Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Overland driving routes and ferries
Cundalini
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Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Cundalini » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:52 am

Sat Nav and European Route planner says via UK to Calais then to Brindisi and Ferry to Patras. Then Ferry from Athens .Or via Germany and Serbia overland to Greece ? Both priced roughly the same . Is Balkans route dangerous ? I assume via Italy is shortest and cheapest with less driving ! I just find long hours on a ferry so tedious! and of course one cannot drink as one is driving when leaving the ferry . What are the places to stop at? . Don`t need hotels as I have campervan ! Thanks !
Last edited by Cundalini on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kilkis
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Kilkis » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:34 am

I've always used the Brindisi route but, when I drove, at least 16 years ago, Serbia was probably a more dangerous place for people in cars with UK plates than I would guess it is today.

Typically the ferries from Bari/Brindisi* to Patras and from Piraeus to Chania/Heraklion leave in the evening and sail overnight. Certainly in Piraeus you can get on the ferry early. I'm not sure about in Italy. That means that you can have a drink in the bar before sailing, a meal in the restaurant after setting sail and get a night's sleep to metabolise the alcohol providing you don't drink too much. Having once been forced to use the aircraft seats I wouldn't personally sail without a cabin but I think some of the ferries have an open deck space for camper vans and allow people to spend the night in the van. Worth investigating. You might also consider Ancona to Patras. A longer sail but a shorter drive.

Warwick

* Grimaldi lines sail from Brindisi while Anek/Superfast sail from Bari. If you do the Italy-Greece and Piraeus-Crete legs of the journey with the same shipping line you will get a significant discount so it is worth choosing who you sail with carefully. You also get a discount for booking the return at the same time as the outward leg.

filippos
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby filippos » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:28 am

When I used to do the road/ferry trip between UK and Crete I found the Michelin web site very useful for detailed route planning. Decided which ports to use - usually Dunkirk & Ancona (and I'd certainly avoid Calais now) - but from Ireland I'd aim more westerly. On the Michelin site you can produce both a roadmap route and detailed route plan: if you're not in a hurry you can build in diversions to places of interest or towns you fancy visiting etc.

You can select routes that avoid, or favour, M-ways, quickest or shortest etc., get fuel consumption and costs estimates, road toll info and on and on. Worth a look.

Maud
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Maud » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:36 am

It depends where you want to enter mainland Europe from Ireland. For driving through France, buy 'All the Aires' from Vicarious Books. (Order on line). There are two books, one for the north and one for the south, but you get a discount if you buy them together. They are far from all the aires but there are loads......plenty enough for you to find overnight stops free, or for a few Euros. Almost all also offer a facility for dumping black and grey waste, and for refilling with water.

We do the Tunnel, (never a problem around Calais), France, Belgium, Luxembourg (cheapest fuel!), Eastern France again, Switzerland and Italy. Friends with a house on Andros and an apartment in Athens.... and a camper-van to get to them both... do the same route. It is a well travelled route for them and us!

In Italy most of the motorway service areas allow you to stay without cost overnight. They also seem to have servicing
facilities. If you are just passing through to get to a ferry they are adequate for an overnight stop. Switzerland is more of a problem. You will also need a vignette to drive there. - If you are over 3.5T you can buy one for 10 days, (any 10 days in a year.......so you can use it travelling through on your outward and return trips). Surprisingly it is cheaper than the vignette.

If you are not looking to have a holiday in Italy, but just want to get to a ferry, then Ancona to Patras is the best route. (About a 24 hour crossing). Bari to Patras is probably the next best. (About 17 hours). Bari is cheaper, but by the time you have paid the fuel and autostrada tolls to get to Bari there is very little difference in price. ANEK/Superfast and Minoan do both the route from Ancona and offer 'Camping on Board ' from the 1st April to the 31st October. With ANEK/Superfast you can stay in your van and get an ehu. With Minoan they give you a cabin but you cannot return to your van, therefore have to buy your meals etc on board. There are showers and loos on the Camping deck on the ANEK ships. It is VERY popular, so you would need to book up in advance. I don't think Minoan do the Bari crossing. We have done it with ANEK/Superfast and the ship's are smaller than from Ancona......but fine. It tends to get less booked up than Ancona outside of July/August/September, but you would still be sensible to book ahead.

