Three white motorhomes parked next to each other in a grassy campsite.

A Brief Guide to Renting an RV in Europe

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After RVing to all 50 states, I set my sights on RVing across the world. First stop: renting an RV in Europe.

I had no idea which countries even had RVs, let alone what they called RVs in different languages. Now I’ve RVed in seven European countries and on four continents worldwide.

As we’ve planned these major trips, we’ve struggled to find much information online from other Americans making the trek across the pond and renting an RV in Europe. RVing (or caravanning or motorhoming) in Europe is just as popular as it is in the States, if not more so.

We put together this brief guide with everything you need to know before booking our RV rental and flying across the world.

RV Rental Companies in Europe

There are endless options for RV rental companies in Europe. Here are a few companies to consider:

And there are peer-to-peer RV rental options (think Airbnb but for RVs) like:

There are undoubtedly many more RV rental companies out there, but these are some of the most popular options, listed in no particular order. I’m not affiliated with any of these rental companies and don’t make any money for mentioning them.

However, I know many people who have rented campers in Europe. From their experiences and reviews, I would never rent from Indie Campers, which is known to be one of if not the most popular rental companies. I would also avoid McRent. Both of these larger rental companies have reputations of having horrible customer service and support. 

I have rented twice with Anywhere Campers and the next time we hop across the pond, I’ll likely choose to rent with them again for a few key reasons. Keep these considerations in mind as you choose which rental company is best for you.

1. Rental Inclusions

We chose Anywhere Campers during our first trip RVing in Europe because they included sheets, dishes, pillows, etc. and many rental companies don’t. They even include bikes, camping chairs, an outdoor table, and a grill.

I don’t like the idea of starting my holiday with a trip to buy multiple sets of sheets and towels and pillows just to leave them in the rental because they won’t fit in my suitcase on the way home.

As you look for a rental company, be sure to see what is included with the rig. I always look for:

  • Bedding and pillows

  • Towels

  • Cleaning supplies

  • A “Fully Equipped Kitchen” (This should include a coffee pot, dishes and silverware, pots and pans, utensils, etc.)

  • Toolbox

We had a latch on a cabinet that kept coming loose, so having a screwdriver handy is one small, unexpected thing you’ll want in your rental. And, of course, making sure a coffee pot is included is a must!

Picking up motorhome rentals outside of London

2. Mileage and Distance Limits

Some rentals will have caps on your daily mileage driven, although unlimited mileage isn’t too hard to find.

This is something we prioritize when booking any camper rental, especially if we’re planning on taking a multi-week or multi-month trip. It’s an easy way to avoid the stress of monitoring daily mileage limits that some rentals impose.

During one previous camper rental, we covered over 5,000 kilometers in our motorhome. That’s over 3,000 miles! If your rental has a daily mileage limit or a maximum distance you can travel, there will likely be a fee for additional kilometers driven. I’ve seen fees as high as $.50 for each kilometer driven over the limit. Since a kilometer is a little more than half a mile, you can incur a hefty fee bill if you go over your limit.

If you’re opting for a shorter rental in a small region, you can probably stay within mileage limits, but if you’re going for a cross-country European road trip, book a rig with unlimited mileage.

3. Vehicle Transmission

In the States, you’d be hard pressed to find a manual transmission RV. It can be difficult to find a manual car these days!

But abroad, manual transmissions are the norm—even in RVs. In our rental experience, we’ve had both. In Italy, Heath had to quickly learn stick shift in the Dolomite mountains…and it was stressful to say the least!

Even if you’re used to driving a manual transmission, driving an extra large vehicle on tiny European roads in a foreign country is a load of extra stress. If you can, I highly recommend opting for an automatic transmission motorhome for your rental to give yourself one less thing to think about as you tour Europe.

Read Next: Full Van Tour of Anywhere Campers Campervan Rental (Video)

4. Fuel Type

All of the RVs we have rented abroad have been diesel engines and diesel is easy to find every gas station we’ve seen.

