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Free (Stealth or Wild) Camping in Europe

Old 09-10-05, 09:59 PM
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Free (Stealth or Wild) Camping in Europe

Apologies if this has been covered before, but has anyone got any knowledge of how easy or hard it is to free camp (stealth/wild -call it what you will) in Europe?
Thanks in advance for your posts
Regards
Andrew
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Old 09-10-05, 10:26 PM
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[sarcasm] Europe is a big place, and supposedley there are a bunch of different countries. Apparently each have there own rules/laws and such. [/sarcasm]

--I've wild camped with ease in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey so far. I've no idea if it was legal in Hu/Ro/Bu, but I do recall hearing "squaters rites" apply in Turkey after dusk (ie legal everywhere).

I remember a super nice spot in Hungary was at an abandoned farm. The house, and a few other structures were still standing. Kinda cool-and made for a bit of mistery as to what happened. Maybe it was haunted.

I'd assume standard "rules" apply in most countries. ie Leave no trace, don't be seen (especially when leaving the roadway) etc.

If riding through areas that might be a bit more congested which lack sufficient "cover" (ex. suburbs), stopping and asking permission to camp in someones yard early may prove handy.
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Old 09-11-05, 01:26 AM
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I'll leave commenting on the UK and Central Europe to others. In the Nordic countries hiking across other people's land and camping there is explicitly allowed in the law. Of course, you should not litter, camp too close to anyone's home or cause any damage to the vegetation. Picking berries and mushrooms is ok. It is good practice to ask for permission to make a fire. Very large parts of e.g. Sweden and Finland are sparsely populated areas of forests that are maintained for timber production, so at least outside of major towns, finding a stealth camping site should be dead easy.

Last edited by gemini; 09-11-05 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 09-11-05, 03:23 PM
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Not to be recommended in France where every piece of land belongs to someone and the French are very territorial re property. Can be done in England in some places and is very easy in Scotland where there is a right of access and a great number of wide-open spaces.
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Old 09-11-05, 04:21 PM
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I'm stealth camping in England and Wales in October so I will let you know. Just to let you know, I call stealth camping staying for one night out of sight on land that is not fenced, improved or marked as private property, no trespassing or no camping. I pitch late and leave early and as I keep out of sight, so far no one has said anything to me. For that matter they probably don't know I'm even there.
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Old 09-11-05, 06:09 PM
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In my travels through Greece, Italy, Austria, France, England and Ireland stealth camping was always pretty easy. i was never hassled once, and often ended up spending the night in a farmer's home, especially in Italy and Greece.
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Old 09-12-05, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewh
Apologies if this has been covered before, but has anyone got any knowledge of how easy or hard it is to free camp (stealth/wild -call it what you will) in Europe?
Thanks in advance for your posts
Regards
Andrew
https://www.where2pedalto.gr8m8s.net
Thanks to all. As usual, valuable information.
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Old 09-12-05, 08:47 AM
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Within the UK there is different law in England and Scotland and there are also local bylaws.
There are different types of land: private, common, national park etc.
There is new legislation regarding access to the countryside which is designed to open up private land to public use, but also tackle the problem of illegal gypsy/traveller caravan sites. I couldnt give you any advice on what is legal.
See
https://www.ramblers.org.uk/info/brit...s.html#Camping
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Old 09-12-05, 07:21 PM
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In greece you are not allowed to free camp anywhere but it's unlikely to have a problem except for tourist-popular places where someone renting rooms may call the police.Other than that be friendly with the locals and you won't lose!!
ps I'm Greek
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Old 09-12-05, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by menelaos
ps I'm Greek
I figured that.......my last name ends in os as well....
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Old 12-07-05, 03:03 AM
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In Turkiye;you may always find a safe place to camp.If you may send me route for Turkey,I can help you to find.
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Old 12-07-05, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by gemini
I'll leave commenting on the UK and Central Europe to others. In the Nordic countries hiking across other people's land and camping there is explicitly allowed in the law. Of course, you should not litter, camp too close to anyone's home or cause any damage to the vegetation. Picking berries and mushrooms is ok. It is good practice to ask for permission to make a fire. Very large parts of e.g. Sweden and Finland are sparsely populated areas of forests that are maintained for timber production, so at least outside of major towns, finding a stealth camping site should be dead easy.
Same thing in Norway- if there is no camping, there will be signs making that clear. Certain areas may have bans on fires for forest fire concerns. People will literally camp at rest areas.
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Old 12-07-05, 07:58 AM
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It is illegal here in Germany, but I have done it many times, never with a problem. I use a Hennessy hammock and am usually in the woods, off the path, where few people can pass me.
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Old 12-07-05, 09:22 AM
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Unlike what gemini said, it's not explicitly allowed in any law in Sweden.
Instead, it's the lack of a law against it that gives us that "right".
Of course, you should always use common sense, and not damage anything.
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Old 12-07-05, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by aybars
In Turkiye;you may always find a safe place to camp.If you may send me route for Turkey,I can help you to find.
That sparks some interest in bike touring in Turkey. I've heard that the people are friendly and the scenery great. How about the roads? Are they bike friendly or do 20 tonne lorries share a narrow path with pedestrians, donkey carts and overloaded buses? Should I plan my route carefully?
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Old 12-07-05, 12:42 PM
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I camped wild once in western Scotland, didn't have any problems. Most of the UK is so populated (by my standards, anyway) that I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of wild camping. Most of my camping in the US is done in the backcountry, on backpacking or climbing trips, so maybe I'm just accustomed to a little more seclusion when I pick my campsites.
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Old 12-07-05, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by markf
I camped wild once in western Scotland, didn't have any problems. Most of the UK is so populated (by my standards, anyway) that I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of wild camping. Most of my camping in the US is done in the backcountry, on backpacking or climbing trips, so maybe I'm just accustomed to a little more seclusion when I pick my campsites.
WOW! My experience is so different. I find the area of Britain most heavily populated (the south) to be great for stealth camping.