Warwick is correct. - You get a discount on the domestic leg (PIraeus to Hania or Iraklio) if you book it with the same shipping line. If you book with Viamare in London (on line or by 'phone) they can sometimes find you an 'open return' for the same price as a fixed one. They are also usually the cheapest agency to book through. - Even cheaper than booking directly with the ferry companies. If you are a member of the AA, Minoan give you a 33% discount. If you are a member of ADAC you can get one with Minoan and ANEK.

All the information above is not necessarily true for 2017, so you will need to check!

If you want any more details then pm me.

Kilkis
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Kilkis » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:34 am

Maud wrote:...I don't think Minoan do the Bari crossing...


No, they don't but Minoan are now part of the Grimaldi Group and Grimaldi lines do operate a car ferry from Brindisi to Patras. I have no idea what facilities they offer. I would guess that they would have a discount for using Grimaldi Lines for the Adriatic crossing and then Minoan for the Crete leg. I don't know for sure but worth checking.

Warwick

filippos
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby filippos » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:58 am

There are ferry routes from Dublin, Cork and Rosslare to Roscoff (NW France) and Cherbourg operated by Brittany Ferries and Irish Ferries. Starting point for routes information here (and elswhere).

Maud
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Maud » Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:24 pm

Grimaldi also used to do a crossing from Gythio to Kissamos Warwick. (Summer only). It called at Kythera so was a longer crossing, but it was a daytime one......so much nicer than the Piraeus route by the other shipping lines. (I am not sure it that route hasn't been taken over by someone else now). We have been tempted as it would be a nice way to see more of the Peloponnesos en route but the timings never seem to suit us. You probably know more about this than me, as you are so good with your research.

I think the Roscoff crossing might suit Cundalini better than our route Filippos. In that case they would be wise to get the 'All the Aires' books, as they will need to cross more of France than we do. We had 5 weeks in France on holiday this year and found them invaluable.

YoMo2
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby YoMo2 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:36 pm

Maud, your description of the Gytheo to Kissamos crossing as a "longer" one is charitable to say the least. Painfully slow might be a better description. I'm all for leisurely trips that don't cause me stress, but I think I could have swum that one quicker. It's interminable. And the boat is an old tub with practically nothing to do on board but stare at the sea. Nothing like the Festos Palace or the Blue Horizon. And they certainly don't do camping on board. OP, you have been warned........

Andrew
"It's all in the implementation"

Kilkis
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Kilkis » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:27 pm

At the moment the Gythio to Kissamos ferry is only shown up to 2 February 2017 so I don't know if it will run after that. That doesn't mean that it won't run. Greek ferry lines are notorious for releasing schedules very late. I have also been told that it is a bit of an old rust bucket, Andrew, but I don't think the crossing time is too bad at 15:40 to 23:00, i.e. 7 hours 20 minutes when the Piraeus crossings are 9 hours. I think the bigger issues with that crossing are that there is only one boat per week and I don't think you could get from Patras to Gythio in the time available while it is perfectly possible to get from Patras to Piraeus.

I used Google Earth to get routes from Roscoff and Cherbourg to Ancona and Calais to Ancona. You are correct that from Roscoff it is about 240 km more than from Calais, which is quite significant. From Cherbourg it is only about 70 km, i.e. about 5 %, so not that much further to drive, Maud, if they chose that option.

Warwick

SatCure
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby SatCure » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:38 pm

This reminds me of the old joke about a couple asking for directions in Ireland.
The first person they stopped to ask scratched his head, switched the pipe to the other side of his mouth and said:
"To be sure, if I were you, I wouldn't start from here!"

