Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Russia, Caucasus and beyond. Expert: Milad
Post Reply
steven
Admin
Admin
Posts: 3874
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3243
x 459

Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by steven »

I made a new post.

Because the coronavirus limited my travel options to Central Asia, I decided to cycle around Europe in the summer of 2020. I really enjoyed using these legal bivouac spots, so I thought I would round up as much information as I could about them and publish it here, somewhat off-topic, since I could not find a round-up like this anywhere else.

There are certainly more spots out there. If you know of resources that are missing here, please let me know! I am also happy to expand this article outside of Europe.

https://caravanistan.com/letter-from-th ... amp-sites/
2 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

AreWeThereYet?
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:29 pm
x 20
x 95

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by AreWeThereYet? »

If you consider (at least geographically) Britain to be part of Europe, basically most of Scotland is OK for wild camping while in England it's not allowed.
0 x
www.awtytravels.com
Stories from the road.

mazeno
Driving expert
Driving expert
Posts: 282
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:04 pm
x 110

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by mazeno »

so,
do we really live in a free world?

poland.
(of course national parks are excepted of the rules below - camping is prohibited and fined up to 500PLN=110EUR).
fortunately in central europe we don't take seriously many of the stupid eu regulations (water, food, heat and sleep are basic human needs), so even if it is formally prohibited you can camp almost everywhere, within reason limits of course - e.g. outside of human settlements, but if you ask some people will let you camp on their place or even invite to their home. i should emphazise - nowadays SOME, not many, but trying is worth. there is a proverb in poland, now not so up to date, i guess: a visitor at home - god at home.
it is not wise to camp in sight of rich-looking places, usually poor people are more hospitable if only because they are more inquiring and taking the official regulations more reasonable (liberal).
while freecamping don't make noise and don't leave trashes. one place - one night. setting a campfire too close to a forest could be fined - oficially 100m (concerns to state forest) but noone will check if it is 50m. during drought time it is wise not to make a camp in a forest even without a campfire (usually there are warnings in media and sometimes on the forest borders).
the map with periodical restrictions in forest areas in poland:
https://zakazywstepu.bdl.lasy.gov.pl/zakazy/
map legend:
forest litter humidity in %
periodical closing:
orange - fire danger
purple - protective treatment
yellow - other
administrative borders

some forest areas are private and people usually don't have objections.

in romania the situation is even better - in spite of the european regulations you can even drive you car for a picnic/camping into a forest.
ukraine is even better for free camping.
in slovakia there was similar to situation in poland, but recently - because of the high increase of the local tourstic movement (instead of abroad travels) - slovaks are more irritable as many of them hunt (legally or not) and claim camping startle the animals.
0 x
rgds -
mazeno

murg
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:22 pm
x 11
x 85

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by murg »

Free (or wild) camping is not allowed in most of Europe. An exemption are the Nordic States (Norway, Sweden, probably Finland).

Here's a link regarding rules and regulations.
Note that, although otherwise stated in the linked article, motor-vehicles (everything from motorbike to campervan) are not allowed to camp free bit are often tolerated besides the main routes/touristic regions)

https://www.we12travel.com/wild-camping-in-sweden/


In Germany, the Netherlands, France, Austria & Switzerland camping freely is not allowed and sometimes heavily fined.
There are, however, some regio s in Germany where you can camp 'free'(=outside a camping ground) for one night if you register and book in advance.
Couldn't find a homepage in English, so I cannot link.

We also made up our tent in eastern Hungary, besides a forest, without permission. No one was interested.

Same worked in the Austrian Alps, but in high altitudes no one will bother you anyway.

Hope that helps!
Dave
0 x
Riding the globe (well, at least some parts)
living in Germany

JanDeAlleman
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:09 pm
x 1
x 2

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by JanDeAlleman »

In Germany, the Netherlands, France, Austria & Switzerland camping freely is not allowed
Actually, that depends! For example, in France you are allowed to bivouac (with tent) in national parks for one night, between 7pm and 9am. And in some Austrian provinces, for example Salzburgerland, you are allowed to wild camp above the tree line, also one night. Obviously 'leave no trace' always applies.

