A Transient Information to Renting an RV in Europe

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In 2016, Heath and I premiered our documentary about touring to fifty states and I shared my subsequent dream with him: RVing internationally.

However we have been fully broke on the time and paying off pupil debt, in order that dream was indefinitely on maintain. Then in 2019, we spent a number of weeks RVing throughout Italy and now we’re RVing throughout France and Spain. (With a touch of Switzerland and Monaco and Italy in there too!)

As we’ve deliberate these main journeys, we’ve struggled to seek out a lot info on-line from different Individuals making the trek throughout the pond and renting an RV in Europe. RVing (or caravanning or motorhoming) in Europe is simply as well-liked as it’s within the States, so we put collectively this transient information with the whole lot we wanted to know earlier than reserving our RV rental and flying internationally.

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

  • Rental Firms
  • Sorts of European RVs
  • Prices
  • International locations The place You Can RV
  • Greatest Occasions to RV in Europe
  • The place to Camp in Europe
    • Paid Choices
    • Free Choices
  • Driving in a International Nation
  • How lengthy are you able to keep in Europe?

Rental Firms

There are infinite choices for RV rental firms in Europe. Listed below are a number of firms to contemplate:

And there are peer-to-peer RV rental choices (suppose Airbnb however for RVs) like:

I personally have rented twice with Anyplace Campers. I’m fairly certain we selected Anyplace throughout our first journey RVing in Italy as a result of they included sheets, dishes, pillows, and so on and most leases don’t. Plus, they provide limitless mileage, so that you don’t have that added stress of a every day mileage restrict like some leases.

The largest consideration when researching for a rental RV (apart from the plain of if they’ve a rental obtainable throughout your journey dates!) is the automobile transmissions supplied. Most RVs in Europe are handbook/stick-shift. We even have an computerized in France proper now, and it’s one much less factor to consider while you’re driving down tiny, winding roads abroad. In Italy, Heath needed to shortly study stick shift within the mountains in Italy…and it was annoying to say the least! 

If I might impart one piece of recommendation to anybody who needs to lease an RV in Europe, it might be to decide on an organization that permits one-way leases!

After we RVed in New Zealand and Canada, we needed to drive all the way in which again to the start line to return the RVs and it felt like we misplaced two days of our journey simply returning to the drop-off metropolis. Theoretically, you’ll take a unique route again to the drop-off metropolis than while you left it, however we’ve discovered that we all the time spend a lot time exploring and adventuring that we wait till the final second to make the return journey again and rush by means of it.

In Italy, we road-tripped from Venice to Rome and it was completely excellent!

So whichever rental firm you go together with, I extremely advocate choosing a one-way rental.

Sorts of European RVs

European RVs are considerably smaller than American RVs. Whereas the smallest RVs within the States are round 21-24 ft lengthy, the longest RVs in Europe will probably be 24-26 ft lengthy.

The smaller the RV, the extra snug you can be maneuvering it throughout Europe. Roads, campsites, and parking spots are smaller over there! Assist your self out by selecting a smaller RV.

European RVs can have cassette bathrooms as an alternative of a black tank and doubtless received’t have any air con. And so they positively received’t have slideouts! When you’re used to a motorhome within the US, a motorhome or camper in Europe will really feel much more like van life.

Associated: 16 Variations between RVing Overseas versus Rving America


Renting an RV (campervan, motorhome, tenting automobile, insert country-specific title right here) might be costly. Common costs vary all over the place from $100-$175/evening. The season you journey in and the international locations you go to will have an effect on your value.

For a month, we’re paying round $4,000 USD, which breaks down to only beneath $145/evening. This looks like loads (it is loads!) however is considerably cheaper than lodges or Airbnbs, plus it permits us to interrupt away from the cities and see the countryside.

Fuel costs are sometimes larger than within the US (typically twice the value), however RVs are considerably extra fuel-efficient in Europe on account of their measurement.

The place you camp will probably be one other main price to issue into your journey, however I’ll cowl that in additional element in a minute.

One perk of RVing in the case of price is that you just usually find yourself consuming in or cooking meals within the RV. Generally that is merely since you’re in the midst of the wilderness and there’s nothing round, however on the whole it is a small approach to economize. Remember the fact that European RVs received’t have an oven or microwave, so that you’ll have the stovetop for cooking or, in case your rental presents it, a grill.

International locations The place You Can RV

The great thing about Europe is you can simply cross most borders in an RV. Your RV rental could even include the motorway permits required to drive in international locations like Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic.

Most European international locations are RV-friendly. Yow will discover an entire record of nations around the globe the place you’ll be able to RV right here.

Greatest Occasions to RV in Europe

We all the time—ALWAYS—RV overseas through the “shoulder season.” For many international locations around the globe, which means April/Could and September/October. Children are in class, the seasons are altering, and campgrounds aren’t too busy.

With most RVs in Europe not providing air con, I like to recommend skipping a summer season rental in case you can.


Until you’re planning on renting in a really northern nation, like Iceland or Norway.

One factor to remember is what main points of interest you’d like to go to in your camper. Many locations could shut seasonally. Throughout our final go to to Italy, through the first half of our journey seashores have been empty and there have been solely a few eating places open recurrently. By the tip of Could, the seashores have been packed day by day and the whole lot (eating places, amusement parks, mini golf) was slowly opening. We didn’t really feel like we missed out on something, however it was somewhat logistically tough to determine what companies have been open for the season.

