Caravan and tenting holidays: Finest European vacation spot – camp ‘in vineyards and by lakes’ | Journey Information | Journey


Campervan vacations have seen a surge in popularity in recent years and many people are now adopting their own DIY van conversions to travel the world. Pippa and her boyfriend Benn are one such couple who managed to complete most of the work on their used van in just five months. Pippa chronicled much of the renovation process on her Instagram page @LittleMCRHouse.

The couple decided to take their newly refurbished campervan on their first international trip to Europe in the middle of the refurbishment. “We actually went straight to Europe on our first trip, which looking back was very risky if we made any mistakes,” Pippa, who runs Scoop PR, told

“We had booked the holiday and we basically didn’t have time to get it ready. We were still working on it the night before we left! But we’re so glad we did because we had an incredible time and it gave us a lot of opportunities to think about changes we could make to our design when we get home.”

For three and a half weeks, the couple traveled through France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland with their dog Mags, learning a lot about “van life” along the way.

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“We only had a very vague idea of ​​where we wanted to go when we left home and made a list of attractions to visit, but we basically played by ear and followed the weather,” Pippa said .

While they found incredible views and experiences in each destination, one country in particular stood out for its welcoming approach to RV and drive holidaymakers.

“We loved France,” said Pippa. “The whole country is really RV friendly and it’s really easy to find parking – they have free Aires which is essentially RV parking lots across the country, we’ve found some great spots like in vineyards and by lakes.

“We stayed on the French Riviera for a few nights and it was so nice to be by the sea! We spent almost a week beach hopping and when we found a good campsite we just used the local buses to get around so we could go to see nearby towns like Nice as it’s harder to park there, where there is a lot going on.

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“In France you can be super flexible because you have the Aires, but in other countries you have to be at a campsite.”

Although the couple “loved” Italy, they recommend planning your itinerary before heading there. Pippa explained: “We loved Italy but if we were to return we would definitely book there in advance as many of the attractions were full when we tried to book.

“Each morning we decided where to go next and then while Benn was driving I looked up a campsite and called ahead to book. We went in June so it wasn’t too busy so if you’re going over the summer holidays it’s worth checking with the campsites earlier.”

And if you plan your route ahead of time, Pippa recommends looking for campsites with extra perks. “We spent a night in Switzerland near the Great St. Bernhard Pass,” she said. “The campsite we found was in a valley so we were surrounded by beautiful mountains – it was so peaceful.”C

Pippa’s campervan vacation essentials

On the couple’s first RV trip, the pair not only learned the best places to visit, but also the essential things to pack.

A BBQ: “We have a mini charcoal BBQ, but not all campsites allow you to use it.

Camp Chairs: “You’ll need to use these a lot so invest. We have two chairs with armrests and cup holders, they came out every night as some of the campgrounds have lovely views.”

A comfortable bed: “This is especially important when you are going on a long journey. We managed to get a full double mattress into the bed by creating a winch to lower it from the ceiling.”

Insulated window coverings: “Choose the reflective ones. They keep heat and light out when it’s sunny and warm when it’s cold. They really work, so it’s worth the investment.”

Flip flops: “These are particularly important when using the shower blocks at campsites.”

A few tools: “They come in handy if you have trouble on the road.”

Clothing for all weather: “On our trip through Europe last June we had all weather, at one point it was 12ºC and at another 38ºC so pack wisely.”