This weekend – 11-13 April – will be busier than usual, but the heaviest traffic starts at the end of next week, particularly in France, Switzerland and Austria.
France (average fuel price: unleaded 95 €1.498, diesel €1.299)
The big question in France this weekend is whether a demonstration over a proposed cut in the national speed limit will go ahead, and if so how well attended will it be?
However, any disruption should be confined to the main roads so the main holiday routes should not be affected.
Today and tomorrow are code orange for traffic departing for the south, and coasts, one up from ‘normal’ as schools in Bordeaux and Paris knock off for Easter.
Next Friday and Saturday are set to be the busiest, code orange generally but red on Saturday 19 April for traffic departing from Paris and north west France heading south and to the coasts.
Inevitably, the longest queues will be on the A6/A7 Paris-Lyon-Avignon though the worst is normally over by early/mid-afternoon. The very busiest period this spring will be 8-10 May. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
Germany (average fuel price: unleaded 95 €1.603, diesel €1.410)
The worst of the traffic is expected today, from 14:00-20:00, certainly on the main routes south, and up to the coast if the weather is nice (it’s raining at the time of writing). Saturday should be quieter, peaking between 10:00-15:00. Sunday should be quiet.
It will start to get busy from next Wednesday 16 April. Thursday will be the busiest day of the whole holiday period before traffic settles down again by Sunday.
The saving grace for drivers heading to and from the North Sea coast or Denmark is that the so-far highly disruptive refurbishment of the Elbtunnel on the A7 in central Hamburg is suspended from 17 April to 9 May.
Austria: (average fuel price: unleaded 95 €1.360, diesel €1.290)
Holidaymakers will start to clog roads from 14:00 this afternoon (Friday) particularly in western Austria – the usual suspects, to and from Lake Constance (A14, S16), the A12 Kufstein Innsbruck-Munich motorway and the back road border crossings with Germany (B179 Fernpass and B2 at Garmisch particularly) – plus the roads around big cities Vienna, Graz and Linz.
On Saturday, as well as the roads into the major ski resorts, the motorways to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Istria, northern Italy and South Tyrol will be very busy. Sunday should be quieter apart from in Vienna for the marathon.
On Good Friday 18 April a second wave of holiday makers arrives. The bulk of them will return on Easter Monday, 21 April.
Belgium (average fuel price: unleaded 95 €1.620, diesel €1.433)
Tomorrow, Saturday 12 April, will see drivers escaping west to the coast and south east to the Ardennes forest. The big return day will be Monday 21 April – the A10/E40 Brussels bound is bound to be busy, especially late on – though, overall, huge jams are not expected.
Switzerland (average fuel price: unleaded 95 €1.381, diesel €1.471)
A ‘striking increase in traffic is expected’ from early this afternoon (Friday 11 April) but tomorrow (Saturday) will be busier. Next Thursday and Friday will be as busy as it gets in Switzerland, calmer the days either side.
Traffic will be mostly heading south until the weekend of the 19-20 April when it starts to heading predominantly the other way.
As ever, the busiest roads will be the ones in and out of the major resorts plus those around Bern and Zurich, and the A1 between them, the A2 Basel-Chiasso transit route (i.e. The Gotthard Tunnel) and A13 Zurich-Chur-Bellinzona.