Ultimate Euro-Camping Trips

There’s a whole world to explore in Europe!

Leave your car parked at the airport and take yourself away for a few weeks this Summer…

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be camp on the top of a mountain in Spain? Or perhaps you’ve always liked the idea of pitching up next to a softy babbling river that you can take a dip in whenever you feel like? Well – if you have, don’t worry because you’re not alone. We’ve all got a bit of wanderlust inside of us and it’s always a good idea to indulge it from time to time. Let’s be honest, British camping can often not cut the mustard., although there are some pretty cool places to camp at.

When you know that you can’t feed the travel bug with the simple charms of British camping then it’s time to pack up your bag, book some flights, airport parking and most importantly a pitch at one of these truly breath-taking camp sites.

If you’re looking to book flights during the peak holiday season (that’s mid-June through to August, for the uninitiated) then expect to pay a lot more for your flights and your camping. It’s worth remembering, before you think about booking in during this time, that many of these sunny European destinations are worth visiting outside of these peak seasons. Due to the Southerly nature of many of these campsites, you should be able to travel there outside of the major holiday seasons and still experience balmy weather, this will also have the added benefit of reducing your chances of bumping into other British people, which may or may not appeal to you…

Whether you’re parking at Liverpool Airport or London Heathrow, it’s always a good idea to book a space well ahead of schedule as the last thing you want on the day of your flight is to have to rush to find a decent, safe car park that you can feel confiden leaving your car at. Airport parking sites are a dime a dozen, so it’s always best to have a look at a comparison site first to make sure that you’re getting the absolute best deal before you push the ‘Go’ button on your final choice.

Now, with no further ado, here are our top picks for the Ultimate Euro-Camping Trips:

Black Forest Campsite Müllerwiese

Although you might baulk at the rather ominously named Black Forest there really is nothing to be afraid of. In fact this well-treasured German beauty spot is one of the most idyllic places to camp in Europe. Whilst there are a litany of big corporate-owned campsites that will try and cram as many pitches as possible into their huge campsites, this family-run spot understands the necessity for personal space.

Cloud House Farm

Leave your tent at home and spend a couple of nights in one of two handcrafted yurts perched on a terrace overlooking the stunning Andalusian Rio Genal Valley. Although you might have to travel a good hour to get to the closest settlement of Ronda, that’s all a part of the charm of this stunning Spanish location.

Camping La Fresneda

Stunning mountain views, rolling green valleys and blissful silence await you at this truly unique camping spot. 24 spacious pitches are spread out over a vast 18 hectares of land, just a stone’s throw away from the ancient village of La Fresneda. Spend your days hiking the myriad of unpaved paths, taking in this little explored region of rural Spain, then spend your evenings sampling the very best of Spanish cuisine.

Nature & Lodge – Camping Les Domes de Miage

Perfect for families and groups alike, this campsite brings together everything that tourists love about the Alps: tranquil lakes, epic scenery and lush greenery. This campsite has won numerous awards over the years for their outstanding commitment to both the environment and their visitors. The pitches are spacious, the amenities are excellent and the views are simply breathtaking.

 

North Wales Coastal Camping Gadgets

During Winter many campsites close up shop, preferring to save on overheads and get a well-earned rest during the off-season.

This is great news for the exhausted campsite owners and tired pitches, but not so good for us happy campers who like to pitch up all the year round.

Thankfully, you’re not completely bereft of options, especially if you don’t mind taking a risk and asking around for a place to camp. That’s exactly what I did last weekend with my Dad, with the express purpose of road testing some new gadgets that I’d managed to get my hands on and also prove that you don’t need the summer sun to enjoy a lovely weekend of camping.

During the summer months, the North Wales region is crammed full of tourists from the UK and beyond, but during the winter months you’ll find more room in the campsites, car parks and tea rooms making for a much more relaxing (if brisk) weekend away. One of the benefits of camping in the off-season is that you can usually take advantage of much quieter campsites, allowing you to get your distance from your crotchety Dad should you both need a bit of head-space. Our destination for this month’s trip was the Llyn Peninsula, one of my favourite places to visit in North Wales.

There are a few gadgets and tools that make camping during this time of the year a much more comfortable experience. Over the years, my Father and I have slowly built up an array of these nifty bits and bobs, including a killer set of portable speakers, so I thought I’d share a few with you today:

One-Man Tents

The monthly excursions I enjoy with my Father are frequent highlights of my year. We tend not to stay in touch that much outside of them, preferring to leave our catching up for the time we spend together. When we were both more spritely, we’d be a Dad and lad in one tent, however these days we’re both too old, smelly and generally irritable to handle sharing a tent together so we opt for separate tents pitched at a sensible distance from each other.

