Routes through France to Spain

About - the connoisseur's guide to France
French motorway driving
About-France - home Guide to Paris Driving in France Tourism in France
Compare routes to Spain

 You are here:  France  ›  Driving  ›  from Calais  ›  Through France to Spain

Driving through FRANCE to SPAIN

Choice of routes to Spain French motorway tolls Alternative routes via Bordeaux

Covid-19 info.   January 2022 : Spain's land border with France is open to road and rail traffic, but all of the Spanish regions bordering France (Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre and the Basque Country) have travel and entry restrictions. Essential travel is not restricted. This is not expected to change in 2022 unless a huge surge in infections leads to general European travel restrictions.

When driving through France, don't forget to carry a yellow fluorescent jacket... All vehicles driving on French roads  are obliged to carry a yellow fluorescent jacket, that must be put on if the driver has to get out in an emergency. (In Spain, it's one per passenger). The jacket must be stored in the car, not in the boot, and be easily accessible. Failure to carry the obligatory jacket may lead to an instant fine of up to 130 Euros, if stopped by police.
► See French rules of the road for full details on French driving regulations.

Important: default speed limit on single-carriageway French roads is now 80km/hr 


It's a long drive from the UK to Spain, and drivers heading south need to establish their priorities in terms of time, speed and cost. Motorway tolls between Calais and the Spanish border can vary between zero and over 100 Euros, (over 160 € for campervans) depending on the route chosen. Yet unless time is no object, paying a few French motorway tolls makes sense ; it will even normally work out cheaper on fuel than slavishly avoiding all tolls, given that stop-start driving through urban areas is very heavy on ruel consumption.
  Trying to avoid all tolls is generally a pointless exercise even for motorhomes or campervans; driving hundreds of kilometres on slow roads with numerous towns and villages to negotiate is not the best way to cross France, unless you want to keep stopping to visit the sites on the way. There are more economical ways of driving to Spain than that.
   There are four main routes south through France, and all of them lead to Spain. They all include long stretches of toll motorway, but three out of four also include long sections of road that are not toll roads.

Click for best online rates for hotels near the following towns on the main routes through France.
Bordeaux Clermont-Fd.
Other areas is partnered with Europe's leading hotel booking portal,, to bring you the best online prices
Hotels along the way

Compare the fastest routes UK to Spain:

Eastern route or western route ?  :
Eastern routes are recommended for visitors travelling from the UK to the Costa Brava and anywhere on the Spanish Mediterranean coast north of Valencia. They cross into Spain south of Perpignan, at the border at Le Perthus / La Junquera and continue towards Barcelona.

Western routes
These are recommended for travellers aiming for central or southern Spain or Portugal. Routes to southern Spain via Bordeaux and Irun are actually shorter than those via Lyon and Perpignan. Western routes cross into Spain south of Biarritz, at the border at Irun and continue towards Zaragoza, Burgos or Bilbao.
Distances indicated below  are from Calais to the Spanish border.
Times are liable to be considerably longer on peak holiday Saturdays (July August), particularly on routes E1, E2 and W2

Cheaper routes to Spain,

Note: Motorway tolls are based on May 2020 rates for cars.
For Car + caravan; add about 50%; for truck / HGV toll rates (class 4) : approximately three times the rate for cars.
   Since the savings on  fuel and on distance make the shortest routes an attractive proposition for HGVs (trucks), (notably N141 or N 10)  they are not necessarily recommended for cars on weekdays. But HGVs are banned from the roads on Sundays in France, and there are far less of them on Saturdays. 

For quiet B&Bs near A10 or A20, check out the B-and-B in France website.
►  For nice places to stay in northern Spain, check Small hotels in Northern Spain

► ► Beware of the "cheap ferries" scam
Some internet sites that announce "cheap" ferry prices are actually charging more than the Ferry companies themselves. Avoid dodgy websites; click to book directly with ferry companies

Other useful information   Home page -  Site search  -  Regions  -  Maps of France  -  Contact

Avoid France alltogether.....
  Take the ferry to Spain

Save stress, save time and save wear and tear on your vehicle by avoiding France alltogether.

Check out
Brittany Ferries
Direct ferry services from Portsmouth and Plymouth in the UK, to Bilbao or Santander in Spain.

►►Discover France home
Full site index site search
►► Principal chapters on :
Guide to the regions of France
Beyond Paris, a guide to the French regions and their tourist attractions.
Guide to Paris
Make the most of your trip to Paris; Information on attractions, Paris hotels, transport,  and lots more. 
Accommodation in France
The different options, including hotels, holiday gites, b&b, hostels and more
Tourism in France
The main tourist attractions and places to visit in France - historic monuments, art galleries, seasides, and more
Planning a trip to France 
Information on things to do before starting your trip to France.
Driving in France 
Tips and useful information on driving in and through France - motorways, tolls, where to stay.... 
Maps of France
Cities, towns, departments, regions, climate, wine areas and other themes.
The French way of life 
A mine of information about life and living in France, including working in France, living in France, food and eating, education, shopping.
A-Z dictionary of France
Encyclopedic dictionary of modern France - key figures, institutions, acronyms, culture, icons, etc.

European data protection notice. does not collect any personal data. We use cookies solely to enable anonymous audience statistics and enable esssential page funcitons. To remove this notice click or else request more about cookies.