10 surprising camping destinations
Looking for a new holiday destination this year? Fantastic! We all have a list of countries or regions we’ve thought would make for a great camping holiday. The possibility of finding a totally different, maybe even surprising destination – one that’s less well known and perhaps not the first place you might think of. Here are 10 ideas that will give you some inspiration as you consider where next to go camping.
In amongst the Pyrenees, the department of Ariège is like something out of a fairytale. If you’ve visited nearby Andorra, you might have driven through this part of France. Those who enjoy watching the Tour de France too might have spotted Ariège as it whizzed by during one of the stages that take place in this region. But in general, this is a very quiet part of France, where most people still farm the land to get by. People keen on hiking will find extensive routes through impressive valleys. Ariège is also home to plenty of authentic towns and villages, where you can almost taste the history. The capital, Foix, is a prime example. The Montségur castle is a must-see.
This northern part of Spain has a history going back to the stone ages. Artefacts from this era have been found at archaeological digs throughout the region. In the ancient city of Oviedo there are a number of interesting museums reflecting on this. But in Asturias it’s really all about the stunning natural surroundings. Rugged, unspoilt and full of colourful landscapes with gems of beaches. The interior is also beautiful, with mountains, rocks and cliffs. The Picos de Europa national park is one of the pearls of Asturias. The Fuente Dé cable car will bring you to the top in just a couple of minutes. You can go to the top just for the stunning view, but walking back down to the bottom on the breathtaking route is something that you really shouldn’t miss. The village of Potes nearby is a wonderful place for a lunch break, and is also a great place to camp.
Sunshine in England? Yes, it really does exist! In Cornwall to be precise. You’ll forget you’re not in Southern Europe with the mix of mild, sunny weather and impressive nature. The history of the area will also amaze you. There are plenty of different myths and legends in Cornwall. One of them is about the beautiful St. Michael’s Mount, a tidal island that can only be reached from the mainland at low tide. The story is about a giant who once lived there. Don’t forget to stop off at the harbour village of Polperro: a lovely place with traditional fishermen’s cottages and narrow streets. It’s not just the coast of Cornwall that is popular with campers – the undulating interior is too. The countryside town of Launceston is one example.
Abruzzo is located in the middle of Italy, and it’s a rural region with interesting scenery. Pescara is the largest city, but as a visitor you can easily skip it. It’s a better idea to discover the breathtaking natural parks. The Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo was recently awarded a mention on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It’s not unusual to see mountain peaks over 3,000 metres high in this park – the oldest in the country. A few photogenic villages that will give you a good idea of Abruzzo’s charm include Anversa degli Abruzzi, Scanno, Casoli, Crecchio, Pretoro and Guardiagrele. There are plenty of beaches too: the cosy bays and white sandy beaches are perfect for a day of Il dolce far niente – that is, doing nothing at all! If you enjoy eating fish, take a drive to the trabocchi coast, where you dine ‘on the sea’ in former fishermen’s huts. The fishermen used to use these instead of boats, as they didn’t dare to go out on the raging sea.
Imagine: water wherever you look, wharfs with picturesque fishermen’s huts and lively little canals where colourful boats (moliceiro) sail. Everything in Aveiro recalls Venice. That said, this picturesque town retains an authentically Portuguese flavour. Wandering through the town centre, you’ll find plenty of art noveau-style buildings with the beautiful tile work Portugal is famous for. The same applies to the old train station in the town, which is definitely worth a visit. The most beautiful beaches of the Costa de Prata – also known as the Portuguese Silver Coast – are close to Aveiro too.
The Bükk Mountains
If you love interesting flora and fauna, you’ll find plenty to see in the largest national park in Hungary. Bükk Park is characterised by its many beech forests, which is actually where the name Bükk comes from. The rugged surroundings are best discovered by foot or bike, on one of the many trails through the park. Spending some time on the trails will let you get to know the unique landscapes of this northern Hungarian gem, while burning off some calories at the same time! Along the way, you’ll come across steep rocks and deep ravines, but probably also some owls, or one of the 90 types of butterflies that live here. Two of the 50 interesting caves in the national park are open to visitors: the Anna cave and the Istvan cave.
Triglav National Park + see picture desktop
Much of the only national park in Slovenia, the Triglav National Park, lies in the Julian Alps. The area is particularly special because there are plenty of incredible views in a relatively small area. Such as the waterfalls of Savica & Sum. Just like the Vintgar Gorge, the Pokljuka Gorge and the Tolmin Gorge, they are stunning places for a walk. The lake at Bohinj is also picture perfect. If you’re lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of one of the wild inhabitants of the park, such as the ibex, the brown bear or the lynx. Just make sure you don’t forget your camera if you visit this park! Triglav National Park places a lot of emphasis on sustainable development, so the use of cars is discouraged.
Great things come in small packages – that’s a good description of Vorarlberg, a small but lovely state in the West of Austria. Majestic mountains, endless hiking trails, picturesque lakes – for those who love the outdoors, Vorarlberg is a real find. It’s perfect for kids too. Especially in places like Aqua Hochseilgarten Bregenzerwald a unique climbing park with a spectacular location above a gorge of the Bregenzer Ache river. Vorarlberg is beloved by gourmets thanks to the many delicacies from the area. Chocolate addicts will happily drive the extra few kilometres for a stop at the Milka factory in Bludenz. A boat trip to the tripoint of Austria, Germany and Switzerland also makes for a great day trip.
German North Sea coast
Germany has many beautiful areas, but the North Sea coast has something special. The combination of historic beach towns, white sandy beaches, dunes and rivers makes this region so diverse that there’s something for everyone. And because it’s not the first place people think of for a holiday, you can find real peace and quiet here. There’s a beautiful piece of coastline on the Eiderstedt peninsula, with lively seaside resorts and beaches for water sports lovers. A trip to the German Frisian Island of Juist, Borkum or Norderney are also recommended if you’re planning to camp in the area. Even smaller than the Dutch Frisian Islands, but just as pretty.
Interest in the Norwegian fishermen’s town of Alesund is growing all the time. Could it be the beautiful natural surroundings, the art noveau style of the buildings, the fun events or the perfect location for visiting the surrounding fjords? Whatever you’re looking for, this hot spot won’t disappoint. A great tip: visit the little lighthouse on the island of Bosøya, just outside of Alesund. It’s even a protected monument, and there’s an exhibition there about its construction. There’s a small cafe, and you can take a dip in the cool sea water. You can even go on bird safari on the island of Runde, a unique experience.
Would you like to read about even more surprising camping destinations?
Did you know that on Eurocampings.eu you can find campsites in 29 countries across Europe? There’s even a handy overview of different regions in each country. Take a look and visit one of the most beautiful parts of Europe on your next camping holiday. Enjoy your holiday!
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