Althtough the USA is much closer to Canada, I don't feel comfortable stealth camping there. It's been a while, but there was a thread about stealth camping in the US on this site and some of the subsribers were openly hostile to someone camping (even for just a night using Leave No Trace principles) on privately owned land.

Am I wrong, or is it dangerous to stealth camp in the USA?
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Old 12-07-05, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by stokell
Am I wrong, or is it dangerous to stealth camp in the USA?
Depends.

I've stealth camped here for years without a single problem. Some states have laws about unimproved property too, where trespassers are okay to roam on privately owned property that has no facilities, etcetera.

I think of 2 things with regards to this:

1. How stealthy are you being? If you're good, it won't matter.
2. I prefer nowadays to just stealth camp in national and state parks. At least you (hopefully) won't get some rural stereotype with a gun and a 'tude waking you up there should something go wrong.

Ken Kifer's site has a good bit about this, around the middle of the essay: https://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/camping.htm
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Old 12-08-05, 01:02 AM
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see my picture I took in northern Spain at the Cadi mountain. I couldn't go further the day before, because it darkened, so I decided to spend the night on that little place you see in the foreground. The people (even once the police) let me camp there; it was clear, it was only for the night.
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Old 12-08-05, 05:25 AM
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stokell wrote that "That sparks some interest in bike touring in Turkey. I've heard that the people are friendly and the scenery great. How about the roads? Are they bike friendly or do 20 tonne lorries share a narrow path with pedestrians, donkey carts and overloaded buses? Should I plan my route carefully?"

Yes,you should plan your route carrefully.People or scenary is not a problem.But traffic is a real problem.You have to share the road with lorries and buses. The problem is arround Marmara region; Istanbul and Bursa.But Aegean coast and Mediterrenean is safer than.

Donkey carts?Sorry but we are talking about Turkiye not Pakistan

You must wake up and start to ride early in the morning to take the road easily.We can talk about details after your final decision.
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Old 12-08-05, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by aybars
Donkey carts?Sorry but we are talking about Turkiye not Pakistan
Typical western ignorance...
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Old 12-24-05, 09:13 AM
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Free camping is the best thing to do - and the only way to really get in touch with locals. Don't worry much about it in Europe. Just take care of a few things:

- Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Baltics, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Kroatia...) are easy spots for free camping
- be careful in central Europe - especially Germany, Switzerland, Austria - as these areas are more densily populated and people are a bit funny concerning "trespassers" and "people not observing the law" but never mind, make sure you are not seen when you put up your tent and she'll be right
- stay away from private properties if any possible
- don't ever light fires or be noisy
- don't litter!
- if you ever get troubled by the police just be friendly and play dumb... no-one really will fine foreigners on bicycles if you didn't abuse anyone
- don't camp next to a public campground

Good luck!
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Old 12-24-05, 08:51 PM
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The Netherlands is great for cycling but stealth camping is illegal and the fines are heavy. I'd only do it if i was good at it/had a Hennessey and such. On the upside it is one of the best/cheapest countries to camp at legally in the EU. Many campsites and lots of farmers also let you camp on their land if you ask though some ask for a little cash.
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Old 01-20-12, 02:34 PM
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I have met people who do a lot of stealth camping in Europe. I slept in a French graveyard once and have been told graveyards are actually a pretty safe bet (if you arent too superstitious). In a few weeks Im heading back to Europe (hitchhiking instead of cycling this time) and plan to do a lot of stealth camping.

I thought Id add to this discussion, although its not Europe, that while cycling across Africa stealth camping is usually a great option. In Southern countries with a lot of open space (Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique) it is usually a pretty great option (just watch the wildlife - waking up with hyenas yipping outside your tent isnt always a fun). There are some beautiful places out in the open Namib desert or the forest or beaches of Mozambique where you can just roll up and put up a tent undisturbed and unnoticed. That said, anywhere in Africa - North, West, Central, South (I havent been to the East) - if you are in a populated area it is near impossible to set up a tent unnoticed, let alone sit alone in the bush unnoticed. And as soon as one person sees you there will be an ever-growing crowd that will just stand around and watch your every move (unless you can speak the language). They mean well and are incredibly friendly, just curious. In these places you just ask to see the village chief, police, school or pretty much anyone and they will show you a place to pitch your tent, as an honoured guest.

Hope that helps anyone with interest in visiting Africa!
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Old 01-20-12, 02:41 PM
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Helps .. if it's dark both when setting up, and breaking camp,
and the site is remote..

but asking is really the key..

But developed campgrounds are places to meet other people,
and so are places to be enjoyed.

though 'family friendly' may have earplugs as a good thing on the list.

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