Would you like to travel throughout Europe in a motorhome or campervan? Do you feel a little overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin? Everything you need to know about what to bring, what papers to bring, how to prepare your van, European road trip itinerary ideas, and suggestions for living on the road is right here.
The first time travelling to Europe in an RV isn’t an easy task. There were so many regulations and items you might forget to pack, so refreshing yourself before a big tour around Europe is imperative to a successful trip.
Today, we’ll lead you through the many stages you’ll need to take to plan your own European motorhome road trip, and hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll feel much more secure.
- The currency of Europe is the Euro, right? Well in some places yes. However not every country in the continent is part of the European Union and so has their own currency.
- Toll roads are horrible, no one likes them but they have become something of commonality around Europe, so it’s important to have a rough idea of where they will be so that you don’t end up with nasty penalties you didn’t even know about. Unlike the rest of our travel guides, the list of every European country and their different toll roads and ways to pay is simply too much for anyone to remember, so click here for individual breakdowns so you can plan your routes accordingly!
- Low-emission zones, emergency pollution plans, and access restrictions are dotted all around European towns and cities, and some of them in places you really wouldn’t expect.
- To get a full map of Low emission zones and even zero-emission zones, click here.
Now the boring important information is done, let’s get to how you’ll be travelling around Europe in the first place.
This section has been updated to reflect the UK-EU post-Brexit deal, which will take effect on December 24, 2020. It’s tedious, but if you spend just one day researching before leaving, you’ll be pleased you did. If you are stopped, you will have all of the necessary equipment and documents. Our travel advice and recommendations include the essentials;
- At the time of your intended departure from Europe, your passport (issued within the last ten years) must have at least three months left on it. Your passport just has to be valid for the duration of your stay in Ireland if you’re going in a campervan (UK citizens do not need a passport to travel to Ireland which is in the Common Travel Area).
- For exploring Europe in a camper van, you’ll need a UK driver’s licence. You may drive in any EU country with your UK driver’s licence. An International Driving Permit is required if you only have a paper driving licence or a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man.
- Your car must have at least third-party motorhome insurance. (When travelling in Europe, you no longer need a green card to confirm you have motor insurance coverage.)
- Unless you have a new type UK number plate that includes the Union Jack flag, you must display a UK sticker on the back of your car starting September 28, 2021, instead of a GB sticker. Even though you have the new type UK number plates, you will require a UK sticker if you are travelling in Spain.
- Adapted headlights for driving on the right.
- You may be required to produce proof of a return ticket as well as sufficient finances to cover your stay — there is no set amount that a customs agent may need, but you must be able to demonstrate that you can support your motorhome lifestyle. Having said that, we are unaware of anyone being requested to present either a ticket or documentation of their financial situation in the two years after Brexit.
- British citizens should obtain a GHIC or EHIC (Global or European Health Insurance Card) – it is not mandatory, but it is free, so why not?
- We also recommend that you have your own travel insurance and Europe motorhome or campervan breakdown coverage, although these are not required by law.
- If you’re travelling with pets, you’ll need an Animal Health Certificate.
- Any country-specific vehicle requirements — the AA’s country-by-country guidelines provide up-to-date information on what you need to bring in Europe.
How to get there
There are plenty of ways that you can get to mainland Europe, from the EuroTunnel to the plethora of ferries you can jump on from many docks across the UK.
For most people, if you plan on doing a full tour of Europe, it is easiest to travel to France from the UK to begin your tour. With a campervan, there are two options for getting from the UK to France: by ship or by Eurotunnel.
Ferry services are available at many locations along the southern coast as well as up the east coast. In this sector, both Brittany Ferries and DFDS Seaways are prominent service providers. We prefer taking the ferry since it allows us to sleep instead of driving, which saves us time. It’s also convenient for us because we drive from the southwest of England to the west coast of France on a regular basis.
Brittany Ferries now offers pet-friendly rooms on the Portsmouth-Caen route, which we use frequently despite our reservations about leaving our dog in the car. Bringing an RV or campervan is not suggested because the boat is more expensive and less frequent. When it’s raining or snowing, the situation might be very unpleasant.
The “Chunnel” is a rapid, effective, and economical way to carry a camper or caravan to France, even during school vacations. The main disadvantage is the long wait times during the summer months. Even before Brexit, the lineups sometimes stretch for hours.
As a result, it is not utilised as frequently as the ferry. However, if you’re driving straight through France on your way to Germany, the Netherlands, or somewhere else further east, this route makes sense. If your camper is powered by diesel or unleaded fuel, you won’t be able to enter the tunnel (i.e., LPG). (If you have gas bottles for cooking or heating, this is acceptable.)
Where to go
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Around the Iveragh Peninsula, this is a popular circuit. You’ll circle steep mountain slopes and pass by stunning sand beaches and rough coasts while crossing rivers and lakes and passing by lush green valleys. Whether you’re interested in churches, castles, or waterfalls, there are many intriguing stops along this path.
(Link to travelling Ireland blog)
Bergen to Oslo, Norway
The scenery throughout this 800-mile road is varied, with verdant meadows giving way to stunning mountains, seaside villages, and rugged shorelines. Keep a watch out for elk, which can be found in abundance in the area, where they live in the deep woods and pristine fjords. Take a cable car ride up the mountain and tour medieval Bergen before the trip.
Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos, Spain
This popular tourist route passes through the Sierra de Cadiz Mountains and the Natural Park of Sierra de Grazalema. Visit Arcos de la Frontera, which is regarded as one of Spain’s most beautiful communities. Make a point of seeing the Moorish castle and Roman ruins.
Link to travelling Spain blog
Costiera Amalfitana, Italy
This entertaining journey takes you to 13 distinct Italian cities along a beautiful seaside that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. This route, which is full with little fishing villages and historic attractions, is ideal for people looking for a peaceful journey. The mediaeval fortress in Maiori, the Roman ruins in Minori, and the Emerald cave at Conca dei Marini are all worth seeing.
Link to travelling Italy blog
The Transfagarasan passes across the Fagaras Mountains and is a famous tourist route for those interested in learning more about Dracula’s tale. Don’t miss the Poienari Castle, which served as the main residence of Count Dracula, the Transylvanian leader.
FurkaPass / Central Swiss Alps
If you’re a fan of 007, you’ve probably heard about the Furka pass. The legendary vehicle chase in the James Bond film Goldfinger took place on this pass. The Rhône glacier is a must-see attraction of this journey. You may park and hike to the glacier, where you can actually see the inside of the glacier.
Switzerland, France, Italy
Starting in Geneva, travel south along the coast until you reach France. The Mont Blanc tunnel, a 7-mile circuit beneath the tallest of the Alps where you will emerge in Italy, will then take you on a voyage beneath the world. Continuing south from Turin, stop at Florence before returning north of the Alps via Milan’s old centre.
Link to travelling France blog
Pas de Calais – across the coast
The English Channel runs through Pas-de-Calais to the north, Belgium to the northeast, and Picardy to the south. Classic country roads and broad sand-covered beaches await you on one of the most beautiful journeys in northern France. There are old fishing ports, antique churches, and tree-lined boulevards packed with boutiques and cafés.
Link to travelling France blog
If this article doesn’t make you want to travel Europe this summer, we’re not sure what will. Apply for motorhome finance today to start your journey.