We got back on Monday after a month away. We travelled Dover/Calais, through France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece to Bg. in our own vehicle which we have left in Bg.
Ferry, one way, 2 adults with vehicle cost £30 Saver fare.
We used the route from www.viamichelin.com
, which was excellent - a couple of tips:
P2 No. 3 When it says take A4 close to Reims there is first sign that can be misleading and takes you on A4 but wrong way
1st hotel stop was Hotel Kyriad in the centre of Mulhouse which was near the Swiss border. Hotel was clean, basic, not expensive and comfortable and easy to find if you follow the directions . A good place to stay after a day of travelling.
(From a35/36 highway take exit Mulhouse center in direction of city centre. After the Kinepolis go straight in Ave. Schuman, pass under the Loggia building, right into Ave. de Colmar and left in Rue Engel. Take 4th left direction Centre Historique, rue Schlumberger, left in Ave. Kennedy, then 1st right for the parking des Marechaux which is an underground, secure car park with direct access on level 1 to the hotel)
Mulhouse is a lovely old town. We were told Colmar is also lovely.
Entry into Swiss - had to pay E30 vinegrette
Journey through Switzerland was lovely (apart from all the roadworks).
This part of Switz. was German speaking.
Plenty of toilet stops.
About 100 kms. to Italian border there was a large service area and motel, food was good, they were Italian speaking here!. We also passed a nice camping site and another motel on way to the border. There was a large town on the border called Chiasso. Would suggest filling up car, toilet stops etc. in any of these places as once you hit the Italian roads around Milan it is very industrial, busy and not many Petrol stations which seemed strange.
We stayed in the Mestre area near Venice, which was easy to find. Stayed in Hotel Bologna, a Best Western , which had an adjoining secure car park. The station was opposite the hotel and so easy to get into Venice . Buy railway ticket from the hotel and you must stamp them in the machine on the station before getting on the train.
We spent 2 nights here which gave us a full day in Venice which we really enjoyed. The best way to get around is to get a ticket for the waterbus (I think it was E12 each for the whole day )and you can hop on and off as many times as you wish. However, make sure you get a plan of the waterbuses route so you know where to change or get off, or you could get stuck on one for ages. You can get the ticket and info. from the tourist office on the railway station.
We booked the ferry from Venice to Igoumenitsa which cost us E508, inc. a cabin with Ionian lines and had to collect the ticket at least 2 hours before departure. We went the previous day to collect it but could not get it until the day of departure. Leave yourself plenty of time as there is often a queu to get the ticket.
The journey from Mestre into Venice car ferry port was easy. You cross the long bridge from the mainland to Venice and the port is off on the right.
The whole procedure getting on the ferry etc. was a bit chaotic - waiting in the queu for ages in the hot sunshine with no information and then parking on the ferry.......
Two Greek chaps shouting at everybody and then at each other, grabbing people's steering wheels to try and park them......chaos! The cars are parked so close together so make sure you get all your bits ready to take on the ferry as you cannot go back to the carpark.
Must say we were very impressed with our cabin and the restaurant which was inexpensive and good. Also had a self-service restaurant.
Take your bottled water as did not see it for sale in the shop (probably could get it from restaurant) and also any medication. I got a head cold and tried to get something like paracetamol from the shop and there was nothing apart from some Viagra behind the counter!
On the ferry they have good free maps of Greece which was useful.
Road from ferry through Greece, some was motorway but mostly very windy through the mountain and very slow (not sure if I would like to do it towing a caravan)
Michelin directions after Thessoloniki not so clear.
Don't turn right into Thessoloniki town. Go on and
Take exit SERES on the right (not exit to Macedonia) where you see the first sign to Bulgaria/Liti (big ovehead signs)
Keep going, passing Liti village on your left . The road here is good straight to the border with few petrol stations.
We hit the border about 20.30 (left ferry at 12) inc. about 1 hr. stops
You pay E2 at Greek border for going through disinfectant
No problem getting through borders even though our car was full with items for our house They marked our passport with a small V for the car.
I checked to see if we had to collect any forms to import our car, they said they would let us in as a tourist so did not need forms (not sure if they knew the procedure anyway). However the customs people were really nice and helpful.
Get your vinegrette on the kiosk on the left. Cost E9 for the month (gave him E10 note and got no change - how many times has he done that!
We decided to motor on to Sofia (after having a meal at Mr. Happy).
Arrived at Exp at 1 a.m. - under 3 hrs. from border
I advise before you go to print out all the speed limits for each country. Also useful phrases in each language incase you break down, get lost etc. All available on the net.