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getdownmonkeyman

Driving to/in mainland Europe

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I have family in Zurich and I am toying with the idea of visiting them at the end of October. It has been a long time since I drove in Europe, that long that I can barley remember.

Flying isn't really a consideration at the moment, as my wide (and me, if I am honest) is comfortable with the thought of flying.

My first query is sat navs/route mapping. I have one in the car, but it can be a little erratic, that said, it could be user error. I recently used Google maps travelling from the Cotswolds to Bath, which took upon itself to change the route mid-drive. So I am a little sceptical of that. I also have Waze on my phone, but can't vouch for its capabilities outside the UK.

Any tips, advice, quite literally any help gratefully received.

TIA

 

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7 minutes ago, getdownmonkeyman said:

I have family in Zurich and I am toying with the idea of visiting them at the end of October. It has been a long time since I drove in Europe, that long that I can barley remember.

Flying isn't really a consideration at the moment, as my wide (and me, if I am honest) is comfortable with the thought of flying.

My first query is sat navs/route mapping. I have one in the car, but it can be a little erratic, that said, it could be user error. I recently used Google maps travelling from the Cotswolds to Bath, which took upon itself to change the route mid-drive. So I am a little sceptical of that. I also have Waze on my phone, but can't vouch for its capabilities outside the UK.

Any tips, advice, quite literally any help gratefully received.

TIA

I have driven across many borders in Europe. There has never been much issue is the SatNav, either the car one or Google Maps.

I used Waze a few years ago, but it seemed rather over-anxious, so I dropped it. If it has reached the UK, I would expect you should have no problem with the route to Switzerland.


"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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Just follow the directions of the signs - don’t try and overthink directions etc. If it says Reims (for instance on the A26 going south) which will be on your route to Zurich follow that and then the look for next big town/city on route and follow those signs.

Use www.viamichelin.com for route planning.
 

 

Edited by Pen-Y-Bont Crusader
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3 minutes ago, Pen-Y-Bont Crusader said:

Just follow the directions of the signs - don’t try and overthink directions etc. If it says Reims (for instance on the A9 going south) which will be on your route to Zurich follow that and then the look for next big town/city on route and follow those signs.

Use www.viamichelin.com for route planning.
 

 

This. I did just this way before sat navs driving through France going on 40 years ago with just a collins map.

It really is quite simple. Dont be frightened and as crusader says, don't over think.

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Follow the advice of Pen-Y-Bont and Robin. Use the road signs, they are generally very good.

A bit of preparation will help. I've never used viamichelin, but I have used the AA Route Planner. It is great for the outline of the journey (town to town), but it can be difficult to use in a strange town as it gives too much detail imo.

Have fun. 

Edited by tonyXIII

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Also depends how you remember things

 

I have a very visual memory and on the bike it is hard to get a map out  or check a phone. So i look in advance at a route, then where there are obvious big junctions i throw the little man down on googlemaps and visually look at the junction and which road i enter and leave it on - always works for me and i only need to pull over to check phone/map IF there is a diversion

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I first went to the loire valley in 85. I was advised....

Get off the ferry... follow signs to Paris. Once you get to the péripherique follow signs for bordeaux.... don't take any other turn. Once you clear paris Blois is about 170km on the left.

It was exactly like that. I have never used any maps of any kind since for that journey.

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Train is a good option if you are concerned about driving. Direct trains from Paris to Zurich in about 4 hours 

But, as others have noted, driving in Europe is well-signed. Just a bit of route prep required. 

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9 hours ago, getdownmonkeyman said:

I have family in Zurich and I am toying with the idea of visiting them at the end of October. It has been a long time since I drove in Europe, that long that I can barley remember.

Flying isn't really a consideration at the moment, as my wide (and me, if I am honest) is comfortable with the thought of flying.

My first query is sat navs/route mapping. I have one in the car, but it can be a little erratic, that said, it could be user error. I recently used Google maps travelling from the Cotswolds to Bath, which took upon itself to change the route mid-drive. So I am a little sceptical of that. I also have Waze on my phone, but can't vouch for its capabilities outside the UK.

Any tips, advice, quite literally any help gratefully received.

TIA

 

Sorry, but I am not sure that I can be much help, in this computer and clever phone (or whatever they are called) age.

Decades ago, i discovered that I could read maps and hence plan journeys.  So, that is what I do - get out a good, old fashioned, paper map or atlas, and plan the journey.  Never fails!

That said, I agree that signage on continental main roads is generally good.

9 hours ago, JohnM said:

Practice driving on the right before you go. 

I would subject JohnM's potentially helpful advice to a minor, chronological adjustment.  Try driving on the right only after you have crossed the channel !

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Real advice: stick to the speed limits. The margin that is allowed is less then here. If flashed, he French and Germans (and possibly the Swiss) can get your details from DVLA and fine you. The 19 mph limit in many German villages is heavily camera. 

