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camping in europe

Travel Forums Europe camping in europe

1. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 11y

What's the camping like in Europe? Is it mostly restricted to organized campsites? Are the sites large enough to give some privacy? Here in Canada we have land owned by the crown where you can camp for free. Is there a similar arrangement in Europe? I suspect this varies from country to country, so if you could name the country you're talking about, that would be helpful.

What about hitchhiking. Is it safe to do heading into the bush?

Naive questions, but you gotta start somewhere. :-)

2. Posted by ErwinNL (Full Member 51 posts) 11y

Most countries you will have to camp at a campsite. Alternatively some farmers will allow campers on their land for a fee. Camping in the wild or by the side of th road is prohibited in most countries.
Hitchhiking is posible and mostly safe but dont expect to find a ride quick, it can take hours before someone will stop for you.

3. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 11y

In Norway its legal to camp in nature. But not in direct neighbourhood of villages (but why should you anyway). In most western-European there are excellent campsites, especially in France. It should be possible to camp for free but you need permission from the local authorities. And only if there is no camp-site in direct surroundings.

4. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 11y

Quoting wouterrr

In Norway its legal to camp in nature. But not in direct neighbourhood of villages (but why should you anyway).

The same is true for Sweden. It is called "Allemansr├Ątten" (right of common access) and allows you to pick mushrooms and berries or whatever you like in the woods as well! Awesome, isn't it...?


5. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 613 posts) 11y

Hi Q-ZHang,
It sounds like you should head to Scandinavia for free camping!
I disagree with wouterr that you should be able to find free camping. In most of Europe (Scandinavia aside, obviously) you will have to use a campsite. The difference between Europe and Canada is simply space - this is an extremely densely populated continent.

It depends partly on how you're doing it though - if it's a caravan, then you've no choice. If you've a motorhome, then you might find parking where you can spend occasional nights without being bothered, but technically you will probably be breaking the law.
Wild camping in tents is another thing. In the UK it is illegal, but tolerated if you follow basic rules, like camping out of sight (of everybody!) and leaving no mess.

Simply, you should come prepared to pay, and maybe find odd nights for free. Europeans are great campers; the Germans, the Dutch, the British, the Danes. Less so are the French, Spanish and Italians, but most campsites are good, many excellent. The atmosphere is friendly althoug privacy sill be unlikely in busy times. Still, it's good fun.

6. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 11y

Quoting stevieh

Hi Q-ZHang,
It sounds like you should head to Scandinavia for free camping!

Well, there are other reasons than free camping to go to Scandinavia!!! ;) We do have all the castles and old buildings and that stuff they have in the rest of Europe, but we also have nature life which is extremely beautiful here, we have less pollution (since we're less densly populated) and more space, and in summertime it never gets dark...


7. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 11y

My experience in travelling/camping around Europe is that it is a fantastic experience and great way to meet people. A word of advice tho... I carried a tent and camping gear all the way from oz and through asia only to find that there are pre-erected tents all over most of western and central Europe. I found that it was only a tiny bit more expensive to hire a pre-erected tent than to pay for a camping spot where I could pitch my own tent.

I travelled over the summer when camping and hitch hiking, so winter may be different - check out the time of year you are going, but my advice if you are travelling in the summer is to leave the tent at home and pay the extra 1-2 euro a night to use the pre-erected tents... it certianly saves precious space in the back pack!