Most Popular Camping Destinations in Germany

Most Popular Camping Destinations in Germany

Camping Destinations in Germany has never been more popular, according to a new report by the statistical office. The Local takes a look at camping trends and the nation’s most popular outdoor destinations.

With 42.3 million overnight stays recorded, more people than ever before camped in Germany in 2023, according to data released by the statistical office (Destatis) on Monday. That was up 5.2 percent from 2022, and 18.2 percent above the pre-Covid year 2019. Camping has steadily gained popularity in Germany in the past 10 years. With the exception of the Covid years 2020 and 2021, which were marked by travel restrictions and accommodation bans, the number of overnight stays in campgrounds has steadily risen in this period.

In comparison, the number of overnight stays with other types of accommodation, like hotels, has not yet returned to pre-Covid levels – still down 1.7 percent in 2023 compared to 2019. Just over 10 percent of campers come from abroad. In total, 4.5 million international guests camped in Germany in 2023, and 37.8 million campers outdoors in their home country.

Where Do People Like to Camp in Germany?

The most popular camping locations in the Bundesrepublik are split between the northern coasts and the southern forests. Schleswig-Holstein’s Baltic Coastline was the most popular location, with a total of 3.5 million overnight stays. The next most popular camping regions included the Black Forest, the North Sea coast of Lower Saxony, the Allgäu, and the Lake Constance-Upper Swabia region. Interestingly, campers coming from abroad tend to be primarily drawn to the southwest of Germany – spending the most nights in the Black Forest, followed by the Mosel-Saar and the Rhineland-Palatinate Eifel regions.

One reason behind these regions’ popularity is their proximity to neighbouring countries like France, Luxembourg, or the Netherlands, where camping is particularly widespread. If you’d rather avoid the most popular camping spots, inner-Germany’s lake regions also make for good camping options. The Franconian Lake District, Lusatian Lake District, and the Hegau on Lake Constance all have a number of great lakeside campsites to choose from.

How to Camp German Style

Unfortunately for the adventurous and thrifty, camping outside of designated campsites – so-called wild camping – is illegal throughout Germany. So to avoid any trouble, you’ll want to find a legitimate campground (Campingplatz). Campgrounds vary immensely in terms of price and amenities, but most of them will have designated zones for RV or trailer camping and tent camping. Picnic tables, fire pits, electrical outlets, bathrooms with showers, and even wifi are typically available even in the more basic sites. Whereas more built-up campgrounds operate like resorts with restaurants, swimming pools, washing machines, etc.

Prices tend to start around €20 per night for car camping. Sometimes guests coming without a car, such as bike-touring campers, can pay less. According to Destatis, motorhome camping prices increased by 9.0 percent in 2023 compared to 2022. Campsite fees overall increased a bit more moderately, by 6.6 percent.

Essentials of Camping in Germany

1. Tent Camping

Camping is a beloved pastime in Germany, with many people owning their own tents and camping gear. When choosing your own tent, make sure to note its measurements to ensure it fits in your car or backpack. Each campsite has its own rules regarding tent sizes and electricity availability.

2. Facilities

German campsites are generally well-equipped with facilities like toilets, showers, and washing-up areas. Many also have on-site shops, restaurants, and leisure facilities such as pools and kids’ play areas.

3. Wild Camping

Wild camping in Germany is not allowed under German law and is strictly forbidden in national parks, nature reserves, protected areas, and natural reservoirs. However, there are many small and quiet campsites where you can camp as if you were wild camping, with permission from the landowner. Be aware that camping prohibitions also apply to coastal areas, such as beaches and sand dunes. Violating these laws can result in hefty fines, so it’s better to book at a recognized campsite.

4. Finding Campsites

Many campsites in Germany are members of official organizations such as the Bundesverband der Campingwirtschaft in Deutschland (BVCD) or ACSI, where you can find tips, reviews, and reserve places. Large accommodation websites also list campsites if you filter by “campsite.”

5. Caravan Sites

Caravan sites are also popular and often belong to official organizations. These websites provide information on facilities, storage, and motorhomes. During summertime, caravan sites can be quite busy with tourists from neighboring countries, so it’s wise to book in advance.