The place to Camp in Europe

Similar to within the US, there are an array of tenting choices together with your motorhome—each paid and free.

Paid Tenting

Campgrounds and RV Parks

A campeggio in Italy, a vacation park within the UK, referred to easily by “tenting” in France—these are what you may name an RV park or campground within the States.

(You will get a glimpse of Italian campeggi on this video ⬆️ )

Typically, RV parks in Europe supply smaller websites which might be normally electrical solely. There will probably be a dump station and water fill station elsewhere within the park, in addition to a chemical rest room for dumping your cassette rest room. Your website could also be nothing greater than a stretch of pretty degree grass.

However what the websites lack, the campgrounds make up for with different facilities.

Swimming pools, sizzling tubs, on-site eating places with actual meals (no convenience-store-style pizza is served at these eating places! See the above video for what Italian campground eating places are like), markets, laundry, personal seashore entry, riverfront campsites, playgrounds, loos for teenagers—fully with a child bathtub and kid-sized showers, children programming…the record goes on and on. We’ve had all of those at campgrounds and so they’ve blown us away.

We’ve stayed in beachfront campgrounds and household campgrounds within the US…however they’ve all the time price upwards of $100/evening. In Europe they’re a few third of that value.

Free Tenting

Europe has a status for plentiful free tenting (additionally known as wild tenting) and it’s lived as much as the hype in our e book. There are a number of choices:


Aires are motorhome stopovers meets relaxation stops meets gasoline stations. You’ll see indicators for aires about each 10 minutes on the freeway in our expertise and so they have various ranges of niceness. Some are like picnic areas within the states—a spot to park and a few tables. Others are full blown gasoline station relaxation stops that join the east and west sides of the freeway with a sky bridge, supply a number of eating places, and all of the basic issues campers want like dump stations and showers. It’s fairly the vary.

These are usually first-come, first-served parking spots. Many aires are free, however some could require a small price (lower than $10 and normally provided that they provide providers like electricty). Yow will discover French aires and different free tenting on the Park4Night app.

Aires usually confer with free campsites in France, however the time period is commonly used throughout Europe. You might even see Space Sosta Campa in Italy or Space para Autocaravana in Spain.


That is our go-to app free of charge tenting. We tried a number of apps throughout our first time RVing in Italy, however Park4Night had essentially the most choices, essentially the most correct listings, and was essentially the most dependable.

free camping italian dolomites
Free tenting within the Italian Dolomites

Not a nasty view for a free campsite, eh?

Park4Night contains extra than simply Aires and free campsites. Additionally they record campgrounds and agritourism campsites. The app is free to obtain and straightforward to make use of.

France Ardour

Regardless of what the title may recall to mind, this isn’t a French courting app. French Ardour is the equal of Harvest Hosts—a membership program the place you’ll be able to camp free of charge at farms and wineries throughout the nation.

Earlier than heading to France, we signed up for a membership on-line. Their on-line search perform is a bit clunky and onerous to make use of, however they mailed us a e book with our membership card so we will use it to seek out free locations to camp throughout the nation. France Ardour boasts over 10,000 parking spots and a membership is €30. (So not fully free, however positively price getting for all of the free tenting choices it presents!)

Driving in a International Nation

Earlier than RVing overseas wherever in Europe, take a second and google “driving ideas in _________”.

Signage and street legal guidelines will differ by nation, so it’s greatest to take ideas particularly for the nation the place you intend to RV. For instance, Italy has ZTLs. Zona traffico limitato means motorhomes can’t drive in that space. It is a time period and signal you’ll solely see in Italy and one thing we wouldn’t have identified if we hadn’t learn a free e-book we discovered on-line sharing driving ideas.

That’s additionally a great way to study if the nation you’re visiting (or international locations) require any automobile permits. Switzerland, for instance, requires a driving allow on all automobiles. Throughout our final journey to Italy, we really considered crossing the border into Switzerland for a fast journey. However we couldn’t determine how you can get the driving allow we wanted! (Anyplace Campers supplies one, in order that was one much less factor for us to consider after we go to the French Alps throughout this journey!)

What you save in not needing to buy a driving allow, you’ll shortly spend on tolls. Toll roads aren’t too frequent within the US (principally within the cities or within the northeast), however many highways in Europe are toll roads. Most of those toll roads will settle for bank cards and have a British flag icon you’ll be able to push in order that the display screen prompts are in English. So whereas the tolls sound like they add somewhat additional driving bother, they’ve been very simple to navigate.

One last factor to notice as you may even see it on rental agreements: You in all probability don’t want a global driver’s license. It depends upon what international locations you go to, however most international locations don’t require one.

I Love RVing in Europe—Can I keep perpetually?


You possibly can take pleasure in RVing within the Schengen (record of Schengen international locations right here) for 90 days inside a 180-day interval earlier than it’s good to:

A) Get a vacationer visa, or

B) Strategically go away for a non-Schengen nation just like the UK or Eire

Ultimate Ideas

To any and each beginner to RV life that I speak to, I give the identical recommendation:

Journey slowly.

When you hit the street, you might have an itinerary, however you will see so many gems off the crushed path while you give your self the time to correctly discover. (We’ve discovered the most suitable choice is giving ourselves no less than a month in every nation if we will!)

Journey slowly and benefit from the journey!

Questions on RVing in Europe? Drop them within the feedback!


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