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Driving Info

Driving to Spain from the UKDriving from the French borderDriving from MadridDriving in Spain
Recommended routes from the UK
New toll free motorways have opened up in France and Spain that now allow a fast route down to the Costa Blanca
We have found a most scenic route by car, that saves £94 per person when 4 travel, or £58 when just 2, over fly/drive. Calais to Costa Blanca, via Rouen-Tours-Poitiers-Angouleme- Bordeaux-Bayonne-into Spain-San Sebastian-Pamplona-Zaragoza-Teruel-Valencia and finally to Denia to Calpe.
Click here to go to the Google Maps page, then under 'Show Options' choose 'Avoid tolls' then 'Get Directions'.
Excellent new/clean hotels near all towns that are under 40€ for up to 3 persons inclusive - More Info.

Option 1
1 night stopover

Via San Sebastian
Ferry
return
Fuel
return
Tolls
return
Hotel
return
Total
return
Cost
per
person
Flight cost +
car hire 2 wks
per person
Distance
One way
miles
Duration
One way
Non stop
2 person£85£220£93£73£471£236£2931054 21 hrs
4 person£85£220£93£146£544£136£230105421 hrs
Option 1
2 night stopover  
2 person£85£220£93£146£544£272£293105421 hrs
4 person£85£220£93£290£688£172£230105421 hrs
Option 2
1 night stopover

Via Perpignon
2 person£85£220£216£73£594£297£2931130 15.45 hrs
4 person£85£220£216£146£667£166£230113015.45 hrs
Option 2
two night stopover  
2 person£85£220£216£146£667£333£293113015.45 hrs
4 person£85£220£216£290£811£202£230113015.45 hrs
Option 3
2 night stopover

Via Perpignon
2 person£85£220£0£146£451£225£2931044 24 hrs
4 person£85£220£0£290£595£149£230104424 hrs
Option 4
1 night stopover

Via San Sebastian 
2 person inc cabin£340£212£185£73£810£405£29396015 hrs
4 person inc cabin£340£212£185£146£883£220£23096015 hrs

Option 1 Calais to Costa Blanca, via San Sebastian. Mostly all toll free motorway. This option was tried in Feb 2010 with 17 hrs travel time, non stop. Again on 11th July took just 16 hours. Leaving Moraira at 6am arrive north of Tours at 6pm then only 4 hours to Calais. Total 16 hours including stops and an odd mistake.
Option 2 Calais to Costa Blanca, via Perpignon, with tolls: Mostly all motorway.
Option 3 Calais to Costa Blanca, via Perpignon, without tolls.
Option 4 Portsmouth - Le Havre crossing through France to Costa Blanca, via Bilbao road route through into Spain with tolls.
The overnight sleep on the ship allows you to arrive midway in France, so you are fresh for the days journey ahead.
Overnight on ship 8 hrs, though return is 5.5 hrs, so no cabin required on return, via Bilbao road route, with tolls.
Compare to fly/drive cost; Cost for 4 flights at £600 (4x£150 return) plus car hire (5 door) for 2 weeks £320 = £920 or £230 per person excluding fuel and food. Cost for 2 persons fly/drive £586 (3 door car) = £293 per person, excluding fuel and food cost.
Go between 1st October and end of June in any year and take 10 days in a villa, since you can arrive any day and leave any day and allow 4 to for travelling.

Notes
Rate at 1.10€ to the £; Timed distance based upon legal motorway speeds; No allowance for stops; No food included; No allowance given for breakdown cover or insurance; Diesel fuel prices used, based on calculation large Sudan type vehicle. Petrol is much more expensive than diesel in France, though not so in Spain; No allowance for maintenance cost of car, as you will add about 2,500 miles to the clock;
Benefit is having own car and comfort, rather than a smaller hire car.
Tips
Ideal to have 2 drivers; Swap driver every 2–3 hours for safety; Stay 2 nights on route if stopping off, for which costs are included in calculation of 40€ pn.
Go to AUTOROUTES for routes, timings, distance, fuel consumption etc. Also see below for more tips.

1) FRANCE/SPAIN motorway route Dover - Calais - Moraira
Calais - Reims - Dijon - Lyon - Montpelier - border - Barcelona - Tarragona - Valencia - Moraira
(Total motorway route bypassing all towns & cities)
Fast, direct and simple, but costly, motorway (toll) route to take if you want to go straight to the villa. Takes 17 hours (1,154 miles) and would recommend that you stop overnight at the mid-way point of Lyon (East) to refresh and enjoy the journey (see 'Overnight Stops' below).
Dover-Calais 20 minutes on Shuttle, 2½ hrs on ferry.
Calais-Lyon 7 hrs, Lyon-Border 4½ hrs, Border-Moraira 5½ hrs.
This allows channel crossing and travel on the first day, then a day's travel on the second to arrive at the villa by 6pm. Tolls are about £40 in France and £30 in Spain.
A lot of monotonous motorway traveling, and costly due to the tolls, but it is the best route if you want the shortest channel crossing and the simplest, sign-posted, mostly traffic-free, motorway route down to the villa.
2) FRANCE/SPAIN minimal motorway/mainly A-roads route Dover - Calais - Moraira
Calais - Rouen - Orleans - Châteauroux - Limoges - Toulouse - Perpignan - border - Barcelona - Tarragona - Valencia - Moraira

