driving from Barcelona to Venice by car

Apr 8th, 2012, 11:54 AM
  #1  
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driving from Barcelona to Venice by car

My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe next May (2013). We are contemplating flying to Barcelona and spending a few days. We'd like to rent a car and spend a couple of weeks driving to Venice thru southern France and into Italy, perhaps trying a self-guided walking tour on the Italian coast south of Genoa. We want to turn the car in at Venice, and spend a few days there before flying home. I have driven in Europe many times, although not for 30 years. I'm sure things have changed some! My wife has never been there, and I'm looking forward to having her experience Europe. We are in our mid-60's. Any advice on places to stay, sightseeing ideas, car rental or flying tips to reduce expenses, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
harcar is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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You need to be aware that there are steep drop off fees to return a rental car in another country.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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You won't be able to avoid the drop-off fees unless you drop off a car on one side of the border and pick up another on the other side. Check into this with Kemwel or Autoeurope.

Get a guide (Fodor's perhaps?) for the Provence to know what to see while traveling through it. A guide for Italy would also be useful.
Michael is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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Yup, you're looking at around $500 or more extra to drop that car off in Italy. Plus you're going to need extra insurance for Italy that you won't need for Spain or France.

That's a huge swath of territory you're planning to cover - so huge that no one here is likely to be able to offer you any useful information at this point. You need guidebooks and maps right now. When you do have some sort of itinerary outlined, I'm sure we can offer concrete suggestions.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 8th, 2012, 01:14 PM
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well, harcar, we have been driving in Europe for 30 years +, and we would definitely think twice [or thrice!] about doing a trip like this. I'm not saying it can't be done [you can do anything if you really want to], but it's not something I'd particularly care to do, especially if there had been a 30 year gap since I last did anything like it.

However, you might like to think about doing the trip, but cutting down the driving a bit, reducing it to the France portion of the trip only. you could, for example, get the train from Barcelona to Toulouse or Perpignan, and pick up the car there, then work your way across to Nice, where you could return the car. then get the train to Genoa, do you walking tour [where you won't need the car] and finally get the train/hire another car, to get to Venice.

PS, if you are determined, don't be put off by the drop-off fees until you find out what they are. we once hired a car in Geneva and returned it in amsterdam. the extra fees were about €200, which was a lot cheaper than another flight, and enabled us to do the trip we wanted to do. but you will need to speak to/e-mail a real person, rather than just a car hire search-engine.
annhig is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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It seems like a do-able, although long, drive. We drove from Venice to Provence through Turin and the Alps in one very long day, and then from Provence to Barcelona with an overnight stop in Alicante and stops in Tarragona and the Dali Museum on the way. The one thing I would recommend is having a GPS in the car. Yes, I know maps work fine and are the old-fashioned way, but I do wish that we had had GPS on our drive.
cferrb is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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out of interest, i went to viamichelin.co.uk, and put in Barcelona to Venice, which turns out to be about 760 miles [approx 1100 kms] taking [if you were foolish enough to try it] 12 hours driving, give or take.

so definitely not undoable in the 2 weeks you have in mind.
annhig is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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and then from Provence to Barcelona with an overnight stop in Alicante and stops in Tarragona and the Dali Museum on the way

Very doubtful, as Alicante is 550 km. down the coast from Barcelona.
Michael is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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This trip is perfectly doable if you have the time and the money. Picking up a car in Spain and dropping in Italy will be a large drop off fee and will also require a lot more insurance (you American credit card will cover much in Spain and France - but does not cover Italy).

Also - to do justice to that trip yuo would really need 3 weeks.

