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International Winging it through Europe - Accomm advice needed

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by Glenn, May 13, 2012.

  1. Me and the missus are grabbing a couple of bikes in London in June, then jumping the Chunnel Train to Europe and spending four weeks winding our way through France and Spain before coming back up through Switzerland and maybe a little bit of Germany.

    Got plenty of good roads lined up, but at a loss on what to do about accommodation. On trips like this in Australia we trust to luck and call in to the local tourism office when we hit the small towns. Or check out the local pubs and see which one has the lowest flea count and a safe overnight spot for the bikes.

    I'm not so sure this will work in Europe.

    Has anyone had any experience winging it through Europe? Or are we gonna have to plan ahead and book pretty much every night? I should point out we have a few 3-day stopovers planned, so we will be booking those, but I was hoping to leave the bits in between flexible.

    Any and all advice welcome.

    Here's a broad brush of our planned route, taking pretty much every winding road in between, as researched on BestBikingRoads:
    London - Reims - Lyon - Perpignon - San Sebastien - Madrid - Valencia - Barcelona - Marseilles - Geneva - Luxembourg - London
  2. just take the gamble and see what happens!

    spirit of adventure and all that, im sure you will be able to make something work
  3. I really doubt you'll have any trouble in Switzerland or Germany unless you hit a major event (in which case you simply wont find accommodation). France I would consider booking in advance (at least a night or two in advance) and I haven't been to Spain so NFI.
  4. When you say 'grabbing a bike' are you going to buy them or hire them? This type of trip is also on my agenda but I was wondering how it works with insurance etc...
  5. I'm coming to the end of 4 weeks doing this through Canada, albeit in a car and not on a bike (on some of the best bike roads I've ever seen though, and she gets motion sickness, so have been keeping it very very beige....)

    ANYWAY. We've been planning ahead a day or 2 at a time and have stayed in bed and breakfasts the whole way, it's been great.
    I bought my little laptop, they all have free wifi, are clean and nice and you get great advice on what's good to see in the local area, and are usually cheaper than hotels.

    In the more rural areas they are much, much nicer than the usual fleabag motels you find on the road, I can't recommend that approach enough, it worked well here, I can't see why it wouldn't work in europe as well!

    I hope that helps!

  6. Contact Browny
  7. You could get away with just winging it, but remember you're coming into the summer holiday season in June, so even if you do find a place last minute, the rack rate may be pretty high. Probably not a bad idea to look into booking some accomm soon.

    Also, if you're planning to be in France in July, remember that practically the whole country goes on summer holidays in July, so accommodation will be all booked out in advance, and the motorways get very congested to/from the south at the beginning/end of July.
  8. Yeah, I live in London and regularly drive or ride into Europe.

    I almost never book in advance, except for the first night or two nights. I'm not at the budget end of the accommodation any more so I tend to stay in mid-range places for about EUR80-110/night. This buys you something comfortable like a Best Western or Comfort Inn or some local hotel.

    The way I find the hotel? Either Lonely Planet or search the hotel POI database in my GPS. Or sometimes just drive around. I rarely search on the internet while on the road.
  9. Well I was just in Paris and Barcelona,

    I stayed at the Grand Hotel Francais, in Paris, its not quite in the centre of the city but still within (Zone 1) of the Metro train system. Staff there are fantastic, very friendly, they speak english too - and will give you great tips on where to go within the area. Plus - Breakfast is included in the stay! (and laundry)

    In barcelona, I stayed at Hotel Europark - Which is about 5 blocks from the main city centre. again - great staff, and great facilities. + Breakfast for like 10 Euros... (all you can eat buffet style)

    as for bike storage - In Paris everyone parks on the sidewalk and just bolts their bike to something nearby.

    The hotel in Bareclona has parking i think - If not there is also street parking (there are bikes everywhere outside both hotels)

    Not sure what you budget is - these may a bit more than you wanted to spend if you just looking for a bed - but they are definitely worth it!
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  10. I just came back from the Eifel/Black Forest/France - see my write up for two cracking places to stop (Baden Baden and Blankenheim).

    Do try and get on the A500 from Freiburg to Baden - you won't regret that one bit and it's well worth going to the Nurburgring on a touristenfahrt day - otherwise the track is shut to the public.

    We winged it in Verdun on a sunday night - medium size towns in France or Germany are no issue, the older/more historical the quainter the accomodation. Most of the shops and petrol stations are shut on sundays/holidays in both countries though, so pick your end destination carefully...,

    Otherwise there are usually places on the main road in/out of town - Ibis, Formule 1 (yes - but it's formule Z starred...) if you get stuck. Another option in June is Eurocamp if you want to be under canvas. Just note that these options are usually away from the bars and restaurants...

    Oh - and none of the 3 places we stayed at cost more than 40euros/night. Travelodge in Ashford (to get an early tunnel crossing) is good, but book ahead to get it cheap.

    Enjoy and PM me if you want any more tips.