Yeah, OK. GDAR.
:oops:

filippos
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby filippos » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:05 pm

I think that 'joke' originated sometime before the birth of Moses.

Maud
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Maud » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:40 pm

Thanks for the tip-off Andrew. Some Austrian friends of ours made the same comments! They travel to Kriti every year but said they would never use the old 'rust bucked' again!

There is no 'Camping on board' with any of the domestic routes in Greece. I have been told it is a Government thing! - They didn't want it on the Italian routes either, but the Italian Government insisted on it. We have met lots of Dutch, French, Italians etc with campervans on the 'Camping on board' deck who will only travel to Mainland Greece because they cannot sleep in their vans on internal routes.

It is not cheap to use the ferries with a campervan, and then to have to pay for a cabin on the top of it is an extra expense people can do without. Mainland Greece is wonderful for touring.....so they are happy to stay there. Motorhoming is a growing market. The 'baby boomer' generation have more disposable income, they are keen to travel and they have plenty of spare time. They are not desperate to fly to places as quickly as possible, and they enjoy the freedom of touring at their own pace, so the Greek Islands will lose these tourists if the Government doesn't rethink things. - We have been astonished recently how many French and Italians now have campervans. The Dutch, Austrians and Germans have been 'in to it' for a long time, but now France and Italy are catching up! It is a shame the Greek Goverment don't make it easier for motorhomes to visit the islands as as Kriti is a perfect place to tour.

Kilkis
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Kilkis » Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:53 am

We once visited Pilos on the Peleponnese and were astonished at how rudely we were treated by locals, something we had never experienced anywhere else in Greece. When I commented on it to somebody I knew from that area they said that they probably thought we were German. They come in their campervans, bring absolutely everything with them and don't spend a cent in the area.

Warwick

PS I'm a "baby boomer" and my income seems to be very "disposable". I seem to dispose of it very easily.

Maud
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Maud » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:44 pm

No problem of disposing of our income either Warwick!

Friends of ours stayed in the mountains at Zaros in October. (In one of the hotels). My friend is tall and blond.....quite Germanic looking. She rang me and said that she didn't find the locals very friendly. She has smiled at people but hardly anyone smiled back. She had even found one shopkeepera bit 'off hand'. I told her to speak to people to show she was English. She went in to the same shop that afternoon and got talking to the elderly chap who owned it, - and said she was English. Whilst she browsed the shelves he had put olive soap, mountain tea and a few other bits and pieces on the counter for her. She didn't like to say she didn't want the stuff, so went to pay for everything. - He refused her money for the items he had put out and said it was 'a gift for his English friend!' (Many older Greeks have long memories!). I explained to her that everyone probably thought she was German previously, which is why they hadn't bothered to smile or speak to her. We used to have the same reaction in the late 1970's early 1980's as both my husband and I were blond in those days, (grey now!) and our two young children were 'white blond.' We soon knew it was best to acknowledge everyone in Greek....and say 'Eimai Ellhnika.'

It would be wrong for me to imply that all Greeks no longer like the Germans......but certainly there is still resentment held in various regions of Greece. I do not know Pylos, so cannot comment on that area. As for motorhomers not spending money locally, I think they spend a lot more than people on 'all inclusive' holidays! Many eat locally every night, and even if they eat in their vans, they have to buy the food and drink somewhere. It is why the 'Aire' system is set up in France.......to bring the vans to the villages so that it brings business to the local shops.......and it works! - I am not convince the Pylos residents were unfriendly just because the visitors were in motorhomes! If they were, then it is a shame, as most motorhomers 'spend well' locally, just like people in self catering holiday accommodation.

Cundalini
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Re: Best Route Republic of Ireland to Crete ?

Postby Cundalini » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:51 am

Post deleted .
Last edited by Cundalini on Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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