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Geoff's guide - Driving from Calais to Costa Blanca South

geofflloPosted by geoffllo on Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:23pm in Driving, hiring, buying and owning a car
26 replies2747 views16 members subscribed

From time to time, members ask about the best way to drive from Calais down to this area. Having just arrived back home this afternoon, having driven the route, I thought I  would post my findings while they are still fresh in my mind!

Geoff.

Calais to Costa Blanca South

Overview.

In August 2018 (for the umpteenth time!) I drove from Calais to the Alicante area. The route I took is the result of years of trying various options, and fine-tuning, and nowadays is very successful. It takes in fast motorways, fast trunk roads, good quality rural main roads and some spectacular scenery. I use a sat nav app on my smartphone, called “Waze” which I find is better than any of my previous TomToms, Garmins etc.

How I did it.

As I was leaving Calais I set the satnav to Évreux – paying tolls. This took me along to Rouen and over the Pont Mathilde bridge and down a shortish section of motorway before turning off towards Évreux. Shortly before Évreux, I reset the satnav to Tours – avoiding tolls. This took me down past Dreux, Chartres etc (look out for the spires of the beautiful Chartres Cathedral on the horizon in front of you) and onto the N10 (later D910) towards Tours. Then about 10 km before Tours, I turned round to the right – blue signpost “Bordeaux (peage)” and went out onto the A10/E5 motorway, joining it at Junction 19. I stayed on the A10 as far as Junction 30, where I exited following the green signs for “Angôuleme” and took the N10 trunk road right down to about 30 km before Bordeaux, where you go onto a free section of the A10 motorway. Approaching Bordeaux, I followed the green signs for “Bayonne”, which took me around the Bordeaux ring road and onto the A63 signposted “Bayonne & Mont de Marsan”. I continued on the A63 down to Junction 18 where I exited onto the D834 towards Mont de Marsan. As soon as I was on that road, I set the satnav to Oloron Sant-Marie, this being the town where you first see signs for places in Spain. Coming into Oloron Sant-Marie, I followed the signs for “Saragosse”/“Huesca”/”Tunel de Somport”. I followed this road up the lower slopes of the Pyrenees to an altitude of 1000 metres (stunning scenery), then entered the (8.6 km long) Tunel de Somport. At the far end of the tunnel, I followed the signs for “Jaca”, then “Huesca”. This ensured that I got onto the superb (toll-free) A23 “Autovía Mudéjar”, which passes Huesca, Zaragoza and goes right on down through Spain past Teruel and right down, nearly into Valencia. Once I was on the A23, I set the satnav for my home address – no tolls. This took me down the A23 and round the Valencia ring road. After passing Valencia, eventually the road splits – left for the AP7 to Alicante, or right for the A7 to Alicante. My satnav took me to the right, this being the toll-free route. (I would only recommend the AP 7 for folks who want to get to the northern Costa Blanca – Gandia, Denia, Benidorm etc). For the southern Costa Blanca, it is just as quick to use the free A7 – later A35 – later A31, and down towards Alicante etc that way.

Tolls/ Distance/Driving time.

I paid a total of €22.80 altogether for the whole journey – Calais to home. This is not bad when you consider that it is possible to pay at least €160 in tolls on some routes that people recommend. Distance about 1850 km. Driving time about 21 hours. Two overnight stops, this time at Angôuleme & Zaragoza. I just drive until I feel tired, then go on Booking.com and look for a hotel for around €50 to €60.

Speed in France.

There are speed cameras everywhere in France, and they’re not always all that conspicuous. Also bear in mind that from 1st July 2018, for any road which does not have physical separation between the carriageways, they have reduced the speed limit from 90 kph to 80 kph and they are enforcing it, despite not yet having changed the signs from 90 to 80!

Wintertime.

In the depths of winter, snow occasionally closes the Tunel de Somport. I would check ahead, and if it is closed, I would go from Bordeaux to Irún, Pamplona and then across to the A23, rejoining the route above.



Written by

geoffllo

geoffllo

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jimtaylor

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:09am

jimtaylor

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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:09am

Good for you, Geoff!

For the next in the series, how about a guide to basic pool care?

geoffllo

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:45am

geoffllo

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Joined: 2 Feb 2017

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:45am

Good idea Jim, I'll give it some thought in the coming days!

Geoff.

geoffllo

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:54am

geoffllo

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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:54am

Let me see how my first attempt at a "guide" is received first Jim!

I also need to recover from all that driving!!

Geoff.

Stevec61

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:50am

Stevec61

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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:50am

Excellent and informative post Geoff, I’ve not made the journey by car yet but intend to do so within the next 12 months, and will definitely be referring to your guide!

geoffllo

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:57am

geoffllo

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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:57am

Thanks Steve, yes, trust me, it works, and it saves a lot of money!

Geoff.

dinnerout

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:00pm

dinnerout

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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:00pm

This is a scenic route to save on tolls? But 300km further than I drive Staffs-Denia... so extra fuel and a lot of stops to adjust your satnav settings? 

Where was your start point Geoff? 

I pay more and go A26 A1 A6B to A10 A71 A75 A9 AP-7 (for Costa Blanca north)

A75 cuts straight through central France and worth it for the Millau Viaduct alone.... 