After cycling through a handful of different models we’ve finally settled on the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1 Tent. This is a fantastically rugged, practically designed piece of kit that gives a single occupant more than enough space to stretch out as well as keep their gear dry and protected. The only downside? It’s really hard to get hold of, importing from the US seems to be the best option – once you’ve got one you’ll be sorted for a long time!

Sleeping Bags

Whilst many campers swear by their favourite 10-year old stuff sacks, we all know that the best sleeping tech is always going to be the newest. Before you start snorting derisively through your ripstop nylon, I’d recommend you take a SelkBag 5G for a spin.

If you’re one of those restless sleepers who always finds themselves rolling around and unable to stretch out in a traditional sleeping bag then this will be just the ticket for you. The SelkBag 5G Original (and it’s Lite version) are effectively jumpsuits made out of highly insulated sleeping bag material. Each suit comes complete with removable booties, hand holes and kangaroo pouch for added practicality. At around £120, these are by no means a budget option, but are well worth investing in.

Campside Cooker

Gone are the days of cooking on bulky, heavy-duty trangias with the stench of mentholated spirits imbuing every meal (and rucksack) that you have. The development of the camping stove has moved on a fair bit since those days: from the retro trangias to the practical but pricey ‘pocket-rockets’, to today’s incarnation of biomass cooker systems that might cost you a pretty penny, but will pay dividends in the long run.

BioLite have already made a name for themselves in the world of solar-powered lights, their smart-stoves look to be making similarly big waves. The CampStove 2 bundle (£219.95) includes everything you need to cook, keep warm, illuminate your campsite and charge your phone at the same time – all whilst using foraged twigs and wood – it’s the 21st Century nomad’s kitchen. The stove boils water in a flash and will can completely charge a phone in around an hour!


As ever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’ve got any questions about the products I mention – I’m always eager to talk camping. 

Al Fresco Cooking Tools: France

There’s nothing quite like a hot cooked meal when you’re out camping.

Every time I fire up a pocket-rocket or a trangia, with the smell of the dew still fresh in the air, I’m instantly transported back to my days as a Scout.

Those early attempts at al fresco cookery were fraught with problems. When you’re a child, attempting to prepare your own meal outside you are faced with more than a few dilemmas. First of all – what do you eat? You can’t pack tins in your bag because they weigh too much. Carrying raw ingredients in your bag is also daunting as then you’ll have to prep them yourself. As an imperilled Scout I had to think of all of these worries, without even considering the matter of getting my stove to work whilst saving my flammable tent from almost certain destruction.

It suffices to say that all of these challenges dissipated with age and experience, however I also now have the distinct benefit of 21st Century technology. With each passing year we’re gifted with more and more futuristic gear with which too cook our campsite grub with, but the gear that you choose to use will inevitably depend on a few variables such as your budget, your camping amenities and your fellow campers.

Dad and I recently returned from a week long hiking/camping trip to the South of France. Despite it being March the weather was mild, allowing to spend most of our evening outside, shooting the breeze and cooking up some lovely meals. Here’s a little look at the toys we took along with us on our relaxed food tour of the South coast:

The Cooker

Weighing just 4.1kg, although the Campingaz Camping Chef Folding Stove is bulky it’s a smart option if you’ve got the space in your bag for it. This is the first piece of kit that gets packed when Dad and I are thinking of leaving for anything more than a couple of days. Two hobs and a grill, each with separate controls and auto-spark, makes this a no-brainer, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd. Being able to warm up some beans, whilst frying off bacon and toast bread at the same time, is simply a novelty that doesn’t get old.

The official Campingaz fuel cartridges are relatively cheap (buy 24 for under £30 at Amazon) and the cooker itself, at under £40, is an absolute steal. Highlight of the week was whipping up an al fresco Coq Au Vin: deliriously indulgent outdoors cooking.

The Right Utensils

Whilst camping crockery is not hard to get hold of (I mean, just take your crockery from home right?) finding decent utensils that will pack away and stay clean can be a challenge, especially if you’re wanting to challenge yourself to do more than just fry up some eggs…

My Dad stepped up to the plate here by bringing along his Primus Campfire Prep Set. I get sick with jealousy every time he pulls these out to prep a meal, the fold-up pack is a smart black and the tools themselves are of a high quality. Stainless steel and oak pair to make some truly effective cookery equipment – just make sure you keep them clean and packed away safely!

Pots That Just Work

The right camping pots shouldn’t cost you an arm and an leg. Although we’ve gone through our fair share of them in the last few years, the set that’s stuck with us are these Anodized Pots from Texsport. For less than £30 you can get a cracking set which includes a large pot, smaller pot and deep frying pan – as well as two lids. Whilst this product is far from sophisticated or sleek, the mesh bag that it comes with does the job and it’s really hard to fault the performance of these pots, especially when you consider the price.

As I said – these worked best for us with our requirements, but you might find that you’ll need something a little different for your camping adventure. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have for your upcoming trip – happy cooking!