20 of the best campsites in Europe

A tent is your cheap ticket to wild beauty spots across Europe, from Swedish lagoons to Greek beaches with walking, wildlife and stargazing on tap

Le Clos du Lac , Provence, France

Setting Mountains
Pitches 50
Activities Fishing, swimming
Perched at 1,485 metres on the edge of Ecrins national park, this mountain site offers Instagrammable views from the tent doorway and a range of picture-perfect outdoor experiences. Serre-Poncon lake is a short walk away, for swimming or angling, and nearby Boscodon forest has a host of hiking trails. At the campsite, there’s a volleyball court, kids’ play region and botanical garden home to nine species of butterfly. By night, the stargazing is superb.
* Pitch for two from EUR1 3, campeole.com

Le Chant-hibou, Auvergne, France


Setting Countryside
Pitches 20
Activities Swimming, stories, animals
This small yet spacious site on a modest farm not only has a petting zoo, where children can cuddle up to the animals- in summer there are daily activities such as helping collect eggs, attaining cookies, face painting, riding tractors and storytelling around a campfire. The site is flat, with a pond( plus toddlers’ pool) in the middle, so little ones can run free while mothers keep an eye on them.
* Pitch from EUR8, plus EUR5 per adult,

Camping La Pointe, Brittany, France


Setting Woodland
Pitches 60
Activities Fishing nearby, wildlife
Pitch up on one of the spacious spots on the banks of the Aulne – there are salmon in nearby stretchings for which you can fish with work permits. The owners deliver patisserie each morning to your tent, and promote you to sit with a glass of wine and watch the wildlife( red deer, squirrels, woodpeckers, tawny owls ). But make time to explore the rest of the
Crozon peninsula too.

* Pitch for two from EUR1 5.50, lapointesuperbecamping.com

D’Olde Kamp, Ansen, Netherlands


Setting Woodland
Pitches 40
Activities Den house, feeding animals
This woodland site has a choice of open field camping or more private pitches, and finishing touch such as coffee on tap, warm bread to order, flame pits, an outdoor pizza oven and free wifi. It offers all the benefits of a countryside place without the feeling of roughing it. Goats, donkeys, chickens and rabbits are your neighbours – children can help feed them with the farmer and get a” farming certificate “.
* Pitch for two from EUR1 9,

Landgoed de Barendonk , Beers, Netherlands


Setting Woodland
Pitches 30
Activities Cycling, hiking, geocaching
Don’t be fooled by the name of the village: this campsite is distinctly household friendly. On the Barendonk estate( complete with historic Flemish homes and barns ), this dairy farm is a patchwork of green fields surrounded by a moat. Though there are spaces for campers and caravans, there is an area exclusively for tents. There’s also a bad-weather sitting room where you can dry clothes, feed, sit and plan your next day’s cycle( available to hire on site ), saunter or geocache challenge( rentable GPS treasure hunt available ).
* Pitch for two from EUR1 3.20,

Camping de la Cascade, Coo, Belgium

The river Ambleve and the waterfalls at Coo. Photograph: Alamy

Setting Riverside
Pitches 40
Activities Trail working, cycling, canoeing
This small campsite sits on the Ambleve river in the Ardennes, a region of woods and rolling mounds. Here campers can fish, swim, stroll, bike and saunter through a little-visited landscape, while automobiles are kept at a distance( no vehicles stay on pitchings once unloaded ). Nearby, in the village of Coo, are tumbling cascades that look like something out of a fairytale. And to round things off nicely is the famous Belgian brew- there are 15 to choose from in the on-site bar.
* From EUR9. 75 per pitch plus EUR2. 80 per adult,

Zur Muhle, Black Forest, Germany


Setting Woodland
Pitches 30
Activities Hiking, cycling
Not to be confused with a site of the same name over in Bavaria, Zur Muhle offers stepped pitches with hillside views between shady trees. The emphasis is on relaxation- this is a peaceful site- no clubhouses or play regions. There is a stream for paddling, and guided strolls and cycle routes for the more energetic. With fresh bread available to order and some groceries on site, this is the perfect place to simply pitch up and do nothing at all.
* Pitch from EUR4, plus EUR4. 90 per adult,

