Bumming Across Europe: Why Not Camp?31 July, 2011
For many gap year students, taking time to amble across Europe is a rite of passage. This adventure becomes even more appealing when you consider that those under the age of 25 can have unlimited access to every corner of Europe for £300 with a global InterRail pass.
With tents in tow, InterRail travellers can hop from train to train on just one ticket. The biggest attraction of this free spirited style of train-hopping travel is the lack of restrictions. One day you could be staring in awe at the Astro clock in Prague, the next, you could be travelling underground to see the Wieliczka Salt Mine. There, however, is one element of planning that cannot be avoided: accommodation.
Many travellers thrive on the spontaneity that InterRailing allows but find themselves in trouble when they arrive at their destination only to discover all the hostels are fully booked. There is, however, a way to retain the excitement of your no-strings holiday and always have a safe place to sleep, by camping.
Although campsites at European destinations such as Krakow, Oslo and Dubrovnik are extremely popular, they are much less likely to be booked out than the hostels recommended in your Lonely Planet. Campsites may not have all the creature comforts of a hotel or hostel, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be roughing it completely. The majority of European camping grounds offer hot showers, easy access taps and Internet; many also have busy bars right beside the pitching ground. Not convinced? Here’s our guide to three of the best camping destinations in Europe.
Arena Camping Budapest, Hungary
An unusual but popular destination, Arena Camping is situated in the heart of Budapest; this doesn’t mean, however, that it is set amid urban sprawl. The campsite is concealed amongst acres of lush greenery, and features its own stream, perfect for a makeshift shower. However, you’re not resigned to the wilderness; Arena Camping is just a short walk away from Ors vezer tere station (M2), allowing easy access to the endless tourist attractions and notoriously lively Hungarian nightlife.
Keel, Achill Island, Ireland
Although it’s not the most well-known of destinations, it’s certainly one of the most mysterious. Achill Island is one of the rare locations in Ireland which remains a part of the Gaeltach community, the only place where the locals speak in fluent Irish, a near lost language.
Aside from the historical value, however, Achill is famed for adventure and watersports, thanks to its abundance of rock face and beautiful, thundering streams. Canoeing, abseiling and rock climbing are just a few of the options that travellers can experience on a daily basis. And, as anyone who has travelled to Ireland before will know, the nightlife never ends in an Irish pub, and with as many pubs as there are homes, the choices in Achill are endless.
Mlaska Camping, Hvar Island, Croatia
If you ever associated camping with rain, mud and misery, a trip to this sun drenched camping paradise will surely change your mind. Mlaska is surrounded by Croatia’s primary attraction: perfect white beaches and a warm swim-ready sea.
Mlaska should be seen as a chance to treat yourself with a bit of upmarket camping, it is known as one of the more modern and luxurious sites in Europe; it even comes with its own private beach!
The increased appeal of the camping holiday among young travellers means that cheap tents of a high quality are more readily available than ever before. And rather than lugging one back from the nearest store, you could always find one of the last minute tents for sale online. Once you have your InterRail ticket and tent, all you will need is your sense of adventure. Still, maybe bring a raincoat too, just in case.