Camping near to the most beautiful waterfalls
On World Waterfall Day, we’re taking a moment to reflect on this natural wonder. The water that flows from a great height, the fog and the mist this causes, and of course the loud splashing sound it makes when it reaches the bottom: there’s something magical about waterfalls. We often associate waterfalls with faraway places and tropical destinations. This is of course partly true, but did you know that there are plenty of waterfalls closer to home too? You can camp next to a waterfall in Europe too. Here are five waterfall tips (and campsites), in no particular order:
1. Norway – Vinnufossen
We can immediately assign the idea that waterfalls only exist in subtropical destinations to the realm of fiction. Countries such as Iceland, Sweden and Norway have plenty of impressive waterfalls. They’re all worth a visit, but on this occasion we’ve chosen to highlight Vinnufossen in Norway, the sixth tallest waterfall in the world, and the tallest in Europe. The water, which originates from glaciers on Vinnufonna mountain, plunges 860 metres from the River Vinnu to the River Driva.
Another thing worth knowing about this location is that there are another four waterfalls nearby. Within 40 km you can admire the Åmotan, Linndalsfallet, Reppfallet and Svøufallet waterfalls as well. It’s a perfect spot to visit if you love waterfalls, and it’s also situated in a beautiful nature reserve, surrounded by mountains, fjords and lakes.
Camping tip: Gjøra campsite is located close to the other waterfalls.
2. Switzerland – Rhine Falls
If you want to see the biggest waterfall in Europe, you’ll need to go to Switzerland. In the town of Schaffhausen, on the border with Germany, you’ll find the 150-metre wide and 23-metre high Rhine Falls. Here, the water flows rapidly over the boulders in the middle of the Rhine, and this makes for a spectacular sight. For decades, tourists have been coming here to gaze at this impressive phenomenon, and in part thanks to the waterfall, the area has become a big tourist attraction.
There are plenty of atmospheric terraces and restaurants in the beautiful area surrounding the Rhine Falls. If you want to visit the falls themselves, there are special viewing areas where you can enjoy the Rhine Falls (for a fee). Once you’ve seen enough of the water, pull on your hiking boots or jump on your (mountain) bike and explore the beautiful Swiss countryside.
Camping tip: If you want to spend the night on the Rhine, in the beautiful Swiss mountain landscape, you can stay at the Freizeitanlage Rheinwiese campsite, around 5 km from the Rhine Falls.
3. Italy – Cascata delle Marmore
Not all waterfalls are natural phenomena – this is true for the Cascata delle Marmore in Italy. With a height of 165 metres, this is the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. The order for construction of the waterfalls was already given by the Romans in the year 271 BC, but centuries would pass before the project would finally be completed. Nowadays, the waterfalls (partly) help to ensure a smooth flow of the River Velina into the River Nera. The Cascata delle Marmore is a popular tourist attraction, and you will need to buy a ticket (€ 10) to admire the falls.
Do note that the water only flows at set times of the day. That’s because the influx to the waterfalls is regulated, and is turned ‘on’ or ‘off’ at set times. So, take a look at the timetable before you visit, to make sure that you’ll be able to see this ‘natural’ wonder in all its glory.
Camping tip: Want to spend the night near the waterfall? Lago di Piediluco Campsite, located on the lake of the same name, is just 7.5 km from Marmore.
4. Croatia – Plitvice National Park
This isn’t just one specific waterfall, but a beautiful nature reserve with lots of waterfalls, both large and small. If you start talking about waterfalls in Europe, then you can’t leave out Plitvice National Park. The area is three-quarters forested, has crystal-clear lakes, caves, and no less than 92 waterfalls. It’s not for nothing that it’s been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
Plitvice National Park is located in the interior of Croatia, on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it’s visited by thousands of tourists every year. There are various routes you can follow through the park. They vary from relatively short hikes of 2 – 3 hours where train or boat rides take you part of the way, to the longest route (6 – 8 hours) through the whole park: quite the expedition, but it’s worth it for the stunning views.
5. Germany – Triberg Waterfalls
The Black Forest in Germany also has its own impressive waterfall. The Triberg Waterfalls, which are visited by over half a million tourists each year, are some of the tallest in Germany. The water flows 163 metres down in seven stages before reaching the valley near the town of Triberg. You’ll need to buy a ticket (€ 7) to access the area, and after seeing the falls, you can go for a walk on one of the trails through the area. There are relatively easy routes to choose from, or you can choose a more difficult route which includes steps and climbing.
Whichever route you choose, the views over the waterfalls and the vast forests are definitely worth the effort. If you enjoy nature, culture or sports, you’ll really be able to indulge yourself in plenty of activities in this area around Triberg, in the middle of the Black Forest. Walking, mountain biking, canoeing, mountain climbing, abseiling, spending time in traditional German villages and sampling the local cuisine – you can do it all here.
Camping near to a waterfall
The waterfalls we’ve highlighted above are just a few of the many that Europe has to offer. There are also beautiful waterfalls to admire in France (Grande Cascade de Gavarnie), Belgium (van Coo waterfalls) and another in Switzerland (Engstligen). It’s possible to camp closer to a waterfall than perhaps you thought. Another advantage of camping close to a waterfall is that it’s seldom the only attraction in the area. It’s almost always the case that the whole area around the waterfall consists of stunning countryside, beautiful landscapes, forests, lakes and amazing views. So, camping near a waterfall is also camping in the countryside in many cases.
If you too love waterfalls, let us know if you think there are any missing from our list that you’d recommend people visit. Leave a comment and let us know!
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