Blogging from the Murcia region of Spain until early June, when I return to
the Highlands of Scotland for a few months

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Travel costs by road to and from Spain

(Please also see UPDATES at end)

In my main Spanish website (casabill.net) I have included in the Location page a table of mototrway toll fees covering the AP7 extension from Cartagena to Vera; this extension was opened in late-March 2007.

However, I have also kept detailed records of toll fees, fuel (petrol, in my case) and other costs for the full trips I did to/from Belgium to Spain in 2007 (January-April) and 2008 (January-May). Generally the costs in 2008 were higher than in 2007, largely because of the increase in petrol costs, although toll fees increased too. In any case I thought it may be interesting to others to share information about these costs as this may give readers some guidance if they are planning similar trips themselves in future.

Many people I have spoken with, who have undertaken similar trips, seem to cover much larger distances in a day than I do and complete the journey from a Channel port in Belgium or France in 2 or at most 3 days, whereas I have always taken at least 5 days in each direction, spending a minimum of 4 nights in hotels or staying with friends en route. However, the distances I covered were the same and fuel and toll costs would probably have been similar for those with similar types of vehicles.

In both 2007 and 2008 I travelled by ferry from Rosyth (Scotland) to Zeebrugge (Belgium) and I generally make sure I have at least a half-tank of fuel when I board the ferry to allow me to make good initial progress onto the road network at destination, without having to hunt around for petrol immediately.

All costs are given in Euros.

Costs for 2008 were as follows for a journey from Zeebrugge (Belgium) to Mazarron (Murcia) in late-January/early-February 2008 and a reverse journey from Mazarron to Zeebrugge (via the Netherlands) in late-April/early-May 2008:

Fuel - 2008 journey south
- south of Zeebrugge (Belgium) EUR 47.81
- south of Orleans (France) EUR 47.12
- north of Millau (France) EUR 58.69
- Castelldefels, just south of Barcelona (Spain) EUR 30.00
- north of Valencia (Spain) EUR35.75
Total fuel costs for this journey from Belgium to Spain EUR 219.97

Toll fees - 2008 journey south
Motorways are toll-free in Belgium
- French border to north of Paris EUR 13.80
- Paris to Orleans EUR 8.90
- Orleans to Clermont-Ferrand EUR 23.60
- toll fee to cross 'Viaduc de Millau' EUR 5.40
- to French border with Spain EUR 10.10
- Spanish border to north of Barcelona EUR 11.15
- Barcelona (Ronda Dalt) EUR 1.31
- around Castelldefels/Sitges on C32 motorway EUR 9.44
- to Tarragona EUR 2.40
- Tarragona to Valencia EUR 20.10
- the remainder of my journey was on the toll-free A35/A31/A7
Total toll costs for this journey from Belgium to Spain EUR 106.20

Other costs for this journey were EUR 454.85 for hotels/dinners/breakfasts (4 nights) and EUR 37.60 for motorway lunches and coffees. The total cost for the whole journey was therefore EUR 818.62

Fuel - 2008 journey north
- I left Mazarron with a full tank of fuel, about EUR 42.00 to fill upp
- near Valencia EUR 31.51
- Llobregat/Barcelona EUR 37.44
- north of Orange (France) EUR 58.30
- north of Beaune EUR 34.20
- Luxembourg EUR 37.08
Total fuel costs for this journey from Spain to Belgium EUR 240.53

Toll fees - 2008 journey north
- Mazarron to Valencia toll-free on A7/A31/A35
- Valencia to Sitges EUR 26.86
- South of Barcelona to Spanish/French border EUR 14.45
- French border to Orange EUR 22.40
- Orange to Beaune EUR 23.70
- Beaune to Contrexeville EUR 12.30
- rest of journey to Zeebrugge (via Luxebourg/Netherlands etc) toll-free
Total toll costs for this journey from Spain to Belgium EUR 99.71

Other costs for this journey were EUR 527.58 for hotels/dinners/breakfasts (4 nights) and EUR 66.45 for motorway lunches and coffees. I spent several additional nights with friends/family on this journey so the whole journey took 11 days,rather than the basic 5 days. The total cost for the whole journey was therefore EUR 934.27

So the total return travel costs for 2008 by road to and from Spain were EUR 1,752.89

For comparison, costs for 2007 were as follows for a journey from Zeebrugge (Belgium) to Mazarron (Murcia) in mid-January 2007 and a reverse journey from Mazarron to Zeebrugge in mid-April 2007, both via the Netherlands):

Fuel - 2007 journey south
- Geleen (Limburg, Netherlands) EUR 50.00 to fill tank
- Luxembourg EUR 19.56
- Beaune EUR 35.45
- Tavel (near Avignon) EUR 35.26
- Selva/Girona (Spain) EUR 27.76
- Valencia EUR 36.07
Total fuel costs for this journey from Belgium to Spain EUR 204.10 (I was using a different and larger car for this trip, which consumed significantly more petrol than the car I used in 2008)

