RV travel in Europe? You may think of vacationing with an RV as an American experience, but Europeans have been caravanning for years too, as have Australians and New Zealanders. And while the term RV is catching on outside of the U.S., you will read most often about caravans or campervans.
There are many companies that rent RVs or campervans in Europe. In general they will be smaller than the motorhomes you see rolling down American highways. OK… so you can’t have a bedroom, a living room, a dining room and kitchen, but you can take efficient accommodations with you.
If you like this kind of travel, RV travel in Europe is something you should check into. Seeing Europe by caravan will give you a whole different experience than driving or taking the train and staying in hotels. You probably will have more chances to make friends with vacationing Europeans.
Sure, you say, you can camp in the mountains. But what about the cities? Yes, there are loads of campgrounds out in the countryside…. but you may be surprised to find that you can find places in the cities too.
You can set up your RV in the Bois de Bologne overlooking the Seine in Paris. You can find a camping spot on the beach just outside of Venice. Roll out the awning for a panoramic sunset view of Florence. And to make it better, there is often a bus stop or metro stop close by! (They are on the edges of cities, so expect about a 30 minute ride to the center of town.)
With a campervan or RV, you can wander from campground to campground. You can shop in local markets for area specialties and cook yourself, or you can find small local restaurants if you don’t want to cook.
Gas is more expensive, but in general distances are shorter, so this won’t be as much of a burden as you might think.
Most local tourist offices list area campgrounds for RV travel in Europe. Most countries in Europe also tolerate “free camping”… just parking on the side of the road in a discreet spot. There are plenty of websites that will rent caravans or campervans and give you advice on what you need to know for the RV experience European style.
Here’s something that might surprise Americans…. If you are an RVer, you can take your own “rig”. This only works, of course, if you have more than a week or two for vacation. Reports on the internet say it’s not as expensive as you think. If you’re going to spend several weeks exploring, this is another option for RV travel in Europe.
You’ll probably be happiest doing this if you have a motor home that is only 24-25 feet long (7-7.5 meters) and 8.5-9.5 feet wide (2.5-3 meters). Tape the dimensions of your rig to the dashboard so you’ll know height restrictions in meters. You’ll need a step-down voltage converter for the European 220-240-volt current.
If you own your RV, there are also sites that will allow you to do an RV swap just like there are home swapping sites. If you don’t want to worry about changing the voltages etc., this might be a way to go.
Whether you’re a visitor from abroad or a European looking for a new experience, it might just be fun to consider RV travel in Europe.