Get The Lowdown On Autumn European Campervan Holidays
If you’re looking to escape this autumn, Europe is the perfect place to head. Not only is it quieter and cheaper, but it’s a great time for more hardcore adventures. Southern European countries like Spain and Southern Italy are the perfect place for watersport lovers to head, with temperatures still in the twenties, while countries like Austria and Switzerland are the place to go to bag some more hiking and climbing adventures before the ski season kicks in.
Before you rush to book your flights and hotel, why not consider travelling by campervan? Depending on the van you choose, not only can be a more environmentally-friendly way to travel, but it’s a great way to soak up the atmosphere of your chosen destination. If you’ve never travelled by camper before, fear not, as we've teamed up with Goboony, the campervan experts, to get their expert tips and must-visit European destinations.
Taking your campervan abroad
To us, the perfect holiday means exploring somewhere new but not missing out on all of your home comforts – and with a home on wheels, that’s exactly what you get. There’s no worrying about luggage allowance, or what gear you can or can’t pack. Plus, taking your van to Europe isn’t difficult - it just requires some pre-planning to ensure you have everything in place before you leave the UK.
1. Insurance – You’ll need to check your campervan insurance covers you for travel abroad. Look at your policy documents or give your insurance provider a call to make sure you’re covered.
2. Vehicle documentation - When travelling in Europe, you must keep your campervan documentation in the vehicle at all times. We recommend buying a folder and stowing it away in a safe but easily reachable place.
3. ETIAS visa - From 2022, British citizens require an ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Europe. This can be obtained easily; simply fill in this form to be valid to travel in all 26 countries of the Schengen Area.
4. Driving licence – There’s no need to get an International Driving Permit, as your valid, full licence will cover you.
5. Number plate - If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union Flag, you don’t need a sticker. If your number plate has the Euro symbol, GB identifier, a national flag, or no flag/identifier, you’ll need a sticker once you leave the UK.
However, if you’re travelling in Spain, Malta or Cyprus, you’ll need a sticker no matter what your number plate is.
To get abroad, the Eurotunnel is your best option. It’s a quick and straightforward way to get to mainland Europe, and you can book specific dates or choose a flexi-ticket if your plans are likely to change.
Hiring a campervan in Europe
If you don’t have a campervan or want to save the time/hassle of taking your own, you can hire a campervan in Europe. Hiring in Europe ensures that you have everything you need for that region, including the correct insurance and documentation, and that your steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle!
What rules differ in Europe?
Road Usage: Firstly, be prepared to drive on the right side of the road. Although this may sound like a huge change, most people adapt quickly.
If you’re planning to hire a campervan in Europe bear it mind that it will be left-hand drive, while if you’re travelling from the UK in a right-hand drive, you’ll need to adjust your mirrors once you arrive in Europe as passing traffic will appear at a slightly different angle.
Whether you choose to travel to Europe in a van or hire one there, it’s a good idea to drive with caution until you become more confident and always follow all the rules of the road closely. Planning and familiarising yourself with your route is a good idea as it will allow you to give your full attention to traffic.
Low Emission Zones: Some major European cities now have environmental zone restrictions, which limit diesel vehicles or older models from entering certain areas. These regulations differ per country and city, so it’s best to look this up before travelling. The same goes for toll roads which are plentiful in Europe. However, most of these can be avoided using the ‘avoid toll roads’ setting of a satnav.
Taking Your Pet: If you’re planning to take your pet on your travels, you’ll need to have all the correct documentation. For most European countries, this means carrying their Animal Health Certificate (AHC), proof of their microchip and rabies vaccination. If you’re visiting Northern Ireland, Ireland, Norway or Finland, you’ll also need proof of tapeworm treatment.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that an AHC document is only valid for four months and can be obtained no more than 21 days before departure.
Finally, you can’t take any meat-based products into the EU, so consider taking vegan-based food until you reach your destination to buy their usual food.
Speed Limits: In the UK, speed limits are usually clear, but in Europe, this isn't always the case. Many urban 30mph zones are indicated merely by the presence of a sign with the village’s name, and end when you pass a sign with the village’s name crossed out, so you'll need to keep an eye out when you're driving.
Best European destinations for October
Now that we’ve got all the practical stuff out of the way, it’s time to get to the fun part; choosing a destination! But, the good thing about travelling in a campervan is that you aren't limited to just one.
A little further from home than some on this list, but definitely worth the journey, Croatia will give you a much-needed dose of sunshine.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-see: comprising of sixteen interconnecting waterfalls, surrounded by incredible flora and fauna, it’s definitely one for the bucket list. There are boat tours and shuttle buses to take you around, but the best way to get around is on foot, so pack some comfortable walking shoes.
A long-standing favourite for Brits looking to escape the rain, it's only in recent years that people have realised it’s also the perfect destination for road trips, as it's easily driveable in a day from Calais.
Bilbao is a great base if you’re looking for somewhere to go hiking, while Galicia is a must-visit if surfing and coastal adventures are more your bag.
Italy in October equals warm days and balmy evenings minus the crowds. It’s a bit of a drive to get to there, but once there, it’s well worth the effort.
The north, although slightly colder, has gorgeous hiking routes and lakes, but if it’s vitamin D and time at the beach you’re seeking, you should head further south.
Tuscany is a real treasure, where the rugged, hilly countryside brims with incredible wineries and Renaissance towns, and the famous SR222 ‘Chiantigiana road’, which heads south from Florence to Siena is a must-drive route.
Wherever you head in Italy though, you can expect well-maintained roads, and lots of accessible campsites near cities.
Many only think of Austria in terms of skiing, and while it's a prime destination for slope action, it’s also a great destination for an autumn break. Just remember to bring plenty of layers as it will be a little chillier.
One of our favourite places for hiking is Innsbruck, which has loads of epic trails. Aside from hiking, Innsbruck is known for its imperial and modern architecture, so it's a the ideal place to spend a day strolling through this city before an evening enjoying the delicious cuisine and lights of the Old Town.
Meanwhile, Attersee is the go-to destination for watersport lovers, who can get their fill of surfing, sailing, water-skiing and fishing. Plus, with its deepest point at 171 metres , the lake is also great for practicing your diving.
One of the less well-known destinations on our list but no less worthy, Bulgaria is the ultimate place to head if you’re looking to head out on some serious hikes.
For a challenge, head to Musala, the highest peak in the Rila Mountains, Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula. If you're not feeling the effort, you can take a chairlift from Borovets.
We also recommend visiting the Seven Rila Lakes, which will definitely make it to your Insta.
Book your European campervan trip
If you can’t wait to start planning a European campervan trip, why not head over to Goboony to discover more top tips and explore some of the campers they have available to rent?
Insulation is essential to keeping warm in the outdoors, and is usually worn as a mid-layer, or as the outer layer in dry, cold climates. It works by trapping the warmth that our bodies create to maintain our body temperature, but this can be achieved in a variety of ways.
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