Toll fees - 2007 journey south
Motorways are toll-free in Belgium
- from French border to Beaune EUR 16.20
- Beaune to Orange EUR 23.00
- Orange to Montpellier EUR 6.50
- Montpellier to French border with Spain EUR 14.20
- Spanish border to Girona EUR 6.25
- Girona to Valencia EUR 32.40
- Valencia to Alicante on AP7 EUR 12.95
Total toll costs for this journey from Belgium to Spain EUR 111.50

Other costs for this journey were EUR 359.50 for hotels/dinners/breakfasts (3 nights), although I spent an additional night with friends on the journey and EUR 49.25 for motorway lunches and coffees. The total cost for the whole journey was therefore EUR 724.35

Fuel - 2007 journey north
- I left Mazarron with a full tank of fuel, EUR 32.00 to fill upp
- north of Valencia EUR 43.53
- north of Girona EUR 23.38
- north of Lyon (France) EUR 54.44
- Luxembourg EUR 49.74
Total fuel costs for this journey from Spain to Belgium EUR 203.09

Toll fees - 2007 journey north
- Mazarron to Valencia toll-free on A7/A31/A35
- Valencia to Tarragona EUR 21.95
- Tarragona to Girnoa EUR 10.45
- Girona to French border EUR 6.25
- French border to Montpellier EUR 14.60
- Montpellier to St Rambert d'Albon (60km south of Lyon) EUR 17.10
- St Rambert d'Albon to Contrexeville EUR 24.80
- rest of journey to Zeebrugge (via Luxebourg/Netherlands etc) toll-free
Total toll costs for this journey from Spain to Belgium EUR 95.15

Other costs for this journey were EUR 353.25 for hotels/dinners/breakfasts (3 nights), although I spent an additional night with friends on the journey and EUR 43.15 for motorway lunches and coffees. The total cost for the whole journey was therefore EUR 694.64

So the total return travel costs for 2007 by road to and from Spain were EUR 1,418.99

To summmarise, total costs in 2008 were EUR 1,752.89, as against EUR 1,418.99 in 2007.

A further point to bear in mind is that I travelled alone. Costs for two people travelling together (e.g. husband and wife) would not be much greater, as it would only be necessary to add in additional meal costs. Obviously if the journey were to be completed in fewer days, by driving further each day, hotel and meal costs could be much reduced.

UPDATE: (Monday 21JUL08 10.46 BST) Since I posted this entry a few weeks ago, it has been viewed regularly by people doing research on similar journeys. So I thought it may be helpful to post another article (here) with details of a very flexible French motorway operator's website which allows you to plan detailed itineraries of your own choosing throughout Europe and gives estimated toll and fuel costs, as well as detailed route information; I hope that it may be useful to some people who read this update in future.

2nd UPDATE: (Sunday 14SEP08 10.50 BST) I thought it might be useful for those who are interested in more 'narrative' about some of these journeys to includes links to posts where I discuss travel times and road conditions, etc (some links are within this blog, some in my other blog):
2008 journey south
Day 1 - Nairn to Rosyth and on-board Blue Star 1 (29JAN08)
Day 2 - Zeebrugge to Orléans (30JAN08)
Day 3 - Orléans to Millau (31JAN08)
Day 4 - Millau (France) to Castelldefels (Spain) (1FEB08)
Days 5/6 - Castelldefels to Valencia and on to Mazarron(2-3FEB08)
2008 journey north
(I did broadly the same journey in April 2007 - so see below - so the links for 2008 are much more 'tangential' to the actual journey, but I include them for completeness)
Zimbabwe re-count: No change, Zanu-PF still lost! (26APR08) (* - see at end)
Bulletin from Beaune (30APR08)
Bill's back! (7MAY08) - after stays in the Vosges (France) and in Limburg (Netherlands)
2007 journey south
Departure - tomorrow morning (10JAN07)
Nairn to Beaune via the Netherlands (15JAN07)
Beaune to Valencia - and the sun is shining!(18JAN07)
Valencia to Mazarron - and the journey is over (22JAN07)
2007 journey north
Mazarron to Valencia - an easy journey (11APR07)
Two difficult days of driving from Valencia to Saint-Rambert d'Albon (13APR07)
Bill is back in Nairn for the summer! (26APR07)

(*) - Unfortunately this article seems to have disappeared; I vaguely remember removing it for other reasons some time after I wrote it, but have no offline record of the text - so it is gone into the ether.

2 comments - please add your own:

Graham007 said...

Useful information Bill Many Thanks, Graham

Bill said...

Glad you found it useful, however I'm uncertain how much of the pricing remains valid, given that the article is now almost 8 years old and that costs will undoubtedly have changed quite a bit since then.

I did in fact take another road trip to Spain in 2010, but on that occasion drove down to Portsmouth from the north of Scotland (spending a night in the Lake District on the way), before taking the ferry to Bilbao and then driving the rest of the way, spending a night on the outskirts of Madrid. So hotel costs would have been less (2 nights instead of 4 minimum when driving from Zeebrugge down through France and on into Spain, as would toll fees, having avoided France. I did not write a separate article about that, however, and no longer have details of costs.

Mainly I now fly and hire cars in Spain. The overall costs are not so very different I think from driving, with all the associated costs, but unless one really wants to carry a fair amount of stuff, there are only so many times one can spend hours driving down motorways for days at a time without it becoming a chore, so flying is easier.