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Old 03-09-17, 02:28 AM   #1
Young tourer
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Touring in Europe

Hi everyone,
I am trying to plan my first touring trip in Europe this summer. Unfortunately, from what I have read online, wild camping is forbidden in many European countries. Another thing is that I like making small campfires when I camp (responsibly of course). So with that in mind, what 3,000-4,000km long route would you suggest. Preferably starting in Germany. Please let me know what you think, and I am also looking for a German-speaking partner if anyone is interested?
Thanks
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Old 03-09-17, 07:50 AM   #2
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If you go through the Netherlands or Belgium, there is a program you can use called Vrinden op de Fiets (may be misspelled). Costs 10EUR a year to join, then gives you access to a large number of hosts along the cycle network who will accommodate you in anything from spare rooms to houseboats to second homes for a flat rate of 19EUR a nite a person. They operate in other countries as well, to a much smaller extent, they may have German hosts.

As far as the camping, IMO there is really no way to responsibly make a campfire wild camping, you will always leave a trace.
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Old 03-09-17, 08:35 AM   #3
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You may want to explain what you mean by "wild camping." If you actually mean what is commonly referred to as "stealth camping," which is camping on someone else's property without permission, having a campfire would alert others to your presence.
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Old 03-09-17, 09:34 AM   #4
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In the Nordic countries there is something called Allemansrätten, which allows you to travel and camp on unoccupied land.

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The right to access in Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden allows people – foreigners as well as locals – to hike and camp more or less freely in the woods and in the mountains, regardless of land ownership.

In these countries, you have the right to walk or ski across uncultivated lands. That means you can walk if there aren't any farmlands and you are not crossing people's yards and gardens. For farmland, you may cross fields using existing paths and when they are covered with snow (and risk no damage). In Iceland all cultivated or enclosed areas are exempted and always require landowner's permission (using roads through them is allowed, though). Also in Norway the rights are severely restricted in enclosed pastures near the farms – go for the wilderness instead.
If there are fences, you should look for gates and follow paths, also if there is no apparent farmland (there might be animals, such as sheep or cattle in the area, so always close any gates you open). Also, if there are newly planted trees in an area, you cannot walk through. Other than that, you can pretty much go wherever you like, except areas specifically protected (nature reserves, military areas etc.).


Camping is allowed for at least one night in Sweden, one or two nights in Iceland, in Norway two nights in normal countryside and as long as you wish in the wilderness, in Finland "temporarily", which means at least one night and at least two nights if you behave, probably more in the wilderness. You should not camp near houses or farmlands, where "near" means 150 metres in Norway and in all countries far enough that you do not inconvenience anyone and particularly not those in the nearest house. As long as you keep out of the way there should be no problems. In Åland you should ask the landowner if possible, but otherwise staying one day and night should be OK. Obviously at areas specifically designated for camping, such as paid campsites, you will camp near others.
https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Right...rdic_countries

I wouldnt build a fire in these circumstances. You are on somebody else's land.
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Old 03-09-17, 10:33 AM   #5
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I don't remember any campfires or even campfire rings in the established campgrounds in Europe. There might have been some, but in the places they put tent campers there didn't seem to be any fire pits or fire rings.

I really believe it is inappropriate to build a campfire when wild camping.
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Old 03-09-17, 10:45 AM   #6
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You Do leave no trace, where you legally camp, Right?


Germans learn English in school,(& thru American Pop songs) and those who deal with tourists are likely to speak several other languages as well..





...

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-09-17 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 03-09-17, 11:06 AM   #7
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I cycled and stealth camped in several European countries years ago with little trouble, but things might have tightened up in the years since then. I simply left the road and ventured into woods and meadows to rough camp, never with a fire, and also slept under bridges. I came to prefer unfinished construction that was open but under roof. Just make sure you arrive late and leave early.
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Old 03-11-17, 06:35 AM   #8
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It's not forbidden in Germany, but on private land you have to ask the owner. It's also forbidden in national parks and on the roadside, but in a littel piece of forest you're not going to get in trouble. Making a fire will very easily be fined for some kind of disorderly conduct charge, and leaving litter is not only not done, but also illegal. Making a camp fire while there's fear for forest fires because of drought, could have you end up in jail, especially in France.

In France it's also not illegal throughout, but if the police doesn't like you camping there it's wise to cooperate and don't discuss the issue of legality with them. Make it easy on yourself and stay out of sight, and don't camp in the national parks.

