Where the Wild Camps Were

Wild camping is great. We have stopped for the night in some wonderful locations on our journey. Some of them have been so lovely that we’ve ended up stopping there for several days.

People seem to disagree over what actually constitutes wild camping. Our personal definition is somewhere we can safely park and sleep in the van, that is not a proper campsite, stellplatz or aire etc. We tend not to put out chairs and tables, though beside Norwegian fjords and Greek beaches we have happily done this, sometimes even leaving them out overnight. We do make fires in our little brazier, or on the beach, or inside a ring of stones, but we don’t leave behind much sign that we’ve been around.

If you choose to try and camp in any of the places we’ve listed please bear in mind that conditions may have changed, the time of year may make a difference and our van is relatively small and robust and we’re happy driving on rougher and narrower roads than some people might enjoy.

So here’s the list of places we felt safe to sleep, the time of year we camped there and a brief mention of how we refilled water and emptied the loo for each country. Note - it’s a courtesy when emptying in earth closets not to use chemicals in your loo, as they will kill the good bacteria which breaks down the waste. We’ve also included a few which, while not strictly wild camping (some being bivouc places and some having a charge) were very natural, minimal places which seemed not to appear on too many other lists. We haven’t put down the places where we’ve found a quiet street in a town to spend the night, but we’ve done that several times and found it fine. Apologies for where we have not put co-ordinates.

July/Aug 2010
Water generally refilled at garages or harbours. Loo emptied at public WCs, usually earth closets at picnic stops.

·         Trondheim – Two stellplatz are advertised here but by far the nicest is by the river, just before the footbridge into the old town (5 mins walk). It consists of a number of places reserved for motorhomes in a public carpark, entrance off Klostergata.

·         Børgefjell National Park (east of the E6, at about 65° N)– There’s a small farm campsite on the road Fv273 by the lake, but a few km after that, turn right on the road and drive a short way to a designated camping place by the river where you can make fires. There’s an honesty box here – 40 Kr. Piles of logs provided, but no other facilities.

·         Svartisen – Follow signs from Mo I Rana for the Svartisen glacier and keep going until the end of the road. By the landing stage for the boat which takes you to the glacier (well worth it for the reasonably fit). It’s actually a campsite, but very simple. Someone comes round for money (70kr).

·         Arctic Circle - E6 has loads of good places if you want a quieter alternative to the massive car park at the visitor centre. Lots of car parks both north and south of the visitor centre. We stopped at a very nice picnic spot just off the E6 near the junction with 77. North of visitor centre, on right, signposted picnic place. Very secluded, by a lake, with a hut and designated fire place, but it only had 2 parking spaces.

·         Lofoten – Moskenesøy - Å – Overnighting is tolerated in the large car park near the information. Be warned – it gets very busy and people seem happy to start up  their generators all through the evening.

·         Lofoten – Moskenesøy - along N side of Selfjord – lots of places between Fredvang and Krystad.

·         Lofoten – Vestvågøy – Unstad – On the old road which goes up the hill round the tunnel to Unstad village. It’s now cut off at the summit, which is where you can park. Others will arrive to see the sunset, and it’s a general viewpoint (a Saga tour turned up in two coaches at 10 a.m.!). It is still lovely and worth it for the view, but you won’t always be alone - goes quiet after 5 p.m. N68° 15’ 20 E13° 36’ 39

·         Vesterålen Islands – On coastal road 10km west of Melbu in Taen, Rørvik direction – Two car parks beside headland with public access, grill areas and little beach. We didn’t stop there, but thought it looked great with views of Lofoten Islands.

·         Vesterålen Islands – west coast of Andøya – below cliffs south of Nordmela -  several parking spots on 1km of coast road looking out to sea. 

·         Senja – On road east out of village of Senjahopen overlooking Mefjord. Broad pulling off space behind barrier on edge of road with picnic table. 

·         Husøy – We camped before southern portal of tunnel, but a motorhomes can also park on the harbour car park, before the causeway (opposite the causeway, as the one just next to it says no motorhomes).

·         Lyngen Peninsula – Dead end road from Lakselvbukt to Jøvik – Opening down to fjord opposite gravel car park by a gushing river. One of our favourite spots. N69° 31’ 23” E19° 43’ 41”

·          Nyvoll – At end of road 883, on old road bypassing the tunnel – N70° 13’ 14 E23° 17’ 18

Aug 2010
Water generally refilled at garages. Loo emptied at public WCs, usually
earth closets at picnic stops.

·          North of Raattama – On road 957 – 2 car parks diagonally opposite each other where road crosses Ounasjoki river 19km north of Raattama.

