Driving to Tuscany – what you need to know

Holly Wood By Holly Wood1 Comment3 min read534 views

This Easter we decided to holiday in Tuscany to hopefully get a bit of much need sun, rest and relaxation. And that’s exactly what we got.

Hubby, the girlies and I decided to drive (yes drive!) over, which if you’re interested, takes approx 18 hours door to door. But that’d be solid driving, so we always break up the drive with an overnight stop-off in Geneva (which works about half way from Calais). This means it’s about 5 hours from Manchester to Folkestone, then we cross over on the Eurotunnel (brilliant, as you can drive straight on and take your doggy if you like), then it’s about 6-7 hours to Geneva.

After a much needed sleep, you can then get back on the road the following morning to Tuscany, which takes again another 6-7 hours, through Mont Blanc…a lovely drive! So if there’s a couple of you to share the driving, it really isn’t that bad. We crossed over to France on a Thursday morning and were by the pool in Tuscany by Friday afternoon. For someone who hates flying like me, it’s a great alternative and quite a fun road-trip.

In case you’re thinking of driving to Tuscany, here’s a few things you might find useful to know:

  • The Eurotunnel is by far the easiest and quickest crossing for a car. Once you’re on, it takes approx 35 mins from Folkestone to Calais and you can relax (or snooze) in your car throughout the journey. If you book in advance, it’s a pretty cheap option too as you just pay for your car, not the people in it!
  • There are lots of service stations and stop-offs in France – they do this much better than us Brits! So definitely take some snacks for the car, but best to get a picnic once you’re out there, to enjoy when you stop-off. You can also practice your French.
  • We always take the toll-roads in Europe. They’re not necessarily as scenic, but get you from A to B directly with ease. The roads are maintained really well so the surfaces are smooth and the speed limit is about 80 mph. The roads are never very busy either, so it’s good to cruise along. It’s approx €150 of toll charges from Calais to Tuscany, so bear this in mind and best to use your credit or debit card!
  • There are always lots of lorries and large vehicles on the toll roads, so watch out for them over-taking each other. It’s not unusual to end up with 1 in each lane, forcing you to slow down until they pass each other.
  • It’s vital, when driving in Europe, that you have your emergency breakdown kit sorted. There are new laws in France that say you need to carry breathalisers, high-vis jackets etc with you in the car. You can find these kits easily in the UK. We opted for an AA kit – it’s well worth having anyway.
  • We also got AA european breakdown cover. This meant that if we were to breakdown, we’d have 24 hour contact with English speaking AA drivers. A comfort I would say! This cost about £55 from memory.
  • Take regular breaks! Even if it’s just 10 minutes to stretch your legs and breath some fresh air. It’ll keep you going and is much safer in the long run.

When we finally reached Tuscany, we had a week lined-up of food, tours, picnics, walks, food, shopping, food, beach, food and pool action. Did I mention food? I’ll be posting about this in the coming weeks.

Us girlies were certainly happy to be there, that’s for sure (and made the most of our selfie stick…sorry)!

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Have you ever driven across Europe? How did you find it?