In the Netherlands it's illegal (120 euro fine), but the risk of getting caught is very small if you're not visible from the roads. In the state owned forests (most of the big forests) there are free pole camping sides, this is just a pole with running water that you'll have to cook before drinking. It's free and you're allowed to camp there for three days max. Belgium has simular sides, called 'bivakzones'.

Last edited by Stadjer; 03-11-17 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:34 AM   #9
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You can camp legally in many places ... but you might want to stop building campfires. That's not a common thing to do in many parts of Europe or Australia.
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Old 03-12-17, 07:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
In the Nordic countries there is something called Allemansrätten, which allows you to travel and camp on unoccupied land.

https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Right...rdic_countries

I wouldnt build a fire in these circumstances. You are on somebody else's land.
It should be noticed the Swedish "right to roam" does not apply for national parks. You are not allowed to camp or make up fires outside the disignated camp spots.
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Old 03-12-17, 09:49 PM   #11
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If you go through the Netherlands or Belgium, there is a program you can use called Vrinden op de Fiets (may be misspelled). Costs 10EUR a year to join, then gives you access to a large number of hosts along the cycle network who will accommodate you in anything from spare rooms to houseboats to second homes for a flat rate of 19EUR a nite a person. They operate in other countries as well, to a much smaller extent, they may have German hosts.

As far as the camping, IMO there is really no way to responsibly make a campfire wild camping, you will always leave a trace.
Ok. Thanks for the information. Unfortionately, 19 euros a night is a bit too steep for me. That's really why I want to be wild camping.
The other alternative to a campfire would be a wood burning stove. Do you think that would be OK to use?
Thank you
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Old 03-12-17, 09:52 PM   #12
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You may want to explain what you mean by "wild camping." If you actually mean what is commonly referred to as "stealth camping," which is camping on someone else's property without permission, having a campfire would alert others to your presence.
Any camping in forests or nature that I can do without the crowds and steep fees of paid campgrounds.
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Old 03-12-17, 09:58 PM   #13
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You Do leave no trace, where you legally camp, Right?


Germans learn English in school,(& thru American Pop songs) and those who deal with tourists are likely to speak several other languages as well..





...
I don't leave traces. I just want a place to sleep for one night, and then move one the next day. I would use a wood-burning stove that leaves no fire ring, and does no damage to the ground.

The reason I am looking for a German-speaking partner is because I am trying to learn German myself.
Thank you for your answers
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Old 03-12-17, 10:23 PM   #14
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I don't leave traces. I just want a place to sleep for one night, and then move one the next day. I would use a wood-burning stove that leaves no fire ring, and does no damage to the ground.

The reason I am looking for a German-speaking partner is because I am trying to learn German myself.
Thank you for your answers
In many places of the world, including the U.S., there are restrictions on open fires during their fire seasons. A wood burning stove is considered an open fire in many places. You need to do some research about fire closures and the laws in the places you plan on riding. In the U.S. you can be responsible for suppression costs of any fire you cause. Talk about breaking your budget!

Alcohol stoves are also considered an open fire, because when tipped the burning fuel spreads out. Why not just get a cannister stove and be done with it?
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Old 03-13-17, 07:46 AM   #15
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The other alternative to a campfire would be a wood burning stove. Do you think that would be OK to use?
What is your intent? If it is just to cook food, I'd get a canister/gas stove and be done with it. If it is for a bit of light and entertainment at night, I'd default back to Doug's answer that they can be legal trouble if in an area under fire hazard, as would be anything that can produce embers or require the disposal of ashes. Not to mention, you are still scavenging wood, an (admittedly small) violation of leave no trace.

Have you given thought to sites like Couchsurfing or Warmshowers? Is there any budget for cities at all, whether it be hostels or otherwise? I can't imagine going to Europe for 3-4000km and not at least venturing through one or two during my stay. DO you have much experience with Europe in general (it is not clear from your post whether it is your first Europe experience, or just first touring)? It is worth keeping in mind while route planning that it is far more densely inhabited and built up than people from the middle of America/Canada often imagine, where wild camping may not even be practical.
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Old 03-13-17, 07:49 AM   #16
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Stay out of Spain with that or the Guardia Civil might nab you.
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Old 03-13-17, 11:21 AM   #17
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Stay out of Spain with that or the Guardia Civil might nab you.
Good point!

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Old 03-13-17, 11:33 AM   #18
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Good point!

