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European Campsites and Aires


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EUROPEAN CAMPSITES and AIRES

Places we have stayed in European countries in recent years 

Note: We usually tour in low season (May and June) so sites and aires will be busier in mid summer. Also many campsites in France close or have reduced facilities from mid September
 
Site Updates Information on sites sent in by our website users       CAMPSITES and AIRES Guide books

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Sites 2016  Aires 2016
Sites 2015  Aires 2015
Sites 2014  Aires 2014
Sites 2013  Aires 2013
Sites 2012  Aires 2012
Sites 2011  Aires 2011
Sites 2010  Aires 2010
Sites 2009  Aires 2009
Sites 2008  Aires 2008
Sites 2007  Aires 2007
Sites 2006  Aires 2006
Sites 2005  Aires 2005
France 2002
France 2001
Austria
Switzerland
Campsite guides

 

FRANCE has over ten thousand campsites both municipal and privately owned and ranging from basic to luxury. There are also over 2000 aires: Aires de Parking where you can park overnight, some free, or for a (mostly) small overnight fee, and Aires de Service again free or with a small charge for use of the water and waste supply points (bornes) and sometimes electric hookups. Some of these are free, others have an entry barrier or a local official collects the overnight fee. Others are within or just outside campsites where a reduced or normal camping fee may apply.  We have occasionally found it cheaper to stay on the campsite especially if the charge for electricity is included and you usually have more space around you than in some aires.

In some places you can stay for one night free in a town car park or village square but beware you may find you are surrounded by market stalls the next morning! .
France 1996  France 2001  France 2002  France 2005  France 2006  France 2007  
France 2009       France 2010     France 2011

France 2013      France 2014    France 2015   

France 2016


ITALY has many campsites and aires (Aree di Sosta). The campsites are mostly large and developed usually with full amenities and many pitches occupied by static caravans often with very permanent extensions. They tend to be rather expensive especially in high season (but see ACSI below) The aree di sosta vary from excellent with free water, waste and even free electric hookups, to awful where we wouldn't park for an hour let alone overnight!
Italy 2005   Italy 2006  
Italy 2009  Italy 2015


GERMANY has a few thousand campsites and stellplätz (aires) for motorhomes especially in the Rhine/Mosel area and Bavaria. We spent three weeks touring Germany in 2008 staying only at stellplatz in many areas including the Weser Valley, Harz Mountains, Thuringia, Bavaria and Black Forest. They were mostly well signposted and had good facilities some free others paying.

In 2012 we travelled all over Northern Germany to the Baltic coast then down to Dresden staying mainly at stellplätz.

We travelled through southern Germany again in 2015 heading to Bodensee (Lake Constance) and Bavaria and also visited the interesting Erwin Hymer museum in Bad Waldsee although the weather was rather wet.
Germany 2006   Germany 2008   Germany 2012  Germany 2015  


DENMARK has a few aires and many campsites which are mostly well developed with static vans and chalets and lodges. We only stayed at three campsites in 2012all using the ACSI low season discount scheme. Some campsites have overnight camperstops with restricted arrival and departure times which were sometimes more expensive than using the ACSI card. 

Denmark 2012


SLOVENIA has about 30 listed campsites and only a handful of official aires
Slovenia 2006

BELGIUM
has campsites and aires near large cities and many towns. We have only stayed at aires and a couple of campsites in the south in 2013.
Belgium 2005  Belgium 2013

 

THE NETHERLANDS has many campsites but only a few official aires. We stayed at three campsites in 2012. There are some small CL type sites for members of various camping clubs.

Netherlands 2012

 

SWITZERLAND is expensive for touring with high site fees and fuel costs. We found the campsites in the main tourist areas to be mostly large and crowded with very small pitches. 
Switzerland   Switzerland 2009


AUSTRIA has a mix of small and large campsites depending on the popularity of the area as a tourist destination. Pitch sizes are usually similar to in Switzerland but some sites have larger marked pitches. Many sites have excellent facilities with luxury toilet blocks and services points for each pitch. There are now more stellplatz in Austria.
Austria 1998  Austria 2006  
Austria 2008   Austria 2015


SPAIN has very few official aires but wild camping is tolerated unless there are too many crowded together in hotspots.  There are many campsites mostly fairly expensive with full facilities but we only have personal experience of the North and Pyrenees. The popular costas of the South can be packed with motorhomes and caravan sites are often full during the winter months although a few miles inland wild camping is apparently easier. We found that the official aires often have a sign forbidding camping i.e. no outside tables, chairs, awnings or even winding down of steadies are allowed.
Spain 2007   
Spain 2011   Spain 2014


PORTUGAL visited in Spring 2011. We found a mix of large and small campsites, a few municipal campsites and official aires, and many wildcamping places mainly on the coast. It was generally cheaper than Spain. The Orbitur chain of campsites are well equipped and reasonably cheap in low season especially with the free Seniors Discount card obtainable in advance from their website.
Portugal 2011


The Czech Republic has many campsites mostly in the more popular tourist areas and wild camping is not allowed. Site fees are reasonable and site standards vary from fairly basic to a few luxury sites with swimming pools or by lakes. There are several sites near Prague the one we stayed at felt secure and was near a metro station for easy access to the city centre
The Czech Republic 2008 

Hungary
has a mix of large sites near the tourist centres around Lake Balaton and Budapest. We found site facilities in need of updating and their fees are rather high considering the standards. There are several sites around Budapest. Do NOT park a motorhome in the city centre as it is likely to be broken into
Hungary 2008

Site Updates - with thanks to our website users

 

ACSI
This is a low season discount card scheme run by the Dutch ACSI organisation which inspects campsites across Europe. 

An excellent site guidebook and map in English is supplied with the card listing over 2300 campsites in the scheme in 18 countries. For 2017 the site fees have increased to a maximum of €19 per night including electric hookup (which may vary from 3 to 10 amps) but some smaller sites are still only 11€ or 14€ a night especially in less touristy areas. The card and guidebook costs about £13.50+p&p in 2014.

We found the scheme to be good value for money and the sites mostly of a high standard. The ones in popular resort areas especially in Italy were quite busy with many Dutch campers, reflecting the success of the scheme. The low season dates are mostly to the end of June or early July and September onwards but some weeks in Spring around public holidays are excluded at some sites. 

See the ACSI website for the latest details of the guide which can be purchased from Vicarious Books or the Camping and Caravanning Club in the UK (also see links page)  

There are similar low season discount schemes such as Camping Cheques which require the purchase of vouchers before travelling.

Also associations such as France Passion and similar schemes in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain can provide free motorhome stopovers at vineyards and farms for an annual fee.


page updated 10 Nov 2016

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