Hit the Trail to Apricale
Looking for parking? 🅿️ See the parking tips page.
Oh, and don’t mind the way Italians drive. They’re experts at double-parking—even backwards—in the middle of the street. Totally normal. They may also appear suicidal when they’re coming at you head-on. 🚘 Not to worry. They’ll zig back into their lane just in time for you to exclaim “mamma mia!”
Apricale is short and scenic a 1-hour drive from the Côte d'Azur Airport in Nice, France. Passing by the ultra-luxe kingdom of Monaco, through magnificent mountain-burrowed tunnels, and along picturesque canyons, the trip is 64 km, or 40 miles.
Ventimiglia Toll Plaza Maze
This toll plaza is notorious for getting first-timers lost. We also wouldn’t recommend relying on Siri alone as GPS systems tend to easily confuse your coordinates and direction of travel.
As you exit the E80, prepare yourself for some “Ventimiglia vertigo” as you wrap your way around the looping connectors. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below to become a ‘Miglia Maze Master. 🦸
1. Exit E80 for Ventimiglia: Use far-right kiosk lane ↗️ following signs for Ventimiglia:
2. Take Your Ticket: Collect your ticket to raise the arm, then make an immediate, sharp right ↗️:
3. Pay Toll: After a couple crazy curves, enter an open booth toward the right ↗️ according to your preferred payment, insert your ticket (from the step #2), and pay:
4. Hang Another Right: You guessed it: bear another hard right ↗️ immediately after paying your toll, passing under the sign for Ventimiglia. Whee!
5. Exit Maze: After a couple more curves, you’ll cross over the Roya River, then you’ll bear right ↗️ at the first “Y” split, following the sign for Ventimiglia:
6. Enter SS20: You’re almost in the homeward stretch. Continue onto southbound SS20 (Via Europa). ⚠️ Attenzione! This is a yield, not a merge. Oh, and the white line in the middle of the street separates oncoming traffic.
7. Stay in Left Lane: YAAAS, a left! When a new lane conjoins, just stay in the left lane ↖️ that’s painted “MIGLIA.” (They ran out of paint.)
8. Enter Roundabout: Continue in the left lane bearing left ↖️ at the divider; then enter into the roundabout with a fountain:
9. Exit Roundabout: Take the third roundabout exit to the right ↗️ onto SS1 Via Aurelia following the signs for Sanremo/Imperia:
10. …annnnd onward to Apricale!
The rest is pretty easy peasy. Siri can now be trusted, so continue on with the original Google Maps directions.
Tolls & Border Crossing
With the EU’s open borders, driving across the France-Italy border couldn’t be easier. In fact, there isn’t even a border checkpoint on the E80 motorway.
Some sections of toll motorways dispense tickets to track the distance traveled and charge accordingly. Hold on to this ticket or you’ll pay a hefty fine if you lose it. Here’s how the ticketing and toll process works:
Toll Cost: Between the Nice Airport and Apricale, you’ll pay at three different toll plazas each way: two in France, one in Italy. These tolls range from 1,30 € to 2,60 €.
Symbols: When entering a tolled motorway to collect your ticket or to pay when exiting, follow these dos and don’ts do avoid a penalty fine. Sometimes these kiosks are situated right before a major split, so follow these directional signs as well.
In France: Avoid driving into any kiosks marked only with ared “t”; instead, head for a kiosk marked with a green downward arrow ⬇️ (example)
In Italy: Avoid kiosks marked with only a yellow “Telepass” sign. Instead, head for booths with a sign of a ticket symbol 🎫 or the word “biglietto.”
Payment: Euro (banknotes, coins) and major US credit cards are excepted at toll booths. To pay, just head for a kiosk signed with an icon that matches your payment type (e.g., credit card, coins). And avoid the lanes marked with only a “t” or a “Telepass".