With the ever increasing price of diesel, one option to cut costs whilst travelling overseas is to avoid toll motorways. Here are a couple of options for an almost toll free route to Spain. With average road conditions, I would hazard a guess the toll free route to Spain maybe one travelling day more than the motorway option. Our first toll free route to Spain was three days, two overnight stops. The second attempt at the toll free route to Spain took a week! However, we were on a long tour with no hurry.
I tried this route in October 2010 and found it to be straightforward.
From Calais head to Boulogne on the A16 toll free motorway. The toll free section ends at junction 29. However, it is worth paying a small toll as far as junction 28. This avoids several junctions and roundabouts. Leave the motorway at junction 28 and follow the N1, also numbered as the D901 towards Montreuil. Continue along the N1 (later renumbered as the N1001) towards Abbeville. From here, join the toll free A28 motorway towards Rouen.
Take the N15 – also shown as the D6015 and follow the signs towards Dreux and Evreux – the signs are easy to spot! The dual carriageway, the N154 will take you towards Evreux and south again to Dreux. Follow the signs for Chartres and Orleans – sticking with the N154. Close to Allaines Merviliers, the N154 becomes the D954 (notice the “54” remains common to the road name) and then merge on to the D2020 towards Orleans. From Orleans, the N60 dual carriageway towards Chateau neuf sur Loire and then the D952 around Gien towards Briar and the D2007.
The D2007 later becomes the D907/N7. Follow with this road as far as Cosne Cours Sur Loire and at this point join the toll free A77 towards Nevers. A stretch of this road is classed as dual carriageway rather than motorway, but you can still keep trucking! South of Nevers stick on the N7 as far as the junction with the N79 and here, follow signs for Montlucon. At the next main junction, follow the N9/D2009 towards St Pourcain sur Sioule and keep heading south towards Gannat.The signs for Clermont Ferrand are plentiful, with both the toll route (A71) and the non toll route via Riom sign posted.
The A75 from Clermont Ferrand is then toll free until the Millau Viaduct. Some may prefer to travel over the viaduct and pay the toll. Conversely, others may prefer to head for Millau centre and possible night stops there. From Millau follow the signs for Montpellier to rejoin the A75 south of the Millau Viaduct. I prefer to avoid the bridge as the Kontiki is class 4 for toll purposes. Consequently, it is just under thirty euro one way on the Viaduc du Millau!
The A75 will take you to the A9 toll motorway and I suggest staying on the A9 for one junction as far as junction 36 and the D64. This short section of toll road will ensure you bypass Beziers. Beziers is a hold up in itself at certain times of the day. From the D64, head for Narbonne and Perpignan on the N9/D609. For speed and ease, I found it worth joining the N9 at junction 41 and remain on this toll motorway as far as the Spanish border. Once in Spain, leave the Spanish motorway, the A7, at junction 1, “La Junquera”. Follow the N11 towards Girona and Barcelona. As you approach the Costa Brava, the various resorts are clearly signposted. Paying just a few euro in tolls is a good time saver. OK I admit, not quite a toll free route to Spain!
My other tried and tested toll free route to Spain is similar to the above but included running via Paris as we spent a couple of days there. From Calais, it is the same start as above, but leave the A28 at junction 10, sign posted at D915 and Beauvais. Simply follow this road as far as Beauvais and then take the signs for Paris along the D1001. Head then to the Boulevard Peripherique and then leave the B.P. at the Porte D’Orleans. We stayed overnight at the Camping Beau Village, located just off the N20, and so it was easy to pick up the above toll free route once more. A couple of nights in Paris come as a bonus on this toll free route to Spain.
Is it worth the time and effort for a toll free route to Spain?
In my view, yes without a doubt. The towns of Sully sur Loire, St Pourcain and Millau all make good overnight stops. There are aires and campsites available. The toll cost for a class 4 vehicle would be over 200 euro for a journey form Calais to Spain. The tolls for a class 2 motorhome would be just over 100 euro. You can check your anticipated toll costs by looking at the French Autoroute website.
Given that the French “N” roads have been renumbered as “D” roads in many places, then this Big Easy Read France 2011 (Road Atlas) is really useful as both D and N road numbers are shown.
So what would you do? Spend 100 – 200 euro on tolls or maybe take an extra day to reach your destination and enjoy the toll free route to Spain? Oh go on then, toll free route to Spain, toll free route to Spain, toll free route to Spain!