Ever Felt like taking a road trip to Greece?
Curious about how long it might take in a campervan, with a dog and young children in tow?
Here is our 2,836km route from Greece to the UK, plus timings, stop-overs, fuel and toll costs.
We chose the most direct and ideally cost effective route according to Google maps.
Our journey took four days of overall travel. Including 32 hours of driving and 11.5 hours on two separate ferry crossings.
We spent €298.00 and £100.00 on fuel, €267.80 on tolls, €740.00 on ferry crossings (peak season in August) and €50.00 on emergency repairs.
Total cost of travel came to £1455.80. Of course this excludes the endless snacks, food and coffee to keep us on the road!
If you are travelling with your pet it’s worth noting the 24hr travel jabs and worming at the Calais-UK border crossing are extra (around €75.00 depending on which vets you use).
Day 1: Monday, 5pm: Depart from Preveza (mainland north west coast of Greece).
Fill up fuel at preveza – €80.00 and Drive 1hr to Igoumenitsa Port. Arrived at 6pm.
Walk in and book a ferry at the ticket office. €560.00 for overnight crossing (in peak holiday season, August). Departs at 11pm. Wait the four hours before check in cooking dinner in the van, hanging out reading stories and walking the dog.
10hrs on ferry – Overnight, with four berth pet-friendly cabin and ensuite shower. Arrive in Brindisi (south east coast of Italy) at 8am, fed, watered slept and ready to drive.
Day 2: Tuesday, Full Day Driving North on the Italian Toll roads. – Brindsi to Bologna – 10hrs. 8am to 10pm.
We stopped at 10pm to make some dinner in a service station car park and used free WiFi to plan next part of route. Made use of the free camper services before moving on – water top up and toilet emptying. Found a ‘park for a night’ spot in Rubiera. It was a quiet and peaceful sports centre car park next to a cycle track and large grassy area so we could walk the dog (and children!) Upon awakening in the morning.
Paid a €55.00 toll on leaving the toll road at Bologna.
Filled up in the village cost – €128.00 (1 full tank of fuel).
Day 3 – Wednesday, Italy to France via the Alps & Mount Blanc Tunnel. Bologna (north east Italy) to Troyes (France).
After a late stop last night, we decided to allow ourselves the morning off and enjoy having a sleep-in and then getting outdoors with the family to run about and let of some much built up steam!
We set off at 10am from Bologna. Stopped in a Conad for supplies and some little presents for family at home.
Topped up fuel half tank – €60.00
Mont Blanc Tunnel. A4 to A5 road.
Aosta Toll – €40.00 (totalling €90.00 for the whole length of Italy).
Arrived at the Mount Blanc tunnel around lunch time. Due to the great new safety measures they now have in place, a controlled system operates in which vehicles are staggered to safe distances and exact speeds are monitored via cameras for your whole journey through the tunnel.
There are barriers at either end and vehicles enter on a one-in-one-out basis via manned kiosks. Therefore traffic does tend to build up at either end of the tunnel at peak times. However we were only waiting half an hour and the beauty of travelling in your campervan is that traffic jams give you an opportunity to stuck the kettle on and make a quick on the go lunch.
The toll for a campervan using the Mont Blanc tunnel: €59.80
As you leave the tunnel and descend through the stunning gorges with mountains all around you…Spot the city of Geneva, in Switzerland out the window to the right!!
As a person who doesn’t really appreciate heights or tiny hair pin mountain roads at any point in life I was amazed at how much I enjoyed our journey through the Alps. It was probably one of the best roads we have driven on our whole trip so far. The views were spectacular and the roads were large, sweeping, gentle and not one bit scary. Much of this route seems to be tunnels and then the open roads follow natural gorges for most of the journey.
Stopped in Troyes for the night, slept in the gas station car park with a few other motorhomes. After a particularly stressful part of the journey when both light bulbs died in our headlights late at night on the French motorway!! This left us driving in the dark tucked in as close as we could behind a trucker for 20km to the next service station before we could stop and buy new bulbs!!!
New bulbs at the motorway service station cost us €50.00 (moments like this often makes us romanticise about being one of those organised families that would have packed the spare bulbs for everything, that we would have previously purchased at a bargain price from Halfords or somewhere equally as sensible before leaving the UK).
After 20mins of faffing, stressing and stuffing our face with haribo (an old coping mechanism we occasionally still resort to) we decided that at 9pm at night it was probably the universe’s way of telling us to take a break, eat some food and sleep. So we pulled up, hung out in the service station play park tearing around like naughty teenagers for a bit and then called it a night.
Day 4: Thursday, France – Troyes to Calais.
Due to our super early night, we woke early and full of beans. So we grabbed a quick coffee and then set off at 5.30am.
Paid the Reims Toll – €78.00.
Paid the last toll upon leaving the main road before Calais – €35.00.
Arrived at Calais for 1pm.
Walked into ferry terminal and booked tickets for 24hrs later to get dogs travel jabs and worming done ready to leave tomorrow at 1pm. Put in €30.00 fuel.
Day 5: Friday, Homeward Stretch – Calais to Bristol.
€180.00 ferry tickets for Calais to Dover ferry crossing (90 minute crossing).
Left calais at 1.55pm.
Enjoyed stretching our legs on the ferry, sat in the soft play area hanging out with other families. At this point after a year on the road our children are amazed to suddenly be surrounded by English speaking children and go to great lengths to organise everyone into a game building bridges and space rockets. It was a magical moment to sit and take in!
Arrived in Dover at 3.15pm. Topped up with fuel – £100.
Decided to hit the M25, M3 and M4 back to Bristol. Turned out to be a big mistake as there was a 1hr delay on M25. Arrived in Bristol at 7.30pm.
It was an epic journey of changing landscapes and memorable moments.
Van travel accross Europe at this speed with a young family is completely achievable. Budget wise though, it just goes to show why we are such a fan of slow travel. If you are able to keep away from tolls and travel a few miles each week your travel budget will go a lot, lot further. Not to mention the opportunity to soak up the essence of each place and have a good chat to peoope you meet along the way.