Budget Ferry Crossing & Hotel Accommodation for a Road Trip in Europe from Dover (France, Belgium, Germany, Luxemberg)

Justina and myself headed off on a trip to ‘do as many countries as we could’ in just four days.

This blog entry won’t tell you about where we went, or what we did, it simply gives advice on booking a budget ferry and accommodation on route.

First thing to book was the ferry….. We’ve travelled independently by lots of ferry companies over the years, and this time we decided to book with Norfolkline who offer a Dover to Dunkerque service. Norfolkline market their route with the slogan ‘Why Queue for Calais?’…. and they are right, why queue for Calais?

The whole journey was easy, Norfolkline offer a fast and friendly service which took just two hours to cross the channel. The ferry was designed for freight haulage and is not covered in gift shops playing cheesy music. There are lots of places to sit comfortably, sofa’s and a deck of reclining seats. The staff are friendly and the ferry was clean with plenty of space to move around.

On our journey out (8am Ferry, Dover, Thursday morning) there was hardly any other passengers. The return journey (Sunday, 4pm) had lots of weekend travelers and lorry drivers, but the ferry had plenty of space still with lots of the lorry drivers spending the journey watching the onboard film in the movie theatre. The below photo shows how few vehicles were on the outbound journey.


The ferry cost just £49 return, with the car.

Once in Europe, we travelled all over the place, through snow storms and amazing scenic locations. We filled up the car with fuel each time we were in France, as it was cheaper.

The first night we stayed in Dusseldorf, Germany in an Ibis hotel. It cost €74 (€65 for the room, €9 for the car parking), but we had a low cost room in the centre of a major German city.

€ 74 = £50.76 (exchange rate on 7 March 2006)

The following night Jus spotted a Formula 1 Hotel while we were travelling through Belgium. The roads were icy, the traffic was heavy and all other hotels we had stopped at were fully booked. The Formula 1 hotel was visible from the motorway, but appeared to be in an industrial estate. We eventually found it and discovered it had vacancies and was only €28 a night for both of us. The rooms are clean and can take three people (one double bed, one bunk bed) and each row of rooms shares bathroom and shower facilities at the end of the corridor.

We paid the €4ish (per person) extra (in advance, for the next morning) for us to have breakfast. Breakfast was not good value for money, Jus wanted toast, and there was no toaster, but the picture of breakfast on the wall showed toast! We’ll look for breakfast locally in future.

The following night we stayed in another Formula 1 hotel on an industrial estate in Boulogne, France for just €25 for the two of us. We did not book in for breakfast.

€ 25 = £17.15 (exchange rate on 7 March 2006)

We had a great time, on a budget.

Check out Aferry before booking your ferry in the future, but we totally recommend Norfolkline.

Published by

Matthew Eaves

Matthew Eaves is Director at Creative Learning Systems Ltd

Leave a Reply