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Motorhome travelling Europe advice please!

Motorhome travelling Europe advice please!

Old Dec 1st, 2019, 12:22 PM
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Motorhome travelling Europe advice please!

Hey we're travelling into Europe from the UK in April next year in our motorhome. We have 6 weeks to get from the UK, around Europe, and need to be in Athens at the end of those 6 weeks...we then have 2 weeks after Athens to mop up anything we've missed and would like to drive back to the UK via West Coast of France. We want to visit Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland at an absolute minimum! (we also wouldn't mind Croatia and Venice) Do you have advice on how long needs to be spent in each place, where we could go on the way, best places to stop, how to get the most out of our time without driving for the whole trip, routes, travel costs... Just anything that we might find helpful, places that we should be visiting?! Any help would be massively appreciated. Thank you!
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Old Dec 1st, 2019, 12:42 PM
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I would start by checking out websites geared for the kind of adventure you are planning to just get started. A quick internet search resulted in: https://www.campingandcaravanningclu...ing-in-europe/, https://www.escapees.com/rving-in-europe/, https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...e-france-spain.

I would next go to your local library or bookstore and research the countries you are interested in to see what places interest you most. That should help you plan your route. Without knowing anything about your interests, it is hard to know what to recommend: cities where museums are plentiful, beaches, foodie destinations, interesting churches, countryside excursions, places to hike, etc. What about Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and the West Coast of France appeals most to you?

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Old Dec 1st, 2019, 12:57 PM
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That is an extremely ambitious plan in a motorhome. Trust me as someone who has one.
You could spend all six weeks in Norway, which is completely the wrong direction for Athens.
You need to look at a map. Know there are tolls in Norway and bridges and ferries get seriously expensive very quickly, especially if your motorhome is longer than 6m. You will need toll stickers/e-tolls for many of the countries you need to go through to get to Greece.
I would skip Scandinavia, since you would have a long drive up there from a ferry port, and April could still be snowy with roads blocked and you don't want to be driving on winter tyres if you are aiming for Greece. Take your time going down to Athens and enjoy central Europe. You can get a ferry across to Italy for your return trip but again two weeks is pushing it.
Is it your own motorhome or a rental? If a rental it may make more sense to rent a LHD one in EUrope, driving that distance in a RHD one may not be so much fun. Also if it is a rental are you used to driving a large vehicle with limited visibilty, and manoevering it?
Do you have an Umweltsticker for Germany and a Critair for France? France can close big areas if the air is poor and if you do not have the right Critair you can be stuck for days.
For aires/stellplatzen/campsites have a look at www.campercontact.com. If you buy the app you can search in the area where you are for somewhere for that night. It doesn't have everything in it but it is a good start.