It was my understanding that dispersed camping on many public lands was once legal. At least that's what "The Rough Guide to Andalucía" stated. But I have read some more recent Internet stuff that it's not.


When I was touring there I stopped by the side of the road in the Tabernas Desert (where a lot of Spaghetti Westerns were filmed.) Some members of GC in a jeep-looking vehicle with a large machine gun mounted in the back drive buy and gave me some scary looking stares. I thought they were going to stop and give me the 3rd degree.
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Old 03-13-17, 11:42 AM   #19
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OP have you ever bike toured before? Have you actually wild camped? Have you been to Europe?

You are going into areas where you don't know the language(s), customs, or laws; proposing to do something that would be risky in most places in the U.S. And that is assuming you know the customs and laws of places you are riding through in the U.S.
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Old 03-13-17, 11:46 AM   #20
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It was my understanding that dispersed camping on many public lands was once legal. At least that's what "The Rough Guide to Andalucía" stated. But I have read some more recent Internet stuff that it's not.


When I was touring there I stopped by the side of the road in the Tabernas Desert (where a lot of Spaghetti Westerns were filmed.) Some members of GC in a jeep-looking vehicle with a large machine gun mounted in the back drive buy and gave me some scary looking stares. I thought they were going to stop and give me the 3rd degree.
Yeah, These guys were on the Spanish/French border apparently looking for someone heading into Spain. They definitely project a "presence".
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Old 03-13-17, 11:55 AM   #21
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Krampus is believed to feast on so-called "wild campers" during the off season.

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Old 03-13-17, 12:00 PM   #22
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Good point!
I believe those are actually the National Police, not the Civil Guard. CG has green uniforms/cars, NP is blue. Local are generally a blue color, too.

In my experience, police presence in general in Spain was much higher than most other Euro countries. This is just talking about their presence on your average street, not specifically guarding something, where unfortunately most of Europe is on lockdown these days. Not at all uncommon to see the Civil Guard, National Police and Local Police all at once on the streets of Madrid and Barca.
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Old 03-13-17, 12:28 PM   #23
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In many places of the world, including the U.S., there are restrictions on open fires during their fire seasons. A wood burning stove is considered an open fire in many places. You need to do some research about fire closures and the laws in the places you plan on riding. In the U.S. you can be responsible for suppression costs of any fire you cause. Talk about breaking your budget!

Alcohol stoves are also considered an open fire, because when tipped the burning fuel spreads out. Why not just get a cannister stove and be done with it?
Cannisters finish quickly and are a little bulky. They would be my last resort.
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Old 03-13-17, 12:43 PM   #24
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What is your intent? If it is just to cook food, I'd get a canister/gas stove and be done with it. If it is for a bit of light and entertainment at night, I'd default back to Doug's answer that they can be legal trouble if in an area under fire hazard, as would be anything that can produce embers or require the disposal of ashes. Not to mention, you are still scavenging wood, an (admittedly small) violation of leave no trace.

Have you given thought to sites like Couchsurfing or Warmshowers? Is there any budget for cities at all, whether it be hostels or otherwise? I can't imagine going to Europe for 3-4000km and not at least venturing through one or two during my stay. DO you have much experience with Europe in general (it is not clear from your post whether it is your first Europe experience, or just first touring)? It is worth keeping in mind while route planning that it is far more densely inhabited and built up than people from the middle of America/Canada often imagine, where wild camping may not even be practical.
I am from Mauritius where I have done wild camping before. I have been living in Germany for two months now. I have had a decent amount of experience with wild camping, and would rather do that on my tour so as to get out in the woods a little. Another reason is that I am forced to travel on a tight budget (€8 a day or less) as I am just fresh out of school. As for the whole fire story, I guess I will have to be content with making a small wood stove fire before going into the forest to find a camping spot. Its a pity though, as a fire is my entertainment and warmth provider. I am planning on stopping at a campsight once in a while to clean up a bit.I am trying to avoid cities as much as possible, as the main purpose of this tour is to see the beautiful european countryside and forests.
Thank you in advance for any advice you have!
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Old 03-13-17, 12:46 PM   #25
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OP have you ever bike toured before? Have you actually wild camped? Have you been to Europe?

You are going into areas where you don't know the language(s), customs, or laws; proposing to do something that would be risky in most places in the U.S. And that is assuming you know the customs and laws of places you are riding through in the U.S.
First time bike touring. A little experience with wild camping in Mauritius. I am tryong to find laws, but I find it very sad that people are no longer allowed to go into nature and spend a night.
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