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Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

Yallingup, Australia
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Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

We are driving south from Salzburg thru northern Italy and the French Riviera in July and plan to end in Barcelona (to get on our cruise). We have 7 days to do this.

Would it be better to drive West from Salzburg thru Switzerland and then south thru France instead? We are used to driving long distances. Where would you recommend our first stop to be? We'd either be coming thru from Genoa area or south from Switz. Obviously being high summer season we need to sort out accommodation in advance and prefer B&Bs - any suggestions here? We like the less touristy areas - nice villages are preferable. We have stayed in St Mandrier before nr Toulon & Nice and found parking was impossible down any of that tourist strip. Also prefer to avoid mountainous areas and toll roads where possible. Are there any maps which show routes to avoid mountains???

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Val-de-Marne, France
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1. Re: Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

For all your route planning, use the viamichelin website. It will allow you to select various options. You must still add time for breaks as it will only give you driving times based on actual driving.

In July you must avoid toll roads and major roads on Saturdays if you want to avoid traffic jams.

It seems like a long trip to avoid the tolls roads altogether and toll roads are a good way of avoiding mountain roads in the mountainous areas. So you may want to combine a little of both.

Yallingup, Australia
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2. Re: Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

Many thanks for your input. How do we know how much each toll road will cost? I know when we drove to Nice we couldn't believe the number of times we had to stop and pay yet another toll. It got to be a very expensive day trip!!

Limerick, Ireland
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3. Re: Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

Have you told your car hire company that you are hiring a car in Austria and returning it in Spain? There is usually a very steep tariff for doing this as the car will have to be driven back to its country of origin.

West Yorkshire...
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4. Re: Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

The tolls can add up , you are quite right there.

As suggested above - try a couple of route plans using www.viamichelin.com.

As well as listing your route- it has up to date toll charges for each section of toll roads. Very useful.

Champlon, Belgium
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5. Re: Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

If you put a ruler on a map of Europe that gives at least some indication of contours, you will see that you could hardly have chosen a worse journey than Salzburg to Barcelona if you want to avoid mountains. It is a bit like saying you want to go from Perth to Brisbane avoiding hot, dry areas.

Autoroutes, most of which will charge some kind of toll, be it at a barrier or by a vignette, represent your only hope of completing such a journey in 7 days. German autobahns are free, but busy, at the moment but vignettes will come there too in 2016 and might represent a way of avoiding payment for a Swiss vignette.

You may, too, find it very difficult to persuade a hire car company to hire you a car for a one way journey from Salzburg to Barcelona, partly because they will have to bear the substantial costs of repatriating to Austria and partly because some countries (Spain and Italy have been mentioned as well as Eastern Europe) are considered a much higher insurance risk.

The journey is possible by train, although international rail journeys of this sort are not nearly as easy today as they once were, and that, apart from flying, might prove to be your only option. At least you will still see some sights by train.

Champlon, Belgium
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6. Re: Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

Incidentally, the journey by any reasonably direct route, including via the French Riviera, using tolled autoroutes will take three days. Driving on ordinary roads rather than toll autoroutes takes roughly four times as long, partly because of lower speed limits, especially in towns and villages, but also because ordinary roads incorporate far more twists and turns, usually significantly increasing the number of kilometres you need to cover. This means that making your journey by ordinary roads is going to take around eleven days of hard driving - and that's not a holiday.

7. Re: Driving south to Spain thru French Riviera

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