Camping in Europe: Save money and see more

Camping in Europe: Save money and see more

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

In Europe, camping isn’t just for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the fast pace, bright lights, drab concrete and stressful drama of city life. As a matter of fact, it’s the preferred way to travel for many European families, and it may be the best option for touring host nation hotspots on a tight military family budget.

It’s true, most European campsites prohibit open fires, but what overseas campgrounds lack in terms of American nostalgia is made up for with their close proximity to major cities and ample amenities that aren’t usually found stateside: showers with hot water, dish washing and laundry facilities, and playgrounds and water parks for the kids. Many even offer grocery stores, restaurants and snack bars.

If roughing it in the woods at a state or national park isn’t your cup of tea, how does spending the night within the grounds of a charming French castle or château sound? What about enjoying a romantic weekend under the stars in beautiful Bruges, or spending a thrilling night in a tent suspended from the branch of an apple tree in the Netherlands? With more than 10,000 campsites to choose from, there’s an affordable option for every personality and budget, no matter where you go.


It’s possible to see all France has to offer moving from one campground to another. From the Palace of Versailles to the French Riviera to the Loire Valley to the beaches of Normandy, you’re never far from a nice spot to pitch a tent for a night. Find out where you can find the best deals and locations on


Camping in Deutschland is an exciting way to find out what happens after the sun goes down in the Black Forest. You can also enjoy the spectacular Alpine scenery from a Bavarian mountain retreat, spend the night in a fairy-tale house on the banks of Bostalsee, and hike between extinct volcanoes and blue crater lakes in the beautiful Eifel region. Adventurers can even spend the night in an igloo on Germany’s highest mountain.


Experiencing Italy’s world famous cities are a must for every traveler, but the crowded museums, monuments and restaurants can leave you feeling drained — not to mention the similar effect it has on your wallet. Escape the tourist scene after a long day of sightseeing in Florence, Rome and Venice. Websites like and can help you find the perfect spot to pitch a tent or park a motorhome near your destination.


The Netherlands has a fantastic selection of unique and quirky camping experiences. See what it’s like to doze in a tipi, safari tent or gypsy wagon. There is even an indoor camping facility where you can spend the night in a motorhome parked in a warehouse on its own AstroTurf lawn. Find out more on


After an exciting day in Spain, you can drift off to sleep to the hypnotic sound of waves on the beach in Barcelona, fill your lungs with the crisp mountain air on the outskirts of Madrid, or stare up at the starry night sky from a cozy spot in the countryside near Pamplona. Check out for sites around the country.

Want to camp, but don’t have your own gear? Visit your installation’s MWR Outdoor Recreation facility. Many locations loan tents, cooking supplies, sleeping bags and even pop-up campers to travelers for a reasonable fee.

Don’t let an aversion to dirt, critters and less-than-ideal weather conditions keep you from venturing out on your first European camping experience. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see countries and cultures from a different perspective while leaving more room in your budget for food, excursions and souvenir purchases.

Alan S. Kesselheim said, “a great many people, and more all the time, live their entire lives without ever once sleeping out under the stars.” What are you waiting for?

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