Campgrounds [Caravan Parks, Campsites]
In Western Europe there are plenty of campsites but the further east you travel the fewer there are. The Archies site lists over 30,000 and there are more that are not listed. In Countries such as Turkey, Morocco, Albania etc. there are few and they are harder to find.
Advantages of a campsite.
Most campsites have at least the basic facilities and it is considered a safe place to stay. At a campsite you can relax, put out your tables and chairs, your awning, have a barbeque [if allowed] and enjoy a shower in a normal sized cubicle. At a campsite you do get to meet people and when you stay for a few days befriend them and form relationships that can last a lifetime. We have formed friendships with people who have invited us to visit them and the contact continues up to this day. At aires and other places people tend to stay for one, maybe two nights and then move on. Many campsites have washing machines or a laundry area where you can catch up on the clothes washing.
Disadvantage of a campsite.
The cost of some campsites can be very high especially during the high season of July and August. We have paid up to €40 for a night’s stay and friends who used our motorhome paid over €50 when they were in a campsite in Norway. They can also be noisy and crowded with sites that are very small and close to your neighbours. When you are traveling on a budget staying in campsites all the time can really deplete your funds quickly.
We have been to very basic campsites that only provided a shower and a toilet block. On the other hand we have stayed in resort type campgrounds that had outside swimming pools, indoor swimming pools, spas, sauna’s, waterslides, games rooms, playgrounds, mini golf, disco’s, restaurants, bars, laundries, heated shower blocks, mini supermarkets, bike hire etc. etc. If you travel with kids they may be great by we prefer a bit a peace and quiet so we tend to stay away from these type of campgrounds. Most campsites have electricity and more are providing Wi-Fi as a free service. At a campsite we recharge all of our electrical goods, wash our clothes and have a decent shower.
These are set up by councils and are normally simple basic set ups at a low cost. We were in France after a stage of the Tour De France and we stayed in a Municipal campsite with 2 cousins who were traveling with us. We had 4 people, 2 vehicles, power, shower and toilets all for the low price of €11. The facilities were basic but clean and adequate. It was run on an honor system which meant we had to go to the local council office and pay, no-one manned the site.
Before we travel we purchase a Camping Card. This not only gives us discount in many places but acts as a document which can be held in place of your passport. We make it a policy to never hand our passport over to anyone else to keep. The camping card has all the same details on it as your passport and in the last few years this has satisfied all the staff at the campgrounds we have stayed on. On our first trip we were in Croatia and we handed over our passport only to see them deposited in a cardboard box with all the other passports and kept in an unlocked office. In addition the Camping Card also comes with insurance cover while staying in campgrounds. On their site they also have an App with the campgrounds that give a discount. campingcardinternational.com
How to Find Campsites
ACSI Camping Card
The ASCI Camping card is great when travelling out of season as it has a list and details of campsites who charge 12/14/16/18 euros per night which includes the site, electricity and showers for 2 people. For more information look at our Books Page.