UK to Greece by Road and Ferry – Camping on Board
My husband and I regularly travel by road from the UK to Greece where our home is. He’s an artist and I’m a writer and we’ve spent the past couple of years moving our stuff over to Greece in a white van. The road trip usually takes between 3 and 5 days and a major part of the journey is the ferry from Italy to Greece. The first time we made the trip we were pretty green – we drove all the way down to the south of Italy, paying tolls to use some of the most appalling roads you’re ever likely to come across – how they have the cheek to charge tolls is beyond comprehension in places.
We arrived at Brindisi exhausted from the hard drive and looking forward to the 16 hour ferry journey as a welcome respite. However, once we’d parked the van we had to leave it there and go on deck. We hadn’t booked a cabin, so were stuck with just the stuff we could carry in our bags. We managed to have a wash, then went for dinner in the ship’s restaurant and spent some time having a nightcap on deck. We slept on the bench seating in one of the lounges like a lot of other travellers and were ready to disembark the next morning. We’d spent the previous three nights sleeping in the back of our van which we’d kitted out for that purpose. It was pretty cramped because we were transporting so much stuff with us (including a quad as a run-around on the tiny Greek island where we live).
When we did the return journey we didn’t have nearly as much stuff in the van to bring to the UK so we built a small sleeping space in the van – we had a small gas stove so we could make a cuppa when we wanted one and set off to drive to Patra. When we arrived at the ferry terminal I was able to book the van on as a camper van which entitled us to “camping on board”.
What a great idea – you park your caravan or motor home in a specially designated area and have access to it throughout the journey. You can’t cook while on board, but you can sleep in your own vehicle and there are convenient showers nearby so that you have all the comforts of home. This made the journey much more pleasant – we arrived in Italy after a good night’s sleep, refreshed from the rest and ready to set off for the UK.
On our next return to Greece, we decided to give the Italian roads a miss and boarded the ferry in the north at Ancona for a 20 hour ride to Greece. It was a longer journey and instead of “camping on board” our van booking included a complimentary cabin! The price wasn’t a great deal more and we actually saved a couple of hundred Euros on fuel and tolls, making the journey much cheaper.
If you’re planning on taking your caravan or motor home on the European ferries, check out the facilities available – make sure you book camping on board if possible, it really is a much more enjoyable journey that way.