Best Camping Sites in Germany by State

1. Baden-Württemberg: Camping Kleinenzhof

Located in the Black Forest, Camping Kleinenzhof is perfect for families with a range of activities and a small petting zoo. The on-site restaurant serves traditional German food, freshly caught trout, and the regional specialty: Black Forest Gateau.

2. Bavaria: Campingplatz Demmelhof

Bavaria, with its stunning mountains, lakes, and national parks, is home to the award-winning Campingplatz Demmelhof. This site offers numerous local activities, including watersports, visiting a traditional German monastery, and skiing in winter.

3. Hamburg: KNAUS Campingpark

KNAUS Campingpark Hamburg is ideal for those wanting to explore Hamburg. Located a few kilometers outside the city and next to the A7 motorway, it offers excellent public transport connections, making it easy to visit the city.

4. Brandenburg: Campsite Wusterhausen

For keen swimmers, Campsite Wusterhausen in Brandenburg features a heated indoor swimming pool and a large lake. It is also a great base for hiking and cycling through local forests.

5. Berlin: Campingplatz Gatow

Campingplatz Gatow, an hour from central Berlin by public transport, offers a rural feel next to a lake and forest, while still being close enough to explore the city.

6. Lower Saxony: Camping am Waldbad

Camping am Waldbad in Lower Saxony is ideal for adventurers. It offers volleyball, table tennis, football facilities, and a nearby municipal swimming pool. The area also boasts castles and monuments.

7. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Wellness Camp Düne 6

Wellness Camp Düne 6, located next to the Baltic Sea, features a wellness center, sauna, and spa. It also has designated beaches for naturists.

8. North Rhine-Westphalia: Campsite Hof Biggen

Campsite Hof Biggen is popular with families and children, offering a range of activities and facilities, including a PlayStation room for teenagers and organized group excursions and campfires.

9. Bremen: Hansecamping

Hansecamping, close to Bremen’s center, allows visitors to enjoy the city’s historic Schnoor district and then relax in the great outdoors in the evening.

10. Hesse: Nibelungen-Camping am Schwimmbad

Nibelungen-Camping am Schwimmbad in Hesse is popular with retirees and couples for its quiet atmosphere. The local landscape is perfect for cycling and walking, and the site is next to a municipal swimming pool.

11. Rhineland-Palatinate: Campsite Moselhöhe

Campsite Moselhöhe is pet-friendly, with rabbits and chickens roaming the site. It also offers great trails for walking with your dog.

12. Saarland: Camping Siersburg

Camping Siersburg in Saarland provides a relaxing riverside experience. The site offers rental apartments and caravans for those without a tent.

13. Saxony: Caravan Camping “Sächsische Schweiz”

In Saxony’s mountainous region, Caravan Camping “Sächsische Schweiz” is ideal for hikers and those traveling to Czechia.

14. Saxony-Anhalt: Heide-Camp Schlaitz

Heide-Camp Schlaitz in Saxony-Anhalt, located on a reservoir, is friendly for wheelchair users, featuring ramps, lighter doors, and paved pathways.

15. Schleswig-Holstein: Rosenfelder Strand Ostsee Camping

Rosenfelder Strand Ostsee Camping in Schleswig-Holstein offers stunning beaches and tasty seafood, popular with caravan tourers heading to Scandinavia.

16. Thuringia: Campsite Stausee Hohenfelden

Campsite Stausee Hohenfelden in Thuringia, located on a lake, provides opportunities for watersports, boating, and fishing. It also has a sandy beach and activities for children.

Get Ready to Camp in Germany! Freshly inspired and ready to go, it’s time to grab your camping gear and pack up your car! While these campsites are some of the best that each federal state has to offer, there are many other great campsites waiting for you to discover. Happy camping!

This being Germany, making early reservations is not a bad idea – especially at the aforementioned popular destinations, campgrounds can fill up during peak vacation times. If you are planning to camp on the beach on Schleswig-Holstein’s Rügen island in August, for example, you may want to contact the campground ahead of time to see about reserving a spot. That said, a lot of campgrounds tend to have space for spontaneous arrivals throughout the season. Websites like Camping Info or Pin Camp (the camping portal of Germany’s automobile association ADAC) can be useful for finding campgrounds around the country.

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