Adventure

Secret European Camping Spots Only Locals Know About

Summer holidays in Europe = expensive AF. Right?

Wrong.

Sure, the flights over there will set you back a few dollarydoos, but I would argue that travel is an investment, not an expense. Travelling in Europe doesn’t mean you need to stay in expensive hotels or hostels, which are notoriously expensive compared to the rest of the world.

Us Aussies don’t really view Europe as a destination for camping, but citizens of the EU would strongly disagree. Many countries are defined by their major cities and better-known attractions, but there are plenty of gems to explore off the beaten track. Even if you’re not travelling on a budget, camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the hot Summer months and avoid the over-populated destinations that tourists frequent.

Feeling inspired? Check out these camping destinations that European locals love to visit.

Camping on a beach in Portugal

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Image: Parque de Campismo da Galé / Facebook

It’s no secret that Portugal has some of the most beautiful coastlines and beaches in the world. It’s also no secret that the British love to flock to Portugal during the summer. Avoid the Algarve, and opt for the Alentejo coastline instead!

While there are plenty of camping spots that attract locals over internationals, Parque de Campismo Praia da Galé offers a peaceful ocean side location with fantastic surf and friendly locals – what more could you ask for?

Camping in French vineyards

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Image: France Passion / Facebook

Calling all wine lovers! This one is (obviously) for you.

Do you like the idea of camping, but also want something a little bit luxe? How does staying in a French vineyard, or two, sound?

Grab some cheese and baguettes, and explore the countryside of France and its many wine regions with a France Passion membership. By purchasing a yearly membership and travelling in a self-contained campervan or motorhome, you are allowed to camp for free in any of the 2,000 registered vineyards overnight for a truly unique experience.

And best of all, the yearly membership will only set you back 30 euros. Oui oui!

Camping on water

If there’s one thing the Dutch are good at (other than riding bikes) it’s managing bodies of water. If you’ve ever seen the canals in Amsterdam – which are flushed out weekly and have their own app for water quality, btw – you’ll know what I mean.

It comes as no surprise that a country that loves water so much even offers the experience of sleeping on water your own personal raft. The rafts are made of recycled plastic and wood, and are offered in three different locations. This includes your own canoe to transport yourself to and from the “mainland”, and most of the necessary equipment for your stay.

Check out Kampeervlot for more information. Make sure you book plenty of time in advance as spots are quite limited, and the Dutch love to plan in advance!

Camping at a day club

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Image: Paradise Beach Day Club / Facebook

Think camping’s all about ‘solitude in nature’? Think again.

OK, so maybe this location isn’t so secret, but the fact you can camp on one of the most famous islands in the world for a measly 15 euros might just be.

For the party animals out there who like the “idea” of camping and relaxing near a beach, but still want to enjoy nightlife, Mykonos is the place for you. Founded in 1969, Paradise Beach is one of the most iconic clubs in the world – and yep, they offer camping too.

The beach club has free entertainment during the day, with ticketed events featuring international DJs on offer at night. And with several dining options that serve surprisingly delicious food, Paradise Beach is a truly holiday destination you could easily never leave.

To bring a tent, or not to bring a tent?

Struggling to save on your 23kg luggage allowance? You can buy a decent tent for under 50 euros at Decathlon – a sporting goods store found in basically every European country.

And when you’re done with your tent you can be a good global citizen by passing it on to a fellow traveller or even better, leave it in a large city park for a homeless person to find.

Check out Qantas flights and start your next adventure.

(Lead image: Paradise Beach Mykonos / Facebook)