truss 1731118 640 - Five destinations you can drive to and what to take

Five destinations you can drive to and what to take

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Italian lake Como

Have you thought about choosing a holiday destination that you can drive to or even basing your whole holiday around a road trip?

Here’s our guide to five great places you can drive to as well as what you’ll need to take with you to comply with the local rules.


Normandy bridge

Where to go

Just a short ferry journey over the English Channel, it’s the obvious choice – and justifiably so. Whether you’re looking for beaches, culture, adventure, scenery, food or drink (or a holiday that includes all of them!) you’ll find it in France.

Depending on how far you want to drive, there are several regions which make excellent summer holiday destinations. If you prefer to stay in the northern part of the country, under a day’s drive from the ferry ports, you’re spoiled for choice with Brittany, Normandy and the Loire Valley. Drive a little further for the Dordogne and Burgundy.

If you’re keen to soak up the sun on the beaches in the southern French Riviera, it’s a good idea to split the drive over two days with an overnight stay. It’s possible to get there in 12 hours but it can be a slog and may mean driving at night depending on your ferry timings.

What to take

You must carry the following items in your vehicle:

  • Reflective jacket – This should be kept within easy reach.
  • Warning triangle – To be used in the event of a breakdown or accident.
  • Breathalyser – The law states you must be able to produce one of these ready for use.
  • Spare bulbs – You are expected to replace broken bulbs straight away on the roadside.


Lake Garda

Where to go

If you’re a fan of breathtaking views, dramatic mountain backdrops, clear blue water and pottering around sleepy villages, the Italian Lakes region is not to be missed. Experience the A-list life at Lake Como, where the snowy mountains meet the azure lake surrounded by cocktail bars and luxurious villas. You might even bump into Hollywood star George Clooney, who owns a summer house there.

It’s relatively easy to get to the Italian Lakes from the UK because of their location in the north of Italy, only around a day’s drive from Calais. Or stop overnight in France to break up the drive.

What to take

You must carry the following items in your vehicle:

  • Reflective jacket
  • Warning triangle

Snow chains or winter tyres must be used where signs indicate.


Stolberg Germany

Where to go

With fairytale-like castles, ancient walled towns and picturesque scenery along the way, it’s easy to see where the 220-mile Romantic Road gets its name from. You can spend several days on this driving holiday as you’ll need plenty of time for sightseeing stops.

The Romantic Road starts in Wurzburg, around 450 miles from Calais by fast motorways linking Bruges, Brussels, Cologne and Frankfurt. It ends in the foothills of the Alps.

What to take

While it’s not compulsory for visiting motorists to carry special equipment such as a warning triangle, reflective jacket or first-aid kit, it’s recommended that you have them anyway. They are compulsory for German-registered vehicles.

All vehicles using roads in Germany must adhere to the rules on winter/summer tyres. Essentially, you must not use summer tyres during winter weather conditions such as black ice, snow, ice, slush and frost. Standard UK tyres are generally summer tyres but check with your garage or manufacturer if you are unsure.


Road Bergstrasse Toledo

Where to go

Although the Costas of southern Spain are the best-known holiday destinations in the country, the north has much to offer those who make the journey by car. The city of Bilbao has everything from architecture and museums to beaches and forests. Northern Spain is also famous for its food, with plenty of opportunities to sample the local gastronomic delights while you take in the culture and sights.

With direct ferries to Bilbao and Santander, you could spend more time at sea than on the road. The quickest ferry route is 20 hours but that may be perfect if you want take your own car on holiday without spending days on the road.

What to take

You must carry the following items in your vehicle:

  • Reflective jacket – Although you won’t be fined for not having one, you could be for not wearing one if you break down.
  • Warning triangle – It’s compulsory to have one but advisable to have two as you could be fined for only having one in the event of a breakdown or accident.
  • Spare wheel – You’ll also need the tools to change a wheel, or a tyre-repair kit.


Ireland road

Where to go

The island of Ireland is just over 300 miles long and 170 miles wide, so it’s possible to see quite a bit of its beauty if you take your own car with you on the short ferry journey. But don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll drive from top to bottom in a day and see everything! You’ll probably want to pace yourself to take in the scenery, sights and hospitality.

There are some well-known road trips worth investigating including the Wild Atlantic Way (1,600 miles) and much shorter Ring of Kerry (105 miles). If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you should definitely consider the Causeway Coastal Route (120 miles) in Northern Ireland as you’ll see several filming locations from the show.

What to take

You are not required to carry any special equipment with you when driving in Ireland, whether in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Don’t forget these items too

It’s also advisable to carry the following with you when driving away from home:

  • Driving licence
  • Documents relating to vehicle and travel insurance
  • ID e.g. passport
  • Breakdown cover documents
  • Your vehicle log book (V5C)

You must display a GB sticker on your vehicle throughout mainland Europe, unless you have a GB Euro number plate. Depending on your car, you’ll also need to fit headlamp deflector stickers or remember to adjust the beam if you’ll be driving on the other side of the road.

If the UK leaves the EU without an exit deal, you’ll also need a Green Card and an International Driving Permit. We’ll try to keep you as informed as possible about the impact of Brexit on driving in Europe.

We hope we’ve given you some inspiration for destinations you can drive to this summer. Don’t forget to check you’ve got everything you need before setting off.

Sources: Money Saving Expert, RAC, AA, Tourism Ireland

Is car insurance valid in Europe?

After being amazed by all these exotic locations, you may be wondering if your car insurance is valid while driving abroad.

The answer will depend on your insurer, so make sure to check your policy booklet or contact them directly. Complete Cover Group customers can find their policy booklets here.

Not only will you need to check if your policy covers you for driving in mainland Europe, but what level of cover you will receive. Your policy may provide you with fully comprehensive cover while in the UK but only third-party cover in other EU countries. Extras such as breakdown cover may not be included while driving abroad.

Finally, remember you and your vehicle will still need to comply with the local laws and requirements of the country you are driving in. For more information, read our article avoid breaking these European driving laws.

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