We have done numberous road trips in Europe and much prefer them to train - but we don;t do single night stops - so either longer trips or shorter itineraries - and we don;t care that car costs more. To us, the benefits more than balance the cost.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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Yes Michael, we drove from Barcelona to Alicante in a day, with a stop in Tarragona to play at the beach for a while. I don't remember where we had lunch. My husband loves to drive, and it was just one of those days when we all put our heads down and went with it. I think we had Zenyatta Mondata and London Calling to play repeatedly.
cferrb is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 10:50 PM
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cferrb,

your text implies that you drove to Alicante on the way to Barcelona.
Michael is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 11:07 PM
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It is very doable in 2 weeks. To avoid drop off fees take a train from Barcelona to Perpignan, rent a car there, drop it in Nice, take a train to Vintimiglia and rent an Italian car for the last leg of your trip.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Apr 9th, 2012, 01:25 AM
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and then from Provence to Barcelona with an overnight stop in Alicante and stops in Tarragona and the Dali Museum on the way

Very doubtful, as Alicante is 550 km. down the coast from Barcelona.>>

ah, but cferrb says that they had GPS, so anything is possible!
annhig is offline  
Apr 10th, 2012, 06:18 PM
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No, cferrb had a major mental shortcircuit. OK, to get this straight. We drove from Avignon to Barcelona in a day, with a stop at the Dali museum. The Alicante thing was from Barcelona to Granada, with the overnight in Alicante. I guess I just have to go back to get my geography straight again. I wonder if my husband will buy that as a reason for two tix to Europe. Sorry guys!
cferrb is offline  
Apr 10th, 2012, 07:41 PM
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Please do not take this as a criticism. It really is just a question for thought. Does your wife like driving or long car rides? My DH loves them. I hate them, but do them once in a while just for him. I like having a car and doing little day trips, but not the long hauls. Since this is her first time in Europe and you want it to be special for her, would that much time in the car do it?
Sassafrass is offline  
Apr 10th, 2012, 07:51 PM
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I'd have the same question as Sassafrass. I love driving in Europe, locally anyway, and I think you could definitely make it from Barcelona to Venice in two weeks, but would this be fun for your spouse? Like Sassafrass, I HATE long hauls on European highways. I absolutely freak on the four- and more-lane autoroutes in France where there are trucks of huge proportions zipping by me, especially when it's raining or windy and I'm in a tiny rental car. And then there's the whole issue of how much time in the car versus how much time enjoying seeing stuff.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 10th, 2012, 10:25 PM
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I am totally with Sassafrass on this one. We did the long drives, but they were not much fun, we didn't see a whole lot when we were doing them, and they were strictly to get from Point A to Point B. They definitely would not be my idea of a great honeymoon.
cferrb is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 06:56 AM
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But if they have 2 weeks for this, they won't be spending that long on motorways, hopefully. we did an entire tour of France in a fortnight when we were in our youth and rarely ever touched a main road - in fact we were following a book called "through France on minor roads". I have it still. Happy days!

also, i don't see much sign of their being honeymooners - the OP refers to having driven in europe 30 years ago; but then suppose you never know!
annhig is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 07:24 AM
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With 2 weeks to play around with, I can see no problem to do that trip without spending eight hours a day on a motorway.

It's just a matter of logistics, like finding the right places to drop off car, cross border by train, pick up new car.
At the ES/FR border you could to that in Figueres and Perpignan, for example.
Or in Nice and San Remo or Ventimiglia at the FR/IT border.
Or even longer legs like Nice-Genova by train.

But with a car, I would probably avoid the cities at all, and use that independent means of transportation to explore the countryside or areas like Carcassonne/Millau, Provence hinterland, Verdon, etc.
And I would pack light, so I did not have to haul lots of luggage each night /morning from and to the car.

The lesser cities you need to navigate the less time you waste in rush hours, finding hotels, etc. IMO.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 12:15 PM
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Thank you all for your input! In answer to one question, no, my wife doesn't mind long drives. She would not want to do the driving however. Since we plan to take a minimum of 2 weeks to cover approx. 800 miles I'm sure the drive is doable. I appreciate the info about the drop off fees, as I had wondered about that, also the insurance. In any case, we would plan to stay off the beaten path somewhat, and try to see the sights, due to our lack of time constraints. However, I am used to driving on Chicago area expressways, so am not the least bit intimidated by highway driving. Annhig, et al--no, we are not newlyweds. I am not sure what tangent Michael and cferrb got off on, nor do I don't understand it in the context of this thread.
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