As I’ve mentioned in passing a couple of times on the blog, we’re planning a road trip around Europe this summer.
It’s safe to say we’ve ummed and ahhed about whether it’s the right thing to do, with a baby who will be five months old when we depart.
But my husband has qualified for an eight week sabbatical from work and I’m on maternity leave and it seems wrong not to use the time to do something memorable.
So I thought I’d let you know a bit more about what we have planned – though our holiday is still taking shape!
We’ll be away for around a month, and will do most of the travelling by car. On travel days, we don’t intend to be in the car for more than about four or five hours and will factor in a long break half way through for us all to stretch our legs, for us to have a good play with the baby and to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch – as is the European way!
We’ll set off from the UK, and take the Channel Tunnel or ferry to Calais. We’ll drive down the east of France and may spend the night in the Champagne region before making our way across to southern Germany where we have friends.
Then we’ll drive south east, cross the Alps and Austria and Slovenia before entering Croatia.
We loved what we saw of Croatia when we stopped in Dubrovnik on the cruise last year, so we’re keen to see more of this part of the Balkans. We’ll spend a full week at a campsite near Split, which seems to be a fairly convenient base for exploring some of Croatia’s historic towns and national parks.
Instead of carting our full camping kit around Europe, we’ve decided to stay at campsites with permanent tents that come already up and fully equipped. It seems to be pretty economical to do this, costing about £20 a night. We’ve booked a couple of stays through Selectcamp.
Apart from Croatia, the other country we are keen to spend several days in is Italy. We’ll take an overnight ferry from Split to Ancona on the east coast of Italy. We were pretty pleased to discover we could sail because this will save us a lot of driving and allow us to relax and hopefully have a comfortable night’s sleep while still making progress.
By luck rather than good planning, we arrive in Italy on our sixth wedding anniversary, so I decided to book a couple of nights somewhere rather special. We’ll sleep in a bell tent at rural Kokopelli Camping, in Serramonacesca, Abruzzo.
I found this place through Cool Camping, and I’m really excited about it. Sleeping in a bell tent is one on the bucket list! It’s a little more expensive at €40 a night but it includes all equipment and bedding and it’s less than you’d pay for something similar in the UK. If you want a more affordable stay, Kokopelli Camping offers a great deal where you can hire a tent and equipment for just €1 – on top of your usual camping pitch fee (only €12).
Being in Majella National Park, this campsite would be perfect for going hiking and climbing but for us – having the baby – it’ll be an opportunity to get away from it all and see rural Italy. All the other places we’re staying are near large towns or cities or popular tourist destinations.
From Serramonacesca we’ll drive to Rome where I’ve booked four nights in a campsite just outside the city.
The rest of the trip is not yet booked, but I’m thinking of a few nights on the north west coast of Italy, convenient for visiting Cinque Terre and Positano.
From there we’ll go further north and probably stay at the side of Lake Maggiore.
The next few days will be mostly making our way home from what has hopefully been a fantastic adventure.
Largely based on this post on World of Wanderlust blog, I think the French Alpine town of Annecy will be a pretty and convenient first overnight stop after we leave Italy.
The rest of the return leg through France is yet to be finalised but we may take in Paris, because it’s Paris – remember this post about my perfect day in the French capital? – and because we have friends there too.
I’d love to know what you think of our route and what we have planned. Are we crazy to do it or crazy not to??
If you’ve travelled to or near any of places we’re going to, please let me know about it and fill me in on your suggestions for what to do and where to go.