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Driving to Tuscany/Florence

(9 Posts)
Fleurdelise Mon 13-Feb-17 11:16:30

Hi all! Has anybody driven from London to Florence? We love driving holidays and drove to Spain a couple of years ago stopping over night in France. It worked really well.

This year we found a place we like about 30 min outside Florence and we'd like to drive again. DH thinks it is longer and we would need to stop twice overnight.

Has anybody done it? Where did you stop? Any other advice of places to visit in Tuscany (besides the obvious). Is there a train from Florence to Venice to go for the day?

Any advice would be great! Thank you!

mistermagpie Mon 13-Feb-17 11:32:16

We did it! Actually we drove from Glasgow, so even further than you, although we stopped a few places on route because that was part of the holiday. What we did was set off early and drive all the way to the eurostar (took about 10 hours), got the eurostar and then spend the night at the ibis in calais. Next day we drove some more and stayed in Metz for a night (can't remember why), then we drove to Lake Garda and stayed there and then we drove to Tuscany for the rest of the holiday.

The way back was simpler, we just drove straight from Tuscany to Metz (again, can't remember why we picked there!) which took about ten hours. Stayed there a night then drove back to Calais. stayed at the Ibis again and then got an early Eurostar the next morning and drove back to Glasgow.

Its certainly doable, but you do have to like a road trip (we love them) and you have to factor in that it will take you longer than you think, what with traffic/toilet stops/etc etc. Getting through Switzerland on the way back was a pain due to traffic but it is very beautiful. We factored in time in France to get wine etc before we came back and even spent an afternoon in Dunkirk. It was a fabulous trip but some of the longer driving days were tough on DH because he did all the driving. I would plan to stop overnight twice because we were coming from further away, but you could do it with one stop. It's probably more 'fun' with two stops though.

In Tuscany we stayed in San Gigniamo ( might have spelled that wrong!) which is well worth a visit, you can get a bus from there to Poggibonsi (again, sorry about the spelling) and a train to Florence. Florence is doable in a day to be honest, two at the most, it;'s much more compact than Rome for instance. Beautiful though. The whole place is beautiful to be honest, you'll have a great time.

namechangedtoday15 Mon 13-Feb-17 12:54:17

Would you consider fly drive? Last year I got really cheap flights to Milan Bergamo (Easyjet or Ryanair, can't remember which) and then we hired a car and did Lake Garda, Bologna/north of Tuscany and then Venice. We did consider driving (we're in the North West) and priced it up, and for the cost of travel / stops / tolls plus additional cost insurance / breakdown recovery for our own car, it wasn't much different to fly and hire a car.

namechangedtoday15 Mon 13-Feb-17 12:54:51

P.S. We're doing the same this year but spending it all exploring Tuscany.

Fleurdelise Mon 13-Feb-17 13:23:15

Thank you both! We're driving because we love driving holidays not because of cost. We tend to do a flying holiday one year and a driving one the next, last year we flew so now driving time. smile Driving to various places such as South of France, Spain several times when the kids were little made us realise how much nicer it was for our family dynamics to drive than fly. We usually research attractions on the way and stop whenever with the kids based on their needs. We also have amazing memories and the kids laugh about it (such as being lost in the middle of a French massive wood at night when our gps decided to take an off road "shortcut").

Kids are now older (16 and 10 by the summer) and also love the comfort of our car and stopping in random places.

It sounds doable then based on your feedback, I guess we just need to decide if we stretch it over 3 days to get there. Any recommended attractions on the way?

honeyroar Wed 15-Feb-17 01:44:08

I lived in Lucca for a year (decades ago). My parents drove me home, we stopped one night in the lakes, another in Brugges, and got the ferry back to Hull (we live in Manchester). It was a lovely drive and they were nice places to stay.

namechangingagainagain Thu 16-Feb-17 22:21:18

We like driving holidays too!
We've done Italy twice both times to near Venice with 4 children under 12.
First time was venice for a week... We shared driving and went straight through over Gotthard pass.... I think 16 hours straight ish in car. Started at midnight in Calais and did3 hour shifts. We both work nights and so it was no great hardship. Did the boring French bit in dark. Arrived in Venice in afternoon. iPads and dvd's in car. Was great fun an we got to see the Alps.

Last year we went slow time staying in Holland (overnight ferry) a few nights in Bavaria and then over the Alps in search of sunshine when our tent collapsed in the rain. We visited Verona too and on the way back a few nights airbnb in Bergamo and stopped near Metz to break journey up. Best holiday ever!

This year we're doing a fly holiday to Rome and the amalfi coast. I've already booked some train tickets. If you wanted to do a trip from Florence have a look at www.seat61.Com. Italian trains seem to be fast and cheap if you book in advance.

I also fancy a 2 week trip in the summer down to Spain. I'd be really interested in any road trip itineraries heading in that direction!

Oldieandgoldie Thu 16-Feb-17 22:27:06

From Glasgow definitely look at the Hull-Xeebrugge ferry.

thewalrus Tue 21-Feb-17 20:40:30

We've driven to Florence, but from the south west, so ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff. That was doable in 2 very long days (our car broke down and we got stuck in Italy for a week longer than planned before having to dash back). So I think you could do London to Florence in 2 days (stopping around Annecy or Lyon depending on your route?), but it'd be much nicer to split it into 3 driving days, which would also give you more flexibility about where to stop.
Driving-wise, much of the driving in France is easy. The bits across the Alps if you go that way, or around Genoa whichever way you go, are the type of driving you need your wits about you for - I might not want to do those bits on not a lot of sleep! Services on the Italian motorways, especially in the north, are relatively sparse - we drove for a long time looking for food in the evening!

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