A fortnight in Europe in a motorhome? We take a look at what your best options are for a great two-week holiday on the continent.
The UK offers a great deal of opportunities for fabulous motorhome holidays – from the stunning vistas of the Scottish Highlands to the quaint backroads and beaches of Cornwall. Our showrooms in the north west of England are in a perfect location to head off to the rugged North Wales coast or the quiet rolling hills of the Lake District for a wonderful weekend away.
However, when you’ve got a bit more time to spare, a motorhome holiday is a great way to explore a bit further away from home. These five countries are perfect destinations for a fortnight in Europe.
The original and still the best. France is undoubtedly the most motorhome-friendly country you can visit. With a vast network of free Aire de Service and dedicated motorhome spots in campsites at a fraction of the cost of other pitches, you can spend a fortnight in a motorhome in France very cheaply and happily.
Getting there is easy: use the Eurotunnel for a fast, cheap crossing to explore northern France, the WWI battlefields and delicious food and wine regions around Dijon, Baume and Macon. Cross by ferry to the ports of Dieppe, Le Havre or Caen to enjoy the Normandy coast, delicious local ciders and cheeses and historic towns like Bayeux and Hornfleur. The crossings from Portsmouth or Poole are longer, but book a cabin and they can be more relaxing for that. Landing at Cherbourg offers a great opportunity to explore the beautiful Cotentin peninsular and St Malo is perfect for visiting Mont St Michel and the pretty towns along the northern Breton coast. Here, you can enjoy the local craft brews, tasty mussels and seafood dishes and delicious local buttery biscuits. The longest crossing, to Roscoff, offers the most scenic arrival. In a fortnight, you have plenty of time to follow the Breton coastline south to Concarneau before crossing back inland to the ferry port and home.
The UK ports of Portsmouth and Poole also offer routes to Northern Spain. The early evening departures for Bilboa and Santander are perfect if you’re driving from the North West of England. Book a cabin and you’ll arrive on Spanish soil rested and revived.
Spain doesn’t offer as many free Aires as you can find in France, but there are some, especially in this north west corner. You can expect to stay on campsites more often in Spain. For this reason, you may see a lot more “wild camping” happening. If you decide to wild camp yourself, be prepared to be moved on in the middle of the night if the Spanish police decide to take a hard line. Instead, the España Discovery or Spanish Passion scheme – where you can stay at farms and bodegas for free or a tiny fee – is worth investigating.
Two weeks is more than enough time to explore the wonderful cities of San Sebastian, Pamplona, Bilboa, Torrelavega and León. Or stick to the coast and visit the golden sandy beaches and enjoy the local cider houses and tapa at local bistros. The national parks of Picos de Europa and Fuentes Carrionas y Fuente Cobre offer dramatic mountain scenery and great hiking and biking.
You’ll need to travel to last year’s city of culture in order to travel direct to Belgium. The Hull to Zeebrugge route is another long ferry journey, which can make a relaxing start to your holiday if you travel overnight and book a cabin. The ferry port is just a half-hour drive away from the centre of Bruges, so you do little more than roll off the ferry before being immersed in craft beers, fine chocolates and historic architecture.
Belgium is easy to navigate around with a decent network of Aires around the country. Two weeks is more than enough time to explore Bruges and some of the equally beautiful and interesting cities of Charleroi, Namur, Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. Take in a few of the chateaus and breweries along the way and you have the makings of a perfect combination of gastronomy and sightseeing that can be enjoyed any month of the year. In the summer, the forest of Ardennes offers up beautiful scenic drives, plus hiking, biking and kayaking.
To save some money on the outbound crossing, you could quite easily travel out via Calais, drive south to Reims to visit the Cathedral and champagne houses, before cutting north to the Ardennes and returning home through Belgium and Zeebrugge.
If you fancy exploring the canals, cycling routes, art and history of the Netherlands, you have a choice of routes open to you. Services from Newcastle arrive in Amsterdam; departing from Hull will give you a Rotterdam arrival point; or travel from Harwich to the Hook of Holland.
Staying at a campsite just outside the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague will give you an opportunity to explore these fascinating historic cities. The nearby smaller towns of Delft, Veere, Dort and Den Bosch are a little easier to navigate and also well worth exploring. Or head northwards up the coast to discover windswept sandy beaches, picturesque little fishing villages, dunes and lighthouses.
The Netherlands is a friendly, welcoming country to visit but, most of all, it is a cyclist’s paradise. The huge network of (mostly flat) cycling routes makes it a joy to explore by bicycle. If you haven’t already, talk to us about getting a bike rack fitted, unless you’re lucky enough to have a sizeable dirty storage space to store your bikes and really make the most of your two weeks in this wonderful country.
Germany is often overlooked by British tourists, but it is a fascinating country to explore and very easy to get around by motorhome. In addition to the free motorway network, Germany has its own system of Aire de Camping Cars: the Stellplätze. These are easily as good as the French Aire system – and free too.
Take the ferry to one of the Dutch ports and within a few hours of driving eastwards you’ll cross the border into Germany, with its beautiful landscapes, fairy-tale castles and historic cities stretching out ahead of you. The valleys of the Rhine and the Moselle are just a few hours’ drive. These noted wine regions provide plenty of tasty stopping off points. Their scenic drives are interrupted by historic towns to explore; such as Cologne on the Rhine, with its distinctive twin-spired cathedral, river cruises and art museum, or Trier on the Moselle, with its ancient Roman sites, pretty cobbled streets and impressive cathedral.
The warm summer months and colourful autumnal wine harvest months are ideal for enjoying the outdoor spaces with plenty of opportunity for hiking and biking in Rhineland and the Palatinate Forests. The Christmas period is also a wonderful time to visit; even if you don’t fancy the winter sports on offer, visiting the cities to explore the traditional Christmas markets, sipping glühwein and nibbling on lebkuchen, and selecting a few hand-crafted souvenirs to bring home, is a truly magical experience.
Continental Europe has a lot to offer motorhomers. Do your homework before you go by buying a book or app that gives a full directory of stopovers and campsites, learn a bit of the local lingo and gem up on driving laws and you can’t go far wrong. The only problem you may find is that two weeks just isn’t long enough…
Have we whetted your appetite? Come and see our range of vans for yourself at our showrooms.
Or find out more about our “try before you buy” motorhome hire.