Europe's 20 Best Campsites

If you want to unzip your tent onto views of sharp, snow capped peaks, gorgeous gorges, rural idylls, ribbons of lapping coastlines, or ever moving cityscapes, these are the best places in Europe to set up your pitch.

Campsites amidst Rural Charm

The camping map of France is sprinkled with campsites in between the vine rows and old mills of agricultural country; coming up to Domaine le Poteau on dirt tracks churned up by tractors, that move politely aside to let you though, the working rural reality of the Castlenau d'Auzan region is clear. Passing rows of grape vines on the way to the site you then have to pass more on the way to your pitch - this campsite grows enough armagnac grapes in its backyard to produce around 20,000 bottles a year, and they have a cellar to prove it. On the covered communal terrace the owners of this camp serve a home made dinner three times a week for their guests, accompanied by their own wines. The six pitch campsite La Brouquere in Gondrin, used to be a winery and after an evening of sampling the area's foie gras and armangnac you'll find yourself with a bit of a waddle, walking back to your camp down country roads to find a spot in the pool-cum-hot tub if you fancy a soak to ease digestion.

La Fresneda in Tarragona, Spain has only 28 pitches, laid out over 19 acres of gently tiered grounds overlooking a valley of olive groves and almond trees. Beyond that this area is dotted with medieval villages and sites linked by ancient paths and dived by spectacular gorges. With so few pitches there's space to spread out, but at breakfast guests come together for fresh coffee and pastries. Umbria is another of Europe's scenic rural regions, and the Il Collaccio Campsite is a working farm. Its land now also grows tents, and an amphitheatre has been carved out of the hillside so that more pitches get a view of colourful Umbrian landscape and the edge of the Monti Sibillini National Park.

Best Camping On the Waterfront

Camping along the ocean or by a river allows for those wonderful moments of falling asleep listening to the lilting lap of water. The Baltic seaside setting of Camping Wulfener Hals has both and is ideally suited for sailors, who can sail on the stretch of sea between Germany and Denmark or on the waters of Lake Burger, which the camp's pitches are only metres from. While Slovenia's Kamp Liza is between two rivers, the Kortinica and the Soca, so is high on the list of places to go for kayakers, paddlers and other watersports-people, it's also laid out before the rugged peaks ringing the Bovec Valley. Le Clapas, Vallon Pont d'Arc, has a private beach on the Ardeche, the spectacular limestone cliffs of the nearby gorges add a certain je ne sais quois and the whole package is ideal for canoeing and kayaking over gentle stretches of water or rapids. The 41 pitches of Les Romairins on the Cote d'Azure have tranquil views of the Mediterranean and spread out along a cliff between olive trees and rosemary bushes for the best look at the millionaire yachts on the waters below. Or for some real noise Les Sables d'Argent, Soulac, puts you to sleep with the sounds of huge Atlantic breakers along this long stretch of private, rugged beach.

Camping with City Views:

You can't camp in a city can you? Why not if there's a campsite, it's cheaper than a hotel and more private than a hostel – and out there in the Great Outdoors. Just don't do too much shopping. Angby Camping on Lake Malaren is a commute from Stockholm but in still in a wood and has as the beautiful lake views and beach access and Ekeberg Camping has a panoramic view of Oslo and the Oslo fjord to rival many hotels. Though green and tree lined, Ekeberg is by no means a small and quiet camp, it has 700 pitches and is quite nearby to Oslo's ring road. But a bus passes the site every 15 minutes so there's a convenience to the slight traffic rumble.

Campsites with the Best Mountain views

Petit Praz by La Monta, Switzerland, claims to be Europe's highest, perched at 1970 metres in the Swiss Alps. The camping area is grassy and most of the pitches face down into the valley, but if you can reserve a spot on the hill you get a view up at Mout Collon's north face. Under the sharp white nose of Mont Blanc, Le Grand Champ's pitches, sprinkled in a fruit tree filled valley, allow guests to wake up to a truly breathtaking view. Camping des Glaciers in an alpine valley near La Fouly in Switzerland, has views of the glacier, the meadow dotted with wild orchids, the forest, the river of freezing ice melt, and the men in the valleys cutting grass with scythes. The Pyranees also make for a breathtaking setting, and Les Tilleuls near Gedre takes advantage of it from an altitude of 1100metres. The pitches are spread over four terraces so all 25 parties have a view of the Campbielh and the Cirque de Gavarnie, which have an almost irresistible appeal to hikers and walkers. The Dolomites are just as dramatic as the Alps or the Pyranees, and the Alpe di Siusi Campsite is perfectly positioned for a view of the Sciliar Massif, whose shadow falls across the alpine pine forests this camp is surrounded by. The pitches are scattered rather than lined up, many of them with spectacular front row views of the Dolomites rising overhead. The remote campsite at Lo Stambecco in the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, is a challenge to get to but the views once you arrive are well worth it, mountains and glaciers for 360 degrees. This campsite is on the Alta Via, one of the Italian Alps most famous summer walking ways, all cowbells, crisp air and scenery. Lagos de Somiedo in the Parc Natural de Somiedo, Spain isn't just remote - up a steeply winding road it's also difficult to get to, especially if you're travelling in a campervan or a pulling a caravan. If you can arrive once you do it's a lovely, quiet spot by a small stream running out of a peaceful, mirror glass lake. Here birds of prey patrol the skies, horses block your way without realising it's impolite, cow bells clang in the distance, and though you can't see them the woods are home to bears and wolves.

Camping Somewhere Really Special

For that special camping occasion, or for campers who appreciate history and architecture, these two campsites are the best of a beautiful bunch. Le Brévedent is one of Normandy's classiest campsites, on the green grounds of one of Louis XVIth's hunting lodges, just back from the historic house between the apple trees, glassy pond and a little wood. For the kids there's a maze, a stylish - in the French way - pool and facilities wing, and lots of space to run around and trees to climb, and for grown ups there's quiet, beautiful surrounds and a whole lot of history. Eating is one of the cross generational things to do around here. Moules, crevettes, locally grown fruit and veg – the apples sometimes fortified into cider and calvados, and freshly baked breads and other treats. But for something really unique, Fernsteinsee Campsite is on the grounds of Schloss Fernsteinsee, built by none other than the Bavarian King and fairy tale castle builder, King Ludwig II, and now a four star hotel. Because the 125 sheltered and secluded camping pitches are part of the hotel, the facilities are far above average. Ludwig built here to be near the fairytale mirror lake set in front of the Tyrolean Mountains, and as well walking, climbing, canyoning and exploring them, this is a region for strolling round pretty market towns.

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Comments by other travellers

Hello,

There is a little mistake on the picture for camping Petit Praz ;o)

It's not near water but just below high mountain glaciers.

See here : camping-arolla.com

All the best

1 Reply

Thanks for letting us know!

Don't forget the Island countries e.g Ireland. Clifden eco Camping

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