Hi everybody Thank You for letting me join your club.
My wife and myself have just got our first motorhome and to jump in with both feet we have booked on the ferry from Newhaven
to Dieppe in May.
We are wanting to travel through France into Spain just above Barcelona,then down to Portugal.
What advice can you seasoned travelers give us to have a smooth trip.
Any help at all would be very welcome
Thanks in advance
Hi Peter and welcome,driving in Europe for first time can be daunting but research and preparation can help to make it easier and pleasant.Check on AA or RAC websites to see what you are required to carry as to vehicle paperwork and equipment,I would recommend you plan your overnight stops,depending on how far you want to drive in a day and possibly book sites in advance for your journey south,if overnighting in motorway service areas,I always park in light areas not tucked away in the corner,for security reasons,but motorhome parking Aires in towns or villages are generally more pleasant and safer as are campsites.Many motorways in France,Spain and Portugal are tolled but standard of National roads is good ,and free ,and the scenery is much better.All the areas you intend to visit are far more motorhome friendly than uk,with many designated parking spots and service points for water and waste disposal,after the first few days you'll get into the swing of things and have an enjoyable new adventure,regards Paul
First Thank You very much Paul for the prompt reply and advice.
We dont know as to how far we will travel each day so will play this by ear.
If the Aires sites are as you say more friendly and secure we shall give these a go.
The security is more of a concern to me as having heard a number of stories (you only hear the bad ones) about what could happen.
We will try to keep to the National roads where possible with me being a Yorkshire man(short arms and deep pockets)
Anyway thanks again and we shall give it a go for a good time
petecomplete do make use of the stopover info here on CM there are loads of town/village/rural Aires. Some are lovely and tempting to stay for more than a night whilst others may just be a carpark type setup but they are all great as overnight stopovers.
Personally we don't stay on motorway areas as there are just so many nearby alternatives in quieter nearby towns and villages.
no problem Peter,as Neil says there are lots of aires listed here,many of them visited by one or other of us,Motorway services anywhere are usually expensive and faceless,and some in areas of France especially,are prone to problems at night,combination of lots of old buggers like us traveling and people out to make a cheap buck! Many of the local m.home Aires in france are much nicer to stay at for a night or two,many of them free.Spain/Portugal have many stopping points even the coastal ones aren't much more than 10euros a night and plenty of campsites to choose from,all quite busy in the winter/springtime as you will find half of N.Europe's pensioners seem to have motorhome and want some winter sunshine.I'll be heading south from sunny Devon in a week or two,myself! Enjoy your journey
I don't use motorways in France for driving.
We use aires just about all the time, never felt unsafe at all.
It's lovely being in the middle of the villages or next to the beach.
The only thing you will need to get used to is how close the Europeans park but once your used to it, it's fine.
Many of them are still free but many do also charge but there are loads of them to choose from, we have stayed in places where there are 2 aires, one charging and one free in the same town!
My advice is, don't over think things, go with the flow, play it by ear and follow your gut.
If somewhere doesn't feel right move on.
About 30 mins from Dieppe there is a nice aire on the seafront at st vallery en caux and the town is lovely as is Honfleur.
Both are listed on the CM Stopovers list.
Also Gas bottles, the Europeans have different regulators and bottles, so it's worth investigation beforehand.
I have 2 different regulators.
We have just got back to Yorkshire from spending 2 months travelling in France, Spain and Portugal. We agree with what Neil & Tom1 have to say regarding the aires on CM plus we use a couple of apps on our phone for sites to use. Be careful in Portugal, the motorways are electronic tolls, cameras pick you up as you travel on them. There are 2 main motorways in/out of Portugal where you are directed to a toll booth payment machine in a service area??? Well we missed it as we had just filled up with diesel in Spain and thought it was just a service area. What we did was go to a CTT post office where you can buy toll cards then register them on line via a text (all very simple to do) then the tolls are taken from the credit you have. Apparently if you use the main toll access booths as you enter Portugal they require your credit/debit card details and they take payment through that as you pass through the tolls. If I am wrong with this info I am sure there will be someone pout there who can correct me. We were informed by several other motor homers they never bother paying the tolls in Portugal but to be truthful we didn't want to risk it as the fine is 10 times more than the toll amount you owe.
Having said all that Enjoy your trip, Spain and Portugal are lovely, Gibraltar is a good place to visit (whiskey is cheap ) We cannot wait to get ready to set off again on our travels...............
Good advise above and adding my experinces. I live in Northern France and travel extensively in France, Spain and Italy. Have been to Portugal once as well.
first thing in France is to avoid staying overnight in Motorway service areas. there are many horror stories doing the rounds but, generally, advice is to avoid this option form security aspect.
we travel via motorways if we want to get form A to B quickly. once there or if not in a hurry, take the national roads. slower but much more enjoyable and there are many aires du camping cars to choose from. One applicaiton we use extensively is Park4Night. For added security, we usually ensure there is at least on other camlping catr iparked in the aire or, if we stopover "wild", in a well lit are close to house etc.
Our experince in Portugal was very similar. last there 18 months ago and the motorway toll system is confusing; soem parts are free, some parts are via a toll booth that you apy at and some parts are electronic as YorkshireWombat described. we got hold of a map that showed the motorway network and which bits were which category and then avoided the electronic bits!
There are no replies made for this post yet. Be one of the first to reply to this post!
Please login to post a reply
You will need to be a Member and logged in to be able to post a reply. Register Here »