed to about 1000 for driving) but one guest is Chinese and has set her visa to enter Europe in France as we've planned the driving - so flying into Italy may not work.
But based on the feedback above I'm now thinking maybe we skip Italy entirely and visit Paris and another part of France.
Any recommendations for somewhere in France to rent a place for a few days that could be enjoyed whatever the weather?
You could make Turin the furthest that you travel, rather than Rome, and spend more time on the way there. I like the Champagne region in France as a place to stay on the way.
Bear in mind it will be quite cold. And do check the tyre requirements for Italy - we usually swap tyres every six months, ie, winter tyres for winter.
If you do drive try to go through Luxembourg and fill up on fuel, cheapest in Europe.
I didn't find Turin so wildly interesting, you'd be better off staying in France if you are set on driving. You could go to Chamonix or Annecy if you want Mountains. I drove all over Italy in the summer in a camper van and I second what others have said: motorways not great, high toll costs, madly expensive fuel, long driving hours; your schedule is completely unrealistic. France however has great motorways and is generally reasonably priced. You could visit Paris and the Loire valley, or any number of other places.
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