We have covered driving out to Fethiye from the UK in the Summer twice, but what about going back? Follow our intrepid driver on the long journey back this time in the Winter.
I have twice driven from England to Fethiye in the summer, taking the ferry from Ancona in Italy to Cesme. In January I had to drive back to England and the ferries don’t run in the winter. Trying to avoid snow and ice I planned a route that avoided Switzerland and Germany, and on 12th January headed north from Fethiye to the Turkish-Greek border at Ipsala. I stayed the night in Kesan, nearest large town to the border, and crossed into Greece early on the morning of the 13th.
In Greece I wanted to visit the monasteries at Meteora and arrived in the town of Kalambaka in late afternoon. This area is similar to Cappadocia featuring rock towers on which monasteries started to be built in the late 14th century. (See www.meteora-greece.com) At one time there were 24 monasteries of which six remain: all functioning and open to tourists. On Saturday 14th I visited the oldest and largest of the monasteries and then set off to cross the Pindos Mountains and descend to Igoumenitsa for the ferry to Italy. I caught the ferry at 11.30pm that night and had a welcome respite from driving.
We arrived in Ancona mid-afternoon on the Sunday and I headed across Italy towards the border with France. I decided to keep driving as long as possible to escape Italy before the working week began, when I would be surrounded by Italian drivers who all seem hell bent on self destruction. Shortly after midnight I crossed the border into France at Ventimiglia on the south coast. Refreshed from my rest in Igoumenitsa and on the ferry, I kept going, stopping every two hours for a break and refreshment. Around 4am I felt sleepy so pulled off into a motorway rest area and slept for an hour. By the time I hit the road again I had been driving for almost 14 hours and decided that I would carry on until 2pm (earliest time to easily check into a hotel) then find a hotel and stop. However, when 2pm arrived I was only 170 miles from Boulogne, my ferry port, so I carried on – with rest breaks now taking place each hour – and reached Boulogne around 5.30pm. Booked myself on the first Speedferries sailing for the next day, and then found a hotel and slept for 14 hours.
On Tuesday 17th I landed at Dover at just after 11am and was home in the north west by late afternoon. A total of 2550 miles in 6 days, and a journey I shall not repeat on my own. Fuel (Diesel) for the journey cost 340 euros, tolls came to 159 euros and ferries to 246 euros (there are 3 ferries: crossing the Dardanelles at Canakkale; Greece to Italy which included a shared cabin, and finally Boulogne to Dover). The three nights spent in hotels cost 90 euros. So the total cost was 835 euros – £570.