Ultimate Camping Holidays in Europe: Discover the Top 10 Destinations for Unforgettable Outdoor Adventures

Camping, sun and sea

Europe offers a myriad of breathtaking landscapes, diverse cultures, and enchanting destinations that make it the ultimate playground for camping enthusiasts. In this article, we will guide you through the top 10 camping destinations in Europe, where you can experience the beauty of nature, indulge in thrilling outdoor activities, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of each location. Whether you seek tranquil lakeside retreats, dramatic mountain ranges, or pristine coastal havens, Europe has it all. From the magnificent fjords of Norway to the picturesque campsites in the French Alps, get ready to embark on a journey of outdoor adventure and create unforgettable memories with your family. Pack your camping gear, pitch your tent, and let’s explore the best camping destinations Europe has to offer.

Overview of Camping Holidays in Europe

Camping in Europe is an invitation to explore some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, from the Mediterranean shores of Provence to the rugged peaks of the Scottish Highlands. Whether you prefer pitching a tent in a serene forest, camping by a pristine lake, or conquering alpine summits, Europe has it all. In this guide, we’ll journey through 10 of the best camping destinations, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural experiences.

So, pack your camping gear, embrace the spirit of adventure, and get ready to discover the top 10 camping destinations in Europe.

Plitvice Lake, Croatia, Europe

Top 10 Best Destinations in Europe for Camping and Why They Are a Must-See

1. Provence, France

Highlights:

  • Lavender Fields: Camp amidst the fragrant lavender fields that come to life in summer, particularly around the Valensole Plateau.
  • Gorges du Verdon: Explore the “Grand Canyon of Europe” with its turquoise waters, ideal for hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing.
  • Vineyards and Wineries: Sample exquisite wines and enjoy vineyard camping in the heart of French wine country.

Travel Tips:

  • Season: Visit in late June or early July to witness the lavender fields in full bloom.
  • Wild Camping: While wild camping is generally allowed, be mindful of local regulations and seek permission from landowners.

2. The Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Highlights:

  • Ben Nevis: Challenge yourself with a climb to the UK’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, and camp amidst stunning mountain landscapes.
  • Loch Ness: Camp along the mysterious shores of Loch Ness and explore the legendary waters.
  • Wilderness Camping: Enjoy the freedom of wild camping in Scotland, where you can pitch your tent in most unenclosed land.
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Travel Tips:

  • Midges: Beware of midges, tiny insects prevalent in the Highlands. Use insect repellent and wear protective clothing.
  • Leave No Trace: Follow the principles of Leave No Trace to preserve the pristine wilderness.

3. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Highlights:

  • Waterfalls and Lakes: Camp near cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes, surrounded by lush forests.
  • Hiking Trails: Explore a network of hiking trails that lead you to hidden corners of the park.
  • Boating: Rent a rowboat or take an electric boat ride on Lake Kozjak.

Travel Tips:

  • Reservations: Reserve camping spots in advance, especially during the peak summer season.
  • Early Mornings: Visit the park’s popular spots early in the morning to avoid crowds.

4. The Dolomites, Italy

Highlights:

  • Alpine Splendor: Camp in the heart of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its dramatic peaks and picturesque valleys.
  • Hiking and Via Ferrata: Embark on stunning hiking trails and via ferrata routes, suitable for various skill levels.
  • Cultural Exploration: Discover charming Alpine villages, indulge in Italian cuisine, and savor the local wines.

Travel Tips:

  • Weather: Be prepared for rapidly changing weather in the mountains, even during summer.
  • Mountain Huts: Consider staying in mountain huts (rifugi) for a unique alpine experience.

5. Lofoten Islands, Norway

Highlights:

  • Arctic Beauty: Camp in the Arctic Circle amidst fjords, rugged peaks, and pristine beaches.
  • Midnight Sun: Experience the surreal midnight sun during the summer months.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, and the chance to witness the Northern Lights in winter.

Travel Tips:

  • Weather: Pack warm clothing, even in summer, as weather conditions can be unpredictable.
  • Camping Regulations: Familiarize yourself with Norway’s right to roam (allemannsretten) and camping regulations.

6. The Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Highlights:

  • Alpine Paradise: Camp in the Swiss Alps, surrounded by iconic peaks like the Matterhorn and Eiger.
  • Hiking and Skiing: Explore numerous hiking trails in summer and world-class ski resorts in winter.
  • Alpine Lakes: Discover pristine alpine lakes for swimming, fishing, and relaxation.

