If you spend your days dreaming about a campervan rental in Europe, then you’ve come to the right place.
Europe has so many fantastic historical landmarks and breathtaking towns and cities: the Venetian waterways, the Austrian lakes, the Gothic Cathedrals of Germany and Spain, to name but a few.
Sure, you can book an Airbnb to see these places, but why not try a campervan hire in Europe?
That way, you can get out of the main tourist zones, the places off the beaten track.
That’s why getting a campervan rental in Europe is one of the best ways to see this rich and vibrant continent.
I’ve spent the past year living in a van and traveling around Europe, exploring different cultures and living the van life in my self-made campervan conversion.
But what if you’re visiting from the United States or further afield? It can be costly to ship your own camper across the pond, but with our guide, you’ll know all about campervan hires in Europe and hopefully, pick up some tips for planning your adventure.
Here are our top Van Clan tips for getting off-grid and adventuring on your own terms.
Campervan Rental in Europe Tip #1: Rent from an authorized company
One thing that you need to think about when considering a campervan rental in Europe is where you’re going on your adventure!
There are multiple ways to start the rental process, but their relevance to your needs will vary depending on the duration of your road trip and the places that you want to visit.
Here are our top picks for a campervan hire in Europe:
Outdoorsy Campervan Rentals in Europe
If you’re heading to the continent, then a good place to start would be Outdoorsy, the Airbnb of the camper van world.
Getting a campervan hire with Outdoorsy is really easy, with users booking a camper van in the city that they are traveling to and arranging a pickup time and place with the owner.
There are plenty of vehicles to choose from (so many that you’ll be looking through the many Volkswagen Bus camper vans and Mercedes Sprinter conversions for days trying to decide which one is right for you).
Drivers and owners are fully insured, and you have access to 24/7 breakdown and customer care in case you get stuck on the road.
Use the coupon code waywardhome” to get $50 off any campervan rental in Europe!
Wicked Campers makes incredible custom vehicles that, while not fitting into the category of being stealth campers, are sure to turn heads when you arrive at the campsite.
The company takes all of the stress associated with renting a campervan in Europe off your hands and makes the process super simple.
With a message of “cheap campervan hire” tempting travelers of all ages and the ability to rent both left and right-hand drive cars for both U.K. and European travel, Wicked Campers certainly get our vote. One-way hires are available. To rent one of their vehicles, you need to be over 21.
Other Europe campervan rental companies to try
Quirky Campers – Campervan hire across the whole of the U.K. and New Zealand, with vehicles ranging from small, hand converted panel vans through to much larger overlanding campers.
Landcruise UK– Choose from trusted brands ranging from 2-6 berth campers at a price that best fits your budget. Perfect for last-minute adventurers.
Indie Campers – Indie Campers offer van rentals in 14 countries, including Sweden, Spain, Iceland and Italy. They allow for cancellation up to 72h before a trip and flexible bookings.
Touring Cars– Touring Cars offer small, medium and big fully equipped motorhomes. You’ll have access to airport pickup, 24/7 road service and unlimited mileage. They operate across Northern Europe in places like the U.K., Estonia, Norway and Latvia.
Road Surfer – Choose between new VW vans, Ford Transits, Sprinters and motorhomes. Many vehicles have a pop top and some are dog-friendly. Road Surfer have multiple locations across Western Europe.
McRent – McRent claim to be the biggest motorhome rental company in Europe, offering small vans, medium campervans, semi and fully-integrated RVs, and coach-built motorhomes. All vehicles are no older than 2 years old.
Bunk Campers – Headed to the U.K.? Check out Bunk Campers, who rent out small and big vans, as well as RVs, with pickup locations in Scotland, England and Ireland.
Yescapa – Yescapa is a peer-to-peer rental company based in Europe with attractive pricing, much like Outdoorsy. Read the reviews before making a booking.
Mr.VanCamper – If you’re traveling to Portugal, check out this small company, which offers fully equipped VW California and Grand California vans, as well as Fiat Explorers.
Compass Campers – This is an0ther U.K.-based RV rental company. It’s located in Edinburgh, Scotland. Beware: you need to be over 25 to hire any of their vehicles.
OnRoadCampervan – Looking for a big rig? Check out OnRoadCampervans. They offer motorhome rentals across much of Europe.
Anywhere Campers– Anywhere Campers are based in Prague and do one-way rentals across much of Europe, as well as campervan rentals in the Canary Islands.
VanYou – Will you be staying in Spain? VanYou offers pick ups in three top destinations – Valencia, Madrid and Mallorca. All vehicles are vans suitable for either two, or four to five passengers.
Doing a van swap for a campervan in Europe
If you currently live, travel, or own a van in your home country, then you could always consider doing a van swap with another person or couple in the place where you want to visit.
Consider taking to Instagram and speaking to people who might be looking to do the same thing as you.