Oh and gas - what gas do you use for cooking? will you be able to carry enough for the whole trip? if not you may have trouble refilling/exchanging cylinders. If you have an LPG tank it is not always legal to fill it at a petrol station.
Have a look at the motorhomefun forum as well.
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Old Dec 1st, 2019, 01:15 PM
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Thanks for your replies both, we have our own motorhome it's 6.8m long so thanks for the heads up on the tolls. Scandinavia is a must for us and the reason for the whole trip, we only have to be in Athens for a wedding so we are not worried about sightseeing in the area, we just need to pop there for 3 days!
Our interests are outdoors, hiking, anything active like that. We have been to the Norwegian Fjords and so really only want to go as far north as Stockholm and Oslo. The reason for Scandinavia is the colder weather and scenery, the reason for France is the surfing if we can fit it in! We don't want to wander aimlessly around so would prefer to have some points of interests to aim for. I have done much googling and map searching but would like opinions directly on our plan and see if that's achievable in the time frame. We will be taking a career break for this trip and is a chance we might not have again so don't want to waste a minute!
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Old Dec 1st, 2019, 11:36 PM
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Ok, it's still a heck of a lot to do in the time frame but if you only want that area then you could drive up through Denmark, get the ferry at Hirtshals, or take the longer ferry trip from Kiel, visit Olso area then drive through to Sweden, down and get the short ferry back across by Copenhagen. The bridge is serious money, especially over 6m, but you can take that if you prefer.
There is a motorhome park near Oslo centre for visiting the city, at Slølyst Marina. it cost about 300Kr a night, and is a bike ride from the centre. It has all facilities you might need.
Wild camping is in theory allowed but there are rules attached which you need to know. I expect the British caravan/camping clubs can tell you.
You then have over 3000kms to drive to get to Athens on time. You will need to plan a route and check which countries need a toll sticker, and which work with an e-toll and make sure you get them. If you are planning on vivitng any cities in Germany you will also need an Umweltplakette to allow you into the environmental zones. And the Critair for France as I said. You can buy them both online. Make sure you go to the official sites to do so, where they will cost considerably less than through some of the con sites which are agencies taking a huge cut.
I don't know which ferry you will take to get to Europe, but you will almost certainly be coming through the Netherlands, so remember that next year the maximum speed limit on Dutch motorways will be 100km/h (62mph). Also the German motorways in the north are a mess, and have been for ever so expect queues there or plane a route avoiding them, which of course will add time to the journey just getting to Norway.
Most countries do not allow wild camping so you need to have an idea of campsites/Stellplatzen along your route.
Don't overnight in motorway parking areas ever. They are not safe!
Don't forget to look into the gas question so you don't run out during the trip. It can be chilly at night and if you put the heating on you will soon get through your cylinder. Also for electricity you will need not only a blue camping plug but an adapter for a normal euro plug as they are still common in places, and also bring a set of hose/tap connectors in varying sizes as not all taps have them and they can have various thread sizes.
On the way back you can get a ferry from Croatia to Italy and back up, but with only two weeks at that end you may struggle to do all you want to. It would involve a lot of driving days.
Maybe leave the French coast for another trip.
If you are a member of one of the British camping clubs see what discounts they offer on ferry fares and campsites abroad. You need a CKE card for Scandinavian campsites, which you can get in the UK or at your first Scandinavian Campsite. Consider getting an ACSI camping card as well as that gives some serious discounts on campsites.
Have fun!
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Old Dec 1st, 2019, 11:38 PM
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Forgot to say If you decide to skip Croayia you can also get a ferry from Greece to Italy.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 12:29 AM
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OK - hetismij knows soooo much about camper van-ing across Europe so she's a great resource. BUT what jumped out at me was how little time you have and how huge an area you want to cover. I might consider doing you camping trip sort of round trip to Scandinavia and bits of Germany and back to the UK THEN then take a cheap flight from the UK to Athens and back just for he wedding. Then you'll have a couple of weeke for a dash down the west coast of France and back if you want. I just think campervan-ing your whole plan isn't practical.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 12:31 AM
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Sorry for be typos, fat finger on small phone LOL . . . But you get the idea hopefully.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cara10 View Post
Thanks for your replies both, we have our own motorhome it's 6.8m long so thanks for the heads up on the tolls. Scandinavia is a must for us and the reason for the whole trip, we only have to be in Athens for a wedding so we are not worried about sightseeing in the area, we just need to pop there for 3 days!
Our interests are outdoors, hiking, anything active like that. We have been to the Norwegian Fjords and so really only want to go as far north as Stockholm and Oslo. The reason for Scandinavia is the colder weather and scenery, the reason for France is the surfing if we can fit it in! We don't want to wander aimlessly around so would prefer to have some points of interests to aim for. I have done much googling and map searching but would like opinions directly on our plan and see if that's achievable in the time frame. We will be taking a career break for this trip and is a chance we might not have again so don't want to waste a minute!
Do the motorhome thing in Northern Europe, fly to the wedding. It's a massive detour. I would say your plan isn't achievable unless you spend nearly every day on the road.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 01:12 AM
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I know it is really ambitious, which is what I said in my first post. Most motorhomers would spend those six weeks just in south eastern Europe, or in Scandinavia, or in France, without adding the time to get to and from there, but I guess if OP is prepared for many long days on the road and short stops, seeing actually very little once they leave Scandinavia, it is of course doable. They do underestimate the times it takes to get through Europe, the expense of fuel, tolls and overnighting and how tiring long days in a motorhome can be. We aim for no more than four hours driving a day, even with us sharing the driving, but have done a lot more on occasion just to get to a starting point for a trip, but it isn't fun, and strains relations!
If they are happy leaving the motorhome somewhere and flying to the wedding and back it would work, just about, but even then it's tight. The problem would be leaving the motorhome somewhere secure for a few days, not too far from an airport.

We considered a southern Scandinavia trip last year, and planned on a total of six weeks from home, and I am in northern Netherlands which saves a couple of days on their planned trip. In the end the need for sun won out and we didn't go. If we keep the 'van next year then maybe we'll do it.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 02:20 AM
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I know next to nothing about campervanning, but the whole idea of this trip seems flawed to me. Wanting to plan a trip to Scandinavia for a few weeks and having a wedding to go to in Greece strike me as two entirely separate things. Go to Scandinavia and have a great time. Then go home and fly to Greece for the wedding. Forget surfing on the Atlantic coast of France - that's yet another trip and frankly it's not all that cool (the surfing, I mean, especially in April - the whole area is beautiful).