Travel Tips:

  • Swiss Travel Pass: Consider purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass for discounted transportation and access to various attractions.
  • High Mountain Camping: Acclimate to the altitude when camping at higher elevations.
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7. The Greek Islands, Greece

Highlights:

  • Island Hopping: Camp on various Greek islands, including Crete, Santorini, and Mykonos.
  • Beaches and Blue Waters: Enjoy camping on sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters.
  • Greek Cuisine: Savor delicious Greek dishes at local tavernas and restaurants.

Travel Tips:

  • Ferry Services: Plan your island-hopping itinerary and book ferry tickets in advance.
  • Permits: Check local regulations, as camping may require permits in certain areas.

8. The Pyrenees, Spain and France

Highlights:

  • Mountain Majesty: Camp in the Pyrenees, a natural border between Spain and France, offering rugged beauty and diverse landscapes.
  • GR10 and GR11 Trails: Hike along the GR10 (French side) or GR11 (Spanish side) long-distance trails.
  • Wildlife Watching: Spot diverse wildlife, including bears, chamois, and vultures.

Travel Tips:

  • Maps and Navigation: Carry detailed maps and navigation equipment for backcountry camping.
  • Weather: Be prepared for rapid weather changes, especially in higher elevations.

9. The Black Forest, Germany

Highlights:

  • Enchanted Forest: Camp in the mystical Black Forest (Schwarzwald), known for its dense woodlands, scenic valleys, and charming villages.
  • Hiking and Cycling: Explore a network of hiking and cycling trails, including the famous Black Forest High Road (Schwarzwaldhochstraße).
  • Cuckoo Clocks: Visit the birthplace of the iconic cuckoo clock and discover traditional craftsmanship.

Travel Tips:

  • Local Cuisine: Savor Schwarzwald specialties like Black Forest cake, Black Forest ham, and schnapps.
  • Accommodations: Choose from campgrounds, guesthouses, and cabins for a comfortable stay.

10. The Julian Alps, Slovenia

Highlights:

  • Triglav National Park: Camp within Triglav National Park, home to Slovenia’s highest peak, Mount Triglav.
  • Lake Bled: Explore the fairytale-like Lake Bled and its island with a church.
  • Soca River: Enjoy thrilling water activities on the emerald waters of the Soca River.

Travel Tips:

  • Permits: Check if camping permits are required in certain areas of Triglav National Park.
  • Local Cuisine: Taste traditional Slovenian dishes, including potica (nut roll) and ajdovi žganci (buckwheat spoonbread).
Kilchurn Castle, Scotland, UK

Top 10 Attractions in Europe to see as part of your camping holiday

  1. Matterhorn, Switzerland: Admire the iconic pyramid-shaped Matterhorn, one of the world’s most famous mountains, and enjoy hiking and climbing in its vicinity.
  2. Plage de Palombaggia, Corsica, France: Relax on the stunning sandy beaches of Palombaggia, known for their crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings.
  3. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland: Marvel at the unique hexagonal rock formations of Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, steeped in mythical legends.
  4. Cinque Terre, Italy: Discover the colorful coastal villages of Cinque Terre, perched on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, offering breathtaking hiking trails and picturesque vistas.
  5. Lake Geneva, Switzerland/France: Enjoy the stunning beauty of Lake Geneva, surrounded by mountains and dotted with charming towns, vineyards, and castles.
  6. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia: Experience the magical beauty of the Plitvice Lakes, a series of interconnected lakes and waterfalls, creating a truly awe-inspiring natural wonder.
  7. Skógafoss, Iceland: Stand in awe of the majestic Skógafoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s most iconic and photogenic waterfalls, located along the country’s famous Ring Road.
  8. Mont Saint-Michel, France: Visit the stunning island abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rising dramatically from the tidal waters, surrounded by medieval streets and architecture.
  9. Alhambra, Spain: Explore the exquisite Alhambra palace and fortress complex in Granada, Spain, with its stunning Moorish architecture and beautiful gardens.
  10. Acropolis of Athens, Greece: Step back in time and marvel at the grandeur of the Acropolis, a symbol of ancient Greek civilization, featuring iconic structures such as the Parthenon.
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Top 10 Best Destinations in Europe for Camping Summary

Camping in Europe is a gateway to experiencing the continent’s natural wonders, cultural treasures, and outdoor adventures. Whether you choose to camp amidst the lavender fields of Provence, beneath the Northern Lights in Norway, or in the rugged Pyrenees, Europe offers diverse camping experiences for all outdoor enthusiasts.

As you embark on your camping journey, remember to respect local regulations, leave no trace, and immerse yourself in the unique culture and cuisine of each destination. With this comprehensive guide, you’re well-equipped to plan your camping adventure and create lasting memories in the most beautiful corners of Europe.

So, pitch your tent, light your campfire, and let the European wilderness be your playground. Happy camping!