Diesel, however, is not called diesel depending on the language. In France, it’s known as gasoil or gazole. Pretty confusing when gas in English is a totally different type of duel! In France, diesel is usually noted by a yellow pump (black and orange are also used). Unleaded gas or petrol, labeled with the numbers corresponding to the type of fuel it is, is often noted with green pumps in Europe.

If you’re traveling from the States, this is the exact opposite of the pump colors we use, where green always means diesel! Don’t mistakenly fill up your diesel motorhome from a green pump. Pumps are, in my experience, clearly labeled and you can ask an attendant for help if needed. 

5. Fleet Availability

Book a few months ahead of your trip to make sure you can get the RV that best fits your needs. Our France trip was planned last minute and we took the only available rental left in the fleet. It worked for our family, but if we had booked sooner we could’ve gotten a slightly larger RV that would’ve fit our family of four a little better.

Keep in mind that most of the rental options I mentioned above service a good portion of Europe. That may mean that they don’t have any RVs available where you want it when you want it. It also means you can sometimes find good deals on “repositioning” rentals, when an RV needs to make it from Norway to Portugal for its next booking, for example.

Which brings me to what I consider the most important detail for any campervan trip…

6. One-Way Rentals

If I could impart one piece of advice to anyone who wants to rent an RV in Europe, it would be to choose a company that allows one-way rentals!

When we RVed in New Zealand and Canada, we had to drive all the way back to the starting point to return the RVs and it felt like we lost three days of our trip just returning to the drop-off city. Theoretically, you would take a different route back to the drop-off city than when you left it, but we’ve found that we always spend so much time exploring and adventuring that we wait until the last second to make the return trip back and are forced to rush through it.

If you’re RVing abroad, chances are this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. It’s not every year that you’ll get to RV across the UK. Booking a one-way rental makes seeing everything you want to see at your own pace much more feasible.

In France, we booked our rental to be picked up Paris and returned in Barcelona, Spain. Since our rental was one month long, we loved the flexibility this one-way rental gave us. We were free to explore all over France without making a long return trip to the northern city of Paris. Plus, this allowed us to cross over and visit some of France’s neighboring countries as we explored. In Italy, we booked from Venice to Rome and loved being able to visit all the cities we wanted across the country. 

If you can’t find a one-way rental option, I would recommend a longer rental so you have plenty of time to tour you country of choice and make the return trip.

Read Next: Here’s How to Do a One Way RV Rental in Europe

7. Insurance

The last consideration when it comes to renting is insurance. Insurance may or may not be included with your quote for a camper rental. It almost always is included with the quote or quoted separately.

For peace of mind while traveling, you may check to see if any travel credit cards you carry offer additional rental insurance or you may be offered additional insurance coverage from the rental company. This likely won’t cover if you break anything inside the RV, like the shower head or a door, but it will protect you in the case of an accident.

Types of European RVs

European RVs are significantly smaller than American RVs. While the smallest RVs in the States are around 21-24 feet long, the longest RVs in Europe will be 24-26 feet long.


The smaller the RV, the more comfortable you will be maneuvering it across Europe. Roads, campsites, and parking spots are smaller over there! Help yourself out by choosing a smaller RV.

Would you believe me if I told you this was a two-way road in Wales? Curse you, Google Maps!

European RVs will have cassette toilets instead of a black tank and probably won’t have any air conditioning. And they definitely won’t have slideouts! If you’re used to a motorhome in the US, a motorhome or camper in Europe will feel a lot more like van life.

Related: 16 Differences between RVing Abroad versus Rving America


Renting an RV (campervan, motorhome, camping car, autocaravan, insert country-specific name here) can be expensive. Average prices range everywhere from $100-$175/night. The season you travel in and the countries you visit will affect your price.

For a month, we paid around $4,000 USD, which breaks down to just under $145/night. This feels like a lot (it is a lot!) but is significantly cheaper than hotels or Airbnbs, plus it allows us to break away from the cities and see the countryside.

