One wouldn’t think that you would need a lot of advice to camp through France or Spain, but we have learned a thing or two during our short time traveling in the campsites of Europe. We have camped quite a bit during our travels around the world. European Campsites are outstanding and luxurious.
Some have swimming pools and hot tubs, restaurants and grocery stores. Camping in Europe can be just as comfortable as staying in a hotel if you are armed with the proper information and if you follow the tips and advice that we have listed below.
Camping in Europe is a little different than camping at home in Canada. Our campsites may be a more rustic and not quite as luxurious in Canada but then again, we provide the camper with a few things to make their life easier. For instance, every campground in Canada will offer picnic tables. Even in the middle of the Great Canadian Wilderness in Algonquin Park we were provided with some logs to sit on while we ate our meals.
This is not the case while camping in France or Spain.
We have learned a lot in our short time camping our way through France and Spain. Through trial and error we have come up with a comprehensive list of what you should arm yourself with to make your camping vacation a success.
Below you will find a list of what we should have brought and what we wish we knew about camping in Europe.
- Bring Chairs – Your campsite will not have a place for you to sit. If you don’t want to be stuck sitting in your tent all night or sitting cross legged on the ground, bring some fold out chairs.
- Bring a Table – This was a surprise. You will have no place to eat at your campsite if you are packing a tent. Most people caravan in Europe and they have everything that they need. This is not the case with tent camping. We didn’t bring a table and we have resorted to eating on the ground. Some campsites won’t even let you eat your picnic lunch at the restaurant or around the pool. (We asked!) You must eat at your campsite.
- Get an adapter – You may think that you have a European adapter already and that you will be fine, but you need a special adapter for some campsites to have power. A normal 3 prong plug won’t work. You need a campers 220 Volt/6 Amp adapter which of course we don’t have that either.
- Bring Ear Plugs – You may think that you will be all alone in the campsite, but camping in Europe is popular and people are up all night talking and kids are up early yelling and screaming.
- No Camp Fires Allowed – In the campsites that we visited there were no fires allowed. Not bar-b-ques either. Camp stoves are allowed. Note about the camp stove though (thank you Janice for reminding us about that) It is difficult to find fuel other than propane/butane at the campsites. With the airline rules today it is also difficult to take a camp stove on board and impossible to take a fuel canister (even when empty) You are better off to buy your camp stove when you arrive.
- Use AlanRogers.com – He has excellent advice on where to stay in both France and Spain. SoulTravelers3 has been traveling for 4 years and many of those have been caravaning through Europe, check out their site for more information on camping in Europe.
What to pack for tent camping in Europe
- Tent – of course
- Sleeping bags
- Cooler – collapsible cooler is lightweight and doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Wine opener – Hey you're in France. Wine is a must every night.
- Cutlery – Knives are a must for bread and cheese.
- Warm hats – It can get cold in a tent.
- Thick socks – ditto
- Plastic glasses – preferably durable heavy plastic to reuse
- Collapsible cutting board – bread and cheese every day. A flimsy cutting board isn’t heavy and doesn’t take up any space.
- Laundry line – to dry your shower towels
- Flipflops – for the shower
- Tarp – if you are car camping a tarp and rope is good for rain to sit under instead of being stuck in your tent.
- Thermarest – thin air mattress is lightweight, it folds down to be very small and keeps you warm when filled. It is quite comfortable too!
- Silk liner – for warmer nights
- Laundry detergent – you can do laundry at campsites, have detergent with you.
- Dish soap – to clean your food.
- Plastic containers and zip locks to store food.
- Camp towels – Quick dry and lightweight
- Bathing suits – Most campsites have swimming pools
- Headlamps – Although they are well lit, it is still a good idea to have a headlamp for in your tent.
We know that there are some expert campers out there that have been all over Europe, What advice do you have? While camping advice can be the same for all over the world, there are a few things different for each country and Europe is definitely quite different from Canada. But we have enjoyed every minute of it.