This will be my last blog post for the next three weeks or so. We are going on our annual Abruzzen Summer holiday and quite frankly, I need some time to get organised and my little boys are keeping me busy!
I thought I would write a post about how we travel to Abruzzo because people are often asking me whether we fly, or drive. Indeed, we do both.
Flying to Abruzzo
Ryanair are probably the easiest airline for us to use. They are the only airline that fly into Pescara, which is our nearest airport. Sometimes, it has been cheaper to fly to Rome Ciampino (still with Ryanair), or Rome Fiumicino with Easyjet and then drive the extra hour to our house. There are bargains occasionally with tickets, but only if you have flexibility with dates and this is often out of school holidays, which is no good to us.
Pescara’s airport is small, modern and clean. It does lack in shops and only has one small bar, but we often wander over the road (after check-in) to Auchan, which has several places to eat, which are very good value and shops.
After we factor in air tickets, parking (uk end), car hire and child seats for the hire car, it costs between £1,500-£1,800 for the four of us.
Taking the Train
Our friends Bo and Paul did this when they came out for our wedding in 2006. They enjoyed it, although they did say it was quite tiring. They got the train from London and then had to change at Bologna, where they then got a train into Pescara. Italian trains are pretty cheap and, from our experience, are clean and always on time. Bo used the website The Man in Seat Sixty-One to sort this all out and it worked wonderfully for them. I would say taking the train from the uk would be a great experience, but I wouldn’t want to do it with young children.
I don’t know how much Bo and Paul paid for their tickets, but I can tell you that when Will travelled from Pescara to Turin last month, it cost him around £40. That is cheap compared to uk train prices. He has travelled on the Freccia Rossa, which is the high speed train and said it was amazing. The year before we got married in Abruzzo, Will and I flew into Milan, then took the train directly to Pescara and it was a brilliant journey, particularly when the train runs parallel along the coastline. You can almost reach out and touch the adriatic.
Driving to Italy
If we decide to spend 2-3 weeks on holiday in Abruzzo, we almost always drive. We worked out that it costs £800 compared to the quote above for flying! This includes the ferry, fuel, tolls and hotel stops. We always take the Dover-Calais crossing. This costs between £100-£130, either with P&O Ferries, or My Ferry
Over the last ten years of driving to Italy, we have taken various routes to see what works and, as much as anything, for the adventure of it. We decided last year that the best routes we have ever taken were via the Rhone-Alpes, or Alsace regions of France, then through Switzerland and we always take the San Gottard pass (except in the Winter). The pass doesn’t take much longer than the tunnel, maybe ten minutes, but it is stunning and we want the boys to see and learn as much as possible when they travel with us.
The French toll roads are worth every penny. They are kept immaculate, as are the French roadside services. The baby changing facilities and young children’s toilets in the family rest-rooms are brilliant.
The roads do get a little crazier/busier when you hit Italy. Milan and Bologna are the hotspots. If you can avoid them, or avoid being near these cities in rush hour, then you can hopefully avoid any delays in your journey.
It feels a bit surreal sometimes when early in the morning you’re on a ferry crossing the English Channel, then that evening, you’re eating a tarte tatin in France, in a fairytale village…..then the next morning you’re driving through dramatic mountains in Switzerland, stopping for a Toblerone (yep!) and hot chocolate, and then that night you’re on your balcony in Italy. I won’t lie, it is pretty tiring and that’s why you need to be staying for 2 weeks at least to make it worthwhile, but it is so much fun. You can also pack you car with whatever you want. No restrictions.
I am hoping to visit some new places such as Rocca Calascio (the castle in Ladyhawke) and I cannot wait to share our adventures with you all when I return. We should also be attending the biggest festa of the year, the Festa di San Rocco, which is attended by over 30,000 people in our tiny little village. Can you believe it?
I hope you all have a wonderful Summer. Allo fino prossima volta! xx