I'm looking to travel through europe with a friend next april, our plans are to arrive in europe, buy a van then travel most of the coast line surfing and exploring. we intend to stay for as long as we can (hopefully 6 months). has anyone done this type of travel before and could help out with some tips!
There has been a wealth of discussion on the subject of 'Buying a van and traveling through europe.' on many forums - 'google' exactly this subject and I am sure you will have enough to make you think.
Suggest you also understand the Schengen agreement to see if it will impact upon you and where you go.
The maximum stay is up to 90 days in any 180 period. Look into getting a Long Stay Visa. Here is the link.
This website also has the basic Schengen rules in the sticky thread at the top of the Europe Forum, i.e., top of this Forum.
With such a trip, how would you manage insurance since basically no company would want to insure you while you were in other countries, or just a month at a time?
The UK would be the best place to get a cheap van BUT it would almost certainly be right hand drive (there are a few companies who do left hand drive).
Surfing? Not much of that in Europe. You could try driving around Portugal and Spain coasts but south of France becomes expensive (though west France is not bad) as does some parts of Italy.
Local police in some areas would take a dim view of you parking up and sleeping in your van.
Northern Europe can be cold, wet and windy in April. South much better. July and August can be very busy everywhere and in southern Europe, temperatures from 30 to 40.C daily and even some hot nights. Not the best time to be inside a van.