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6 months in Europe, help with itinerary please!


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we are planning to spend 6 months touring Europe and I have been trying to plan a very loose route. We are planning to cross from Portsmouth to Santander at the end of March going in a kinda anti clockwise direction spending time on north coast of Spain, then into Portugal and then possibly following the coast of Spain into France. We then want to spend time touring the bottom half of France then moving onto Italy. We would like to be in Tuscany for the last two weeks of July to meet up with family. Not too sure of the route out of Italy but want to end up in the northen half of France and probably coming back to the UK via Amsterdam to Newcastle at the end of September.


Our motorhome is 7m long, so not the most manoeuvrable and we will be taking our bicycles to get around. We would like to do a mixture of wild camping, campsites and aires. We would like to spent time on the coast as well as the enjoying the countryside and national parks. We don't want to get caught up in busy resorts and we want to do as little city/town driving as possible but wouldn't mind staying on a campsite and using public transport into some of the cities.


We have been motorhomers for the last three years but have never been abroad with it. I have been reading the Rough Guide books for the countries we plan to visit but think I get bogged down in the detail. I don't want to plan where we will be every single day of the 6 months and we know we don't want to be on the move everyday. I know there is more to Spain than the costas and we have enjoyed time in Grenada, Ronda and Cordoba in the past when on a package holiday. Same with Italy, we enjoyed a holiday on Lake Garda so I know we would like to spend some time there too. We have also visited Brittany and Normandy many years ago and would like to revist there too but I know there will be lots of other wonderful places to visit in these countries but how do we decide where to go?


Sorry for a long ramble but can anyone help with an itinerary or advise the best way to create/decide on one? Your help with this would be appreciated.


Many thanks, Tony and Gill :-)


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Hi Tony and Gill

It's a vast subject / time scale to cover, but I suggest start with a map of Europe & plot your route from your initial thoughts. Remembering that with a Motorhome, you have much more flexibility for deviation.

How about concentrating on the places you haven't been (?)


Roughly calculate your initial route mileage from Santander to Tuscany to give an indication of the travel time on the road. Then divide the mileage by a average No. of Miles you expect to cover daily. This will give you an indication of what time you have available for stops along the way.

That should also give you a good idea of time you can allocate to each stop, but giving flexibility of short/long mileage days and ditto for stops.


Repeat same for homeward leg Tuscany to Amsterdam.


It should also give flexibility of being able to divert at will or you come across something interesting & unexpected.


From Tuscany you could drop further down Italy, cross to Greece.

Or up into Slovenia, Austria, Czech, Slovakia, Germany

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My comments (just points to bear in mind if not already taken into account), are:

  1. that the route, and timetable, will put you into the hottest parts of Europe at the hottest time of year.
  2. that you will be in one of the most chaotic (but likable :-)) countries in Europe in the middle of the school holidays, when the prices will be sky high, the resorts packed, and the natives at their most manic!
  3. that you can't plan six months ahead, so don't try!  Plan out the first month, take the guides for the other countries, you have plenty of time, and have a pause from time to time as you go to plan the next leg or two.  You may find a laptop, and something like "Autoroute" useful for this.
  4. that you may rue the long boat trip south in March, the Bay of Biscay has a certain reputation, and March is often windy!  I'd go from Dover, motor south through France, and put the £350 or more saved towards a bit more fuel and several good meals out!
  5. that you probably won't get much in the way of warmth until you are well down Portugal.  The north is seriously mountainous, and the land high, and Portugal opens onto the Atlantic.  Weather is weather wherever you are, but the balmy Med, generally, it ain't!
  6. There are many good bits of most countries that aren't on the coast, but inland!  There are a few remaining unspoilt, picturesque, fishing villages everywhere, but any that presented the slightest opportunity for development, have now become mass tourism resorts.  Be prepared to be disappointed, unless you choose very carefully.  I'm thinking especially Spain here, but seaside Italy is a bit weird to me, as well!
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Ditto what Brian's said!


Done it and it was exactly like that!


Southern Spain is too hot in the summer to walk about & explore, Sites are full of people with kids running around, shouting, riding bikes/skateboards and getting in the way!


We leave, (well left actually!), mid Feb and get back on the first week in July. The first full week-end in July in France is when they have their holidays and the Brits are heading for Western france, the Germans are heading for Western france, (again? ;-) ), The French are heading for Western France and they all meet in the middle at the same time on the same day! Chaos on the roads, aires and campsites!

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Thanks to everyone for your advice and recommendations.


As our home is in Scotland we decided to travel to Spain via Portsmouth first as we wanted to explore Spain and Portugal before the crowds descended there for the summer holidays and the temperatures get too hot . Our thoughts were that by June we would be heading out of Spain and into Southern France.


I know what you mean by there being so many places to see and so little time, this is why we thought could begin with France, Spain, Portugal and Italy and leave exploring other countries for another year and hopefully another trip!


I understand that we will hit country specific holiday times while we are on our trip but will just have to cope with this.


Thank you for the Magbaztravel website I have had a look and there is lots of useful info so I've bookmarked the page.


Thanks too for the advice about the ACSI card I have been reading about it and we'll probably go for it.


Tony and Gill

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Hi Tony and Gill,

I agree with Brian's comments and would beware trying to do too much detailed planning in advance.

We usually go to Europe for about two months in the spring early summer these days but used to go to France in the school holidays and found places maybe just a few miles inland that were far less crowded. The ACSI discount camping card is useful for the low season. Camping Cheques are similar but you have to pay upfront.

We have a rough idea of areas we are heading for but often get diverted when we pick up information in tourist offices. Some places we just don't take to such as the Italian western and Adriatic coasts apart from Venice of course.

We have details of our trips on our website that you may find useful!

Enjoy your travels and the planning!

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Guest JudgeMental

Have you thought about things like security and gas? A cat 1 alarm that can be armed while you sleep, and deadlocks are pretty much essential...A refillable gas system likewise.


a sat nav loaded with all the campsites and Aires is also a godsend. plus a few books to cross reference


we always go to the med high summer due to wifes occupation. we find it busy but have never had a problem....

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