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Drive Ireland - Austria

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm going to be in Innsbruck for 4 weeks in January, and will probably drive out. I think I've 3 options as for as sea crossings go:

1) Ireland to France
2) N. Ireland to Scotland, drive to Dover, cross by ferry or chunnel.
3) N. Ireland to Scotland, and the ferry from somewhere northern to Zeebrugge (?) (there was a recent thread about a ferry starting to sail this route, but I can't find it and am not sure of either port)

I live between Belfast and Larne, so v close to the Scotland ferries, but quite happy to drive south if the Ire-France crossing is the best.

It's years since I was on a ferry, and then it was in a lorry with horses and booked at relatively short notice - is there a benefit in booking early or late?
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I dont think the Scotland route has started yet, but there is certainly a Hull to Zeebrugge overnight ferry. More expensive than Dover - Calais but you save on fuel and sitting in traffic for a whole day.

Ditto Ireland - France, long way down and a long way over for very little time gain and probably more costly.

The earlier you book, the more offers, early bird discounts etc you are likely to get.
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4) Dublin to Holyhead, 6 hour drive to Dover, then Eurotunnel or ferry from Dover to Calais?
5) via Scotland, then overnight Newcastle-Amsterdam

Whatever way you do it, it's a very long trip - I'd plan for at least one overnight, as Innsbruck is about 11 hours from Calais or 10 hours from Amsterdam
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@Tom Doc, the proposed new Rosyth-Groningen crossing isn’t yet up and running and apparently not taking pax initially anyway, just freight.

For central Scotland to Austria/ Switzerland, which we do regularly, we usually use DFDS Newcastle-Amsterdam, less frequently P&O Hull-Rotterdam. Benefits: good overnight rest, decent food, disembark at decent time for a long days driving through Germany to alps. Ports are right on NL motorway network so it all tends to flow nicely on lots of non-toll routes.

I prefer to avoid the short channel crossings for various reasons, not least the long boring trundle S through UK (at least you’re abroad and feel vaguely on holiday when stuck in a German traffic jam!) and importantly now with questions around border control I’d definitely be avoiding Dover-Calais routes.

I can see appeal of S Eire to Normandy from a keeping it simple, only one crossing perspective, but that looks a very long and likely expensive trundle across France to Innsbruck...

Enjoy your 4 weeks in IBK! Jealous!
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Dublin to holyhead in North Wales?
Not sure I would want to anything more than a couple of hours on a boat in January!

Once done a crossing Dover to Calais in January as a teenager. Was on the Pride of Kent - it was only a few months old.
Roughest crossing ever. Tables flying everywhere, people falling out of their chairs. Even the fridges opened & all the bottles came crashing out.

Easyjet flight from Dublin to Bristol (no Ireland flights direct to INNS?) - that same plan then flies to Edinbrugh & Back to Bristol. Same plane then flies to Innsbruck Smile
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Thanks folks. The Dublin-Holyhead route is fairly similar time wise to the Belfast-Scotland, if heading to Dover.

And definitely at least one overnight stay, depending on route possibly 2.

I'm leaning towards Newcastke-Amsterdam or Hull-Rotterdam. Any more thoughts?
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@Tom Doc, are you going to the masters event?
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moseyp wrote:
@Tom Doc, are you going to the masters event?


I just googled it, so I'll certainly 'go' but won't be competing!
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Newcastle-Amsterdam or Hull-Rotterdam - these get into port 8AM'ish, leaving you with a 9/10 hour drive to Innsbruck.

A long drive, but would save you the overnight stop ?
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albob wrote:
Newcastle-Amsterdam or Hull-Rotterdam - these get into port 8AM'ish, leaving you with a 9/10 hour drive to Innsbruck.

A long drive, but would save you the overnight stop ?


That sounds do-able, and if I can get a mate to come and share the driving it would be even easier.
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When working in Ireland I often used the Stena overnight service. It's slow but it only uses up 'dead' time, you can get a kip and you arrive early in the morning - before all the traffic gets going.

https://www.stenaline.co.uk/routes/belfast-liverpool
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Just an FYI, last time I did the Newcastle-Amsterdam run the police bethalised every driver coming off the boat, quite a few drivers were pulled over.
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JimboS wrote:
Just an FYI, last time I did the Newcastle-Amsterdam run the police bethalised every driver coming off the boat, quite a few drivers were pulled over.


Thanks for the warning.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
A quick google and look at google maps suggests that sailing Belfast or Larne to Cairnryan then Newcastle-Amsterdam is the easiest with regards to reducing driving on this side, and all possible routes are fairly similar once across. Also doable in 2 days - day 1 would start at home and get us to Newcastle, then get up on day 2 in Amsterdam, and drive to Innsbruck by that evening. Cushty!
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JimboS wrote:
Just an FYI, last time I did the Newcastle-Amsterdam run the police bethalised every driver coming off the boat, quite a few drivers were pulled over.


They did that with Hull-Rotterdam too
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The fares I had been looking like from Ireland to UK didnt seem to rise to the departure date in the same way air fares do. Also seemed to be less variation over the week. But there is the occasional offer from time to time, also check the aggregation sites.

