RV Camping in Europe is similar in many ways to camping in the US but also difficult in others. We took a 2-week RV trip from Rome to Paris, and one of the most challenging parts of the trip was finding campgrounds where we would be traveling. But once you know how and where to look, it becomes much easier. In this guide, we share the tools and tips we used to find RV campgrounds throughout Europe.
First, let’s start by clarifying that, yes, there are RV parks in Europe. They may look quite different from RV parks in the US, but indeed, they exist. Most RV parks are smaller and have different amenities than those in the US, but you can definitely find them out there if you know where to look.
In Europe, the term, RV, is replaced with campervans or motorhomes – most Europeans don’t refer to them as RVs. You’ll find mostly two types of RVs throughout Europe – Class C and converted vans. Rarely, will you see the large Class A RVs like in the US due to their size and weight. Travel trailers are also used for camping in Europe but aren’t as popular. We were quite surprised by the amount of Class C RVs (motorhomes) we saw driving through Europe.
Yes, you can rent RVs in Europe. For our 2-week RV trip from Rome to Paris, we rented our Class C RV from Anywhere Campers. They specialize in international clients, providing everything you’ll need for your camping trip so you can exit the plane, grab your RV, and head out on your trip. From large storage areas on the outside for your luggage to all you’ll need on the inside, they’re the best company for out-of-towners.
Most countries in Europe have a wide range of camping areas, but some areas are off-limits for RVs. Popular FREE places to sleep overnight are Aires (designated rest areas), just off the highways. We stayed at a couple of aires in France that were spectacular. They included full hookups, water, restrooms, charging stations for electric cars, restaurants, and even a McDonald’s.
Europe has some of the best boondocking places in the world! In Europe, boondocking is commonly called wild camping, and there are a plethora of gorgeous places to camp. From beaches and pastures to mountainsides and even parking lots, you can wake up with some incredible views!
Camping in Europe can range from quite cheap to a pretty penny, depending on where you stay. Boondocking and Aires are FREE camping options, and campgrounds cost between 10 – 50€. It also depends on the time of year you go camping. Off-season (Spring, Fall, and Winter) are less expensive than on-season (Summer) campgrounds. The cheapest campground we stayed at was 12€ a night in Pisa, and the most expensive was 47€ a night in Paris. Keep in mind that most all campgrounds will also charge a city tax.
There are a few tools I used to find suitable RV (motorhome) parks to stay at during our 2-week RV Trip. After a lot of research, the resources I used to find pretty much all of our campgrounds were the following apps:
To find campgrounds in Italy and France, I used two apps: @park4night and @campercontact. Both are FREE apps and both have filter and location options. The best way to find campgrounds in the areas you will be staying at:
Once I found a campground that I liked, I personally emailed them to ask about a reservation. You can also upgrade to the paid version and do it directly from the app.
There are also several resources you can use online to find campgrounds. Again, I found the above apps easier to use, but some people prefer to use online resources.
To find boondocking sites that were legal to stay at overnight, I also used the park4night app and filtered it to parking spaces. This opened up all parking lots/areas in the location, including wild camping spots.
We also went with the old-school method of driving and finding a spot that we liked. This is how we found a beach spot in Antibes – one of the most spectacular spots of the trip. Don’t underestimate this simple method.
To find French Aires (motorhome rest areas), I used the google maps app. French Aires aren’t always on the other maps but can be seen on google maps. Once you are on the road, open google maps on your phone and filter by service stations. You’ll then see all of the upcoming Aires on your route. This worked perfectly for us when we needed a rest or a quick overnight stop.
Throughout our 2-week RV trip, we combined a variety of camping options through Italy and France – campgrounds, wild camping, and Aires. We stayed at 7 campsites, 1 boondocking site, and 2 French Aires. We also took frequent rests and stops along the way at stops that we spotted by driving. No matter what type of campground you stay at, you’re bound to have a wonderful time!