·          Äkäsmylly Mill – Car park for mill – on road 940 about 20km north of Äkäslompolo. Has very clean earth toilets. Old mill is worth a visit. Very pretty, gentle woodland walk. N67° 44’ 36E24° 05’ 14

·         Lietvesi Bridge – On road 62 west of Puumala. Under bridge – follow signs to WC downhill at west end of bridge. Good hardstanding parking by old ferry quay. Swimming in Saima Lake. One of prettiest areas in Finnish lakes. N61° 33’ 01” E027° 57’ 42”

·         Karisalmi – a headland on Pulkkilanharju causeway on road 314 north of Väksy. A picnic spot and kiosk near bridge. Path goes down under bridge by kiosk and on opposite side of road to a little quay. Brilliant views of lake and can swim. We made a fire on the shore to cook on. N61° 17’ 37” E025° 31’ 58”

Sept 2010
Water & loo were dealt with when on campsites.

  • Laahemaa National Park - Pärispea headland – Free parking & camping area in sandy pine forest with hardstanding, grill places & logs, earth WC (emptied loo here). Don’t stop by first car park at big mound (ex-radar emplacement), but go on to better car park at end of road with good sea views. N59° 40’ 02.8” E025° 41’ 56.8”.

Sept 2010 
Water & loo were dealt with when on campsites.

  • Gauja Nat Park - Amata river camping spot near Ligatne 

  • South-west side of Kegums dam/bridge – on road P85, about 1 km after dam/bridge. Drive down a firm track through woods towards river to large grassy area on riverbank. Used for picnics, with open fires. N56° 43” 36’ E024° 42” 52’ 

Sept/Oct 2010
Water & loo were dealt with when on campsites.

  • Geographical centre of Lithuania – just off road 144 north of Kėdainiai. Small car park in open, flat farmland. Room for a couple of vans. In high season you might want to depart early before coach tours arrive. N55° 19’ 47.7” E023° 54’ 20.5” 

  • Dzūkija National Park, near Marcinkonys, 1km out of village, past station. Lovely spot – tent & picnic place by lake, with grill places & swimming. 3 car parks, no facilities. N54° 03’ 37.9” E024° 25’ 32.5”

    • Dzūkija National Park, near Merkinė, 2km east of Merkinė on Vilnius road – Picnic spot between 2 small lakes. No facilities. Fires possible. N54° 10’ 24.0” E024° 13’ 24.7” 

    Oct 2010
    Water & loo were dealt with when on campsites or used earth closets at bivouac places.

    • Kiepojcie, between Goldap & Wiżajny on route 651 – Tent bivouac place, can make fires, no facilities. N54° 17’ 14.8” E022° 35’ 38.2” 

    • Lupki, east of Pisz, just beyond village of Lupki – Nice, flat tent bivouac place by lake, lots of space, no facilities out of season, though it looked like there might be a summer bar there, in which case someone may ask for money (20 zloty, or so a notice said). N53° 39’ 21.5” E021° 53’ 46.0” 

    • By Vistula river, on road from Dęblin to Puławy, just south of village of Borowa. Disused concrete road, probably former ferry quay. Quiet place to sleep. N51° 32’ 04.4” E021° 50’ 23.3” 

    • By Vistula river, north of Kazimierz Dolny, down a turning just north of Bochotnica - good for visiting Kazimierz Dolny. Firm, grassy banks by former ferry quay. Quiet place to sleep. N51° 24’ 47.8” E021° 59’ 17.0”

    Oct/Nov 2010
    Water refilled from roadside fountains or springs.

    • Levoča – Mariánska Hora – Large car park behind Marian chapel and nunnery on big hill just outside Levoča. Very quiet. Firm parking. Fine views of Levoča from the chapel. N49° 02’ 42.5” E020° 36’ 02.1” 

    Nov 2010
    Water refilled using village pumps. Toilet emptied using public loos & earth closets.

    • Borsod Hills – woodland carpark between Kelemár and Putnok on very quiet road. N48° 20’ 40” E020° 26’ 04.2” 

    • Bogács – thermal baths carpark. There are many campsites here but all were closed in November! Water pumps in streets work for drinking water. Baths are great and have showers. 

    • Bükk Hills – car park by old lime kilns on road between Egër and Miskolc via mountain road, near village of Répáshuta. Lovely views of wooded hills. The odd 4 wheel drive does use a main path over the hill so don’t block it. There’s an old earth closet among the lime kilns for toilet emptying. There are loads of other such car parks on this stretch of road. N48° 03’ 23.3” E020° 31’ 10.3” 

    • Tokaj – All campsites closed November but you could park up near any of them. You could also stop nearer the town by the river. We stopped on a small car park near the river on the one-way street past the town. Five parking spaces were reserved for the dentist, but the one nearest the river was fine for us. 