There is a website (with a very similar name as this one) that has good info on wild camping in Europe: https://www.caravanya.com/en/wildcamping-in-europe/
0 x

steven
Admin
Admin
Posts: 3874
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3243
x 459

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by steven »

Hi guys,

I guess I needed to clarify my point. There is a lot of info on wild camping on the internet. So I didn't write a post about that, since that is all very well explained in many other articles online.

What is difficult to find is the places that are specifically built and designated for bivouac. So if you know any more of those... :-)
0 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

mazeno
Driving expert
Driving expert
Posts: 282
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:04 pm
x 110

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by mazeno »

huh
it seems, the tendency to be free is hard ;)
0 x
rgds -
mazeno

AreWeThereYet?
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:29 pm
x 20
x 95

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by AreWeThereYet? »

I've been in these 3 places this summer in the North of Scotland:

Shegra honour camp. Basically it's a field off Kinlochbervie with a fence all around and a mailbox in which to put your fiver after you leave. In a sense it's not a real camp as there's no infrastructure. Would I stay there again? No. Why? You can camp elsewhere for free, there's too many people and if the wind's blowing from the sea you have ZERO protection.
https://goo.gl/maps/fawtn41pDujf5i336

Sandwood Bay beach. An hour or so of walk through the Highland meadowland (super easy) gives you access to this incredible beach. Lots of places to pitch your tent. 100% allowed, only issue is sheep shite. It's also fairly secluded from the wind if you choose wisely. Please don't use disposable barbeques (which many, at least judging by the patches of charred grass, did). https://goo.gl/maps/JVYVB7wk5L75WT2Y7

Ceannabeinne Beach. My absolute favourite. Secluded, gorgeous, a fabulous place. https://goo.gl/maps/6egSRgUvrkgkRvvVA
1 x
www.awtytravels.com
Stories from the road.

steven
Admin
Admin
Posts: 3874
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3243
x 459

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by steven »

AreWeThereYet? wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:47 am
I've been in these 3 places this summer in the North of Scotland:

Shegra honour camp. Basically it's a field off Kinlochbervie with a fence all around and a mailbox in which to put your fiver after you leave. In a sense it's not a real camp as there's no infrastructure. Would I stay there again? No. Why? You can camp elsewhere for free, there's too many people and if the wind's blowing from the sea you have ZERO protection.
https://goo.gl/maps/fawtn41pDujf5i336

Sandwood Bay beach. An hour or so of walk through the Highland meadowland (super easy) gives you access to this incredible beach. Lots of places to pitch your tent. 100% allowed, only issue is sheep shite. It's also fairly secluded from the wind if you choose wisely. Please don't use disposable barbeques (which many, at least judging by the patches of charred grass, did). https://goo.gl/maps/JVYVB7wk5L75WT2Y7

Ceannabeinne Beach. My absolute favourite. Secluded, gorgeous, a fabulous place. https://goo.gl/maps/6egSRgUvrkgkRvvVA
That's indeed what I was talking about! I haven't found a list summing up these type of places in Scotland yet, though. Most websites seem to cater to campervans.
0 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

AreWeThereYet?
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:29 pm
x 20
x 95

Re: Where to find free, legal bivouac & camp sites in Europe?

Post by AreWeThereYet? »

Yes, camper vans (and caravans) infested every corner (almost) of the country.

We also found a nice camping spot near Loch Assynt but it was overrun with midges and they HURT!

Here's a nice article from the Guardian, it features Sandwood beach.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017 ... -highlands
0 x
www.awtytravels.com
Stories from the road.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post
  • Quality beer in Central Asia: where to find?
    by Cardiff Jon » » in General
    10 Replies
    6791 Views
    Last post by chri1999
  • find road maps tajikistan-kirghizistan
    by acquapesante » » in Cars and motorbikes
    1 Replies
    1325 Views
    Last post by cristiano
  • Pepper spray & Bear spray in Central Asia: legal?
    by MartaiMarek » » in General
    6 Replies
    2322 Views
    Last post by steven
  • Artuch Base Camp Q&A
    by rsi » » in Tajikistan
    2 Replies
    771 Views
    Last post by rsi
  • Vertikal Alaudin base camp Q&A
    by Julia » » in Tajikistan
    7 Replies
    757 Views
    Last post by Halilee