If not by air, by car - Review of the European motorways

Thursday 16, September 2010


If not by air, by car - Review of the European motorways


Sometimes flying is taken for granted, and after almost a week without flights, perhaps it's time for a shake-up in the system. HolidayCheck has reviewed some European motorways.


Now you know what to expect before heading out on the road. For instance, you can travel for free in Germany, but Spain has some of the most expensive stretches of road. 



Standing out from the rest of Europe by driving on the left hand side, England also has the fewest miles of motorways within the EU. But, it's quality over quantity, as the English motorways also have the fewest accidents. There are a few toll roads on which you have to pay, but the majority are free. London is an exception, and when driving in the city centre, you need to pay the Congestion Charge of £8 a day. Despite not being a motorway, one of the most beautiful driving roads is the A57 Snake Pass over the Pennines. 



For whoever enjoys driving, the Autobahnen of Germany are a dream. They are free, four lanes wide, and there is no speed limit. Lorries are also not allowed on the motorways on Sundays, making those morning drives even more delightful. No only that, but there are lots of rest stops and scenic places to enjoy a picnic. Don't expect a gastronomic feast from the service stations however, as the most common restaurant en route is McDonald's. 



According to a study from leading Spanish supermarket chain Eroski, the average price per kilometre is 6p. Even though the roads go between the different regions, they are in fact run by private companies, and it is these who determine the prices. It is a good idea to compare routes before setting out on a journey, as one may be much more costly than another. The motorways of Vielha and Marchante are among the safest in the country. 



Agip petrol stations, frothy cappuccinos and fresh sandwiches from Autogrill. Welcome to Italy! The price of a journey depends on its length, and whether it goes through the highways or mountains, and although they are still expensive, the average cost is 5 pence cheaper per kilometre than on  Spanish roads. 



In order to be able to drive within Switzerland, you have to buy a vignette sticker. It costs just over £23 and is valid for an entire year. Austria and the Czech Republic also use the vignette system, but the prices are broken down into monthly and also regional prices. The most popular Swiss restaurant is Mövenpick, which translates literally to Seagulls' Beaks. Switzerland was also home to Europe's longest driving tunnel for 20 years; the Gotthard Pass. It stretches for an entire 10 miles through the Swiss mountains. 



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