I am going to Europe, from England, in mid August for 5 weeks. My boyfriend and I are planning on driving and staying in campsites where possible. There is a lot we want to see and do, and perhaps we are being too optimistic with our plans!
Any suggestions or advice from those who have done a similar thing would be so welcome.
So far... we want to go to Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy and France. Italy we want to spend a lot of time in, the others we have just picked up some places we'd like to see, for example in Holland we will probably just stay in Amsterdam, but drive thru some of the countryside and smaller villages. By driving we want to experience rural places, not just the normal big cities visited.
That is only a good idea if you can handle driving on the other side of the road. There is a big chance you'll be a nervous wreck a few hundred kilometers into France. And Italy is hell for any non-Italian driver, it must be really bad if you have to deal with driving right too.
Also consider: the total area of the countries you mentioned is 5 times bigger than NZ. Plan accordingly.
Try this website for Campingsites in Europe:
It's doable, but depending on what you want to see, you'll spend a lot of time in your car (even without counting the traffic jams). To give you an indication, from the North of Belgium (let's say Antwerp) directly to Rome (Italy), it takes you almost 2 days if you're driving "normally" (i.e. not breaking speed limits, taking a break every 2 to 3 hours, spending the night on a camping, etc). So it might be a longer distance than you thought.
Also, I don't know if you're on a budget, but gas prices are really high in Europe: about 1,1 € for 1 litre (depends on the kind of gas), so that might make the trip more expensive than you might think. Also, France eg. is expensive to drive on high ways because of the toll: you might consider to take secondary roads, like the French do, but be aware of the fact that French tend to drive like mad men on these roads (130 km/h where speed limits are 70 or 90)(but don't try to imitate that: they know exactly where the speed radars are, and you'll be the only one who gets busted).
I don't want to discourage you at all, you'ld be fine just driving carefully. I actually think it's a great trip you're thinking of, just be realistic about the practical side.
As for the destinations and things to see: just search through this forum, it's a real information treasure !