When we left the U.K. on the 6th January it was a typical grey winter day, the blue skies of the south were calling though and like many others we saw no point in hanging around in France for more of the same. Purposely we got to the Euro tunnel well ahead of schedule, knowing that as it was a Sunday we would probably be able to get an earlier crossing. All went to plan and so we were able to drive straight round and on to the waiting train.
We’d planned ahead and filled a flask with boiling water (Oh heck we’ll be getting an allotment next!), and so had a leisurely breakfast whilst the train took the strain! In no time at all we were in France and driving on the opposite side of the road. We’d planned out a non- toll route south which originally involved 2 overnight stops in France, but as it was Sunday when most HGV’s are banned from driving in France (a tip worth remembering if you’re ever planning a long drive), the roads were incredibly quiet so we were able to get much further south than we’d first scheduled. On day 2 we were able to get over the border into Spain and day 3 saw us just cross the border into Portugal on the Eastern Algarve. N.B. We share the driving so if your doing this with only one driver you will need more stops (we’ve suggested some alternatives in our route plan below). If you want to follow a similar non toll route just click on the map below for more details or follow the route on a map.
From Calais take the A16/E402 in the direction of Abbeville. At junction 29 exit onto the D901, once you reach Abbeville take the A28/E402 to Rouen. Follow the D18E to the A13/E5. Exit at junction 20 and take the D321 to the D6015 then onto the N154/A154 in the direction of Evreux. Stay on the N154 to the N12 to Dreux, after pick up the N154 again to Chartres. Go around Chartres onto the D190 which becomes to N10 to Chateaudun.
Note if only one driving this is a possible stopover Follow N10 take the exit to D957 then D917 to Montoire Sur Le Loir Aire GPS 47.7575 0.8693
Follow the N10 onto the D910 direction of Tours. Keep on the D910 around Tours toward Chatellerault and Poitiers (after Poitiers this turns into the N10). Follow this to overnight stop at Vivonne Free aire with services GPS 46.42607 0.26318.
Follow N10 to Anglouleme then the E606 in the direction of Bordeaux. Go around the ring road N230/A630 onto the A63/E5/E70. Exit at junction 18 (this is a toll road but a short detour bypasses the toll booths). Take the D834 onto the D43 and rejoin at junction 17. Follow to junction 12 Castets.
If only one is driving there’s an aire convenient to this Junction at Moliets Et Maa GPS 42.350829 -3.680554)
At Castets there’s a road that runs alongside the motorway to avoid the toll booth go through the industrial estate and pick up this road to rejoin the motorway at the next junction. We followed the Motorway past Bayonee and exited at Junction 5 however we did get caught by one toll charge of just over 5 euros. To avoid this you can exit at junction 9 and follow the D810 instead. After leaving the motorway follow the D810 over the border toward Irun and San Sebastion. Follow the N1/G1636 to San Sebastion then Vitoria Gasteiz/Burgos. After Burgos follow the A1/E5 to Palencia. We stayed here overnight at a free aire GPS 42.10443 -4.545504 with services and showers (2 euro charge).
Follow the A62 in the direction of Valladolid then Salamanca. After Salamanca take the A66 to Caceres. After Merida follow the E803/A66 onto the N630 in the direction of Seville. At Seville take the A49/E1 to Huevla. This road will take you into Portugal.
Safe Travels All