Climbing is an incredible way to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. It’s also the best way to explore and connect with nature up close and personal, due to the beautiful nature spots you find yourself immersed in. There truly isn’t anything else like spending time in the picturesque and dynamic natural elements of the wild in places like the Dolomites of Italy or the Vías Verdes in Spain to make you think you’re dreaming—and never want to return home. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the best places to camp and climb across Europe to help inspire your next adventure.
The United Kingdom
Despite the unpredictable weather, the UK remains one of the top camping and climbing destinations within Europe. Throughout the UK you can pitch your tent and fasten your ropes to ascend soaring peaks and get an incredible overhead view of shimmering lakes and picturesque scenery, all while uncovering some of Europe’s most fascinating history. For example, there’s the Peak District in the Midlands, which has something to offer for every level of climber, including indoor rock climbing to get you started. There are also the Dorset sea cliffs in South East England, otherwise known as England’s ultimate cliff-hanger for its steep cliffs overlooking the harbor. It’s also home to tons of fossils, which is why it’s nicknamed the Jurrasic coast. You’ll certainly want to try and camp here, and fortunately there’s no shortage of sites with sweeping panoramic views of the waves crashing below. Perched right on the edge of the Jurassic coast, the 5-star Highlands End Holiday Park is a great option for those who looking to unwind in style after a long day of physical activity. With a bar, spa, sauna and indoor pool, your aches and pains will be quickly forgotten! Then there’s the Wye Valley in Wales, which is popular for its limestone crags, different climbing grades, and it’s beautiful forest setting. The best time to go camping and climbing in the UK varies depending on who you ask—but we’d suggest springtime or summer for the driest weather conditions.
Italy isn’t just famous for its food, art, or romantic atmosphere. It’s also very well known for its incredibly diverse hiking, climbing, and camping options which lend themselves to the first-hand discovery of the country’s stunning natural landscapes. With mountain trails, volcanos, sea cliffs—and not to mention, the Dolomites, Italy makes for one of the top climbing destinations in the entire world.
Some of the best places to camp and climb in Italy include Ulassai in Sardinia, which offers crack climbing. Here, we recommend checking out Nannai Climbing Home – a hostel founded and run by 6 friends with big dreams and an even bigger passion for climbing! Other must-visits are Sicily—home to some of the most famous sea cliff climbing, Trentino (hello Dolomites!) and Finale Ligure, which is the crown jewel of rock climbing on the Italian Rivieria. Should you find yourself in the Dolomites, don’t miss the opportunity to camp at Caravan Park Sexten. This 5-star site is known far and wide for its innovative tree houses, luxury spa and jaw-dropping views! The perfect time to plan your next climbing holiday in Italy is for the early to mid-autumn season.
If you’re looking for a camping, hiking, and climbing destination that will far exceed your expectations, then Austria will certainly not disappoint. From the alm culture in Salzburg to the mountain hut life (Hüttenleben) in Vorarlberg, you will find that the culture and the scenery are absolute treasures. It’s also perfect for climbing as more than half of Austria is mountainous with it’s three principal mountain ranges—the Northern Limestone Alps, the Central Alps, and the Southern Alps. Each principal range is comprised of 15-25 subranges, and be warned – they’ll make you wish you booked more time there.
Located in the heart of Tyrol, Camping Solden is a great option for families interested in climbing. Not only can you find climbing beginner courses offered in the local climbing area, but an on-site inside 85 m² climbing wall for you to practice your new skills safely. You’ll absolutely want to check out Innsbruck, home to one of the world’s largest climbing facilities, and Salzburg, which offers up thousands of climbing routes among gorgeous mountains, valleys, and rivers. The best times to climb and hike in Austria are during July, August, and September.
Germany is truly unique in that it’s a place of magic and wonder, much like the settings in fairy tales. Here you’ll encounter sacred lakes, enchanted black forests, coastal trails that glide around the Baltic Sea, and crisp peaks that seem to reach beyond the sky. If you love the outdoors, then you’ll be spoilt for choice with the excellent camping, trekking and climbing options available in Germany.
You won’t want to miss out on the Allgäu Alps which is home to one of the most breathtaking cultural landscapes in Europe. Or you can choose between Frankenjura and the Blau Valley, both of which host a collection of some of the best climbs for all levels in the country. When in Bavaria, make sure to check out Alpen-Caravanpark Tennsee. This modern, well-equipped site is located in the heart of the Alps and offers campers excellent options for climbing, hiking and even skiing. While many would argue that the summer months are best for outdoor adventures in Germany, it can also be argued that as long as you’re appropriately dressed, you can take on the scenery at any time—at least for hiking!
Spain is often considered the hub of climbing in all of Europe—among many other things. The country boasts an incredibly varied landscape, full of wonder, culture, and well-marked trails perfect for taking in the sites from your tent. Here you’ll be met with several mountain ranges, unique coastal routes, and of course, the famous Camino de Santiago to the Picos de Europa National Park and the Vías Verdes, known for its series of ancient pilgrimages. Every nook and cranny of Spain has one thing in common: They’re all places you’ll want to get lost in on purpose and never be found. In fact, you may just want to move there forever.
You’ll especially want to test your climbing strength at El Chorro, which is located next to the well-travelled village of Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. Other noteworthy climbing spots include Mallorca, Chuliah, Siurana, and Margalef. The best time to plan your camping and climbing trip to Spain is during autumn and spring as they are perfectly warm during the day and just chilly enough at night to lull you to sleep. Depending on where you decide to trek to, summer may be too hot in the southern region of the country, but bearable in the northern region.
When most people think about climbing expeditions in France, their minds drift towards the Alps or Mont Blanc. However, France is jam-packed with several other mountain ranges that’ll give even the most experienced climber a run for his or her money.
From the Vosges to the island of Corsica, you’ll get to take in some mighty panoramic views of the different mountain ranges as well as giant glaciers, sparkling lakes, and clifftop paths adorned with ancient castles. France really does have it all, which is why you don’t want to miss out. While you’re there, you’ll want to climb the Calanque or the Fontainebleau, both of which are great for beginners. Not to mention, the Calanque is widely regarded as the birthplace of modern rock climbing. France is great for climbing all year-round, but you’ll get the most out of it weatherwise during the autumn and spring seasons.
Find Your Mountain
No matter which destination in Europe you choose for your next camping and climbing trip, it’s guaranteed to have a lasting impression and leave you feeling closer to nature than ever before.
If you’re looking for an easy way to plan and book your next camping and climbing holiday, then look no further. CampInn.com allows for a quick and hassle-free booking experience with zero deposit and free cancellation. Your journey to nature has never been simpler! Check out our other camping resources for top hacks, stories and routes to help you on your way.