Camping in Europe in a camper van conversion or any other form of transportation is a relaxing and affordable way to experience the old continent. Camping holidays in Europe are possible in more then 10.000 camping sites scattered all around!
Whether you decide to visit the landscapes of Norway, the Dutch windmills, the medieval German castles, the stunning Alps mountain range or the ever inviting Mediterranean coastline stretching from Turkey and all the way to Portugal...you will be always camping in Europe.
This is a perfect place for camping, touring or just cruising around in a camper van. The easy going European lifestyle often feels familiar, yet it offers a variety of new cultures and experiences almost behind every corner.
The word Camping and the little tent sign usually above it, is the sign to look for on European road signs. If you consider traveling around Europe, you'll find camping sites close enough to anything of your interest.
Campings can be found near the seaside, lakes, streams or other attractions. The mountains are another all time favorite summer and winter hot-spots with many camping sites around. Others are located in smaller towns or nearby larger cities, where you can use the convenience of public transportation to move around.
Camping On The Beach in...
Port Grimaud France
Camping in Europe is thoroughly covered in many camping guides and websites. Organizations such as the Dutch ACSI or the German ADAC annually inspect the majority of European camping sites (well, how is that for a job!) and publish a new camping guide each year.
Each camping site is covered in every detail. In addition to buying the guide, you'll receive a special "Camping Card "offering you low season discounts at the reviewed camping sites!
A colorful palette of camping site types spreads around the old continent. You'll find anything from small family operated camping sites to large holiday resorts with restaurants, swimming pools or water parks, tennis courts, supermarkets, and various kinds of animation in the summertime. And If you're camping with kids, many sites will have playgrounds to keep the little ones busy for a while.
For some further tips and inspiration, read all about my European tour through the fantastic Alps and Provence including the French Riviera. The whole trip took a month and it was done using a couple of excellent guide books and a Michelin Europe travel map.
How about a naturist vacation? After all, this is the place where it all started in the first place. You will find camping sites by the coast, in the mountains and some other places. Croatia and France will most likely surprise you with their facilities!
Campsites are usually well organized, some are partially naturist, while others have a full time option. No naturist campsite will ask you to be nude at all times. It's only natural that you will dress up when you need so for any kind of reason you might have. But when it's nice and warm, do forget about your clothing.
I often hear about, read about and enjoy myself the relaxing atmosphere on a naturist beach. If you can handle, join it...
And don't forget, camping in Europe is a naturists paradise!
Depending on the location, information on nearby sporting activities, such as hiking, cycling, climbing, skiing and so on will be available.
An increasing number of camping sites is keeping their doors open all year round, especially on the Mediterranean parts and the Alps mountain range locations. Camping in Europe is not only a summer vacation anymore, but a vast variety of experience.
The quality varies anywhere from acceptable to neat and tidy comfort including baby rooms, ironing tables and washing/dryer machines. This fact can strongly stand out by checking out the toilet/shower facilities if you happen to be the picky type.
Durmitor mountains, Montenegro
Adriatic coast, Croatia
Most of the camping sites are within the reach of public transportation, so if you're a backpacker with a tent on a budget travel, you should be able to reach most of them.
Just in case your flight land in Venice, you can consider camping on the lovely nearby Jesolo beach with many camping sites to choose from.
And If you're coming from abroad, carrying all your camping gear on an airplane is a hassle for sure. Good news for you! There are a few small companies that actually rent out complete camping gear. Of course you can also buy some basic camping gear in almost any larger town.
Many camping sites are divided into pitches, usually for motorhomes and camping trailers and they'll sometimes keep a separate area for camping tents. Electricity posts(220/230V!) are widely spread around the sites, but do have a cable of 25m (80ft) just in case. You can charge your batteries at bathrooms if you don't intend to use the hook-up.
Internet access is widely available (not always though) either by a land-line or Wi-Fi connection, but you will usually have to pay for it.
Camping in Europe is gaining the momentum and an increasing number of camping sites has been renovated in the recent years, offering all the comfort you can only imagine.
Mobile homes and bungalows of various sizes are available at reasonable prices, so you can still stay in a camping site even if you don't have any of your camping equipment with you.
