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Where is wild
camping allowed with a rooftop tent?

The freedom of a rooftop tent is liberating. You can camp anywhere you can get your car, be it a campsite or alone in nature. It is not always certain where you will be spending the night on an adventurous road trip. Will you head for a campsite, or would you rather camp wild? It is a good idea to prepare yourself a little, which includes knowing whether wild camping is permitted in the Netherlands, in which countries you are allowed to camp freely or where you have to rely on campsites.

Campsite or wild camping:

Where can you stay with a rooftop tent?

Rooftop tent at campsites

Most campsites allow camping with a car and a rooftop tent. Rooftop tent camping at a nice campsite can be amazing. Many campsites are in beautiful locations and have good sanitary facilities. Particularly for families with young children, it can be nice to have access to good toilets, showers, a shop and Wi-Fi, and other facilities such as a swimming pool or playground.

 

Car with a rooftop tent

Some countries are still unfamiliar with rooftop tents. Campsites may try to give you a camper pitch, but once you explain how it works, getting a regular pitch between the ground tents is usually not a problem. Regular pitches are often a little more spacious and nicer to camp on. Some campsites prefer not to have cars on the pitches, but they will often allow it when you explain that you have a rooftop tent.

With a rooftop tent at a motorhome pitch 

There are some places where rooftop tents are not allowed. Always check whether a certain camper pitch—or “Aire”—(e.g. in a city) also allows cars with rooftop tents. A car with a rooftop tent may feel like a camper, but it usually isn’t in the eye of the law and regulations. Laws and regulations are different in many countries and for many spots. There are plenty of amazing free or paid locations where you can stay the night with a rooftop tent. For example, in Norway or Sweden, there are beautiful places where you are allowed to stay, even on a camper pitch. When dealing with Aires, it is always good to read up on the local regulations.

 

Wildcamping in the Netherlands: where can you camp legally?

Unfortunately, there are few opportunities for wild camping in the Netherlands. You can legally camp on a farmer’s land with their permission. This requires some searching, but nowadays, you can use camping apps to determine which private individuals offer this. Staatsbosbeheer (the Dutch Forestry Commission) also offers a number of options known as natural camping sites. The last option is camping at a “pole campsite”, but these are increasingly being shut down. Wild camping in the Netherlands is possible, but you need to research and arrange things in advance

 

Wildcamping in Europe

The best part of owning a wonderfully spacious Fjordsen rooftop tent is getting out into nature and camping anywhere. However, it is not always permitted to park anywhere and spend the night in a roof tent. The legislation differs per country, and the rules are not always clear. Camping regulations can even vary between regions, areas or cities. In many countries where wild camping is illegal, you can still camp in nature on privately owned land (with the owner’s permission). Fortunately for nature lovers, there is a lot of privately owned land in Europe.

 

 

Where is wild camping allowed with a rooftop tent?

The following is the information we at Fjordsen have found. No rights may be derived from this information. Always check whether you can camp somewhere and whether it is safe.

Western Europe and Alpine countries

  • Belgium:
    wild camping is forbidden, but sleeping in your vehicle is permitted for up to 24 hours in parking spaces, even along motorways.
  • Denmark:
    wild camping is forbidden, but you can camp on privately owned land with the owner’s permission.
  • Germany:
    wild camping is forbidden, but sleeping in your vehicle is permitted for up to 24 hours in parking spaces, even along motorways.
  • France:
    wild camping is only permitted with the land owner’s permission or the police. You can also stay in official parking spaces for up to seven days.
  • United Kingdom:
    wild camping is only permitted with the land owner’s permission (e.g. on the grounds of a farm or manor or next to a restaurant or pub).
  • Ireland:
    wild camping is only permitted with the permission of the landowner (e.g. on the grounds of a farm or manor or next to a restaurant or pub). You can also stay in official parking spaces for up to 24 hours.

 

Northern Europe and Scandinavia

  • Estonia:
    wild camping is permitted outside of national parks.
  • Finland:
    wild camping is very common. Many parks are also well equipped for it. For example, there are handy facilities everywhere, such as fire pits or communal barbecue areas that everyone can use for free.
  • Iceland:
    wild camping is only permitted with the land owner's permission. 
  • Latvia:
    wild camping is permitted outside national parks and privately owned land.
  • Lithuania:
    wild camping is permitted outside national parks and privately owned land.
  • Norway:
    wild camping is permitted on non-enclosed terrain and at least 100 metres from houses. You can stay in the same spot for up to three days.
  • Sweden:
    wild camping is generally permitted in nature and along the road. Note that different rules may apply to certain areas or on islands.

In which other countries can you camp freely?

 

Southern Europe | Mediterranean

  • Italy:
    wild camping is only permitted with the land owner’s permission, provided it is at least 1 km outside built-up areas, within 50 metres of a national road and not within 100 metres of a monument.
  • Morocco:
    wild camping is permitted.
  • Spain:
    wild camping is permitted under certain conditions. It is not allowed in national parks.

 

Eastern Europe

  • Albania:
    wild camping is permitted almost everywhere. You can also stay overnight in a parking space. It is not allowed in national parks.
  • Croatia:
    wild camping is only permitted with permission from the local authorities or the police.
  • Poland:
    wild camping is forbidden. You can camp on privately owned land with the owner’s permission.
  • Romania:
    wild camping is forbidden. You can camp on privately owned land with the owner’s permission. Wild camping is also permitted with the permission of the local authorities or the police.

 

Frequently asked questions about camping and things to consider:

What is “pole camping” and where can I find “pole campsites”?

Throughout the Netherlands, usually in the woods, there are poles or old water pumps with a sign saying “paalkamperen” (pole camping). You can wild camp for one or two nights with a few tents at these sites. There are no facilities, so you have to bring your own water, food and toilet facilities. The pole campsites in the Netherlands are listed on Staatsbosbeheer’s (Dutch Forestry Commission) website.

How can i find ANWB-certified and other campsites?

Nowadays, there are various apps to help you find a place to stay for free, in the countryside or at a campsite. Many Dutch people like to book an ANWB-certified campsite, as the certification guarantees that the campsite meets the minimum requirements. There are plenty of other options besides ANWB-certified campsites.

Where can I camp in Spain?

The camping options are endless in Spain. You can camp wild, even almost on the beach. Spain has many campsites, from nature campsites to large, family campsites with all amenities. Make sure to keep safety in mind when choosing a spot.

Where can I camp in France?

Like Spain, France offers many options for camping. You can camp wild in many places. Free campsites often offer water and sometimes even sanitation facilities. Please pay attention to your safety!