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Wild camping in Germany

Wild camping in Germany
29.10.2022
Stephen Hockley
3 minutes of reading
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Germany definitely has a lot to offer camping enthusiasts. From diverse landscapes, to a friendly attitude towards campers in general, to the roads and motorways in perfect condition… you’ll always find this central European country a safe bet!

Where should I go camping in Germany?

One of our favourite options is closer to the Czech border, the state of Saxony; it's beautiful there. If you do make it to Saxony, make sure to visit the Bärwalder See lake. It’s easiest to choose a campsite nearby, and you’ll be spoiled for choice. However if you prefer cities, you might be interested in Dresden. You can park right in the city centre! We found this city particularly impressive, not only as a shopping destination but also for the great Christmas markets. Then, there is also the number of cultural and architectural monuments you can find all over the city.

If you need to unwind a little, you might want to check out the thermal baths that are located all over Germany. In Bavaria for example, you can visit Bad Steben or Therme Erding, but there are definitely many others too!

If you find yourself near the north, don’t skip a visit to the German island of Rügen (you’ll need to use Google translate for this website). Rügen is a popular destination for campers from all over Germany and beyond. You’ll enjoy the cool sea, golden beaches and chalky cliffs. Plus, it’s easier to reach than you’d think. You can get to it in your vehicle without any problems as it’s connected to the mainland by a 2.5 kilometre long bridge. No ferry necessary!

Dresden

Dresden

Sleeping in your vehicle in Germany - general rules

What about parking and overnight stays outside the campsites? In Germany there’s a general rule for parking: what isn't expressly prohibited is permitted. There’s just one exception, and that's to do with parking on the side of the road. No vehicle heavier than 2.8 tonnes can be parked there.

So just to summarise, in Germany you can park basically anywhere where there isn’t a sign saying you can’t. It doesn't even have to be a car park, you can park along the road if you like. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s possible to take out camping furniture or put up your awning, but at least you can sleep there for the night when you need to. Just follow the signs and you should be fine.

Private land

You can always park on private property in Germany as long as the owner gives you permission. This applies not only to ordinary homes, but also to hotels, businesses and farms. You’ll find in Germany that landowners are quite tolerant and accommodating. Of course, you can't always expect to spend a week's vacation there (unless they're happy with it). On the contrary, be very careful around lakes and other natural attractions. Parking on roads and in car parks there is often banned. Pay attention to safety on the roads, and consider spending the night at a petrol station if you're really in a pinch.

Germany with water

Be safe on the road

Where can I wild camp in Germany?

Technically, wild camping is illegal in Germany, just like in Austria and several other countries in Europe. For overnight stays, one night is regularly tolerated in car parks and on the side of the roads. The only option if you don’t want to spend the night in a campsite, is to make arrangements with the owners of a meadow or plot of land. It might seem like a little hassle, but you’re still essentially having the wild camping experience, just with a little extra security.

Apps and websites that make it easy to find a place

Travelling in a van is much more convenient than it used to be! There a lot of apps that can help you out (many of them are free too). Before you begin your trip, you can always search for some suitable places to spend the night if you want a little security. Campsites in Europe can be found at at campercontact.com (website and app).

You can also use one of our favourite apps, park4night, which offers a multitude of parking spaces all throughout Europe.

Okay, that covers it for this article! Are you interested in trying out a campervan for yourself? If so, you’ll want to have a look at our full range of motorhomes and caravans here.

See you on the road!