Surprise, surprise, campgrounds and RV parks in Europe are very different than their American brothers and sisters. If you are hoping to RV across Europe in a campervan, there are a few things you need to know! Just because you are a full-time RV-er or avid camper in the United States does not mean you will automatically be prepared for camping in Europe. There are tons of things they don’t tell you about renting an RV in Europe and campground information is scarce. This guide was created to help you navigate renting an RV in Europe!
A First-Timers Guide To Campgrounds and RV Parks in Europe
Tons of campgrounds and RV parks in Europe are in the wilderness so be prepared
You may be thinking “duh…camping and wilderness go together,” except, in the United States, they don’t. In America, thousands of campgrounds are off major highways and near large cities. In Europe, tons of campgrounds and RV parks are in the wilderness smack dab in the middle-of-nowhere. If you are looking to RV through Europe, this is an important factor to keep in mind! If you want easy access to lesser-known hiking trails and don’t care about cell phone reception, you will do just fine staying in a backwoods-style campground.
That being said, there are campgrounds near big cities too
We use the term “near big cities” very loosely. Most campgrounds and RV parks Europe are about 30-45 minutes outside the city center. This means that you will either have to visit the city during the day and then park your RV/camper at night, or park your vehicle and then figure out how to commute downtown. The location really depends on the city.
For example, in Amsterdam, we were able to stay at an RV park that was just steps from the end of the Amsterdam Metro line. Our commute into the city center took about 35 minutes but all-in-all, it wasn’t too terrible! Discovering how to get around is just one of the small joys of RVing in Europe as you never know what you will come across and discover!
Depending on your wishlist, options for RV parks in Europe may be limited
Tent camping? Backpacking in and riding public transport? You are pretty much good to go at any and every European campground. Looking to drive your 25 foot RV to campgrounds in Europe? Hate to break it to you, but not every place will accommodate a rig that big. [Attempt] to call ahead and make sure they have space for you! Although not as big as their American counterparts, RVs in Europe are still relatively large compared to other vehicles. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Most Wi-Fi policies don’t make any sense at all
You are so excited because your campground in Europe offers free Wi-Fi! What a perk, right?! Although free Wi-Fi is almost everywhere in American campgrounds, it is noticeably absent when RVing in Europe. Some campgrounds claim “free” Wi-Fi but you have to go up to a machine and print out a little ticket with a password to the Wi-Fi that expires in an hour. That means every hour you have to print out another ticket and re-connect.
Alternatively, you may have to pay a small fee for Wi-Fi. $4 for 12 hours of Wi-Fi doesn’t seem too bad until you find out that the device you connected is the ONLY device you are able to use. Choose wisely. Finally, if you do stumble upon a campground in Europe that offers free, unlimited Wi-Fi, the connection will most likely be so weak you most definitely won’t be able to use it from your campsite and you may not be able to use it standing right in front of the router either. We just want you to be fully prepared when renting RVs in Europe! Driving an RV through Europe is much more fun when you are prepared!
Campgrounds in Europe may seem cheap but you don’t get much
In the United States, a standard campsite comes with electricity and water at the bare minimum. Pay a little extra and you even get a place to hookup and dump your toilet right at your campsite. Not so when you RV through Europe! European campgrounds and RV parks may only cost $15-$20 in the low season, but you literally only get a spot to park your camper or pitch your tent. That. Is. All. Some campgrounds don’t even offer any other choices and you may have to dump elsewhere.
If your campground does offer the choice to “upgrade” you now may have an electrical hookup to plug in your RV and charge your batteries. Unlike in America, the vast majority of campgrounds in Europe do not offer on-site water and none offer on-site dumping. Be prepared and dump ahead if you plan to RV in Europe!
You will get friendly with the shower and bathroom facilities
Since you won’t have water or sewage hookups at your campsite and the sewage and fresh water holding capacity in European RV’s leaves a lot to be desired, you will most likely want to utilize the on-site facilities at your campground. If you are RVing in the USA, using the shower/bathroom is virtually unheard of because you have an RV so you don’t have to do that!
Luckily, the shower and bathroom facilities at campgrounds in Europe are generally lovely, free, and very clean. Campgrounds in Europe aren’t massive like they are in the States so you are never too far from the potty to begin with making those night treks not seem so bad. If you want to RV Europe, this is a small price to pay!
While you’re at it, you may as well use the on-site kitchen too
Water is scarce and giant on-site wash basins and kitchen sinks are plentiful. Instead of wasting the water at your site, just carry your dishes to the campground kitchen area and wash away. Sinks are huge and usually come with large drying areas so you are all set to go!
No matter what, you are going to have a great time RVing Europe
Always keep in mind that you are on vacation and you are supposed to have fun! The opportunity to RV Europe is a once in a lifetime trip! If you are having a wonderful time, who cares about printing out Wi-Fi coupons every hour or limited access to amenities?! Just be prepared, go in with an open mind, and you will be fine! RVing in Europe is truly an experience you won’t soon forget!
Have you tried RVing through Europe? What are your thoughts? We always love to continue the discussion in the comments and are open to answering any questions you might have!
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