Europe boasts a wealth of camping destinations for the adventurously inclined. From remote retreats on windswept peninsulas to outdoor-lovers’ playgrounds on majestic mountainsides, the options abound. The number of potentially perfect spots to pitch your tent, in fact, can be nigh on overwhelming.
To simplify your search for the best that Europe has to offer, we’ve whittled down the hundreds of worthy contenders to a definitive top ten.
Camping Lanterna, Croatia
With rustic villages, mile upon mile of gorgeous coastline, mysterious caves and a handful of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Croatia’s Istrian peninsula just about has it all. Located a short drive from the stunning seaside town of Porec, Camping Lanterna is the ideal base for you to explore it all from. It has tennis courts, mini-golf, swimming pools, jacuzzis and a top-notch on-site seafood restaurant overlooking the bay.
You may well tempted to just chill and enjoy the views, but for the more adventurous the opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, caving and hiking abound. So, one week or five…?
Camping Armacao de Pera, Portugal
This little gem in Portugal’s Algarve region is an ideal retreat for sea-lovers, sun-worshippers and watersport fans alike.
The campsite is a mere ten-minute walk for the turquoise waters of Armacao de Pera beach (one of the Algarve’s finest). Here you will also find a network of scenic hiking trails that skirt the edge of towering sandstone cliffs, unique grottoes and many miles of sun-kissed sands down below.
Camping Dugny, Domaine de Dugny, France
If quaint and picturesque are your thing, they don’t come much better than France’s Loire Valley.
From the sleepy Loire River and sweeping hills to the fairytale châteaux and almost edibly cute villages, this region boasts some of the most impressive natural and architectural eye-candy in the world, let alone Europe.
The campsite is none too shabby either – there’s mini-golf, a swimming pool, sports facilities galore and an on-site lake where you can enjoy a spot of very scenic fishing, canoeing or kayaking.
Hillend Campsite, Swansea, Wales
Located on Wales’ Gower Peninsula, Hillend is a laid-back, crowd-free paradise for lovers of all things wild and wonderful. The area became Britain’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956 and Hillend was more recently named one of the best 25 beaches in the world by the Sunday Times. When you peek your head out of your tent in the morning, one look at the expanse of sumptuous coastline will leave you in no doubt that all the acclaim is merited.
Cala Llevado, Spain
Beautiful Cala Llevado was named as a top travel destinations by National Geographic in 2012 – and it’s not hard to see why. The campsite is set in a shaded nook of ancient pines overlooking a gorgeous bay. It is also within spitting distance of four world-famous beaches.
Only an hour from Barcelona, this peaceful little campsite lets you enjoy a remote and relaxing seaside retreat with the option of popping over to one of Europe’s most beautiful cities for the afternoon.
Camping Mala Milna, Hvar, Croatia
Located near the seaside town of Hvar, Camping Mala Milna caters to the tastes of outdoorsy types, beach bums, cafe culture fans and shoppers alike. When you’re not out hiking through hillside forests and ancient villages or copping rays on the pristine beaches, the seaside cafes and restaurants make ideal spots to kick back and enjoy the views.
Tjolmen Camping, Unkervatnet Lake, Norway
Lakeside camping in a simply idyllic natural setting, anyone? Tjolmen Camping on Norway’s stunning Unkervatnet Lake does it better than most.
It’s remote, peaceful and about as scenic a spot you’ll find this side of heaven. If you’re not content with simply soaking up the views, there are plenty of opportunities for rafting, canoeing, swimming and hiking in or around the lake itself.
The views, we should say, aren’t too shabby out there either! Oh, and every so often the northern lights pay a visit too…bonus!
Read also: Top 10 adventures in Norway
Quinta de Odelouca, Portugal
Set in a delectably pretty olive grove in the mountainous Serra de Monchique, Quinta de Odelouca feels like a different world from the crowded beaches and noisy nightlife found elsewhere in the Algarve. However, it’s not only a welcome retreat from the madding crowds.
Secluded, blissfully quiet hideaway it may be, but it’s also the perfect base for some serious hiking or mountain biking in the surrounding mountains. And if a spot of canoeing or kayaking is your thing, the fjord-like Odelouca Lake won’t disappoint you either!
Lo Stambecco, Cogne, Italy
For hiking fans, this friendly, cosy little forest campsite is the ideal basecamp for exploring some of Europe’s most dramatic trails.
Lo Stambecco is a stop-off point on the long distance Alta Via (‘High Trail’) from Courmayeur to Champorcher and a short trek east or west will land you in some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery this side of the Himalayas.
Clachtoll Campsite, Sutherland, Scotland
Driving to this one it feels like approaching the end of the earth. It’s remote, wild, and windswept, to be sure, but it’s also one of the most scenic spots you’re ever likely to pitch your tent.
The rugged, dramatic coastline stretches for miles in either direction, interrupted only by pristine pockets of white sand. Don’t be surprised to find a stag roaming about the campsite in the morning!
How did you enjoy my list? Whether you’re a die-hard adventurist, lakeside lounger or connoisseur of seaside sporting pursuits, we hope at least a few our top ten will make its way onto your bucket list.
As a long-term camping enthusiast myself, introducing the awesome spots I’ve pitched my tent on over the years to others has become something of a personal mission.
After all, sharing – as they say – is caring…! If you enjoyed my list, please feel free to like, share and comment below. Happy camping, people!
About the author
Jason Miller packed his bags and flew across the Atlantic, from the US to the Italian Alps, in pursuit of freedom. His goal is to inspire people to participate in outdoors pursuits. For more information and inspiration visit SkilledAdventurer.com and follow Jason on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.