Not sure what to do for your next travel adventure?
If you haven’t considered camping in Europe, it’s time to start planning for something new.
Many people consider a British traveling tailor named Thomas Hiram Holding to have been a pioneer of modern camping, so it’s appropriate to head to Europe for your next camping trip. Since Holding wrote The Camper’s Handbook in 1908, camping has grown into a serious pastime with many passionate followers.
You might associate camping with the American wilderness. However, don’t neglect the great camping overseas opportunities that Europe has to offer. In this guide, we’ll give you the top destinations that will make you want to give camping in Europe a try. Keep reading to learn more!
Lagos, Portugal is an excellent spot if you want your camping in Europe to include a wealth of activities to choose from.
If you love surfing and water sports, you can’t go wrong with camping in Lagos and other parts of Portugal’s coast. You’ll love the stunning scenery of the coast and beaches, as well as the year-round warm weather.
In Lagos, you can enjoy horseback riding and hiking, as well as surfing. If you need a break from nature, head over to the nearby town Porto for its lovely restaurants and beautiful homes.
You can also fly right into Porto if you don’t want to drive to your destination. Or, you can drive from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, which is just three hours away.
Spain also offers some of Europe’s best camping destinations.
You might be familiar with the island of Mallorca, a popular place for tourists. However, for camping, we recommend heading over to Menorca, its lesser-known sister. You’ll love Menorca for its warm summers, blue waters, and gorgeous bays.
Sailing, cycling, and swimming are all among the activities that can spruce up your visit. Since it’s less popular with tourists, you’ll be able to relax away from the crowds.
Another Spanish destination, the town of Girona, offers excellent camping all around it.
Girona is a historic university town, peppered with fun bars and stunning architecture. You can easily make a trip to the beach from here, or head to Barcelona, just an hour and a half away.
You’ll find excellent mountain biking trails around Girona, plus horseback riding and countless water-related activities.
When people think of camping in Europe, they often don’t think about France. France is often associated with its cities, museums, and history, but it also offers some of the continent’s best camping destinations.
Our first recommended spot in France is Perpignan, a small town in the south of France near the border with Spain. Both Catalan and French culture influence this town, which has great food and wine offerings. You can even fly into the Perpignan airport for your camping trip.
Outside of the town, try windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, and diving. You can also venture further out to explore the Canigou Massif or the Pyrenees, where there’s rock climbing, hiking, and even whitewater rafting.
Another town in France near the Spanish border, Bidart offers great surfing and relaxing beaches.
Try a rafting trip, hiking, or just explore and enjoy the scenery of the famous Basque country. You can even cross the border into Spain and visit San Sebasti?n, which is just a 45-minute drive away.
It’s not just wine country – it’s also a prime spot for camping in Europe.
Bordeaux sports lovely architecture, a river, castles, warm weather, and of course, wine. You can head into the city for some of its many attractions, or stay out at your campsite, which can offer just as much beauty.
Outside of Bordeaux you’ll find river valleys, vineyards, lakes, forests, beaches, and even dunes. Try kite surfing, horseback riding, sailing, cycling, and paddleboarding, all within reach of one of France’s best-loved cities.
France has one more great camping destination that made our list.
Near Avignon is a region called Ardeche. The gorges and canyons make this area especially unique for camping. If you’re into canyoning, you should definitely head here. But you can also try caving, rafting, and even wine tasting in the area.
How to Prepare for Camping in Europe
Once you’ve picked your destination, you’ll need to know how to get ready for camping across Europe. Here are our top tips to help you get started.
1. What to Bring
Proper packing is essential to having a good camping trip.
If you’ll be doing a lot of traveling with your gear, look for tents that pack up into tiny packages. Don’t forget to make sure there’s a rainfly and the seams are sealed in case of rain.
You should also bring a sleeping bag – lighter for warm weather and heavier for the cold. A down-filled bag will pack up nicely, but synthetic ones dry faster when they get damp.
If you have room, it’s also nice to bring a ground pad for comfort.
Don’t forget a lightweight, easy to carry a backpack that can hold all the essentials as you travel. Even if you’re bringing a car, a backpack is nice for any day trips you plan to take.
Finally, pack the proper clothing for the weather and your activities, so you can stay comfortable.
2. Getting Ready
You can get a map of campgrounds in Europe from the tourist offices in your country of choice. You may not need reservations for the less-popular destinations, so you can take your time with your choice. This website lists a number of campsites that are easy to click through as you choose.
Don’t know the language of the country? Don’t worry – most Europeans speak fluent English and are accustomed to meeting tourists who don’t speak their language. Still, it’s a nice courtesy to work on learning some basic useful phrases, and to keep a phrasebook on you for translations.
Ready for Camping in Europe?
With this guide, you have everything you need to start preparing for camping in Europe. Don’t wait to plan the overseas adventure of a lifetime!
Looking for more camping trips? Then don’t miss this post.