One of the most beautiful things about Vanlife is being able to spend the night nearly anywhere you fancy. Over the past 8 months we’ve stayed in some pretty incredible places, from Europe’s busiest cities, to it’s remotest clifftops.
We’ve compiled a list of 20 of our favourite locations with links to Park 4 Night.
- Copenhagen, Denmark.
Copenhagen was the first capital city we visited in the van, so as you can imagine we were quite sceptical about leaving it alone for the day. This spot in Copenhagen put our minds at ease though, there were 4 or 5 other camper vans there, which is always a bonus in a city. It was around 300 metres to the beach and about 3 miles to the city centre, which is no distance when riding along Copenhagen’s awesome bike lanes.
2. Norway – Dried up river bed.
This place was a contender for our favourite of the trip, during the summer months the raging river that flows next to this spot is all but a small stream, what this basically means is the remaining water moving over the slippery granite creates your very own natural water park, the water also collects and pools in places. We spent an incredible afternoon here, slipping and sliding our way down the river bed, be warned though I did reck a pair of brand new swimming shorts, worth it!
3. Rogaland, Norway. (inbetween Stavanger and Kjerabolten)
On the road from Kjerabolten there’s an awesome spot designated for camping, there have been individual bays marked out for camper vans each with a fire pit. We were in Norway during the busiest time of the year July, yet on the two occasions we stayed there were pretty much on our own. It also happens to be next to one of the most beautiful lakes we’ve ever seen.
4. Flakstad, Lofoten Islands
If visiting Lofoten Islands in the summer then watching the midnight sun is an absolute must, this free spot at Flakstad Beach is the perfect place to do it. We stayed up till the early hours watching the sun dip and then move slowly across the horizon. As with everywhere in Loften, the scenery is an epic mix of mountains and ocean.
5. Private Lake Sweden
In the Swedish Lapland there’s over a thousand lakes. Near the Finnish border we found a spot where we managed to have one pretty much to ourselves.
6. Tatra Mountains, Slovakia
This place is just a car park for the incredibly expensive bubble lift that goes up to the High Tatras, we did fork out the money to ride in the lift as the views from the top were phenomenal, one of the best things about this park up is there’s a couple of bars within half a mile that serve beer for less than one euro a pint!
7. Bratislava, Slovakia
Bratislava is one of the most picturesque cities in eastern Europe and this riverside car park seems to be taken over by campervans, there were at least 10 other vans the whole time we were there. From here you can cycle into the old town within 15 minutes.
8. Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt was probably the most touristy place we visited, this tiny Austrian Village gets overrun with coaches of tourists every summer, its so bad the residents there have to put signs on there doors asking people not to enter their front gardens and peer through their windows. Despite this, it is achingly beautiful and this park up a couple of miles out of town is a nice quiet spot to cycle into town. (There is a sign that says no camping, but we stayed there with 4 other vans).
9. Tre Cime, Italy
One of the only paying spots on our list, Tre Cime is a national Park that charges 45 euros for 24 hours access, so it is quite expensive, but as a one off the views are definitely worth it. The hike around the national park is awesome as well. You can stay overnight at the start of the hike, pull up on the cliff edge, open the back doors and look over the beautiful mountain peaks.
10. Peljesac Peninsular, Croatia
Croatia has some of the strictest laws against free camping in Europe. We visited at the beginning of October so the police were a lot more relaxed to people free camping, I think this is partly down to a lot of the campsites being closed, this is how we ended up in this spot outside a closed campsite and next to a beach with the clearest blue water.
11. Buljarica, Montenegro
Like Croatia, free camping is technically illegal in Montenegro but we found if your discreet the authorities don’t really pay you too much attention. This spot was quite a way off the main road, but once we arrived it meant we came to a deserted stretch of coastline which we had all to ourselves, apart from a black and white cat who came to visit!
12. Shengjin, Albania
Our first couple of nights in Albania were spent in this incredible Autocamp on the coast, for only 10 euros a night we had a pitch with sun beds overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It was so beautiful, we ended up staying an extra night.
13. Pyrenees, Spain
This stopover was a bit random and how good it is would very much depend on the time of year visiting, we arrived at the beginning of November which was after the first snowfall of the year but before ski lifts had opened, this meant it was perfect for one thing, sledging! We didn’t actually have a sledge so ended up using a tea tray and had a hoot of an afternoon on the slopes.
14. Barranco Beach, Portugal
We have very fond memories of Barranco, after travelling down an unmade road for what seems like forever you arrive in an isolated bay with absolutely zero phone reception! At Christmas we spent 4 nights here surfing, eating, drinking and meeting loads of great people. Its definitely a Christmas we will never forget.
15. Bande Hot Springs, Spain
If like us, you love a long soak in a bath then these hot springs are the place for you, we parked less than fifty metres from them, and spent hours relaxing in there and generally turning into prunes. We were lucky enough to share the spot with 3 other English vans, so we had a lovely eveing sharing food and going back into the baths for a mignight dip!
16. Quarteria, Portugal
Quarteria, the campervanners mecca. This spot is a strange one as it sits right next to a paid campsite, yet during the winter months hundreds of vans and campervans park up here for weeks on end.
17. Sintra, Portugal
There’s so many cliff top spots to pull up in Sintra, our favourite was at Sao Joao Dos Lampas. We opened up the back door to witness one of the best sunsets of our trip.
18. Mossala Island, Finland
Our favourite campsite was Mossala island resort in the Finnish Archipelago, even if it did require us to take 9 ferries to get there. This site has a free sauna, free laundry, free disk golf, a private beach, a yoga platform and a pretty awesome bar.
18. Praia Da Marinha, Portugal
Praia Da Marinha is often voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, the only downside to this clifftop car park above it, is that camping is forbidden, thankfully there’s another great spot just around the corner at Praia Do Carvalho. If you are in the Algarve, this area of coastline is a must!
20. Praia Dos Arrifes, Portugal
Another one of Portugal’s great beaches, just a short drive from Praia Da Marinha, Arrifes and its neighbour Sao Rafael are just as beautiful. Despite it being 18 degrees in December both were nearly deserted.