(Direct south, mainly motorway route, some free, generally bypassing all towns & cities)
Excellent route that cuts through France with a mixture of road types, without too much fuss. Takes 17 hours (1,154 miles) and would recommend that you stop overnight at possibly Toulouse to refresh and enjoy the journey (see 'Overnight Stops' below).
Dover-Calais 20 minutes on Shuttle, 2½ hrs on ferry.
Calais-Toulouse 10 hrs, Toulouse-Moraira 7 hrs.
Best to catch a very early channel crossing and drive the bulk of the distance on the first day, allowing you to get to the villa by 6pm.
Tolls are about £20 in France and £30 in Spain.

Our favoured route as it leads directly south, as the crow flies, and uses good A-roads and many free motorway stretches, as well as the toll ones. The scenery is diverting and plenty of places to stop.
3) SPAIN ONLY mainly motorway/some A-roads route Portsmouth/Plymouth - Bilbao/Santander - Moraira
Bilbao - Gasteiz/Vitoria - Logrono - Zaragoza - Teruel - Valencia - Moraira


Bilbao - Gasteiz/Vitoria - Logrono - Zaragoza - Teruel - Valencia - Moraira
Very good, quiet, traffic-free, direct route using motorway (part tolls) and excellent free A-roads.
Firstly you have 186 miles of excellent motorway between Bilbao and Zaragoza (3 hrs) then you go around, bypassing Zaragoza, to the opposite south end, following the signs for N330 Teruel. This very good free A-road (3 hrs) takes you over the mountains and past Teruel to Valencia where you take the motorway (1 hr), direction Alicante, to Moraira.
Tolls on the motorway are about £35.

The ferry arrives early in the morning and allows you a leisurely 6-7 hours drive through Spain to arrive at the villa on time, but the drawback is the 36 hours on the boat.
4) Portsmouth - Le Havre/Caen - Moraira
Le Havre/Caen - Alencon - Le Mans - Tours - Poitiers - Angoulême - Bordeaux - Biarritz - border - San Sebastian - Pamplona - Zaragoza - Teruel - Valencia - Moraira

Very good, quiet, traffic-free, direct route using mainly, excellent, free A-roads and motorway (tolls).
A good route, especially if you are traveling from Northern Britain, as you take the overnight ferry to Le Havre or Caen, arriving very early morning, and have the whole day to drive down (about 10 hrs) to spend the night in Biarritz, or Bayonne, (see 'Overnight Stops' below) to break the journey - the route is mainly good A-roads.
The next day cross the border and take the excellent motorway up to Zaragoza then the underused N330 past Teruel and onto the motorway at Valencia to take you to Moraira (about 8 hrs).
Tolls are about (£10) in France and (£20) in Spain.

Very good route, especially if you have a long drive in the UK to get to the port, as you sail overnight and arrive very early, are mainly using very good A-roads, and seeing the beautiful countryside, thus avoiding costly tolls and boredom
Overnight stops
We use the motorway-side hotels which are perfect for the purpose and for the price of £15-£20 you get a modern, simple room with a double and single bed (sleep 3/4), with ensuite and tv, and the choice of taking breakfast at a small extra cost. They are usually situated on retail parks, with a choice from the major chains (Village Hotel, Formula 1, Premire Classe, Etap, B & B etc) very close to the motorway and with a limited choice of fast-food restaurants also there (or venture out and seek out that ideal bistro in a nearby village or town). You will usually find the large supermarket chains here (to stock up on groceries) and, most importantly, petrol stations linked to them that sell cheap petrol. Another tip when using the motorway is to, where possible, come-off the motorway and find these sites to fill-up on petrol as you will save about 20% on the motorway sites.
5) FRANCE/ANDORRA/SPAIN minimal motorway/mainly A-roads route Dover - Calais - Moraira
Calais - Rouen - Orleans - Châteauroux - Limoges - Toulouse - Andorra - Tarragona - Valencia - Moraira

(Direct south, mainly motorway route, some free, generally bypassing all towns & cities, going over the high Pyrenees at Andorra)
Excellent route that cuts through France with a mixture of road types, without too much fuss. This allows for a couple of nights' stop-off at Andorra to see this beautiful country and do some duty-free shopping whilst there. The accommodation can be at our apartment in Arinsal at a special offer discounted rate.
Full details on our
Andorra Apartment page.
Dover-Calais 20 minutes on Shuttle, 2½ hrs on ferry.
Calais-Andorra 13 hrs, Andorra-Moraira 5 hrs.
Best to catch a very early channel crossing and drive the bulk of the distance on the first day, allowing you to get to Andorra by 7pm.
Tolls are about £20 in France and £30 in Spain.

Our favoured route as it leads directly south, as the crow flies, and uses good A-roads and many free motorway stretches, as well as the toll ones. The scenery is wonderful, especially in Andorra. A great opportunity to do duty-free shopping on a wide range of goods.
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