What camping is, Europeans had known about it since the late 19th century, when an enterprising resident of the British Isles opened the first commercial campground for recreational purposes. Since then, organized camping has grown in popularity. Today, camping is a favorite family vacation activity for Europeans and North Americans, and camping in Europe is evidenced by the International Camping and Caravanning Association, founded more than a century ago. You will learn more about The Best Guide To Camping In Europe by LCNOutdoors article.
How About Camping In Europe? Experience Sharing
The Europe camping overview
Camping in Europe is a very civilized activity, even if it means staying away from the usual facilities.
- They are not just places with marked tents. These are entire complexes where everything has been thought out in detail. Europeans know a thing or two about camping.
- You can find all the campsites on the website and even book them if you wish.
- There are showers and washbasins, and most importantly, every tent has electricity.
- Campsites in Europe provide entertainment for children.
In countries such as Europe and America, there are even special camping associations and various organizations that work exclusively. Camping is a very common phenomenon and a very convenient way for people to engage in outdoor activities. By the way, athletes do not miss any opportunity to use this kind of tourism. Mountain climbers, cyclists, divers – many people use this being in the right place. Exactly this, and not the old-fashioned “three tents and a fire.”
Camping experience on the Internet
Although, I don’t know how popular this resort is in Europe. A huge number of camping sites spread across European countries. This is a screenshot of Google Maps, which I made by searching for “Italian Camping.” According to my experience, there are more campsites in real life because there are not many campsites advertised online.
Then, if you look at the screenshot of the map, the density of the camp is sporadic, and if you leave the coastline, the helpful information will be reduced.
Nevertheless, I am by no means advocating a well-planned and “unusual” type of itinerary. What I did is this. I opened the google map and started searching for campsites in the area where my free route went. Therefore, I got a list of camping locations within 50 kilometers.
Then I clicked on the campsite icon of the necessary place on the map of the local camping APP, entered the place’s homepage, and read the price. If I am satisfied with the price and location, I will go to Google Maps and try to see if there are campsites in the listed areas on the satellite map.
Modern camping culture
A modern camping site is a place where people who travel (mainly those who drive) can comfortably spend the night and get all the amenities. Hot showers, toilets, electricity, stores, a tent on a flat surface. In addition, the cost of accommodation using a tent is lower than the cost of the cheapest hotel.
No wonder Europeans like to travel to neighboring countries for a lower cost. Not once did I hear them say that sleeping in a tent is undignified. On the contrary, many told me that they wouldn’t trade anything for sleeping outdoors.
However, when you see the camping gear of any more or less advanced camping enthusiast, you will realize that he doesn’t need any hotel. There is an amazing camping culture in Europe, and developers are working hard to meet the demand for the best equipment. You can see an example of a tent in the photo far from the largest tent used by Europeans on vacation.
In these tents you can walk the whole height, they have several rooms, corridors, and kitchens. And note that it is very easy to set up such a tent, 2 people can cope with it in ten minutes, thanks to the clever stacking design. The price of such houses is quite affordable: from a few dozen to hundreds of euros. The rest of the equipment also arouses envy, where you and compact gas stove, inflatable beds, and a lot of different useful little things.
Not to mention that the camping sites are often in breathtaking places: nature reserves, seashores, high mountain valleys. It’s a great pleasure to be there, breathing clean air and watching the stars light up in the sky when it gets dark. Look at this photo. Do you still want to go to a four-star hotel? I think it has all ten stars.
Another interesting point: since the average European doesn’t know there is such a thing as a summer house, many rent small Motorhomes at the campground for the whole summer and visit it on weekends. Sometimes people from northern countries spend the whole summer in campsites in the south; we met German and Norwegian pensioners who live this way in France and Italy. They did their best to settle in there, they brought their TVs and furniture and even managed to plant flower beds next to the caravans.
Planning before camping
Camping so intensively meant that we had complete freedom to move around Europe without the slightest bit of planning and would be guaranteed a comfortable and safe place to spend the night. Personally, this is an important factor for me. I hate pre-planning when I travel.