I can't see that a whole lot of good experiences will come out of trying to mash a hundred different vacations into one trip. You sound like you're young, so space it out.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Ok, it's still a heck of a lot to do in the time frame but if you only want that area then you could drive up through Denmark, get the ferry at Hirtshals, or take the longer ferry trip from Kiel, visit Olso area then drive through to Sweden, down and get the short ferry back across by Copenhagen. The bridge is serious money, especially over 6m, but you can take that if you prefer.
There is a motorhome park near Oslo centre for visiting the city, at Slølyst Marina. it cost about 300Kr a night, and is a bike ride from the centre. It has all facilities you might need.
Wild camping is in theory allowed but there are rules attached which you need to know. I expect the British caravan/camping clubs can tell you.
You then have over 3000kms to drive to get to Athens on time. You will need to plan a route and check which countries need a toll sticker, and which work with an e-toll and make sure you get them. If you are planning on vivitng any cities in Germany you will also need an Umweltplakette to allow you into the environmental zones. And the Critair for France as I said. You can buy them both online. Make sure you go to the official sites to do so, where they will cost considerably less than through some of the con sites which are agencies taking a huge cut.
I don't know which ferry you will take to get to Europe, but you will almost certainly be coming through the Netherlands, so remember that next year the maximum speed limit on Dutch motorways will be 100km/h (62mph). Also the German motorways in the north are a mess, and have been for ever so expect queues there or plane a route avoiding them, which of course will add time to the journey just getting to Norway.
Most countries do not allow wild camping so you need to have an idea of campsites/Stellplatzen along your route.
Don't overnight in motorway parking areas ever. They are not safe!
Don't forget to look into the gas question so you don't run out during the trip. It can be chilly at night and if you put the heating on you will soon get through your cylinder. Also for electricity you will need not only a blue camping plug but an adapter for a normal euro plug as they are still common in places, and also bring a set of hose/tap connectors in varying sizes as not all taps have them and they can have various thread sizes.
On the way back you can get a ferry from Croatia to Italy and back up, but with only two weeks at that end you may struggle to do all you want to. It would involve a lot of driving days.
Maybe leave the French coast for another trip.
If you are a member of one of the British camping clubs see what discounts they offer on ferry fares and campsites abroad. You need a CKE card for Scandinavian campsites, which you can get in the UK or at your first Scandinavian Campsite. Consider getting an ACSI camping card as well as that gives some serious discounts on campsites.
Have fun!
Thank you so much for this that's awesome! So so helpful

We're not that young but thanks for the other comments anyway guys 😂
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 04:31 AM
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I don't have any experience of campervanning but do have experience of driving from the UK to Sweden, since we have a house there and sometimes take our own car.

The drive from the UK to southern Sweden takes us 16-20 hours, with ferry crossings Dover-Dunkirk, Puttgarden- Rødby (45mins, just enough time for a meal) and finally Helsingoer-Helsingborg (15mins, just enough time for coffee). We have meals on the ferry and only have short stops en route (fuel, rest, w.c. breaks). You can save a bit of money on the Scandinavian ferries if you book combined tickets (inc the Øresund bridge) but it is still expensive. I can't imagine how costly it must be to drive in a campervan from the UK, since our car journey is pretty pricey. We book flexible tickets as we cannot be sure what time we'll arrive at the ferry ports with such long drives in Europe. Of course in a slower campervan you can probably double the journey time. No matter what time of the year or time of day, it seems we always get stuck in traffic in Belgium.
If you want to only go as north as Stockholm and Oslo, 6 weeks might just be enough depending on what itinerary you choose. Adding in western France and Switzerland isn't logical, best to tour Scandinavia then fly to Athens, leave out Switzerland and France.
I haven't experienced snow in Sweden in April for several years, but it can happen. Check to see when the campsites are open, since some might not be open until Easter or even 1st May and whether their opening is weather dependent. Campervan holidays are very popular in Scandinavia, we see alot of Dutch, German, Austrian, Swiss numberplates in the local campsite and loads of campervans on the roads.
The area around Puttgarden in Northern Germany is very picturesque, unfortunately we've never had time to explore but you might. North of Copenhagen is also very nice, as is Jutland, the islands (which you drive through if you get off at Rødby). Sweden is mainly flat with forests, it's all about enjoying and getting close to nature.

You can take a ferry from Northern Germany to Bornholm (Danish holiday island, very pretty) and Bornholm to Ystad or a ferry from Frederikshavn to Gothenburg or Copenhagen to Oslo and other options, you might be interested in going to Visby (ferry from mainland Sweden, World Heritage site), so yes 6 weeks can pass very quickly when you start to look at the options.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
I don't have any experience of campervanning but do have experience of driving from the UK to Sweden, since we have a house there and sometimes take our own car.

