It sometimes happens that you write a plan. A plan that you consider to be really good. A plan that you, later on, make even better by completely remaking it. That is kind of what happened with the plan for our “Journey to France and Back” We were really satisfied with it and now we have made some serious changes to it. Here you go, the updated itinerary for our journey to France and back.
Our Journey to France and Back: Current Conditions
Sometimes life happens and plans need some changing. A few weeks ago, we have received our new car. It’s a Renault Clio Sport Tourer and we have been really satisfied with the short trips that we have done so far. It is the car that has opened the possibility for a long road trip in Europe. The goal now is to go on a journey to France. As we live in Stockholm, Sweden, it is quite a bit of driving just to get to the closest border.
Little A is now also 10 weeks old and we are still adapting to our new life and the demands that our beloved one adds to our travel plans. We are more than happy to stay away from larger cities. Actually, we think that that it will be fun to explore parts of Europe that we haven’t even thought about before. Hopefully, we’ll also have the chance to meet some friends on the way.
Down to France: Our Plan
As mentioned, our plan has changed quite a lot in recent days and we are now looking forward to the road trip ahead. Just a quick recap, the countries we plan to visit are Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Denmark.
This is what the current plan for our journey to France and back looks like.
Day I: Leaving Stockholm
The first day of our adventure will be spent on the road. Well, almost at least. We will actually leave already on day zero when we will drive south towards Malmö. From Malmö, we will take a ferry across to Travemünde in Germany. The crossing takes around 9 hours.
Initially, we considered driving all the way down to Germany, but at the end, we opted for the ferry in order to reduce the time of driving. I as the driver will have some time to rest and it will be easier to take care of Aava when we don’t sit in a car. As we arrive late at our booked accommodation outside of Lübeck this really will be a day of traveling.
We have booked most of our accommodation via Airbnb and that is also the case with our two nights in Lübeck. We are looking forward to a stay in an apartment in the neighborhood of Karlshof. Hopefully, we will have the chance to enjoy Lübeck while getting some rest after the first part of the trip.
Day II: Lübeck, Germany
So after a long day of traveling our second day will be spent exploring what Lübeck has to offer. Seeing the leading city of the Hanseatic League has been high on my wish list for this trip. The old town with its iconic city gates is only one of several things to see during our second day. I’m quite sure that Susann will come up with a wish to go to bookstores or try some café or gallery as well.
Day III: Towards Benelux
After one whole day in Lübeck, we will continue towards Benelux and especially Belgium. This is going to be one of our longer drives, but we look forward to arriving in the town of Hasselt. Actually, neither one of us had heard about the town in question before booking the room. Our first choice of destination was Aachen, but then we found this option and it fitted much better with what we want to see. Hasselt is located close to the border with the Netherlands and will be our base for a few days to explore the region.
On our way to Hasselt, we will most likely make a stop in Bielefeld to meet an old friend.
Day IV to VI: Hasselt, Belgium
Hasselt will be our base for three full days in Belgium. From Hasselt, we hope to make a short trip to Maastricht in the Netherlands. Time will tell if we spend two days in Hasselt or if we decide to explore more of the region. Susann has added Leuven to her wishlist.
Day VII: Towards Champagne
Now our journey to France is starting to reach its destination. Quite early in our planning, I made Susann accept that we shouldn’t be driving all the way to Bruges in Belgium. The reason was to save a few hours extra in the car. Instead, she decided that she wanted to see Reims and that was an idea that grew into our plan. Reims is the main city in the Champagne district. So it will be an interesting destination to see with all the champagne houses and other historical sights.
On our way to Reims, we plan to drive via Namur, another Belgian town that people have recommended to us. As we will be driving for a few hours, this will probably be a perfect spot for a lunch break. Namur was in our original plan and we had planned to stop for two nights. Even though we have changed the plan, we still hope to see the town.
Day VIII: Reims, France
After a week of traveling, we will finally explore the southernmost town during our trip. Reims, the capital of Champagne, will be interesting to see. Maybe we will even make a short visit to one of the champagne houses?
