Where can you camp with a roof tent?
The freedom of a roof tent is liberating. You can camp pretty much anywhere you can get your car. On an adventurous road trip, however, you don’t always know where you will end up spending the night. It can be a good idea to make a few preparations. Make sure you always have enough drinking water and some dry food that doesn’t spoil easily. It is also important to know the rules in different countries.
We have done some research and came up with the following roof tent camping tips:
Roof tent at campsites
Most campsites allow camping with a car and a roof tent. Roof 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, Wi-Fi and other facilities such as a pool or playground.
Car with roof tent
Some countries are not yet familiar with roof tents. Campsites may try to give you a camper pitch, but will usually give you a regular pitch between the ground tents once you explain how it works. Regular pitches are often a little more spacious and nicer to camp on. Some campsites prefer not to have cars on the pitches, but will often allow it when you explain that you have a roof tent.
Roof tent on a camper spot
There are some places where roof tents are not allowed. Always check in advance whether specific camper spots, also known as “Aires”, also allow cars with roof tents (e.g. in a city). A car with a roof tent may feel like a camper, but in the eye of the law and regulations, it usually isn’t. 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 roof tent, such as in Norway or Sweden, where you can often also stay at Aires. When dealing with Aires, it is always a good idea to read up on the local regulations.
Wild camping in Europe
The best part of owning a wonderfully spacious Fjordsen roof 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, it is still permitted to 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.
Wild camping with a roof tent and the rules per country in Europe
The following is the information we were able to find. No rights may be derived from this information. Always check for yourself 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, often also 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, often also along motorways.
- France: wild camping is only permitted with the permission of the landowner or the police. You are also allowed to 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 land owner’s permission (e.g. on the grounds of a farm or manor or next to a restaurant or pub). You are also allowed to 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 of national parks and privately owned land.
- Lithuania: wild camping is permitted outside of 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 islands.
Southern Europe | Mediterranean
- Italy: wild camping is only permitted with the land owner’s permission, provided it is at least 1 km outside the built-up area, 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 outside national parks under certain conditions.
- Albania: wild camping is permitted almost everywhere outside national parks. You can also stay overnight in a parking space.
- Croatia: wild camping is only permitted with the permission of the local authorities or the police.
- Poland: wild camping is forbidden. You are permitted to camp on privately owned land with the owner’s permission.
- Romania: wild camping is forbidden. You are permitted to 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.
If you have any other tips on roof tent camping, send them by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!