Before the journey we invested some money in order to get more space in our bags. We bought new sleeping bags that can be folded to a very small size. Thanks to that we had much more space in side panniers.
Here is the list of our equipment:
- tent, sleeping bags, air beds (we took one spare, and it turned out right decision as one of the air beds got damaged at the beginning of our journey)
- rain suites – haven’t been used at all
- towels, clothes, toiletries (NOTE – following the advices we bought thermo-active underwear, which worked perfectly – essential in hot climate)
- passports, travel insurance, motorbike documents
- First Aid Kit – fortunately not needed
- gas bottle, stove, lighter – for the purpose of making tea
- small kettle – this time completely unused
- 2 metal mugs, cutlery
- small lamp for the tent
- mobile + phone car charger
- extra pair of shoes – sandals
- few extra motorcycle things (tyre sealant, oil, chain spray)
- some food (everything can be bought on the way)
- camera + spare batteries + additional memory card
- electric shaver + charger
- spare motorcycle keys (our experience from Scotland)
- sugar + salt
Generally we stayed at camp sites, mainly due to the possibility of taking shower, which after a whole day of driving put us back on our feet. The network of camp sites is fairly well developed. Some of them are big sites with swimming pool, shop and restaurant. The camp sites offer various standards and various prices. For one night, one tent, two people and a motorcycle we paid between €13.5 and €27.
FRANCE – many camp sites, marked with asterisks depending on their standard, they also offer small cabins or mobile homes for rent. There is plenty of camp sites called “a la ferme” – which are very small sites located in rural areas without many utilities, they offer only access to the bathroom and sometimes a kitchen. Camping out in the wild is prohibited on beaches, along roads, in national parks.
SPAIN – many camp sites with the possibility of renting a cabin, very often on site or nearby there is a restaurant. Camping out in the wild is prohibited in cities, in areas used for military purposes or tourism (beach, park) or within a radius of 1 km from the camp site.
PORTUGAL – quite few camp sites in various standards and prices. Some may be even more expensive than a hotel or guest house. Camping out in the wild is allowed outside the build-up areas, drinking water protection zones and 1 km radius areas such as beaches, parks.
AUSTRIA & SWITZERLAND – have a well-developed network of campsites in various prices and standards. Camping is prohibited outside of designated places.
We strived as much as possible to follow the roads that are marked on maps as attractive for tourists. These roads offer fantastic views, joy of driving, but also represented a variety of standards and comfort of driving.
FRANCE – main roads and expressways in good condition, while those less popular, side roads are in poor condition, and driving them was very tiring. Most of the motorways are paid. The roads are well marked, navigating with map did not cause us any problems.
SPAIN & PORTUGAL – in Spain the roads are in very good conditions, slightly worse in Portugal. The roads in Spain are very well marked, while driving through Portugal was tiring for us because of the poor road markings, we haven’t been anywhere as lost as in Portugal. There are no signs with road numbers, only signs pointing to villages or towns – and here you have to have a very detailed map. The majority of motorways are paid, but traffic on these is very small. In Portugal there are traffic lights limiting the speed, placed at various spots, and often not connected with the pedestrian crossings. While speeding the red light comes on. The Portuguese, however, ignore those lights and pass when there is a red light.
AUSTRIA & SWITZERLAND – generally roads are good and very well marked. For motorways and highways you need a valid vignette. In Switzerland you buy them for whole year and can be purchased at the border. Payable are also some tunnels and mountain passes.
In general, majority of the viewpoints are well marked with parking spaces nearby.
The weather was in general very good. The important thing for us was to set up and pack the tent when it is not raining. And in this, we have succeeded. And we had everything, a lot of sun and heat, a few colder nights, rain, fog, cold and snow in the mountains. France and Spain were very hot, sometimes it was very exhausting to drive in that heat, in Portugal it was slightly better, thanks to the cool breeze from the ocean. In the mountains the evenings and mornings were chilly, but during the day it was nice and warm.
We didn’t have problems with finding petrol stations, in Spain there is plenty of them, as well as in Switzerland – here, however, many are self-service (only a pump and a card machine). In France there are fewer stations and some are self-service as well. The cheapest petrol was in Andorra, little more expensive in Spain and here it is worth to refuel before entering Portugal. Petrol prices in France, Italy are high. Fairly cheap fuel is also in Switzerland.
Tips / Comments
- in France there are many picnic sites along the roads, in Spain and Portugal fewer, but sometimes we managed to find one:) In Switzerland, very few places like this, only along the “green” roads which are attractive to tourists
- France – fresh bakery products: delicious baguettes, cakes and cookies. It was difficult to get some bread in the supermarkets, as there are plenty of bakery/pastry shops and people buy bread there
- Spain – very good food, fresh, light and tasty, and those olives served in local restaurants… mmmm… delicious
- it turned out, that not everywhere you can communicate in English
- in France, generally in French, sometimes in English, but only on camp sites located in major cities on near the beaches
- in Spain and Portugal – well we had to learn “uno tienda, uno motocykleta, uno noche” and in other cases use our hands:)
- in Switzerland and Austria, German language