Top 5 overlanding destinations in Europe

Top 5 Overlanding-Reiseziele in Europa

Summer is just around the corner and with it begins the perfect time for adventures and discoveries in the great outdoors. Overlanding enthusiasts and roof tent nomads are already raring to go for spectacular summer trips and some are already in the middle of planning them.

Europe is often chosen and is the absolute overlanding and camping paradise for several reasons. Europe is a continent of diversity - from the high peaks of the Alps to the rugged coasts of Norway, it offers a wide range of landscapes, cultures and adventures. In addition, Europe is rich in culture and history. The vast majority of countries offer good infrastructure, which makes cross-border travel easy. The roads are well developed, there are numerous campsites and other overnight accommodation options, and many countries offer well-marked off-road routes that are both challenging and safe.

If you still need inspiration for your next travel destination, we have compiled the top 5 destinations for an overlanding tour in Europe that will guarantee you an unforgettable experience.


#1 Italy: From the Adriatic to the Alps

horntools Trip Italy

Italy is known for its art, architecture and cuisine, but it also offers spectacular opportunities for overlanding adventures. The diverse landscapes range from sun-drenched coasts to rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges. The Italian Alps and the Apennines in particular attract visitors with impressive off-road routes and extensive natural areas. Regions such as Abruzzo or the Aosta Valley offer exciting routes and breathtaking views. Whether you want to hike along historic trails or explore the wild nature, Italy has a lot to offer overlanding fans.

🏕️ Wild camping in Italy: There is a general ban on wild camping in Italy. This is strictly controlled, especially in tourist regions or on the coast. Nevertheless, some regions offer designated pitches outside of campsites. It is best to ask the relevant municipality directly and get a permit to be on the safe side.


#2 Spain: Experience the desert and coast

Spain combines diverse landscapes and a rich culture, making it an ideal destination for overlanding. In Andalusia, you can drive through the Tabernas Desert while enjoying the stunning coastlines of the Costa del Sol or Costa de la Luz. The Pyrenees in the north offer challenging mountain routes and picturesque villages. Spain is also known for its fiestas and lively cities, so you can experience both nature and culture on your trip. For a varied overlanding adventure, Spain is an excellent choice.

🏕️ Wild camping in Spain: There are also various regional regulations in Spain. However, legal wild camping requires permission from the responsible authority. However, there are some restrictions where camping is not permitted: residential areas, beaches, less than 1 km from a campsite, more than 3 nights in one place, more than 3 tents and 10 people. Just like in Italy, you should especially avoid tourist hotspots and the coastal area or beaches.


#3 France: Between mountains, sea and picturesque landscapes

horntools Overlanding Trip France

France is famous for its diverse landscapes, offering overlanding fans everything from alpine mountain routes to sprawling forests. The French Alps are a popular destination, with spectacular off-road routes such as the Col du Parpaillon, which passes through a tunnel. In the Massif Central, you can explore volcanic landscapes, while Provence beckons with its lavender fields and charming villages. France is also a paradise for food lovers, meaning you can enjoy not only beautiful scenery but also excellent food along the way.

🏕️ Wild camping in France: It is generally forbidden to camp on the coast, on beaches, in municipalities or on private property without permission. Violations of these regulations can result in expensive fines of up to 1,500 euros. However, if you are in the national park, there is an exception: bivouacking (sleeping outdoors without a tent) is legal here, but only between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. There are official parking spaces for motorhomes that are designated for this purpose, and many municipalities offer special campsites that are guaranteed to be legal.


#4 Sweden’s wilderness: The vastness of the north

Sweden is a land of pristine forests and crystal clear lakes, perfect for overlanding tours. Here you can drive along endless forest trails and enjoy the tranquility of nature. The north of Sweden offers vast landscapes where you can see moose and reindeer in the wild. The Kungsleden, a famous hiking trail, also offers great off-road opportunities and spectacular views. Sweden is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to experience the peace and beauty of the Nordic wilderness.

🏕️ Wild camping in Sweden: Sweden is one of the few countries where wild camping is allowed, making it a true paradise for all overlanding enthusiasts. The reason for this is the so-called Everyman's Right, which allows everyone to spend time in nature. As an unwritten rule, however, you should stay far enough away from private property or ask the owner for permission. Wild camping in a national park or nature reserve is usually prohibited, but exceptions are possible.


#5 Norway: The magic of the fjords

Norway is known for its stunning fjords and offers some of the most beautiful off-road routes in Europe. The roads along the fjords, such as the Atlantic Road or the Trollstigen, offer spectacular views and challenges for experienced off-roaders. Norway's vast wilderness is perfect for camping and adventures in nature. The region around the Sognefjord is particularly popular, with its picturesque villages and impressive waterfalls.

🏕️ Wild camping in Norway: Just like in Sweden, Norway has the right of public access for non-motorized campers. Please note that you should not camp in the same place for more than 2 days and that you should set up your tent at least 150 m away from inhabited houses. Free camping with a motorhome or camper, on the other hand, is a little more difficult. There is a limit of one night in parking lots or on the beach. However, you can easily switch to numerous camping or parking spaces here. If you behave quietly and inconspicuously.


Planning your overlanding trip: What you should consider

Before you embark on your overlanding tour through Europe, there are a few important things to consider and prepare.

  1. Vehicle preparation: Make sure your off-road vehicle is in perfect condition. Check the tires, brakes and engine fluids, as well as the off-road equipment you need if you plan to use it. Also pack tools and spare parts for emergencies. Depending on the country, also pay attention to what you have to carry in your vehicle, e.g. a safety vest and warning triangle.
  2. Equipment: Take the right camping and off-road equipment depending on the region and expected weather conditions. Also think about portable power sources such as solar panels or batteries.
  3. Route planning: Plan your route in advance and research the routes you want to take. Pay attention to local regulations and permits so that you are prepared, especially in wild camping situations
  4. Safety: Make sure you have first aid equipment and communication tools on board to call for help in case of emergency. For extra peace of mind, you can also share your itinerary with friends and family.

If you are already out and about, please make sure to leave as little trace as possible and respect the environment and local culture. In this way, we can all help to preserve these beautiful places so that we and future generations can go on these adventures for many years to come.

With these top 5 overlanding destinations in Europe, you have the ideal inspiration for your next summer trip. Whether you want to explore the spectacular mountain landscapes of Italy, the breathtaking fjords of Norway or the vast forests of Sweden - there are countless options for an unforgettable adventure. It is important that you observe all relevant rules and regulations when planning and on the road. Remember that respecting nature and local communities is just as important as experiencing an adventure.

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