Horses and courses I guess

Steve

Malcy b

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:05pm

Posts: 121

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Joined: 8 Aug 2017

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:05pm

geoffllo wrote on Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:23pm:

From time to time, members ask about the best way to drive from Calais down to this area. Having just arrived back home this afternoon, having driven the route, I thought I  would post my findings while they are still fresh in my mind!

Geoff.

Calais to Costa Blanca South

Overview.

In August 2018 (for the umpteenth time!) I drove from Calais to the Alicante area. The route I took is the result of years of trying various options, and fine-tuning, and nowadays is very successful. It takes in fast motorways, fast trunk roads, good quality rural main roads and some spectacular scenery. I use a sat nav app on my smartphone, called “Waze” which I find is better than any of my previous TomToms, Garmins etc.

How I did it.

As I was leaving Calais I set the satnav to Évreux – paying tolls. This took me along to Rouen and over the Pont Mathilde bridge and down a shortish section of motorway before turning off towards Évreux. Shortly before Évreux, I reset the satnav to Tours – avoiding tolls. This took me down past Dreux, Chartres etc (look out for the spires of the beautiful Chartres Cathedral on the horizon in front of you) and onto the N10 (later D910) towards Tours. Then about 10 km before Tours, I turned round to the right – blue signpost “Bordeaux (peage)” and went out onto the A10/E5 motorway, joining it at Junction 19. I stayed on the A10 as far as Junction 30, where I exited following the green signs for “Angôuleme” and took the N10 trunk road right down to about 30 km before Bordeaux, where you go onto a free section of the A10 motorway. Approaching Bordeaux, I followed the green signs for “Bayonne”, which took me around the Bordeaux ring road and onto the A63 signposted “Bayonne & Mont de Marsan”. I continued on the A63 down to Junction 18 where I exited onto the D834 towards Mont de Marsan. As soon as I was on that road, I set the satnav to Oloron Sant-Marie, this being the town where you first see signs for places in Spain. Coming into Oloron Sant-Marie, I followed the signs for “Saragosse”/“Huesca”/”Tunel de Somport”. I followed this road up the lower slopes of the Pyrenees to an altitude of 1000 metres (stunning scenery), then entered the (8.6 km long) Tunel de Somport. At the far end of the tunnel, I followed the signs for “Jaca”, then “Huesca”. This ensured that I got onto the superb (toll-free) A23 “Autovía Mudéjar”, which passes Huesca, Zaragoza and goes right on down through Spain past Teruel and right down, nearly into Valencia. Once I was on the A23, I set the satnav for my home address – no tolls. This took me down the A23 and round the Valencia ring road. After passing Valencia, eventually the road splits – left for the AP7 to Alicante, or right for the A7 to Alicante. My satnav took me to the right, this being the toll-free route. (I would only recommend the AP 7 for folks who want to get to the northern Costa Blanca – Gandia, Denia, Benidorm etc). For the southern Costa Blanca, it is just as quick to use the free A7 – later A35 – later A31, and down towards Alicante etc that way.

Tolls/ Distance/Driving time.

I paid a total of €22.80 altogether for the whole journey – Calais to home. This is not bad when you consider that it is possible to pay at least €160 in tolls on some routes that people recommend. Distance about 1850 km. Driving time about 21 hours. Two overnight stops, this time at Angôuleme & Zaragoza. I just drive until I feel tired, then go on Booking.com and look for a hotel for around €50 to €60.

Speed in France.

There are speed cameras everywhere in France, and they’re not always all that conspicuous. Also bear in mind that from 1st July 2018, for any road which does not have physical separation between the carriageways, they have reduced the speed limit from 90 kph to 80 kph and they are enforcing it, despite not yet having changed the signs from 90 to 80!

Wintertime.

In the depths of winter, snow occasionally closes the Tunel de Somport. I would check ahead, and if it is closed, I would go from Bordeaux to Irún, Pamplona and then across to the A23, rejoining the route above.


Excellent info, thanks

geoffllo

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:05pm

geoffllo

Original Poster

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Posts: 317

379 helpful points

Location: La Marina

Joined: 2 Feb 2017

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:05pm

dinnerout wrote on Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:00pm:

This is a scenic route to save on tolls? But 300km further than I drive Staffs-Denia... so extra fuel and a lot of stops to adjust your satnav settings? 

Where was your start point Geoff? 

I pay more and go A26 A1 A6B to A10 A71 A75 A9 AP-7 (for Costa Blanca north)

A75 cuts straight through central France and worth it for the Millau Viaduct alone.... 

Horses and courses I guess

Steve

Hi Steve.

300 km further???

Below is a screenshot of two random Via Michelin routes from Stafford to Denia, and they certainly aren't 300 km less than mine!!

My start point for the purposes of my post was Calais, and my figure was a rough guide.

Geoff.

AndrewandJo

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:50am

Posts: 55

32 helpful points

Location: La Marina

Joined: 4 Jan 2016

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:50am

Hi Geoff

We have done the journey many times and it is reassuring that are routes are almost identical the only difference is I stay on A63 to J12 Castets (McDonalds coffee stop) I avoid tolls by leaving at J18 and rejoining at J17 easy with satnav and French HGV drivers do the same.

We have a dog so use Premiere Classe motels and have overnighted at Tours N, Poitiers Fscope, Angouleme S, Bourdeaux S and Dax all acceptable for one night and around 30 euro.

Another tip south of Angouleme at N10/D103 junction is large commercial area with "cheap" petrol and Auchen hyper market.

Bon voyage we leave in three weeks.

Andrew

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