Gas prices are often higher than in the US (sometimes twice the price), but RVs are significantly more fuel-efficient in Europe due to their size.

Where you camp will be another major cost to factor into your trip, but I’ll cover that in more detail in a minute.

One perk of RVing when it comes to cost is that you often end up eating in or cooking meals in the RV. Sometimes this is simply because you’re in the middle of the wilderness and there is nothing around, but in general this is a small way to save money. Keep in mind that European RVs won’t have an oven or microwave, so you’ll have the stovetop for cooking or, if your rental offers it, a grill.

Countries Where You Can RV

The beauty of Europe is that you can easily cross most borders in an RV. Your RV rental may even come with the motorway permits required to drive in countries like Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic.

Most European countries are RV-friendly. You can find a complete list of countries around the world where you can RV here.

Best Times to RV in Europe

We always—ALWAYS—RV abroad during the “shoulder season.” For most countries around the world, that means April/May and September/October. Kids are in school, the seasons are changing, and campgrounds aren’t too busy.

With most RVs in Europe not offering air conditioning, I recommend skipping a summer rental if you can. A motorhome in Spain in August will be HOT. If you are locked into summer dates, head north, like Iceland or Norway.

One thing to keep in mind is what major attractions you’d like to visit in your camper. Many places may close seasonally. During our last visit to Italy, during the first half of our trip beaches were empty and there were only a couple of restaurants open regularly. By the end of May, the beaches were packed every day and everything (restaurants, amusement parks, mini golf) was slowly opening. We didn’t feel like we missed out on anything, but it was a little logistically difficult to figure out what businesses were open for the season.

Where to Camp in Europe

Just like in the US, there are an array of camping options with your motorhome—both paid and free.

Paid Camping

Campgrounds and RV Parks

A campeggio in Italy, a holiday park in the UK, referred to simply as “camping” in France—these are what you might call an RV park or campground in the States.

(You can get a glimpse of Italian campeggi in this video ⬆️ )

Generally, RV parks in Europe offer smaller sites that are usually electric only. There will be a dump station and water fill station somewhere else in the park, as well as a chemical toilet for dumping your cassette toilet. Your site may be nothing more than a stretch of fairly level grass.

But what the sites lack, the campgrounds make up for with other amenities.

Pools, hot tubs, on-site restaurants with real food (no convenience-store-style pizza is served at these restaurants! See the above video for what Italian campground restaurants are like), markets, laundry, private beach access, riverfront campsites, playgrounds, bathrooms for kids—completely with a baby bath and kid-sized showers, kids programming…the list goes on and on. We’ve had all of these at campgrounds and they’ve blown us away.

We’ve stayed in beachfront campgrounds and family campgrounds in the US…but they’ve always cost upwards of $100/night. In Europe they are about a third of that price. The most beautiful campsite of all time in any country we’ve ever visited has to be this one in France:

Free Camping

Europe has a reputation for plentiful free camping (also called wild camping) and it’s lived up to the hype in our book. There are a few options:


Aires are motorhome stopovers meet rest stops meet gas stations. You’ll see signs for aires about every 10 minutes on the highway in our experience and they have varying levels of niceness. Some are like picnic areas in the States—a place to park and some tables. Others are full blown gas station rest stops that connect the east and west sides of the highway with a sky bridge, offer multiple restaurants, and all the classic things campers need like dump stations and showers. It’s quite the range.

These are generally first-come, first-served parking spots. Many aires are free, but some may require a small fee (less than $10 and usually only if they offer services like electricity). You can find aires and other free camping on the Park4Night app.

Aires typically refer to free campsites in France, but the term is often used across Europe. You may see Area Sosta Campa in Italy or Area para Autocaravana in Spain.


This is our go-to app for free camping. We tried multiple apps during our first time RVing in Italy, but Park4Night had the most options, the most accurate listings, and was the most reliable.

free camping italian dolomites
Free camping in the Italian Dolomites

Not a bad view for a free campsite, eh?