It’s cool to move around the country as far as you can see (within the itinerary) rather than following the direction of the track you’ve made at home. If you see an exciting castle on the horizon, why not turn that way? Even if you don’t have a campground map, asking a local can point you in that direction.
I’m always amazed at how friendly Europeans are to cyclists. I’ve cycled in almost every country in Southern Europe, and I’ve always encountered only the friendliest attitudes. There are even times when a person drops everything, gets in the car, and takes the traveler to the right place at the speed of a bike.
In addition to all the advantages of comfortable camping, there is another important consideration for cyclists. Exploring cities by bicycle is not very convenient. Visiting museums and other attractions is questionable: I strongly recommend not tying your bike to the door, even in the quietest of European countries.
Therefore, a convenient strategy is to head to the campground nearest the city center, leave your bike there, catch a bus, and take a quiet walk around the museum. There is usually a bus stop nearby, and the fare should be a few euros. There’s no need to worry about leaving your bikes at the campsite either. Secure them to a tree in a conspicuous place.
Sadly, there are no campsites a third of the time (there are too many inaccuracies, especially in southern Europe). I have learned to make such checks from unpleasant experiences when, after an exhausting day of walking, I find a muddy industrial site or a private development rather than a campsite with hot showers and a restaurant.
As a result, I was offered a fair number of cheap campsites that were randomly scattered along my route. Depending on the landscape I encountered and my mood, I could modify my route at will and knew I would find a place to spend the night within a few dozen kilometers.
In Europe, it is customary to charge per site, plus person. Therefore, an overnight stay for two people will cost less than one person. For our spend, we can use the restroom area. I would mention that in Italy, which is miserable in terms of tourism, they charge for hot water in the shower. In other countries, this also happens, but rather as an exception. You can also use the washing machine, which will cost several euros (including washing powder). It’s not cheap, but washing it by hand is not very impressive. For a few euros more, you can spin your washed clothes in a centrifuge.
Campsites are divided into at least three price levels, with little difference in the actual level of service. The more expensive units feature swimming pools and good locations. Sometimes, however, the high prices are not backed by anything other than the owners’ greed. Expensive campgrounds should be discounted because there are no positives for cyclists. The price for two people spending the night in their tent can go up to tens of euros! Must say “no”!
The medium price class is what we need. Camping is almost indistinguishable from its more expensive counterparts, but it turns out that the price per night here will be 20% lower. I think it’s normal if they ask for no more than a few dozen euros for a night for two in high season. Fortunately, there are more campsites like this in Europe, so you can always count on getting a reasonable price.
The ideal type of site for cyclists is the local, national municipal site. Unfortunately, they are few and far between and hardly ever advertised online, so you find them by accident. The prices for overnight stays may surprise seasoned campers: in high season, the absolute minimum price we paid was just a few euros for two people.
Yes, there won’t be a swimming pool or a convenience market, but you’re most likely to meet fellow cyclists at the municipal campsite. You can find scanned copies of paid cycling guides on the internet that definitely have the coordinates of such places. Highly recommended!
The most expensive country in Southern Europe for tourists is Italy. The cheapest camping destinations are France and Portugal. I don’t know much about the Midlands or northern latitudes, but I’ve heard that camping prices in Norway make your hair stand on end. Prices are heavily influenced by seasonality and can vary up to 100%.
As you can see, July-September is the most expensive month. From April-June, it’s ideal for traveling around Southern Europe. If it’s not a rainy year, these months will be moderately warm, the nights won’t be too cold, and there aren’t too many campers yet. However, during the high season, campgrounds can become quite crowded, especially on weekends.
Having said all these great things about camping, I have to be honest about the nasty stuff. Unfortunately, having a spoonful of tar can ruin a biker’s vacation, especially if they are inexperienced in choosing a campground. The biggest (and probably only important) downside is that in high season, you’ll have a lot of people, unlike you, who have done 100 miles in one day to get here and rock! Here, you’ll have a lot of people. It can be an unpleasant surprise to find a group of young people camping more than 10 feet away from your tent and not planning to sleep at night.
It is not that bad!