If you do consider the Dublin to Holyhead route, it seems that during the stormier months than the faster but smaller ship sailings are more likely to be cancelled due to poor weather than the bigger but slower craft so if time is of the essence then the slower sailings might be more reliable. One of the companies running the fast ferries , Irish Ferries I think, seem to have a bit of a reputation of cancelling sailings due to the weather when they may just be saving money by canceling a poorly booked sailing.
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@ster, I think the 'fast' ferry stops completely during the winter months (or they did last time I went )
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I'd go Hull Rotterdam of all the North Sea routes.
Best boat, early arrival time, you can do Innsbruck in the day, no tolls.
The Newcastle Crossing is full of pissed yobs.
I'd treat yourself and book the meal package each way.
It saves a night's hotel on the Diver route and we are very happy to pay the extra.
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Blimmin' long drive.

Dunno if there are any deals if yo can book both ferry crossings with the same operator?

I tend to do Newcastle-IJmuiden more than Hull-Rotterdam, and tbh don't really see much difference between the two. But then that's summer, when prices are insane and clientele is most families on summer holidays, and German motorbike outings. Never seen yobs. They'll be on Dover-Calais for day trips to Auchan, Eastenders and get wasted on cheap beer while stocking up on supplies for Xmas/NewYr.

Personally I'd pick Newcastle route if going via Stranraer, and Hull route if going via Holyhead or Liverpool. Unless one can get a proper bargain deal on Stena via Harwich that more than makes up for the added driving, and less time for overnight kip.

For Germany/Austria, the driving on the continent for any of the ports (Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, IJmuiden) is pretty much the same distance and time. If you were heading south to French Alps then that'd be different.

I'm usually driving Frankfurt-Aviemore or Frankfurt-Kent, hence the Newcastle and Dover ferries tend to win out. I definitely miss the Rosyth route. That used to cut out a shed load of driving. Why drive, when your overnight stopover gets you closer to the destination?

DFDS Newcastle ferry has scrapped the old cafeteria that did fish-n-chips for a bargain €16.50, and is now a stupid Starbucks. So now it costs €28.50 for poncy breaded goujons of haddock and a pea puree in the restaurant. Tis why I always stop off at supermarket to buy food to take on board, and only pay the breakfast fee.
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Just a thought on your return journey. The North Sea crossings are one a day, so if you miss it due to bad weather etc, you have a long wait for the next one. We go out via Hull, but come back via Calais, to minimise the risk of a missed return.
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Ski lots wrote:
Just a thought on your return journey. The North Sea crossings are one a day, so if you miss it due to bad weather etc, you have a long wait for the next one. We go out via Hull, but come back via Calais, to minimise the risk of a missed return.


One of the reasons I always choose Dover- Calais
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Tom Doc wrote:
I'm going to be in Innsbruck for 4 weeks in January, and will probably drive out.


One thing to think about: do you have free parking at your accommodation in IBK?

IF not, it's a right faff. You can only get a long term parking card if registered as a resident and with local plates, and there's basically no free/unregulated parking in the city other than weekends, so you'd have to look at renting a private space (around €80-100/month).
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Frosty the Snowman,

We've sailed Newcastle/AMS twice in recent years and didn't encounter any drunken yobs.

andy,

When we used that crossing last year they offered a buffet dinner for about €23 pp. We had a great selection of food and thought it was very nice - and excellent value.
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Hull and Rotterdam departures are 4 hours later and arrive at keast an hour earlier, even earlier midweek.
Ive alway found them slightly cheaper.
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Thanks guys, lots of useful info as always.

@clarky999, Yeah, there's a space with the apartment.

@Frosty the Snowman, I'll check again but I'm pretty sure when I looked last night that the Newcastle and Hull sailings were at similar times (8.20pm and 8.30pm poss).

@andy, I'll only have to do about 3hrs from Stranraer to Newcastle (likely I'll go that way) and then 1 long drive the other side, but hopefully will have a co-pilot to share the driving.
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Hull-Rotterdam is usually cheaper IME, but since I'm always heading to Scotland when going that way, the additional number of miles and fuel cost basically negates any saving on ferry fare. And the later departure from Hull vs Newcastle also makes little difference cos of the additional miles to get there. I'd have to leave Aviemore at the pretty much the same time to get to either.
Last year Newcastle-Amsterdam wanted over £1000, so Hull-Rotterdam won.
This year was cheaper via Newcastle-Amsterdam even before factoring in the extra fuel to go via Hull.
And both ways I arrived at the port 30mins before they supposedly open check-in booths and was checked in waiting to board before the official boarding opening time.

Newcastle sailing is 1700ish but left before that time (checkin/boarding shuts an hour before). Hull ISTR was 2000ish but was a year ago, so I could be wrong. Maybe they have different summer and winter sailing times.

Fortunately I get paid in € so the prices in £ thanks to "you know what" made the overall fare significantly cheaper than I remember paying for many years Smile
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Tom Doc, Drove out in 2010 and many of the same names helped me then, Andy being one.