The drive from the UK to southern Sweden takes us 16-20 hours, with ferry crossings Dover-Dunkirk, Puttgarden- Rødby (45mins, just enough time for a meal) and finally Helsingoer-Helsingborg (15mins, just enough time for coffee). We have meals on the ferry and only have short stops en route (fuel, rest, w.c. breaks). You can save a bit of money on the Scandinavian ferries if you book combined tickets (inc the Øresund bridge) but it is still expensive. I can't imagine how costly it must be to drive in a campervan from the UK, since our car journey is pretty pricey. We book flexible tickets as we cannot be sure what time we'll arrive at the ferry ports with such long drives in Europe. Of course in a slower campervan you can probably double the journey time. No matter what time of the year or time of day, it seems we always get stuck in traffic in Belgium.
If you want to only go as north as Stockholm and Oslo, 6 weeks might just be enough depending on what itinerary you choose. Adding in western France and Switzerland isn't logical, best to tour Scandinavia then fly to Athens, leave out Switzerland and France.
I haven't experienced snow in Sweden in April for several years, but it can happen. Check to see when the campsites are open, since some might not be open until Easter or even 1st May and whether their opening is weather dependent. Campervan holidays are very popular in Scandinavia, we see alot of Dutch, German, Austrian, Swiss numberplates in the local campsite and loads of campervans on the roads.
The area around Puttgarden in Northern Germany is very picturesque, unfortunately we've never had time to explore but you might. North of Copenhagen is also very nice, as is Jutland, the islands (which you drive through if you get off at Rødby). Sweden is mainly flat with forests, it's all about enjoying and getting close to nature.

You can take a ferry from Northern Germany to Bornholm (Danish holiday island, very pretty) and Bornholm to Ystad or a ferry from Frederikshavn to Gothenburg or Copenhagen to Oslo and other options, you might be interested in going to Visby (ferry from mainland Sweden, World Heritage site), so yes 6 weeks can pass very quickly when you start to look at the options.
Thank you! Really valuable advice - exactly what we were looking for 😊
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:07 AM
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Please obtain a map of Europe and give this whole thing some thoughts.

I’ve been to all the destinations you are suggesting but by using low cost flights. Campervans devour fuel and spit it out, that cost should be considered. As should the cost of European tolls, as many countries became sick of subsidising the travel of other nationals they started to charge. Switzerland and Austria in particular worked out that they were being used by Northern Europeans as a high to the sun, they introduced a vignette system of charging.

Forget, Norway.

Again look at at the map, it’s simply just a long way.

I don’t see what you are going to achieve by all this, other than being very aquatinted with the European road system and having little exposure to any local culture.

Are you dead set on a campervan? We have a hugely complex network of low cost flight operators which offer seats at well below e50.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:09 AM
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Have looked at a map, seems doable and so that's why I'm asking advice on the whole thing. We own a campervan and are dead set on it as its part of the experience.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:17 AM
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Advice is to look again at the map, because what you are proposing is kind of ridiculous. You won't see or be able to enjoy much of anything except the tarmac. You seem determined, though, so your choice.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:25 AM
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My last piece of advice to you is to be flexible, and prepared to give up part of the trip if it seems to be too much or the weather is awful. The great thing about a motorhome is that if the weather is rubbish in one place you can head off to somewhere where it is better. I agree that leaving Scandinavia to another trip would be a good idea, especially as it is your own motorhome, but it is your trip and it is up to you.
I just looked at a route for motorhomes from the NKC the Dutch Camper club, and that was nearly 6 weeks just in south east Europe, including in Athens, and not including getting down there. It was aimed at seeing as much as possible in that area but still skipped a lot.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:33 AM
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Ok Cara this is going to be fun planning, I’ve been to everywhere you suggest. I would love to do what you are doing but haven’t got anything close to the time you have.

Previously, I have riven from Manchester to France, Germany, The Alps and Tuscany but also probably had 200 plus low cost flights to the rest of Europe.

Where is your starting point in the U.K. ?

Are you using your own van ? Makes a large difference for packing the essentials.

I’m quite looking forward to helping !


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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:47 AM
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Sorry one last question.

How many miles are you comfortable driving on

1. A short days drive
2. A longer day with decent stops for points of interest
3. An absolute slog of a day, with short stops to eat/toilet.

In July I drove from Bordeaux to NW England in a day which was 845 miles, we have a large, powerful car and it wasn’t an issue at all.

Just need to know what you regard as long daily distances.

A final point - have you driven long distances day, after day, after day in the past? Week after week.

I have done huge daily distances in the past then crashed out for a week. Everyone has a personal style but the only time I tried a two week slog without a break, I did 2000 miles in the first week on the East Coast with a view to going further.

At the end of the first week, just looked at the car a refused to get in it again, we found a beautiful rental in coastal South Carolina and crashed out. Worked out really well but I’ll never forget waking up one morning a thinking “ no more!”.

Last edited by BritishCaicos; Dec 2nd, 2019 at 09:53 AM.
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