Driving to Roda is a serious option & should not be ruled out. Many European visitors to Corfu do drive to the Island, heading for the Italian ferry ports. It is much easier than most people might imagine and it is an adventure you will never forget. From the UK, the driving distance from Calais to Venice is quoted as 1342 km, almost exactly the same as Lands End to John-o-Groats. Most of us would drive that distance comfortably in two days but, with the excellent continental motorways, for those in a rush, the journey can be completed in about 17 hours. The big advantage of driving your own car to Roda is that you will have transport available for the whole of your stay in the Village.
Depending on the amount of time you have at your disposal, there are many alternatives when it comes to choosing an itinerary to get you to Corfu. There are routes to the north through Belgium, Germany & Austria, or a little further south, you can head off through France & Switzerland and, with a little extra time, the journey down to Lyon & through the Frejus tunnel to Turin, is quite spectacular. If time is not a problem, you should even consider a longer journey to the south of France, crossing into Italy between Monaco & Ventimiglia.
When you start to think of the possibilities created by driving down to Roda, then imagine all of the wonderful places you can visit on the way. With enough time you can sample the delights of half a dozen European countries and still have a couple of weeks in your favourite resort – Roda!
The journey starts, of course with a ferry journey from the UK to mainland Europe. Again, there are several options depending on where your journey starts. One of the easiest is the Norfolk Lines crossing from Dover to the Port Rapide near to Dunkerque. The journey takes just two hours and Norfolk Lines have a policy of not taking buses or foot passengers. When you disembark at Loon Plages, you drive straight off the ferry and on to the motorway network where you can choose
any one of a number of routes. If don’t want to sail, the channel tunnel is the other way to cross.
The purchase of a good European road map(s) is one of the first considerations and there are many to choose from. If you are planning to make the journey only once, then folded maps will probably be good enough. If not, then you should invest in the best road map that you can afford and the one that you find easiest to read. Larger scale maps usually come as either thermal-bound or spiral bound and each type has good & bad points. Thermal-bound books are probably better as long as you do not fold them back too severely. The scale is also important and larger is definitley better. For clarity, individual country maps should be 1:180,000.
If you are planning to stop off sightseeing along the way, then the Cadogan Guides are hard to beat. If you are going to stay at hotels, then arm yourself with hotel location guides, available online for the countries you will be visiting. For example, if you are travelling through France, look at ‘Formule 1’ (F1) who publish a small booklet with the precise locations of nearly 400 cheap & cheerful hotels. The other alternative is to head for the many campsites across Europe. Even if you are not camping, many have excellent chalet facilities and can be booked for one night only. In France, the FFCC Camping & Caravan Guide is hard to beat and, in Italy, the equivalent is the Giunti ‘Guida di Camping’. If you want to come to Roda during the busy summer season, remember that European hotels & campsites will be busy & should be booked in advance.
It should be noted that most motorways in mainland Europe are toll motorways (except Germany) and fees are also charged to travel through the several tunnels en route. Passes are needed to travel through Austria & Switzerland and these should be purchased at the border when entering either country. Motorway signs in most of Europe are blue, except in Italy where they are green. EU driving licences are acceptable and should be carried with you at all times together with your vehicle registration documents, passport and insurance certificate. If you
have a circle of European stars on your number-plate, then you no longer need a GB sticker.
Make sure that you have a reliable breakdown policy such as ‘europ-assistance’ and remember to comply with all of the regulations in the countries on your route. The best policy is never to use a mobile telephone when driving, always wear seatbelts, in front & rear, and never drink & drive. Speeding often results in an on-the-spot fine so stick to the limits and remember, they are in km/h. It is advisable to carry a full set of replacement bulbs for your car and a spare set of keys. Buy a reflective jacket for every member of your party and don’t forget a set of headlamp beam deflectors. Carry your vests inside of the car and, in the event of an unscheduled stop, put them on before getting out. You should always carry a first-aid kit, a reflective triangle and spare spectacles if you use them to drive with. Don’t openly display valuables in your vehicle such as mobile phones or digital cameras. This is particularly important in Italy, at service stations and ferry ports.
As you become committed to making the journey to Corfu, you will start to research the other issues like driving on the right, priority at junctions and other little difference in each of the countries you will travel through. This may all seem like a lot to consider, but most of it is common sense and all of it is designed to keep you safe. Your first thought should be getting safely to Roda, enjoying both your holiday and the accomplishment of a journey well-planned. With one journey under your belt, you may not want to come to Corfu any other way. Kalo taxidi!