Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Driving To Croatia–Day 1

Croatia Online EuroTunnel

We’ve written about the drive to Croatia before and, depending on how close you are to Eurotunnel or the ferry ports in the UK,  it’s possible to do it relatively comfortably in two days. Frankfurt is a good place to aim for as a stop on the first evening if you want a reasonable choice of motel and to spread the driving fairly evenly.

If, like me, you have a dog, the most stress free way of crossing the Channel is Eurotunnel and it’s also much quicker than the ferry. Once we’re on the train Barnie and I always have a little lie down and then we’re ready for the continent! Of course Eurotunnel can be more expensive than the ferry but those of you who collect Tesco Club Card points will know that they get a triple boost on Eurotunnel which makes a big difference.

Last time I went in my campervan I took my time, but on this trip I had a lot to do once I arrived in Croatia so I wanted to get there as quickly as possible without exhausting myself or Barnie the dog. So, armed with my ACSI app (more about that soon on Croatia Camping Guide), I looked for a  place with a good choice of campsites to reach at about the time I thought we would have had enough for the day.  Camping Eisenbachtal was our home for the night and, again, you can read more about that soon on Croatia Camping Guide.

Those of you making the trip in a car, rather than a camper or caravan, and wanting to get to Croatia relatively quickly and cheaply, will fund a number of reasonable motels on the motorway with good restaurants that are often self service.

And what of the roads? Well the trip hadn’t changed much in this respect from four, or even ten, years ago. The German motorways are still (so far) toll free, mostly two lane and reasonably good. There are still plenty of lorries  (perhaps not so many at the weekend), but there don’t seem to be so many speed freaks now that speed limits have been around for a few years. On much of the motorway, lorries are not allowed to overtake, and there are occasional three or four lane stretches so generally it’s possible to average a decent speed.  Of course on a motorway this long there will always be maintenance somewhere and the narrow temporary lanes can be a bit scary if you choose the fast lane, but overall it’s a fairly easy drive though its a good idea to try and avoid the big cities at peak times.

As far as navigation is concerned, I know the route pretty well now and just follow the signs to Brugges, Brussels, Leuven, Liege, Aachen, Cologne, Frankfurt, etc to stay on the E40. The Brussels ring road can get a bit congested and you need to go roughly half way round it, but a good tip is to follow the signs to Zaventem Airport and then the Leuven/Liege exit is soon after that.

Its not the most scenic way of getting to Croatia but it’s a trade off with more time once you’re there and, as we discovered  on the way back, you can turn just a short way off the motorway and find yourself in a surprisingly lovely, historic location which adds to the surprise and fun!

We covered nearly 500 miles (excluding the channel crossing) from our Suffolk home to Eisenbachtal (270 miles from Eurotunnel in Calais) but an early start and long summer evenings meant we had plenty of stops to stretch our legs, and arrived at our campsite at 7 15 pm which still gave us a couple of hours to relax and explore in daylight and be relatively fresh for day two.

For previous postings on driving to Croatia:

Driving To The UK 2009

Driving To The UK 2008

Driving To The UK 2007

For more information on Eurotunnel, Tesco Boost and The Pet Passport Scheme, which is much simpler now

Eurotunnel Fare Finder

Tesco Clubcard Eurotunnel Boost

Pet Passport Scheme

Eurotunnel - Travel Info - Pets

Today’s photo was taken just as we proceeded to embark on Eurotunnel. We saw no sign of any problems, for example migrants trying to rush onto the tracks or the trains, on both Eurotunnel journeys, and we noticed little difference in border crossing practicalities once on the continent.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Croatia Online – One Helluva Road Trip!

Croatia Online Road Trip

Have we got news for you! 4,000 miles, plenty of time at sea and seven weeks non-stop researching have uncovered some new gems as well as some old favourites with a makeover.

We’ll be revealing all to you in a series of detailed postings both here and on sister site Croatia Cruising Companion. And we’ll be starting at least one new blog tailor made to give you the inside track on camping in Croatia.

A different campsite every night, detailed exploration of the mainland coastline and a number of islands, in depth catch ups with all our local experts, visits to almost all the principle marinas and ports (with quite a few new marinas to report on) and quite a few meanders off the beaten track.

It was a jaw dropping trip – the weather was beautiful, the landscapes and sceneries as varied, dramatic and stunning as ever and the people even more welcoming, friendly and resourceful. Seven weeks was a long time on  the road but we could easily have used another seven or  more. However all good things come to an end and now the hard work starts as we share the exciting discoveries, though that’s quite fun too!