Another vote for the northern ferries. I used Hull-Rotterdam which worked fine.

The key being the time you have from disembarkation on the continent to get down there. It snowed as near as dammit constantly from Rotterdam to Zell am See on my journey and I still made it on my own in about 16 hours. Although a lot of coffee and red bull was involved. if you have another driver it'll be no problem.

My only cautions for you are

A) the British miles which almost did for me and I just caught the ferry in Hull and no more as the weather was very cold and snowy here too which meant I took over 8 hours to get from near Glasgow to Hull. You may have driven it before but if not be particularly wary of the A75 from Stranraer which can be a stinker at times particularly if there's an accident, which is all too common. Its mainly single carriageway with stretches of dual to allow overtaking and lasts an awful lot longer than you would think its 96 miles should.

B) Weather. I left here on, iirc, 8th Jan 2010 during the big freeze of that bitter winter and had to contend with all sorts including frozen windscreen washer pipes and blizzards and drifting snow. I was driving a Landrover discovery without which I wouldn't have made it to the ferry on time. Had no probs on the continent apart from the tiring and hypnotic aspect of falling snow but it certainly showed our road clearing efforts up for what they are.
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Rome2Rio.com reckons you should drive to Dublin, ferry to Cherbourg and then drive to Innsbruck. Takes 32 hours, of which 18 is on the boat.
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Gordyjh wrote:
Rome2Rio.com reckons you should drive to Dublin, ferry to Cherbourg and then drive to Innsbruck. Takes 32 hours, of which 18 is on the boat.


Wow! That's the 1st time I've heard of Rome2Rio. Will have a look.

Although from a quick look at Google maps I'd have 2hrs to Dublin then almost 13hrs to Innsbruck, total 15hrs. If I go by Newcastle I'll have 3 and a bit hrs in UK, and just under 10hrs on the continent, total 13hrs, so it'd depend in n the price of ferries. I'll look into it.

Thanks!
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Tom Doc wrote:
Gordyjh wrote:
Rome2Rio.com reckons you should drive to Dublin, ferry to Cherbourg and then drive to Innsbruck. Takes 32 hours, of which 18 is on the boat.


Wow! That's the 1st time I've heard of Rome2Rio. Will have a look.

Although from a quick look at Google maps I'd have 2hrs to Dublin then almost 13hrs to Innsbruck, total 15hrs. If I go by Newcastle I'll have 3 and a bit hrs in UK, and just under 10hrs on the continent, total 13hrs, so it'd depend in n the price of ferries. I'll look into it.

Thanks!


Rome2rio is a good starting point for long complex trips with multiple formats of travel but the devils in the detail, exact availability/connections/times/ costs etc.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
"..devils in the detail..." -- Yup, £30 - £70 for a crossing Dublin to Cherbourg seemed a bit cheap : actual cost in the £300's !
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albob wrote:
"..devils in the detail..." -- Yup, £30 - £70 for a crossing Dublin to Cherbourg seemed a bit cheap : actual cost in the £300's !


The Belfast and Newcastle sailings were both that return so there might not be much difference in price. Worth further investigation.
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@Tom Doc, I'd go for the shortest sea crossings in January and easiest drive, so BFS -LPL M62 to Hull - Rotterdam, two overnight sailings though. Or fly Very Happy
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You could ferry to the Netherlands, drive to Dusseldorf then put the car on the overnight sleeper train to Innsbruck. It's not cheap but I quite like the idea of reducing the drive, having a sleep and then waking up in the Alps.
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I agree with @geoffknight, keep the ferry distances to a minimum in January. I would hate waiting several days for a ferry due to storms.
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@nevergreenterrace, @geoffknight, not sure what your experience is of ferry cancellations due to winter storms, but with DFDS it’s pretty rare.

Although it’s a relatively long crossing, for much of the voyage, the vessel is quite close to the English E coast so relatively sheltered from W/S winds so often the waves are not big (unless it’s a Northerly/ Easterly, which is less common). That’s not to say that it’s never a rough crossing, but it has to be pretty wild before you notice it on these ships. I’ve crossed Amsterdam-Newcastle in winter storms around force 9 (gusting more) and while you did need to hold onto wine glasses it was otherwise ok. In contrast Brittany Ferries (UK S Coast and S Eire to France) are operating in much more exposed Atlantic waters.

That said I don’t get seasick...may well be different for someone who does!
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I can confirm that ferries can cope with quite rough seas. I did Hook-Harwich on 15 Oct 87 and slept fine.
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The ship used on Hull/Rotterdam is huge and much more stable than the smaller vessels used in the Channel (I'm biased, because I use Hull several times a year Smile )
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Friend of mine who does the Cairnryan crossing fairly often and then drives to Yorkshire reckons the upgrade for being early off the ferry is worth it as you don't get stuck behind all the lorries on the Stranraer road , not sure if it is the Larne or Belfast crossing though.
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@Inboard, @rjs, @albob, thanks.

@T Bar, great idea!
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