Park4Night includes more than just Aires and free campsites. They also list campgrounds and agritourism campsites. The app is free to download and easy to use.

France Passion

Despite what the name might bring to mind, this isn’t a French dating app. French Passion is the equivalent of Harvest Hosts—a membership program where you can camp for free at farms and wineries across the country.

Before heading to France, we signed up for a membership online. Their online search function is a bit clunky and hard to use, but they mailed us a book with our membership card so we can use it to find free places to camp across the country. France Passion boasts over 10,000 parking spots and a membership is €30. (So not completely free, but definitely worth getting for all the free camping options it offers!)

Many European countries have the equivalent of this, like Brit Stops for the UK.

Driving in a Foreign Country

Before RVing abroad anywhere in Europe, take a moment and google “driving tips in _________”.

Signage and road laws will vary by country, so it’s best to take tips specifically for the country where you plan to RV. For example, Italy has ZTLs. Zona traffico limitato means motorhomes cannot drive in that area. This is a term and sign you will only see in Italy and something we wouldn’t have known if we hadn’t read a free ebook we found online sharing driving tips.

That’s also a good way to learn if the country you’re visiting (or countries) require any vehicle permits. Switzerland, for example, requires a driving permit on all vehicles. During our last trip to Italy, we actually thought about crossing the border into Switzerland for a quick trip. But we couldn’t figure out how to get the driving permit we needed! (Anywhere Campers provides one, so that was one less thing for us to think about when we cross over the French Alps into Switzerland during this trip!)

What you save in not needing to purchase a driving permit, you will quickly spend on tolls. Toll roads aren’t too common in the US (mostly in the cities or in the northeast), but many highways in Europe are toll roads. Most of these toll roads will accept credit cards and have a British flag icon you can push so that the screen prompts are in English. So while the tolls sound like they add a little extra driving trouble, they are easy to navigate.

One final thing to note as you may see it on rental agreements: You probably don’t need an international driver’s license. It depends on what countries you visit, but most countries don’t require one.

I Love RVing in Europe—Can I stay forever?


You can enjoy RVing in the Schengen (list of Schengen countries here) for 90 days within a 180-day period before you need to:

A) Get a tourist visa, or

B) Strategically leave for a non-Schengen country like the UK or Ireland

family at wrexham fc game
RVing in Wales before hopping over to mainland Europe we didn’t go over our 90 day limit


FAQs About Renting an RV in Europe

Can I rent an RV in Europe?

Yes, RV rentals are available in most European countries with exceptions in the expected places (like Ukraine and Russia).

What is the largest motorhome rental company in Europe?

McRent is considered the biggest. But is bigger always better? I think not.

What are RVs called in Europe?

Campers, motorhomes, caravans (the equivalent of trailers), motorized caravans, autocaravan, camping car—there are lots of names! Camper is the best catch-all term.

Do you need a special license to drive an RV in Europe?

Check with your rental company, but most countries do not require any special license. You may need an international driver’s permit, which you can get from your local AAA for about $20.

Final Tips

To any and every newbie to RV life that I talk to, I give the same advice:

Travel slowly.

Once you hit the road, you may have an itinerary, but you will find so many gems off the beaten path when you give yourself the time to properly explore. (We’ve found the best option is giving ourselves at least a month in each country if we can!)

Travel slowly and enjoy the journey!

Questions about RVing in Europe? Drop them in the comments!

22 Responses

  • I’ve been following your trips for a while. You’re missing out if you’re not spending a month traveling just throughout Spain. At least skip Barcelona and go to Granada to see the Alhambra

    • That was the original plan, but we’ve gotta get back to the States. So we will fly out of Barcelona and leave the rest of the country for a future visit!