Camping Mexico, Bregenz, Austria

Photograph: Quadriga Images

Setting Lakeside
Pitches 40
Activities Cycling, hiking, swimming
There aren’t many campsites where you can look into two other countries from the door of your tent, but Camping Mexico is not like other campsites. Near the shore of Lake Constance- a huge, glistening body of water that borders Austria, Germany and Switzerland, it offers the chance to wild swim after a day’s walking or sightseeing. And there is much to see. An easy-to-follow cycle road operates alongside the site and as far all over the pond as “youre trying to” venture. Then, when you’ve had enough, jump on one of the regular develops back.
* Pitch from EUR7, plus EUR9. 50 per adult, camping-mexico.at

Camping Lindenhof, Bern, Switzerland


Setting Lakeside
Pitches 50
Activities Cycling, swimming
Lindenhof lies amid the vine-covered slopes of Seeland, a stone’s throw from Lake Biel, with views stretching to the Jura hills opposite. Cycle alongside rivers, hike to nearby Creux du Van( the Swiss Grand Canyon) or walk through the vines. The site itself is proudly ecological, heating the accompanying farm with solar energy and wood from its own woodland, while the apples and cherries grown in the orchard are sold on site.
* Pitch from EUR1 0.25, plus EUR7. 70 per adult,

Camping Val d’Or, Enscherange, Luxembourg


Setting Countryside
Pitches 76
Activities Paddling, cycling, Nordic walking
Think camping and the tiny Grand Duchy of Luxembourg doesn’t often leap to mind. But its relative anonymity entails it’s not teeming with tourists. Set on a blissful bending of the babbling Clerve river, Val d’Or offers sociable pitches for those with children and more private places with high hedges across a footbridge. Speaking of little ones, it has three playgrounds, one of which is water themed. There are mountain bikes for hire, two nature strolls starting right from the site, a bar and free wifi.
* Pitch for two from EUR1 9,

Camping Carso, Trieste, Italy


Setting Woodland
Pitches 20
Activities Fruit picking, rock climbing
Run by the same family since 1932, this working organic fruit and veg farm is a mix of field and woodland, where campers can pick their own make, or buy renders, regional wines and local honey from the onsite store. The green credentials don’t objective there: the owners are also keen to do their bit, insisting on saving water and minimising waste. For a true eco-break, the develop stops got a couple of kilometres away at Sistiana.
* Pitch for two from EUR1 0.50,

Camping Camino de Santiago, Burgos, Spain

Colegiata de Santa Maria del Manzano, near Burgos. Photo: Alamy

Setting Countryside
Pitches 40
Activities Birding, cycling, pilgrim-watching
It may be named after the( at the least) 500 -mile pilgrim route to Santiago de Compestela in Galicia , north-west Spain, but blisters, knapsacks and offerings to St James are not requirements for a stay here. In fact, the focus is very much on taking it easy. From an on-site restaurant to fresh-baked goods delivered daily, the owners do what they can to stimulate staying in one place heavenly. There’s occasional guided birdwatching( the area is home to 361 species ), pilgrims to spot, and pitchings are divided among hedges for privacy.
* Pitch from EUR4. 50, plus EUR5 per adult,

Campsite Port Massaluca, Catalonia, Spain


Setting Riverside
Pitches 10
Activities Fishing, kayaking, birdwatching
Griffon vulture, alpine swift, peregrine falcon … If you’re already reaching for the binoculars, this Catalonian campsite, around 200 km west of Barcelona, will not frustrate. At the confluence of the Matarrana and Ebro rivers, below the dramatic, sandy-coloured cliffs, all these birds can be spied nesting in the boulders above the campsite. If you’re more excited by zander, carp, bass, perch and catfish, then you’ll be in your element too, as it’s also the perfect site to fish- though there is competitor from the local kingfishers, herons, cormorants and grebes, naturally.
* From EUR9. 30, camping-portmassaluca.es

Quinta dos Moinhos, Braga, Portugal

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