Over the last year, we have spent 4+ months in our RV, with a growing toddler and a confused dog. We worked, visited amazing places, swam in cold lakes, ate way too much pizza & gelato, and had quite a good time. These are some of the places we visited.
I believe this area offers the most densely packed set of landscapes, towns, and cultural experiences on the continent. My RVing tips will follow in another post.
This is hardly a hidden gem. However, there is a reason behind Italy’s popularity. I can even name a few:
- Fantastic nature, more coasts, mountains, and lakes that any nation deserves
- Great food even outside of Pizza and Pasta
- Friendly, laid-back people
- Classic architecture immersing you in beauty
You can also add unique historical artifacts, but even if you don’t see any of the “old stuff”, Italy still holds up.
Southern Tyrol is a region between Austria and Italy where even the locals are not really sure about their nationality.
Caravan Park Sexten is probably our favorite camping so far, with amazing views over the 3 Zinnen peaks.
During the winter you can enjoy 115 km of ski routes, and during the summer you can hike there or ride e-bikes. Caravan Park Sexten also has mindblowing SPA with 3 thermal pools, 9 saunas, and a cold plunge overlooking the mountains.
Lake Garda is a destination with a strong gravitational pull. This time we tried out a huge “premium” campsite with a kid’s club, animations, and 3 different playgrounds. These facilities helped entertain Eva, and I enjoyed biking with her (part of the way) around Garda, visiting small towns on the way.
This is a trendy RVing destination, with many diverse campsites to choose from. A string of charming villages along the lake’s coast is connected by a ferry system.
Venice is surprisingly charming and not at all as touristy as I would guess it would be. Tourism has not yet wholly recovered from COVID, and we were able to enjoy a coffee on st. Mark’s Square without an issue WHILE wrangling the baby & the dog. We enjoyed Camping Fusina with views over the city of Venice while our toddler marveled at huge ships passing by.
There is more to Pisa than just the famous leaning tower, but tourists absolutely congregate there. We stayed at “Area Sosta” – parking for campers, without many additional amenities. We did not need them anyway.
Florence is a beautiful town but very hard to navigate with an unruly dog and a stroller. I particularly enjoyed the tour of Brunelleschi’s dome for the Domo and a stroll around the city. It was way more crowded than Venice and full of American tourists. I hoped to spend more time, enjoying the birthplace of the renaissance, but the Easter holidays may have been a suboptimal time to do so.
We stayed close to Florence, at a “Hu Firenze” camping, with a great bike path alongside the Arno river for the excursions to the city.
Cinque Terre is a picturesque series of small towns between Carrara and Genoa. The fishing villages built on rugged coast inspired “Portorosso” of Disney’s Luca. As charming as those villages are, it’s a struggle with the stroller during Easter.
There are 5 villages to visit, with trails connecting them. The best and basically only way to get tot those towns is by train between Genoa and La Spezia. You will need a national park ticket to access the footpaths. Check out this site to plan your trip.
There are no campings inside the Cinque Terre national park. Instead, we stayed at Carrara – the best marble mine in Europe. It provided material for Michaelangelo’s David, amongst the famous Reneissance sculptures. In the city of Carrara marble was everywhere. The train station’s bathrooms were the most impressive I have ever seen.
In most of the countries in Europe, you can camp overnight at parking and other public spaces. This is not the case in Switzerland, where most of the parking spots are private. There is however plenty of camping and parking spots specifically for campers. They are usually paid.
Verzasca valley is located north of Locarno. The titular river has shaped a canion offering spectacular views.
We stayed at a Stellplatz in the city of Sonogno, near a small stream and trout farm.
Rheinfall (Switzerland) is a popular location and the biggest waterfall in Europe by volume. You can park RVs overnight at no charge, and you can visit the waterfall during the evening for free. The gentle hum of the Rhein river will help you sleep.
Hallstatt, Austria is called “The most Instagrammable Town in the World”.
- It attracts six times more tourists per capita than Venice
- Picturesque lake vistas and a charming church tower
- The oldest salt mine in the world
- Has a Chinese clone
- And a creepy skull church
Neuschwanstein is the real™️-life inspiration for the Disney iconic castle. It may shock you to learn that despite being built by an actual king (Louis 2nd of Bavaria), it didn’t serve any protective nor administrative purposes. It is a pocket universe immersed in the romantic ideals of the medieval mythos. Louis the 2nd wanted to live in a Wagner opera, so he built one around himself.
Despite a certain level of pretense, it is surprisingly charming and offers many surprises and incredible views. The tour is well worth a visit.The region of Fussen has other castles, lakes, and mountains suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
Camping outside of official places is forbidden in Fussen. There is one parking under the castle that can accommodate RVs, but you can not sleep there. I recommend camping Bannwaldsee. It is close enough to reach Neuschwanstein on foot, or you can use the city bus. You receive free bus passes when you check in to the camping.
Rothenburg ab der Tauber
Rothenburg ab der Tauber is considered one of the exemplary medieval German Towns. It is a prime example of the medieval architecture.
We stayed at a Stellplatz very close to the center of the town
Similarly to Rotheberg an der Tauber, Bamberg is a very nice town and a great stop while travelling through Germany.
All the places mentioned here are on this map.