Motorhome essentials – Where to stay and how we find them

But one of the biggest questions most people ask when they’re planning to tour Europe in a motorhome is how do we find out where to stay??

Of course, the easiest option is to book into a campsite somewhere for 1 or 2 weeks and leave it at that (been there done that)

On one of first hops across the channel we did exactly that ! –

Booked into a lovely site in St Tropez bay, but the whole two week holiday thing caught us out, we pulled off the road for lunch into the most Stunning aire, perched high on the cliff side of an azures blue alpine lake, but as we had booked and paid for a site we could only spend the night here, and promise ourselves that one day we would return (hopefully! )

Many people do this and if that’s you then great!

For us, we now prefer to travel around- especially as I’m greedy I want to see a country fully.

Ourleapoffaith European travel blog stopover maps

We generally stay only a night or two in a place unless it’s a big city visit, in which case we find somewhere for a few nights. I’d love to have the time to stay put in a nice area for a little longer- that’s something we’re really looking forward once that WORK word no longer fingers in our lives…

Hopefully you’ve seen the rest of the blog and asked yourselves “HOW ON EARTH”do they find all of those jaw dropping amazing places

Paloma, our motorhome on a Greek harbour
Paloma parked up on a Greek harbour in the sun

Here’s our guide on How.

Don’t panic– Europe is super EASY to travel & explore compared to the UK. There is so much space and so many options- don’t forget that motorhomers in Europe can go almost anywhere.

They don’t all feel the need to head for Devon and Cornwall to hit the beach, so there’s loads of room for all of us to enjoy! 

Motorhomers in Europe are not treated like a nuisance (come on England) – most towns make excellent provision for them and you can stay in clean, pretty locations within walking distance of town centres or attractions.

How many times in the uk have you seen ‘no overnight parking’

These places are called Aires/ Sostas/ Stellplatz.

When we left on #bigtrip, we were very old school, we had a collection of travel guides and camperstop books which were a perfect scoure of inspiration, but as we traveled more, we moved with the times…..

All the aires books, bord atlas, camperstop Europe - how much weight !

There are a few apps we use.

Camper contact (https://www.campercontact.com/en)

Our favourite, although in many ways similar to all the others on offer, but one BIG thing it offers are stacks and stacks of filters.

You can filter based on services available, costs, ratings and more…

Also I love the fact you have the ability to download all the photos, data and offline maps to the phone, so we can use the app anywhere without eating up our 3G/4G data allowance.

Most of the time we like to browse for locations via a map, I tend to find things I want to see and then look for a place to stay.

So we Drive to somewhere we want to explore, or a place en-route if we’re going a long way

As we get closer, open up the app

Camperconnect screen shot

Once we’ve found a possible spot we like to check out The feedback from other people who’ve stayed in each location.

This is absolutely priceless to get an accurate idea what the place is like, if anything has changed since the site was posted online. – a massive advantage over books which go out of date long before they are printed and for sale.

What’s around it, etc., well we don’t want to miss anywhere do we.

The more reviews there are for a place, the more we trust the headlight rating. If it’s a low number of reviews, we make sure we look at them as some folks will review a place as one star without saying anything bad about it.

Then I tend to go on gut feeling, I might have two or three options at this point but if I’m honest I’ll know which one of those three I like the idea of most, and that’s the one we head for first. If we get there and its full or closed

Not bad for just £5.99

Park4night (Park4night.com)

This app is what we mainly use when touring in eastern Europe- It’s also free!

Put in the area you are heading for into Park4night and select your options. I tend to always use the ‘Map’ feature, although be warned- when you first zoom in towards your area it can look a little overwhelming when all the sites pop up!!

We always try to look at the pictures. We avoid any place that doesn’t have a picture as you can’t see what it’s like or if we’ll be able to park there and then read the latest reviews- knowledge is power my friend !

Many of these will be in a foreign language,but you can manage

We use Park4night as it tends to have the most options for places to stay in Europe. However, a lot are just Carparks, which something aren’t that picturesque….

Searchforsites (https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/)

Search for sites is again similar – it’s the UK version, (the app is chargeable, but the website is free), with a very active Facebook group and it’s growing by the day .

Again, it’s a really useful site and well worth checking as occasionally there are different places on here than on the other two.

Pretty much all the reviews on here seem to be in English, which can help when you want to read what people thought!

You can check out all of our reviews on search for sites here……..

Other motorhomers blogs, link to our page here…..

My favourite although not always as useful is to read where others have been and stayed, this is ok, but may not lead you to where you exactly want to be…

But What about wild camping, that what everyone is doing?

There are many different rules and different stories about this. For example, wild camping is illegal in Hungary (apparently) that maybe true- but the campsites cost from as little as 4€night, so why would you worry?

Epic lake Balaton sign in Hungary - our leap of faith European motorhome travel

And it wasn’t until after we had parked with beautiful views of Lake Balaton for the night (undisputed I might add) that we found out .

Wild camping was the only way to find places to stop in Bulgaria and Greece ( well in the bits I wanted to see) But people are merrily parking for free in any layby or patch of ground they they can find and it appears to be tolerated (well out of high season)…

My favourite night of our entire trip was spent in the Bulgarian mountains, looking up at the Milky Way, with nothing but the giant concrete UFO for company. And it cost us absolutely NOTHING!!

Wild camp under the ufo on shipka pass Bulgaria- ourleapoffaith travel blog

So my advice is to do a quick Google search on the legalities in the country you are heading for, and then check out camper connect/Park4night. Usually, if there are ‘wild’ camping spots listed, they’ve been tested and were safe to camp in,

Although many people seem happy to park somewhere even if it says ‘No Overnight Parking’- we don’t like to do that.

If you’re not sure and not happy, move on!

Paul.

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