5 Days 5 Countries
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
Euro road trip with historic racing & automotive museum added in! A drivers dream.
A trip that started out as a long weekend to the Spa Classic for four, quickly grew into something of a cross continent road trip - and why not. In this post we look back at our journey in 2018 so hopefully you can look to take a similar trip. Planning travel such as this is not always easy, especially when taking your pride and joy across to foreign cities and overnight stops with unfamiliar road rules, parking and languages.
3-4 months prior we looked at various hotels via booking.com and apartments/houses from airbnb.com. Two key aspects were a struggle when trying to choose; 1. location 2. parking. With Spa Classic attendance agreed for the Saturday, we shifted to the ‘what else could we do' phase. One thing we all knew was great driving routes were a must.
To help narrow the possibilities we decided on a single base location to allow some shorter trips to other desired destinations:
Mercedes & Porsche museums in Stuttgart
Swiss passes (Grimsel, Susten, Furka)
With the help of Google Maps, Offbenburg became our choice of stay complete with an entire house, accommodating up to 6 people and 3 cars (off road) solving issue no. 2 parking!
Day 1: England to Offenburg
With cars packed and washed the night before, it was an early start to the Eurotunnel with a short blast down to Folkstone, even cheekily managing to hop on to an earlier train. Actually, a quick note here for anyone with a wide car - remember to book in as a 'tall vehicle' as you get the luxury of wider tracks in the carriages are wider.
From a sunny Calais we travelled down through France on the quickest route, albeit not the cheapest. The roads you pay for however are pretty smooth and necessary as we all wanted to visit Reims-Gueux ghost track - a must for any car, driving, or motorsport enthusiast.
After Reims it was time to grab some lunch although a quick look at the sat-nav meant we were still 6 hours from accommodation in Offenburg and in need of a fuel stop for the v8 Audi. French cuisine therefore reduced down to a quick splash & dash at the next Shell petrol station before continuing on.
Day 2: Offenburg to Airolo
(aim to drive Grimsel, Susten and Furka passes)
Another early morning saw both cars heading down the Autobahns on the A5 towards Switzerland with a midday destination of Airolo. The A5 runs through Germany for 277mi north to south and ends on the Swiss border where it becomes the A2 - the main route which would take us down to the south part of the country. If you are yet to drive in Switzerland, we can definitely recommend it, not only beautiful scenery both mountains and lakes but also for the great roads (with many tunnels)...
Speaking of tunnels, the A2 is home to the Gotthard road tunnel, which at 10.5mi long seems to reduce the charm of dropping serval gears and blasting the accelerator quite quickly, unlike the other smaller ones.
Unfortunately our plans to head back north via the Furka, Grimsel and Susten passes were cut short. At this time of year there is still a lot of snow on the routes and although we soldiered on as far as we could, we were ultimately stopped by fallen trees. This meant a rather relaxed run back to Offenburg via the main roads.
Day 3: Offenburg to Stuttgart
(and back via the B500 Schwarzwald)
After the disappointment of Swiss passes being closed, we were determined to head up to the Porsche museum in the morning with an afternoon/dusk run back on the B500 from Baden-Baden. Before heading back out on the Autobahns we found a local car wash just to tidy up the cars.
The Porsche museum was excellent as expected, with the car park having just as many exotics from other Porsche models to Lamborghinis. More to come on this part of the trip in a separate post.
With the morning finished, it was then time to head toward Baben-Baden where we would look to take on the B500. Despite some afternoon traffic setting us back, we finally began our drive out late afternoon, just after 17:00. The route was surprisingly clear with only one or two passing cars on the way up and nothing down the other side. The roads are wide and have sweeping curves lined with trees and enough elevation changes to keep you guessing. Of course there are also plenty of smaller off shoots with much tighter and twistier roads.
Heading south, the B500 meets the B28 which has some great switch-backs as you head towards Bad Peterstal-Griesbach. Finally we ended up back at base with enough time to grab a few beers and order a takeaway - in terrible german, sorry Offenburg!
Day 4: Offenburg to Spa Classic
With 3 long days back to back in the cars, this was going to be the hardest journey by far. Offenburg to Spa is approx. 4 - 4.5hrs. This would mean a total travel time of 8-9hrs with a full day at Spa added in - intense! So the prior night we decided to make a last minute change and book a hotel in Luxembourg. Being well positioned the new overnight would help reduce drive time after Spa and reduce drive time to Calais. We left Offenburg just after 5:30am and headed out on the Autobahn. After an hour and a half, the dreaded fuel light illuminated in the Audi forcing us to separate from our friends in the BMW (who still had half a tank). This separation led to a little race between the parties, wit just over 400bhp v8 and awd vs the lightweight 192bhp straight six a Top Gear 'who could get there first' race began! With regular text check-ins, until we were back in range of the 5km walkie-talkies, we eventually joined up nearer Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (the Audi just ahead #smugface ) We then had a short queue into the circuit to calm down before parking and heading into the event.
If you have not been to Spa before, the Classic is a great way to enjoy the circuit as there is plenty to see with back to back racing all day. Our favourites on the day were the 911 2.0ltr cup, Group C cars, and another open lap which included a Viper GTS-r, Ferrari 360 GTC & Toyota Supra GT2. lastly it was great to see the 935 ‘Moby Dick’ in Coca-Cola livery kicking huge flames on the way to turn one!
After a long day, with the Group C finishing around 17:30pm we decided it was time to get on the road to Luxembourg. It was a shame to leave as many people had begun to settle in for the night racing that was due to continue.
Day 5: Luxembourg to Calais to HomeThe last day of the trip started with a lie-in as our Calais crossing wasn’t until the afternoon. With a tiring day and a fun evening at the hotel, we all decided to get some brunch in city before a slow-ish drive back. Note: trying to park in the city was a nightmare on a Sunday morning - luckily the food more than made up for the parking situation.
At 11:00am we finally hit the road to Calais up through Belgium only needing a short stop for fuel. This would be the last pit-stop before eventually being back in the UK just after rush hour.