  • I don’t know the costs you quoted seen a lot higher than renting an rv for extended travel thru Europe. I’ve traveled there a lot so I speak from experience. Car rentals are cheap and even tho gas is expensive the cars get double the mileage of US cars and a lot more than a motor home. In addition you don’t really need a car you can get a euro rail pass and there is local buses and rail everywhere. As to the costs of accommodation hotels will run $50-$150 a night and vacation rentals similar. We usually average $80 a night. Then factor in the comfort and space. So yeah renting a tiny rv in Europe is a lot more expensive a lot more hassle and problematic to drive on many of the country roads, most towns don’t even allow cars let alone an rv. It might be fun for a week but otherwise I’ll pass. We do love our 2009 Winnebago View and have comfortably driven all over the USA on it. If you really want to experience the van life in Europe rent or buy a VW kombi.

    • It’s all about how you like to travel! RVing is more flexible and the kids can sleep in familiar beds every night, plus we love the open road! Haven’t encountered any town that don’t allow motor homes or cars.

      • YES!! my husband and I are RVing Europe next year and we want flexibility….free to stay in a place for a few extra days…or leave places whever we want to. We def don’t want to HAVE to arrive at a set place (Airbnb) at a certain time and date…and we want ONE home base for our 3 weeks of travel (not 7 different homes). Love your blog– has made me feel more confident that we’re making the right choice for our travek goals!!

    • The lack of AC is definitely why we only come in the fall…I don’t know how they manage in the summers!

  • Are most of the RVs left hand (US) drive or right hand drive (UK)? Same question for the roads, drive on the right or on the left? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Hi

    Have followed the 2 of you since the BEGINNING – we started rving in usa about 5 years ago and love it – just spent 3 months in Utah – we are trying to figure out if we want to rv in europe or just airbnb it – we are both tall 5 10 and 6 4 so going from a class a to a european rv might be a challenge – One area we would live is Norway Sweden Denmark
    Time will tell – enjoy your stories books and comments always – Hope the kids remember these trips 🙂

  • I would like to try camping with my RV, but I need to find an RV for that. I’ll be sure to find a rental company that has a good reputation. That way, I can trust the to ensure that I get the right kind of RV for the trip.

  • Thanks for all the great info and links. In planning stages of a 24′ trip to follow the Tour de France (ending for the first time in Nice) and tacking on the 24′ Olympic Games in Paris

    • That sounds amazing! We started in Paris and went through Nice (all the French campgrounds were booked so we had to hop over to Italy to find beachfront!) in October. Let us know if you need any French road trip tips!

    • We too are thinking about seeing parts of the tour de France starting in Italy and ending in Nice, France. Any travel tips to make this happen in Italy and France will be very much appreciated.

      • That sounds awesome! A company like Anywhere Campers would be good since they do one-ways. We have a lot of info on these two countries. I would start here: and here: 🙂

  • This article is a great resource for anyone thinking about taking a trip to Europe, as it details all one needs to know about RV rental options throughout the continent. The author has thoughtfully covered topics including driving laws and prominent destinations that are relevant to RV renters. The writing style is straightforward, and the information is well-structured and presented.

    For More Info:-

  • Thanks for all the detailed info! I hold a California Class C driver license. Can I rent a RV in Europe? A rental company called Roadsurfer in Germany requires Class B license.

  • This is an article about renting an RV in Europe. It discusses the pros and cons of RVing in Europe compared to other travel methods. It also details specific things to consider when planning a European RV trip, such as rental companies, costs, types of RVs, and places to camp. Some important points are that RVs are smaller in Europe and that planning ahead is necessary.

  • Hi, I’ve rented the 2 person RV from Anywhere Campers for a month exploring the French Pyrenees and region, starting and ending in Barcelona. I plan to go slowly and drive the smaller roads.
    My question is around the insurance. They provide “ The lessor has contracted a third-party liability, complete accident and theft insurance (covering damage up to 2 mil €).” They are also asking me to pay a refundable 1500 Euro deposit on RV damage.
    In addition they suggested I carry my own insurance. I’m rather confused as to what and how much to buy and from where. Most credit cards no longer offer the travel insurance protection and when I spoke to insurance companies, they knew nothing of insurance on RVs in Europe.

  • An essential article on RVing, just what I needed as we start planning a European trip. Thanks so much for your insight.

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