    Nov/Dec 2010
    Water refilled using roadside fountains or village pumps. Toilet emptied using public loos & earth closets.

    • Starosel – 20km south-west of Hisar – in car park for excellent Thracian tomb. Just down the road there was also a spot by the summer café next to the reservoir. Fresh water can be got up the hill near the tomb entrance and there’s a public loo in the car park. 

    • Shipka Pass – large car park behind the hotel at the top. Well used by motorhomes. 

    Dec 2010/Jan 2011
    Water refilled using roadside or village fountains and springs. Toilet emptying – you’re on your own, but it might be an idea to take a spade along!

    • Pilio peninsula – east of Vólos - at harbour just to the east of Káto Gatzéa, before the village of Kalá Nerá. Road down to harbour is by a car park just beyond entrance to campsite at top of hill. Road drops down to harbour.

    • Evvia – very tip of Lihada pensinsula. Follow the road as far as you can go to the headland where there’s a pebble beach/promenade with parking on firm ground under trees where some static caravans are kept. 

    • Cape Melangavi – north-west of Loutaki near Corinth. Above the archaeological site of Heraion on car park by lighthouse, but we camped on one of the flat, grassy areas beside the approach road where people had obviously had fires before us. Fine views across to Corinth. N38° 01’ 44.2” E022° 51’ 18.2”  

    • Paralía Almíris near Loutra Or. Elenis – coast road south of Loutra, past Almíris beach, by football pitch – car park used by fishermen. This is about 12km from Ancient Corinth & Acrocorinth & 5km from Ismitha & Corinth Canal. Good fish restaurants nearby & we caught our only fish in Greece here! N37° 50’ 32.2” E023° 00’ 59.1” 

    • Nafplio - overnight spot on harbour used by many motorhomes. Easy stroll to lovely cafes, restaurants in very pleasant town. Well worth stopping. 

    • Ayiós Fókas – 16km south along coast from Monemvasia. End of road on flat parking area, near tiny chapel on causeway. Very few people live in the village out of season. N36° 35’ 44.0” E023° 03’ 40.7” 

    • Máni – near Cape Tenaro – designated overnight spot outside village of Marmári. Room for a few vans only. No facilities. No charge. 

    • Máni – Mézapos beach. On coast before you get to caves of Pyrgos Dirou. Little cove, beach & car park. As you drive into village take road to left, rather than road to harbour. 

    • Máni – Trahíla. South-east of Kardamyli on coast. On cliff-top, overlooking bay and at start of gorge walk (badly signposted!) Go to end of road through village along sea-front & continue on stony but drivable track to very end (beware, there’s a very tight bend going in to village and we can’t vouch for long vans making it).

    • Kalamáta to Spárti road – Just below turning to Neochori, on right hand side if coming from Kalamata. Good gravel road going up to wooden picnic shelter and large, firm, flat area on ridge just off main road. Has been used in past for logging. Great views, sunset & sunrise. At 1089m elevation it was a good 10°C cooler than on coast. N37° 04’ 55.5” E022° 14’ 32.0” 

    • Kalamáki beach at Faneronméni – off road from Koroni to Finikounda. Turn left at village of Vasilitsi. Secluded beach with good, hard surface. N36° 44’ 44.0” E021° 54’ 18.3” 

    • Pýlos – It’s fine to overnight on the harbour car park, which is the left hand car park as you look from the main square to the sea. The quay on the right-hand says no motorhomes, but we saw a German van happily stay there in Jan. 

    • Langoúvardos beach – approx. 4km north of Marathópoli (north of Pýlos). Sandy beach in small bay, with stony area to park on, though have to cross short bit of firm sand to get to it. Short stretch of tarmac from main road on to beach. Other places just along road too. N37° 05’ 16.4” E021° 34’ 58.1” 

    • Kakóvatos beach - north of Kakóvatos village. Long sandy beach. Approach over gravel road just opposite small, garishly painted holiday bungalows just north of cemetery. Road widens out by beach and has firm surface. N37° 27’ 42.7” E021° 38’ 02.2”

    • Eyio – beach area north-east of town. From harbour, turn right (east) along sea-front. As road starts to climb by some restaurants, take a turn downhill and over old railway tracks to keep on sea-front. There are other places along here. N38° 15’ 44.8” E022° 08’ 13.9” 

    • Marathias beach near Astakós – on road towards Mytikas. Lovely, secluded cove, but with a fair amount of rubbish. N38° 30’ 24.3” E021° 01’ 52.1” 

    • Himadió beach – just south of Ligia on minor coastal road parallel to main Igoumenítsa to Piéveza highway E55. N39° 08’ 38.6” E020° 34’ 31.1”