When setting off for Italy (or anywhere in Europe!) there are a million routes you could take. That is true whether you're travelling by motorhome, campervan, motorbike, car or bicycle!
In order to help anyone coming after us, this is the route we chose to take through France into Italy.
Motorhome Route planner- France to Italy
We chose to use toll roads in both France and Italy in order to decrease travel time (and maximise our exploring time!) We also decided to use the Chamonix tunnel, which runs underneath the Alps from Chamonix into Italy and saves HOURS of steep and twisting roads.
We love driving in the Alps with our motorhome- but this trip we just wanted to get to where we were going (initially Slovenia… but we got sidetracked by the Dolomites…)
Time of year: Beginning of October
Motorhome: Swift Escape 685 (6.6m long and 2.9m high) – see our Swift 685 motorhome review
People onboard: 2 adults and a truculent puppy
Towing/ extra vehicles carried? No- we decided not to take our motorbikes this trip.
Motorhome Blog Travelling in Europe
Day 1- to Gueret, France
The trip did not start well.
We got 2 hours down the road when I realised I'd left my passport in the printer.
Luckily, we were already in France, so didn't need to worry about catching a ferry or tunnel, but it was a silly thing to do. I am grateful that Mr WB was in a good mood and hardly said a word as we turned around… doh.
Then, just after that, our puppy Mac started to have a really bad stomach. There's no easy fix to this, so we stopped every 30 minutes so he could relieve himself. In the end, we stopped much earlier than anticipated and let him recover.
Personally, I'm blaming the pizza Mr WB let him have the night before, but as he hadn't commented on my passport issue, I'm not saying a word about the pizza.
Except right here, but he'll never know that.
We stayed at a fabulous aire in Gueret. HUGE parking area for motorhomes, campers and campervans. Lots of space for a poorly dog to run, playground for kids, restaurant, shop- one of the best aires in France we've ever seen.
Address for overnight parking: Aire des Monts de Gueret off the N145, France
GPS: Lat: N 46. 10′ 58″ Long: E 1. 50′ 55″
Cost for overnight parking: €0
Services available for motorhomes: waste, water, toilet, showers, from 2€
Day 2- Gueret to Chamonix
LOOOOOOOONG driving day. Luckily, Mac was feeling much better, so we were able to do 2-hour chunks and get some miles under us.
We chose to use toll roads to speed up the trip- we only have 2 weeks for the holiday and chose not to waste it avoiding toll roads. (In France we use a tollpass, so when I get the bill I'll update this to include toll costs)
Roads in France (and most of Europe) have several numbers/ names and it can get confusing. We took the N145, the A89 and then the A40.
If you're struggling to find the tunnel, just search for Chamonix on your map.
We spent the night in the French Alps at Les Houches, just outside Chamonix. We found a lovely wild camping spot at Chavants Lake with an incredible view of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi (we visited here on a previous trip and went up the cable car to the top, which was amazing! You can watch the video from the top of Aiguille du Midi and the glass box here)
There were some lovely hikes around the area and several restaurants which were open in October. Mac decided to go for a swim in the lake, which was fine at first until he was so cold he was shaking… and STILL wanted to go in for more. Crazy dog.
There was snow on the mountains, but none on the roads. Winter tyres were not needed. It was chilly at night and we used the motorhome heating.
Address for overnight parking: 148 Allee des Diligences, 74310 Les Houches, France
GPS: Lat: N 45. 53′ 45″ Long: E 6. 46′ 54″
Cost for overnight parking: €0
Services available for motorhomes: Bins
Day 3- Chamonix to Trento, Italy
Up EARLY, in time for the most incredible sunrise over Mont Blanc. We were so lucky to see that. Start delayed by 30 minutes whilst we took photos of the stars/ sunrise/ puppy.
There's a reason I currently have 4500 photos to sort through, not including the drone footage!
We set off about 7am and used the tunnel to cross from France into Italy. It cost 60.40€ for a one-way trip for a Class 2 motorhome to cross (under 3m high)
The tunnel is ok; impressive enough but after driving the world's longest tunnel in Norway we're hard to please!
And we're back in Italy! Our very first motorhome trip to Europe was us taking our camper to the Italian Lakes – it was on this trip we decided to change our future and get more travel in our lives!
Again, we chose to use toll roads to make the trip quicker. Also, we find Italian toll roads to be MUCH cheaper than French ones… although there are more tolls so it probably works out roughly the same. We took the A5, then the A4 past Milan towards Verona.
Lake Garda with a motorhome
We stopped at Lake Garda for lunch. If you're never been to the lakes, we highly recommend you go, but it is one of the most challenging places we've ever visited with a motorhome.
The roads are small, the drivers are crazy and there is very little parking for motorhomes. There are very (VERY) few parking places with a view by the lake and nowhere to wild camp.
Having said that, we managed to squeeze into a single parking space (just) and had a lovely picnic lunch by the side of the lake at Toscolano. The weather was perfect- warm enough for an ice cream from the nearby store.
Mac didn't enjoy it quite so much- all he wanted to do was swim in Lake Garda. He was vey upset when we wouldn't let him!
One thing to remember with the Italian lakes is there are a LOT of narrow tunnels- some of them are NOT wide enough for two motorhome or trucks to pass, so be careful if you see one coming the other way.
Don't expect them to slow down, especially if they're Italian. We were very glad of our wing mirror protectors (worth every penny. We love these ones!)
Wild camping spot
We stopped just north of Lake Garda, outside the town of Trento, next to Lake di Telago. The lake was pretty, and very quiet, but it's a watersports lake so I would expect it to be much busier in summer.
There is a proper campsite on the other side of the lake if you need it.
This was a proper wild camping spot, so make sure you're away by 8am. If you're interested in wild camping with a motorhome, this is how we find places to stop at.
Address for overnight parking: 5 via al Lago, 38070 Travolt, Italy
GPS: Lat: N 46. 5′ 46″ Long: E 11. 3″ 18″
Cost for overnight parking: €0
Services available for motorhomes: none, but a nice lake for the dog to swim in.
If you'd like more information on touring Europe with a motorhome, there are lots of tips, tricks and advice HERE