Car journey to Tuscany

Jan 14th, 2015, 10:25 AM
  #1  
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Car journey to Tuscany

Thinking of taking family to Tuscany by car via Germany and Austria. Not sure whether to take Eurotunnel to Brussels or go by ferry from Hull to Rotterdam. Any suggestions?
Kencharlton is offline  
Jan 14th, 2015, 11:34 AM
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We really need a lot more info to give a sensible answer.

Your car or rental?

How many peple?

How much time do you have for the whole trip?

Which specific places are you planning on going?

A car makes sense if you are doing a road trip with most of the time in the countryside or small towns. Larger towns and cities often have pedestrian centers and a car can be an expensive nonsense (paying rental plus 30 euros or more per night parking for a car just sitting in a garage).

If you plan on spending a lot of time touring Tuscan hill towns a car may be great. If you want to visit Florence and do one day trip - better to travel by train.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 14th, 2015, 12:17 PM
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I'm guessing you are in the UK and you are taking your own car? Right hand drive? I've had UK friends who say they'd never again take their right hand drive car to the continent and drive on "the wrong side of the road".

Unless getting to Tuscany is part of the main point of the trip, and unless you have a LOT of time, I'd consider renting a car in Tuscany (or maybe Venice or even Milan) after flying there.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Jan 14th, 2015, 12:21 PM
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Which you choose depends on where in the UK you are really, and whether or not you want to spend a night on the ferry.
Eurotunnel goes to Calais not Brussels. You could also choose one of the short ferry routes to Calais or Dunqkirk. They are also cheaper than Eurotunnel.

I can't see it is any harder to drive a RHD car in Europe than a LHD car in Britain.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2015, 12:22 PM
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I should add that I have driven both RHD in Europe and LHD in Britain. Never had a problem with either.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2015, 01:11 PM
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"I can't see it is any harder to drive a RHD car in Europe than a LHD car in Britain."

Me either, but I don't consider that a piece of cake either! There's something about driving a car from the side nearest the edge of the road rather than from nearest the center that just seems daunting to me.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Jan 14th, 2015, 01:12 PM
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Hi Ken,

another brit here and we drive our car on the continent all the time. if you've not done it before you need to take it slowly at first and make sure that you remember which side of the road you need to drive on every morning and every time you stop/get petrol etc.

as NeoP says, driving all the way to Tuscany and back will take time. flying and hiring a car when you get there might be a better option depending on how much time you've got, how much you like driving, whether there are things you particularly want to see en route etc.

Have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 06:46 AM
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Hi, Thanks for the comments. I've driven my wife and son in Europe in our car before. My idea was to drive through Germany and Austria having a few overnight stops en route and then spending a week in Tuscany - about 14 days overall.
Kencharlton is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 07:34 AM
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" I've had UK friends who say they'd never again take their right hand drive car to the continent and drive on "the wrong side of the road"."

Yes, but when?

In practice, driving in a wrong-handed car is a problem only when overtaking on two-way roads. 40 years ago, this was a serious problem because all the roads round the Channel ports were two-way. Now they're not, the problem has practically disappeared. I'd say the comfort of keeping your own car now massively outweighs the few complications: as a general rule we never hire cars in the core Continental countries.

Motorways, generally, cover almost all the driving you're going to want to do - and have made most older roads a very great deal less busy, so there's very little need to overtake a slow lorry on a French N road any more if you fancy getting off the autoroute and pootling round.

Wrong-handedness can still be a nuisance navigating round busy towns. Answer: update your SatNav before leaving and drive as little in busy towns as possible (the Italian ZTL system makes ignoring this advice very expensive indeed).

It's also still a very serious pain on a few strategic Italian non-motorways, especially the single-digit SS roads. Lorries often use them to avoid motorway tolls, and we occasionally fall victim to the temptation to get off the motorway and drive through little towns. Except at weekends, we almost always repent within an hour or two. Our general rule of thumb: except for scenic drives, stay on the motorway. Except in France, which is the one country in core Europe with so much non-motorway road space the old roads are usually clear. That's rarely the case in Germany, Switzerland, Austria or Benelux.

However you do this, though: provincial England to Florence IS a slog - and Austria's a huge diversion. Unless there's something you really, really, want to do in Austria I'd do the Alpine stuff in the Western Alps. Rotterdam to Basle is only about half an hour longer than Calais to Basle, so if you're happy about the cost and you live near Hull, the ferry does involve less really nasty driving than the M1 and M25.

Which said, the Via Francigena (the medieval route between Canterbury and Rome) crosses a huge proportion of the great sites of European history, and I've yet to come anywhere near exhausting them. I just don't find roads round Brussels and Luxembourg anything like as romantic as the signs for the Field of the Cloth of Gold, Armentieres and Douai heading east out of Calais.

But each to his own...
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 08:58 AM
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flanneruk, I appreciate your comments about highways around port cities and the idea that "Motorways, generally, cover almost all the driving you're going to want to do. . ."

I have just one question, however. Have you ever actually spent a week touring Tuscany? I think that WAS the original intent of the OP, (even if the "wrong side drive" thing doesn't bother him).
NeoPatrick is online now  
Jan 15th, 2015, 03:12 PM
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Krn - if your idea is to see some of Germany and Austria en route to Italy why not fly and rent the car there?

Pace Flanner's comments about the interest of the pilgrim route from Canterbury to Rome, you won't have time to stop and stare if you want to do a week in Tuscany AND drive all the way from the UK and back.

you might be able to get a decent deal picking up a car in Vienna and returning it in Munich or vice versa.
annhig is offline  
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