Camping Europe: The Basics

Summer has arrived in Europe. To celebrate, I decided to write about an alternative way to see Europe, camping.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to camp throughout the western United States in some of the most beautiful place in the world. Camping in Europe is beautiful as well. But, the experience is starkly different than in the U.S.

Imagine yourself nestled below a magnificent mountain range. There’s a swiftly flowing snow melt river close by, a majestic waterfall in the distance and a French guy with is wife and three screaming kids two feet from you tent. This is camping in Europe. Large, spacious campsites like we’ve come to expect in the U.S. are replaced by privately owned “resorts” to use the word loosely. There are no fire pits, picnic tables, or BBQ’s. You get a space for your car, tent and that’s about it.

Campsite in Hallstatt, Austria (Click for more images)

Campsite in Hallstatt, Austria(Click for more images)

Aside from being packed in like Sardines, European campgrounds are great. All facilities I’ve have NICE hot showers, flush toilets, dish washing stations and electricity. Many have convenient stores, communal refrigerators and washing machines. A few have wireless internet, breakfast buffets and bars. One had a full-on water park!

Washroom in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (Click for more images)

Washroom in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (Click for more images)

Camping in Europe is a middle class activity, usually frequented by families, retirees, or foreign travelers. Most of our stays were quite (accept for the church bells) and comfortable. Camp sites are around $20 USD per night for car, tent and two people. Rates are determined by your “equipment” not by the site. The great thing is they rarely fill up: we spent two weeks car camping in peak travel season with NO RESERVATIONS!

The two absolutely essential items needed for caravaning Europe: 1) Camping Europe 2012 and 2) Portable GPS World Edition. This combo will keep you safe and sane while driving on unfamiliar roads in new places.

Camping in Europe is safe, clean and cheap. My completely bias (and honest) opinion is everyone should try touring Europe this way. It’s a totally different experience from the eurorail/hostel adventure. You are free to do what you please and can explore parts of the countryside that you would normally never see. On our two week trip last year, we never came across other Americas (or Swedes) which is honestly a good thing. You don’t travel half way around the world to hangout with your own, do you? So, plan a trip and do it; you’ll be glad you did.

Campground Entrance in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (Click for more images)

Campground Entrance in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (Click for more images)

Categories: Austria, Europe Travel, Germany, Switzerland | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Camping Europe: The Basics

  1. We camped Germany last year, and are planning to take the kids to Poland next year. Germany, Italy and Ireland are indeed full of safe clean campgrounds. Do you have any experience with Poland or the rest of Eastern Europe?

    • Sorry! I’ve never camped in Eastern Europe. I was however in Cesky Krumlov a few weeks ago and there was a decent campground just outside the city (we saw it on our rafting trip).

  2. Henrik Dahl

    I´d recommend camping outdoors in Scandinavia due to the strong position the “freedom to roam” or every man´s right holds both in law and practice. A great way of travel while also experiencing nature – if one doesn’t depend on the luxuries of modern life, at least! =)

  3. Clara

    I’d like to camp my way through Europe. I’m especially interested in safe campgrounds in Italy and France to start. Would it be safe to camp as a female travelling with a son (bigger than me at this point)?

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