Hitting the RV Trail in Europe Part II
“We wild-camp (boondock) as often as we can, as for us it is truly relaxing. We usually drive everyday between 25 and 100 km, enjoying some incredible scenery, and finally sipping a glass of champagne on the evening once chosen our night-camp. It can be a beach, with the waves crashing a few meters from the rear of the RV where we have the bed. We open our eyes, and the first thing we see… is the sea.It can be a lake, a forest, but also a square in a village with a nice restaurant nearby, a fishing harbor where we enjoy hearing the fishermen coming back from sea at 5 or 6 AM, the hull full of goodies… that we can buy a couple hours later at the fish market. For us, wild camping is exciting, yet comfy onboard our well organized RV… It is like a real holiday.”
They love to travel and have a hard time staying in one camping area very long. “I get itchy feet just writing about it… That is maybe the only draw-back about fulltiming: you just don’t want to stay anywhere anymore. You want to be everywhere at the same time, and any stay longer than a month seems too long. You just want to hit the tarmac, enjoy the drive, enjoy the scenery, the destination, and the departure next day again… “The fulltimer’s itchy feet syndrome”.”In France they have a kind of equivalent to the American Bureau of Land Management camping. “In many European countries, wild camping is prohibited, in some it is tolerated, in others, it is organized. In France, it is organized, through a network of “aires de services”, all registered in a book with the same name. They are vast parking areas with little security, apart from the fact that we are parked next to other RVs and we always keep an eye on each other. We can empty and fill up tanks, plug into the main if necessary, and stay for a limited time (around 2 or 3 days usually)… we pay for the services between 4 & 6 Euros, plus some charge for camping overnight as well.”They tell me that the European RV parks, like our parks in America, range from nice to run-down. If you have a long motorhome you have to pay for the number of sites your motorhome covers. For instance a 36 foot motorhome would cover three typical European camp sites. Some of the campgrounds have many activities and some don’t have any. “France is known to be one of the most RV developed country in Europe. Unfortunately, it is also the country with the largest amount of rules and regulations. In order to avoid people living permanently in campsites, they are prohibited to open more than 10 month a year.” Prices for a campsite in France vary from 20 to 45 Euros ($1.40 per Euro exchange rate) per night.
“Portugal still offers a few really wild surfer’s beaches on the West coast, as well as some inland lakes, where the “GNR” (local police), just come to have a look, say hello, and leave us alone. Security is not too bad, but one must always stay on guard.”“Spain is a country full of contrasts. There, one can find very luxurious beach-side campsites for up to 55€ a night, offering many services such as various restaurants, sports rooms, games and animations, medical services, water and sewage connection for every pitch… but usually they are packed full of retired customers gathering together for many years, coming from Germany, Scandinavia or England to enjoy the warm winter months that Spain offers. Some campsites however offer less services, are more rural sometimes, and are also cheaper, around 20 € for a night. Food, beverages and petrol (1€/litre) in Spain is a lot cheaper than in France.For fulltimers, an interesting discount between 40 and 50% is normally offered out of tourist season.”“South-European natives can be a bit “noisy” when they gather on the week-ends with 15 or 20 family members + children in their caravans, car-boot open with loud music (it can be Flamenco as well as Techno), all laughing and speaking loudly, drinking wine, Pastis and/or beer, while women are cooking a Paella or other barbecue and salad dishes… Sometimes up to 4 generations meet up together.”
Steen is an author and has written several books available on Amazon.com (Africa Go-Go and 2000 Carats) while Karyne has developed a business selling safety and security products to European RVers. Her company is called “RV on GUARD Ltd.” She is always on the lookout for new and innovative RV products that are not available in Europe such as burglar-alarms, gas detectors, road safety products, and personal security. So if you have a product you think would be a hit in the European market, then drop me a line at email@example.com and I’ll pass it on to her. She is also working hard at establishing a network of full-time RVers throughout Europe - a kind of European Escapees club. Keeping you up to speed on the international RV scene - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing
Labels: RV Europe