Day IX: Staying in France
Reims will not be our only stop in France. We will actually spend another week in the country. Our first choice for a longer stay was Metz. This was due to its proximity to the border with Luxembourg and Germany, with several places of interest close by. Metz itself seemed to be a fascinating city. Instead, we found accommodation in the small village of Zoufftgen, even closer to the border with Luxembourg.
On our way to Zoufftgen, we plan to go via Verdun. This town has been a battlefield many times, including during the First World War. It feels like a place that we should see when we are passing by. Maybe we will also visit the large cemetery from the time.
Day X to XV: Zoufftgen, France
The main destination of our journey to France is Zoufftgen. How to spend a week in a village in northern France? Well, we plan to explore the area nearby. Luxembourg is close with places such as Luxembourg City, Ansembourg, Echternach, Useldange, and Vianden. Then there are also Trier and Saarbrücken in Germany and of course Metz in France. There is also a pool at our accommodation, maybe that is where we will spend one day.
Day XVI: Lahnstein, Germany
When one adventure ends another begins. By now, our journey to France has come to an end and it’s time to head north. Germany has the Autobahn, but why try to get home as soon as possible when there is an entire country ahead of us? Continuing along the Mosel valley via Cochem och Koblenz we hope to enjoy some nice views and sights. We will spend the night in the town of Lahnstein located next to the river Rhine. We’ll see two of Germany’s most famous rivers – the Mosel and the Rhine. We will come across the Danube during our trip, but who knows, maybe the Elbe will come our way?
Day XVII: Quedlinburg, Germany
Taking off early from Lahnstein we will head towards the central part of Germany. Here we have found three small towns that we would like to see. These are Goslar, Wernigerode, and Quedlinburg. Try to pronounce those names! We plan to see two of these during this seventeenth day of our journey to France and back. We will spend the night in Quedlinburg. To get there we will pass by both Goslar and Wernigerode, but we will also have to pass both of these towns on our way further north. The plan is to stop in Goslar on our way to Quedlinburg and leave Wernigerode for the next day.
Day XVIII: Stade, Germany
From Quedlinburg we continue north, but not without a stop in Wernigerode. After Wernigerode, our plan is to continue all the way to Stade in northern Germany, on the Elbe river. Along the road, there might even be a stop in the town of Celle. We will only stop for a night in Stade but hope to have time to also see the town.
Day XIX: Kolding, Denmark
We are now getting closer to home! From Stade, we will continue to the last country of our three-week road trip. It is time for Denmark. Our first stop eventually came to be Kolding. To make a long story short, we want to get further up north than first planned. Initially, we thought about stopping in Flensburg at the border. Flensburg might now instead be our stop for lunch along the road.
Day XX: Continuing on in Denmark
From Kolding, we continue north. Our first plan was to continue east towards Odense and later on Malmö before continuing back to Stockholm. Now we found another option and will continue to the northern part of Denmark and the town of Aalborg. On our way, we will probably make a stop in Aarhus. Aarhus which is the European city of culture this year.
Day XXI: Aalborg, Denmark
At first, we wanted to stop in Odense, but later we opted for Aalborg instead. Again, we decided to catch a ferry instead of crossing the bridges. Aalborg is located in the northern part of Denmark and it is not far away from Frederikshavn. From Frederikshavn, there are ferries crossing over to Gothenburg in Sweden. Aalborg will be where we spend our last day before heading all the way back home. It is here that we hope to see what Denmark really has to offer and we will see if we also have the chance to meet up with some more old friends.
Day XXII: Almost Back Home
The 22nd day of our trip will be the day when we return home. Our ferry from Frederikshavn will leave at 8 in the morning and in less than four hours it will take us all the way back to Sweden. Then there is just one long drive left before we are back at home and can fall into our own bed. Hopefully, we will be satisfied with the trip at this time. As always, there is nothing better than your own bed when you have been away for a longer time.