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Four legs good - two legs bad

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11 hours ago, getdownmonkeyman said:

I have family in Zurich and I am toying with the idea of visiting them at the end of October. It has been a long time since I drove in Europe, that long that I can barley remember.

Flying isn't really a consideration at the moment, as my wide (and me, if I am honest) is comfortable with the thought of flying.

My first query is sat navs/route mapping. I have one in the car, but it can be a little erratic, that said, it could be user error. I recently used Google maps travelling from the Cotswolds to Bath, which took upon itself to change the route mid-drive. So I am a little sceptical of that. I also have Waze on my phone, but can't vouch for its capabilities outside the UK.

Any tips, advice, quite literally any help gratefully received.

TIA

 

Calais to Zurich on the route planner looks like it may involve as few as two actual road junctions so could be one of the easier journeys given that once you get used again to being on the right, it's all pretty straightforward.

I've used a Garmin SatNav with Europe maps without any issue at all. A couple of times I've used my phone - just on its basic Maps app. One time worked perfectly, the second I could not get it to stop acting as if I were driving on the left which meant its announcements for roundabouts were just wrong. Each journey I have a good old look at the map before setting off so I know which places I should be looking out for on the signs in case things aren't clear or the SatNav goes stupid or whatever. The only time in Europe I've genuinely struggled was trying to negotiate the Antwerp Ring which is totally mental and the signage, unusually, just does not really help.


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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1 hour ago, JohnM said:

Real advice: stick to the speed limits. The margin that is allowed is less then here. If flashed, he French and Germans (and possibly the Swiss) can get your details from DVLA and fine you. The 19 mph limit in many German villages is heavily camera. 

This is an area where having a realtime SatNav is helpful as it converts the km/h limits to mph and also puts up the ones that are known about because they're standard (and therefore not necessarily signed) in urban areas.


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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21 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

The only time in Europe I've genuinely struggled was trying to negotiate the Antwerp Ring which is totally mental and the signage,

is unfathomable!!!! It really is. I relax when I hit france

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Only really driven any distance abroad was a full day trip from Loiret de Mar down and inland to Mora Dr Ebre , then all the way to Perpignan for what was supposed to be an arranged friendly between Leigh and London but turned out to be an ' opposed training session ' , then back down to Lloret , all without sat nav 

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I drove back from Spain 3 days ago we always use the northern route opposite direction (Perfect for Switzerland) AVOID PARIS at all costs take the motorway direction Reims eventually you will see signs for Geneva:)

Perelada/Chiddingstone (Kent) via Eurotunnel 13 hours 30 mins this week a record and without any speeding:)

 

Paul

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I took my motorbike to Ypres/Ostend a couple of years ago without satnav, I just followed the road signs from Dunkirk, when I got to the hostel in Ostend, the receptionist very kindly pointed me in the direction of Ypres by a more direct scenic route.

If you can read (and given the spelling mistakes in the OP...) you should be OK


Sex and Money are like Oxygen

They're not important until you're not getting enough.

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10 hours ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

I drove back from Spain 3 days ago we always use the northern route opposite direction (Perfect for Switzerland) AVOID PARIS at all costs take the motorway direction Reims eventually you will see signs for Geneva:)

Perelada/Chiddingstone (Kent) via Eurotunnel 13 hours 30 mins this week a record and without any speeding:)

 

Paul

And now 14 day self isolation?


Sex and Money are like Oxygen

They're not important until you're not getting enough.

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41 minutes ago, Bleep1673 said:

And now 14 day self isolation?

Pretty easy here on my own as the wife is off again with the kids to Russia on Wednesday:) we live in the middle of nowhere only living thing here is animals:) 

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Mate just returned by car from Spain via France. On way down  a few weeks ago he was caught by a speed cam.

Currently illegal in France to satnav maps with speed camera locations. 

He got home to Lincolnshire last night and his NIP was on the doormat"Got flashed in France on way down 106 kph in a 90, at 1:30am, 45 💶 fine if pay within 46 days.,"


Four legs good - two legs bad

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I used to (relatively)frequently drive up from Naples to Newcastle without modern tech. I had the AA book of Europe, and just used to handwrite in any points I thought might be tricky or were important (major cities en route, where main roads might have both an E number as well as a specific national road number) Only issues I ever had were in this country. The main road network in Europe is generally excellent.

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Just get your vehicle checked over before going. Some friends of the family broke down in the middle of one of those really long Swiss tunnels... not a great experience!


"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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43 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

Just get your vehicle checked over before going. Some friends of the family broke down in the middle of one of those really long Swiss tunnels... not a great experience!

And get euro breakdown cover. If you breakdown on French motorway it’s automatic fee of about 120 euros iirc just to be towed off.

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