A Temporary 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 the world over.

However we had been utterly broke on the time and paying off scholar 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 splash of Switzerland and Monaco and Italy in there too!)

As we’ve deliberate these main journeys, we’ve struggled to search 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 standard as it’s within the States, so we put collectively this temporary information with every thing we would have liked to know earlier than reserving our RV rental and flying the world over.

Rental Firms

There are countless choices for RV rental firms in Europe. Listed here 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 Wherever Campers. I’m fairly positive we selected Wherever 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 each 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 out there 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 if you’re driving down tiny, winding roads in another country. In Italy, Heath needed to shortly study stick shift within the mountains in Italy…and it was disturbing 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!

Once we RVed in New Zealand and Canada, we needed to drive all the best way again to the place to begin to return the RVs and it felt like we misplaced two days of our journey simply returning to the drop-off metropolis. Theoretically, you’d take a special route again to the drop-off metropolis than if 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 suggest choosing a one-way rental.

Kinds 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 can be 24-26 ft lengthy.

The smaller the RV, the extra snug you’ll 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 could have cassette bogs as a substitute of a black tank and doubtless gained’t have any air-con. And so they undoubtedly gained’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 automotive, insert country-specific identify right here) could be costly. Common costs vary all over the place from $100-$175/night time. The season you journey in and the nations you go to will have an effect on your value.

For a month, we’re paying round $4,000 USD, which breaks down to simply below $145/night time. This appears like quite a bit (it is quite a bit!) however is considerably cheaper than resorts or Airbnbs, plus it permits us to interrupt away from the cities and see the countryside.

Gasoline costs are sometimes greater than within the US (typically twice the value), however RVs are considerably extra fuel-efficient in Europe because of their dimension.

The place you camp can 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 terms of price is that you simply usually find yourself consuming in or cooking meals within the RV. Generally that is merely since you’re in the course of the wilderness and there may be nothing round, however on the whole this can be a small method to save cash. Remember that European RVs gained’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 might even include the motorway permits required to drive in nations like Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic.

Most European nations are RV-friendly. You’ll find a whole listing of nations all over the world the place you’ll be able to RV right here.

Finest Occasions to RV in Europe

We all the time—ALWAYS—RV overseas through the “shoulder season.” For many nations all over the world, which means April/Could and September/October. Children are at school, 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 when you can.


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

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

The place to Camp in Europe

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

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 ⬆️ )

Usually, RV parks in Europe supply smaller websites which are often electrical solely. There can be a dump station and water fill station someplace else within the park, in addition to a chemical bathroom for dumping your cassette bathroom. Your website could also be nothing greater than a stretch of pretty stage 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—utterly with a child bathtub and kid-sized showers, youngsters programming…the listing 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/night time. In Europe they’re a couple of third of that value.

Free Tenting

Europe has a fame 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 fuel 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 fuel 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 typically first-come, first-served parking spots. Many aires are free, however some might require a small charge (lower than $10 and often provided that they provide companies like electricty). You’ll find French aires and different free tenting on the Park4Night app.

Aires usually seek advice from 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 totally free tenting. We tried a number of apps throughout our first time RVing in Italy, however Park4Night had probably the most choices, probably the most correct listings, and was probably the most dependable.

free camping italian dolomites
Free tenting within the Italian Dolomites

Not a foul view for a free campsite, eh?

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

France Ardour

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

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

Driving in a Overseas Nation

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

Signage and highway legal guidelines will range 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 not drive in that space. This can be 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 nations) require any automobile permits. Switzerland, for instance, requires a driving allow on all autos. Throughout our final journey to Italy, we truly considered crossing the border into Switzerland for a fast journey. However we couldn’t determine learn how to get the driving allow we would have liked! (Wherever Campers offers one, in order that was one much less factor for us to consider once 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 a bit additional driving hassle, they’ve been very simple to navigate.

One remaining factor to notice as you might even see it on rental agreements: You most likely don’t want a global driver’s license. It relies on what nations you go to, however most nations don’t require one.

I Love RVing in Europe—Can I keep endlessly?


You may take pleasure in RVing within the Schengen (listing of Schengen nations right here) for 90 days inside a 180-day interval earlier than it’s worthwhile to:

A) Get a vacationer visa, or

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

Remaining Suggestions

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

Journey slowly.

When you hit the highway, you’ll have an itinerary, however you can see so many gems off the crushed path if you give your self the time to correctly discover. (We’ve discovered the best choice is giving ourselves no less than a month in every nation if we are able to!)

Journey slowly and benefit from the journey!

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


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