Van swaps might not be for everyone – having someone else in your home when you’re not there can be daunting enough, let alone a home on wheels that goes along the highway!
Still, it’s an inexpensive way of traveling in a fully-converted camper in Europe, and your only real expense will be fuel for your journey.
Try checking out van life Facebook groups such as Van Lifers & Weekend Warriors or The Alternative Living Group to see who might be interested in exchanging homes and seeing new parts of the world.
Make sure to know the rules when you do a campervan hire in Europe
A campervan hire in Europe doesn’t just revolve around picking up a fantastic vehicle and hitting the scenic spots.
There are a lot of rules and regulations regarding the equipment that you need for different countries, as well as how long you can stay in specific zones.
Countries within the Schengen Zone have a “90 days in – 90 days out policy”. This applies to a large proportion of the continent, save for eighteen countries that you can move into after your time in Schengen is up.
It can be a bit of a pain if you’re not traveling with a European passport, but with prior planning and as long as you make sure you leave enough time to move from one zone to another while you’re waiting for your next 90 Schengen days to arrive, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Different countries also require you to have various accessories and safety equipment in your campervan hire before crossing the border.
It’s a legal requirement to have Hi-Vis jackets and a warning triangle in your van if you’re traveling through France, and you’ll need tire chains if you’re planning on tootling through the Italian Alps over the Christmas period.
Speak to your camper rental company in Europe to see if these things can be included before you arrive.
Finding parking for your campervan rental in Europe
Sleeping in your van isn’t legal everywhere across Europe. Every country has no-go areas, such as national parks and busy holiday towns. Laws change in each region and sometimes across towns. Plus, many parking lots don’t allow overnight stays. Keep a look out for signs which forbid camping or parking a camper after 8pm.
That said, there are still some amazing free camping spots around. To be safe, you’ll need to be fairly stealthy when camping outside of a campsite, or you may be moved on by the local police.
If you’d like to get out into the wild, check out an app called Park4Night. It’s a community-driven app that allows other van lifers and travel enthusiasts to upload some of their favorite wild camping spots. Not everything is black and white (there are places where camping isn’t allowed but it’s tolerated), so this app will allow you to decide whether a certain spot is OK at a certain time of year.
For example, in some areas, the police will not bother campers during the week, but they will move them on swiftly at the weekend.
Expect beach park-ups, cave-side photo ops and much, much more.
Users leave comments and ratings to let you know if places are suitable or not, just like iOverlander, and you can add your own thoughts and pictures to the mix if you found a place to be truly special.
An alternative to Park4Night is CamperGuru – a website which selects only the very best, legal and safe camping spots across Europe – some of which are paid for. While with Park4Night you may end up in sticky situations now and then, CamperGuru takes any doubts out of the wild camping equation.
Considerations for your RV rental Europe experience
When looking for the right camper van for your European adventure, choose the vehicle model wisely. First, plan your motorhome trip and have a look around Google Maps. Many countries have very small roads; think of Italian cities and old mountain roads in the Alps.
While it might sound like a great idea to get a huge motorhome on which a big group of friends can travel together, it might be best to hire two smaller vehicles, which will allow you to get further and to wild camp. The stealthier the vehicle, the easier it will be to avoid campsites. Motorhomes are moved on very often, unless the area you choose is 100% legal.
Once you have decided the type of vehicle best suited to your holiday, you will need to consider many factors. These include:
- How many people are coming and how many beds you’ll need
- Insurance coverage
- Roadside assistance availability
- Gear included in the price, which you don’t want to take on the plane
- If you need a toilet and shower on board
- What the kitchenette is like
- If heating or AC are installed
- Space to chill when it’s rainy
- What size is the fridge/cooler.
Top destinations for a road trip in Europe
Ready to explore Europe by camper van? Here’s some inspiration to get your research started. Below are the best destinations for a campervan rental in Europe:
- Loften (Norway)
- The Amalfi Coast (Italy)
- The Basque Country (Spain)
- The Swiss Alps
- Brittany (France)
- The Algarve (Portugal)
- The Lake District (U.K.)
- Tyrol (Austria)
- Provence (France)
- The French Alps
- Costa Brava (Spain)
- The Bavarian Alps (Germany)
We can’t possibly list all the amazing places you can visit by van in Europe – there are hundreds.
With the continent being rather small, you can travel between the sea, lakes and mountains (and even change country!) in just a few hours. Discover different kinds of natural beauty, old towns, historical remains, and fantastic food by traveling to more than one destination.
Conclusion on renting a campervan hire in Europe
Thanks for checking out our tips on how to rent a camper in Europe. We hope that some of the sites that we’ve provided you with will help you find the perfect vehicle for your holiday and that some of the information about traveling once you get over here will be beneficial on your adventures.
The European van life community is continuously on the rise.
If you’re looking for information or need help with how to rent a camper in Europe, there are always camper lovers on hand over on your favorite Van Life Instagram channels who will be more than happy to help.