In addition, officials allow for lawlessness until 12 p.m., meaning that a “concert” is happening in the campground that day: music screaming at full volume. Then it’s up to the audience. If there are not many teenagers, then you can sleep. But it’s still not very pleasant because I wanted to go to bed at 9:00 and get up early tomorrow, but it ended after midnight.
Of course, not all places are bad. We had some lovely campgrounds. At one point, near the town of Alcobaça in Portugal, we found a strange campsite that wasn’t even on the map. It was right in the forest, very clean, quiet, and not very crowded. It turned out that the campsite owner was French and all the people living there were also French.
We got a little anxious, and we felt like we were in paradise. We felt like we were in paradise. We had planned to just spend the night and keep driving, but when we saw a place like this, we decided to stay a few nights and get a good night’s sleep. By the way, the French have confirmed the title of a cultured country, and we didn’t notice a single noisy campsite while traveling in France. Spain and Italy were worse. If it was possible to cajole with the Italians, they would calm down after a few words. The number would not pass with the Spaniards.
How to choose a campsite
But if you choose the right campsite, you can get a good night’s sleep. A few notes are needed as follows.
- The closer the campsite is to a town, coastline or attraction, the more people you will meet when you are out and about. Look for campsites that are farther away from these locations, as this will save you money as well.
- Look for council-run or “family-friendly” campgrounds. The former is self-explanatory, while the latter implies that it is a family business. These places don’t cater to drunken parties, boisterous animation, etc., unlike commercial campgrounds whose purpose is to pack your bags.
- Pay close attention to the national makeup of vacationers, though the number of cars. You can find “Germany,” “United Kingdom,” “Spain” and other camps in each country. The best neighbors are Germans, French, and Dutch. God bless you not to be drunk at the campsite with British teenagers without parental supervision. They will do in the evening what they do at home every weekend.
- If the campsite is the only campsite in the correct area and is in a “risk zone,” don’t pitch your tent next to a sanitary area. There will always be traffic and noise, day or night. Go to the farthest corner, so the animators don’t disturb your sleep. Evaluate campers; it’s best to pitch your tent next to someone with a family, whether or not there are noisy children. Typically, they will go to bed after 11:00, while the merrymakers will stay up until dawn.
- Outdoor campgrounds are not exactly popular with partygoers. However, it is very peaceful and quiet in the mountains and nature reserves. When making your itinerary, please put them in your navigator first.
If you follow these simple rules, you can easily avoid the aforementioned horrors and enjoy peace and quiet.
I hope I was able to convince you that, contrary to popular belief, traveling in Europe can be very inexpensive, and in some cases almost free. For this, you need common sense, no pomp and circumstance in everyday life. The last two concepts are the most difficult. The good news is that your bike will get your mind going in the right direction, you must shower every day, and rose petals in bed are no longer a problem.
In the south, a cheap campsite costs a few euros or over ten euros per person. It depends on the country and the season. If you have a gas stove, you can cook yourself a delicious meal with high calories for no more than $20 or less per day.
If you’re doing it for the road itself, rather than visiting museums and attractions, you won’t live on more than $1,000 per month. That’s a pretty comfortable budget with no extreme savings.
If you are still in the 64% of people who have never left the US, I suggest you squeeze in the 36%. I agree that Europe is special. So many different cultures, languages, and traditions come together in a relatively small area that is very interesting to observe.
Please don’t believe people who say Europe is tedious and expensive. Veer a little off the tourist trail, and you’ll find that Europe is steeped in its fantastic history, and every stone tells the curious more than they could read in a dozen books. Even if you don’t share my enthusiasm for cycling, just rent a bike and ride to your favorite places. Thanks to the campgrounds, this can be a very reasonably priced trip.
As people come to the campground to rest, they should arrange the camping area with special care. This part of the campground is intended to provide recreation and leisure activities for campers. Here, as well as in the domestic zone, the level can be different, depending on the camping location, the country where the campground is located (for example, camping in Finland is more expensive than in the USA), the cost of renting a place. By the way, campgrounds, like hotels, have “stars.” The more stars you get, the more comfortable your stay will be. The best campgrounds offer swimming pools, mini-golf courses, restaurants, mini-markets, etc., in addition to the standard playgrounds.
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