Road Trip: Driving To Italy From The UK
There are lots of reasons why you might want to drive to Italy from the UK. Perhaps you do not like flying, or you want to carry more luggage than would be allowed on an airline (particularly if you are camping, or spending an extended period in Italy). Or you might just be looking for an adventure: travelling through Europe, stopping a few times on the way, then enjoying the freedom of your own transport when you arrive in Italy.
It is perfectly possible to drive to Italy, and not at all difficult if you have done the proper planning. Depending on where you start and finish, the journey is approximately 1,000 miles. You need to consider what route you will take, and how long you can afford to take to get there.
The first decision is how you are going to get across the water. For many people, especially if they are based in the South of England, the Channel Tunnel is the obvious choice. However, car ferries are a good alternative if you enjoy sailing, or if you live a long way from Dover. In many cases it will be quickest to take a ferry to Calais, but the Belgian and Dutch ports are possibilities for those who live in the North.
Possible routes across Europe include travelling through France and crossing the Alps via the Mont Blanc Tunnel, or entering from France into Switzerland and driving through one of the mountain passes to the South. If you arrive into a Northern European port, then travel through Germany is a good alternative. It is also possible to take a slower, non-motorway, route if you have plenty of time. The route that you choose will depend upon how long you want to take over the journey, and whether you want to do any sightseeing along the way.
Unless you are prepared to sleep in your car, you will need to consider at least one overnight stay. This can be planned in advance, or you can simply take pot luck as you go. There should be no problem in finding places to eat and drink along the way: motorway services in Europe are normally excellent, and, if you have built some extra time in your itinerary, you can find villages with bars and restaurants a short way from the motorway. However, if you are travelling with children, it may be advisable to have some emergency rations in the car.
Before you set off, make sure that you have checked the driving regulations and insurance requirements for the countries you will be driving through. A UK driving licence should be sufficient everywhere, but you may need additional equipment such as warning triangles. Remember that you will have to pay tolls on the motorways and that, if you are going to stop in Switzerland, you will need Swiss Francs as well as Euros.
Rather than take your own car, you might prefer to consider car hire. If you are hiring a car in the UK to drive to Italy, remember to tell the hire company that you will be taking it abroad. Alternatively, you could consider hiring a car in France after crossing the channel, giving you the benefit of left-hand drive. Once you have covered all of the practicalities, you will be ready to hit the road.