Do to the many renovations, wheelchair accessible camping sites are becoming more user friendly to the disabled community, so there is no need to give up camping in case of your disability.
Prices vary around here and do get a lot higher in peak summer and winter periods. Sometimes you'll pay per person, sometimes for the tent or camper van, sometimes only for the pitch and sometimes...
To tell you the truth, I never quite understood this pricing policy and don't even bother with it anymore... But expect to pay anything from €10.00 to €25.00 per night for a couple with a camper van and a dog for example.
Spending your camping holidays cruising around in camper van
will also allow you to use camper stops. There are a LOT of them. The
best thing you can do is to visit Vicarious books and get a guide.
But the general rule is that they are located outside urban areas and out in the country. Even a lot of camping sites offer this sleep-over option for a minimal fee.
With the exception of Scandinavian countries, free camping in Europe is forbidden by law. But this just a bunch of restrictions on a piece of paper or even worse, a computer file.
Obviously you will not pitch a tent in the middle of Paris (it wouldn't surprise me though!), but if you find a nice spot out in the country, go for it! As long as you're not bothering anybody and not damaging the environment, you can park your camper and have a good nights rest.
It might be a bit more difficult pitching a tent somewhere, but it has been done many times before by all kinds of travelers. So if you're up to it, pitch it and just have fun!
Just stay out of the populated areas and most traveled roads!
Three books in one - an illustrated monograph, a travel guide, and a rich collection of maps!
If you're coming from abroad and don't know exactly where to go, I strongly recommend this excellent book here to get some fresh ideas. The Dream Routes of Europe offers 26 stunning itineraries, thoroughly covered in every detail including lots of pictures and road maps. A book I often use on my travels and you really get you money's worth here!
And believe me, renting a camper van or a larger motorhome is the best way to cruise around at your own pace. Something you'll never regret.
On the list below you will find some of my own camper van camping travel experiences and tips in various countries and islands. Well Morocco is not a part of Europe, but being so close to the old continent, I just had to add it on my list.
If you plan on discovering and traveling for an extended amount of time in your camper van or motorhome, the Go Motorhoming book is a must in your library.
Written by a couple that continuously travels around in a motorhome all year around. This excellent book discovers all the secrets, the ups and downs and much more that you might want to find out about living in a camper van!
Registration is quite easy. Once you check out the camping site and find it acceptable, present yourself at the reception desk and fill out a small forum. You will be asked to leave one of your personal documents at the reception until your departure. If you have one of the camping cards, show them at the reception as sometimes they can save you a lot of money.
Regulations are very simple and available at the reception. Most sites like to be quiet from 11p.m. until 7a.m. and I've noticed quite often the afternoon silence period between 1p.m. and 3p.m. in some parts of the Mediterranean...Hmm, was that camping in Italy by any chance?
From personal experience I can say that these rules are sometimes very flexible when camping in Europe. But do keep in mind the annoying fact, that having a loud group of happy people next door is just not something you want to deal with in the middle of the night if you're not in the mood.
And then again, you will eventually end up in another group of new friends on the road someday and...you'll be the loud one! So have some patience and understanding and take your party somewhere else if you can. The bar or the beach will do just fine!
Camping in Europe is also quite safe. The camping sites will usually have a fence around and a night guard to check around.
There are some minor thefts and every now and then a motorhome or a camper van finds a new home. It's a part of the grand scenario we call life I guess.
I have been camping in Europe for the last 35 years, and the only thing that was stolen from me was a shoe and a couple of towels. As for the shoe, I found it later on that particular day in the camping site on the island of Corsica. Do you want to know who stole it?
Well...it was a little fox!
If you decided to go camping in Europe, vist www.vicariousbooks.co.uk and you will get all the guides you might need. Don't forget the ACSI Camping Card with low season discounts in more then 3000 camping sites around!
Europe is a diversity of lifestyle and the country of many languages. Sometimes it's really hard to overcome all the lingual barriers, but when you love to travel it all comes as a second nature. So if you had any kind of experience of camping in Europe I'd love to hear from you! And your experience will help a lot of people around this world.