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Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

Chicago
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Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

Hi All,

We are planning to rent a car(Manual) from Germany drive to Poland and then from Poznan(Poland) to all the way to Barcelona in Spain in one day passing through Germany and France. We want to know is there any thing important that we need to consider while driving via Germany and France.

1) If I buy a GPS system in USA will that work in Europe. I meant downloaded Maps wil be accurate for Poland, Germany, France and Spain ?

2) Roads Signs in Germany and France are in English as well or not. Basically if I have directions from Google maps then it'll be accurate or not ?

Any one who has driven thru these Countries and also especially in Spain please provide helpful information as it'll be our first long trip

Thanks in advance!

Montreal
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1. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

Wow... that's not a trip it's a marathon !!! ;-)

First I would review your itinerary as it's almost impossible to drive from Poznan to Barcelona in just one day. Not even taking in consideration the fatigue factor... Having to stop to eat, for gaz, construction, trafic, accident so many variables... I know Europe is smaller than the States or Canada but it is still quite large.

Why don't you start your trip in Poland and then going down in a more slowly paste up to Barcelona is you really have to go there. Plus there is no means for you to drive all the way to Spain not stopping to visit on the way down. Why don't you fly to Barcelona instead. There is low cost companies that offers very affordable rates. It will cost you a lot less plus you won't be as tired and you won't haved the extra fees for dropping the car in an other country.

I don't know why you're planning such a broad trip. Why don't you just choose one part of Europe to discover this time. There is so much to do and to see in every country.

As for GPS, I don't know the accuracy for Poland bur for Germany, France and Spain. The maps are quite accurate. No problem there.

Road signs are in the country's language. You won't find any indications in English.

Google maps directions are, most of the time, accurate enough. Though not always 100%. But enough for you to figure out your way.

But I hope for your sake that you will change your plans or that you will fly to Barcelona instead ;-)

Edited: 22 August 2010, 20:41
Krakow, Poland
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2. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

You want to drive 1400 miles in one day?!?! Why?

As for maps, in my experience Googlemaps is pretty accurate, although they don't take into account roadworks or road closures.

In Germany there are no tolls, French motorways do have tolls and in Switzerland you have to buy a motorway sticker.

And signage is in the relevant language of course.

Chicago
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3. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

thanks folks...

Here is a thing... we are four people driving and we thought it would be cheaper to rent a car then to pay for four peoples train/bus tickets.. We'll be visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Cordoba and Granada before start driving back from barcelona to poznan... We'll be there for 15 days in Spain...

Do you still think it's a crazy idea and not realistic? I'm just asking for honest suggestion as you guys have mentioned earlier!

Krakow, Poland
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4. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

Have you factored in the cost of fuel (around 1.4 euro per litre), motorway tolls and possibly at least one overnight stop en route? I'd allow 2 solid days of driving, and four people + luggage crammed into a car doesn't sound like much fun. You don't mention when you're planning to make this trip but if it's in winter and there's snow, road conditions in Poland and Germany could make it hard going.

I'd be surprised if you couldn't get a better deal for flights from Poland to Spain and then hire a car there. Ryanair fly from Poznan to two airports near Barcelona, Wizzair goes from Warsaw to Barcelona and Easyjet fly there from Berlin.

Montreal
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5. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

You would be surprised with those low cost companies ! Sometimes their fares are so low that it's not even worth looking at other options. Just know that usualy earlier you book your flight and better are the rates.

And like was saying ewainkrakow on top of the rental cost you will have gaz, toll, lunch and most probably an overnight stay somewhere. It adds up quickly !

I went to check how long Google map was evaluating the trip and I saw around 20h of driving. Now I understand where your idea is coming from. But you can be absolutely sure that it will be a longer drive than that. And if you have bad weather, it will be even longer ! And even in some country like in France speed limits permitted are slower when it's raining. Not even talking about road work, traffic, accidents.....

And you have to drive back to Poznan ????

Why don't you try arriving in Poland and leaving from Spain ? That would make a lot more sense !

Usually when I'm travelling in Europe I always try to visit one area to maximize my time there. Going to one part for one trip and keaping another area for another trip. Less tiring, less expensive and less wasted time.

Let us know what you'll decide on doing :-)

Barcelona, Spain
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6. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

Well, it is good to plan and search for info to verify the plans...

Long time ago I have done Barcelona - Oświęcim as a passenger in a private car , it was approximately 24 hrs [in return travel the driver confused the directions when entering a highway ...] and it is tiring - you 'gain' a night but you loose the first day/night after the arrival .

Airplane tickets are much less expensive these days (comparable to coaches , trains are more expensive , wd be an option imo only when visiting various cities on the way with the Interrail pass)

Yes, you need to check well the low-cost airlines [ luggage, check-in etc ] strict conditions to avoid surprises too. .

Have you check for the rental costs? (go very steep usually for border crossing, and very few companies permit it )

Also , consider parking costs in the cities in Spain ,

in Barcelona 24 EUR/ 24 hrs in average.

A:)

Edited: 23 August 2010, 11:39
Montreal
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7. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

I forgot to tell you as well that the toll price in France is really expensive. I don't know for other countries because when travelling I tend to avoid highways.

Toronto
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8. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

I've done just that last year.Gdansk to Barcelona,Spain.To be honest i wouldn't do it again.There is not much to see except beautiful Avignon in France.The cost of tolls in France is around 150 euros both ways.The whole drive is very boring.Fuel is very expensive,heavy traffic volume etc.This time around I'd fly into Barcelona and rent a car there.It would be cheaper and more time left to enjoy Spain.If You still decide to drive all the way there you need at least 1.5 days of straight driving time.For example from St.Tropez France to Gdansk is full 24hrs.drive with stopping only for fuel.Good luck.

Ohio, USA
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9. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

>>>There is not much to see except beautiful Avignon in France.<<<

Not much to see between Gdansk and Barcelona except Avignon!!!???? Boy, did you miss a lot! You could spend two weeks making that drive and not begin to have seen everything worth seeing along the way. No matter what route you chose and there are a bunch of options there is superb scenery, splendid cities and towns and charming villages almost anywhere you look.

Of course that's the problem with getting onto the highways and driving for ever. You really won't see much except concrete and the back of the huge articulated transport in front of you...

Montreal
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10. Re: Driving in Europe from Poland to Spain via Germany, France

You could even take 3 months to do it and still make amazing discovering every day !!! But driving on highways all the way. It is true that you don't see much as you need to exit highways to fully discover a region or a country.