Travelling Europe: What to expect in each country

The route we took in our first 8 months of travelling Europe

Over the past two years of travelling Europe, we have become pretty experienced nomads. We know which countries look more favourably upon wild camping. We know where in Europe to go for cheap diesel. We know which countries have the best veggie fare. But it hasn’t always been like this. So here, I thought I’d share what we learned on our travels.

Greece

Greece has been our absolute favourite, so much so we came back for the whole winter climbing season.

Food: The food in Greece is super cheap and really yummy! The most expensive dish at a restaurant is typically €12 (fish) and there’s quite a bit of choice, including vegetarian options.

Fuel: Diesel in Greece has been quite pricey though compared to other European destinations, currently around €1.40 per litre.

Tolls: Greek toll roads are pretty expensive if you’re in a van – they charge by height, so with a tall vehicle you will pay more than double what a car pays. For example, a trip one way from Leonidio to Athens Airport (around 3.5 hours) cost us close to €40. Toll-free roads aren’t that great, but often worth the savings. Check out Via Michelin for better estimates.

Wild camping: Technically illegal, but we have never had any real problems. Just try to be respectful and don’t hang up your washing everywhere. Water easy to get at beaches.

The Park4night app is indispensable for this across Europe!

Albania

We only spent a week in Albania, but we would LOVE to go back. It’s cheap and beautiful, the people are friendly and there’s so much more to explore!

Be aware that Albania is outside the EU – you will most likely need extra car insurance, your phone allowance won’t work there (we accidentally spent €35 each on internet within a couple of hours!), and the currency is different (the lek).

Food: Food is cheap and really nice. Albanian breakfast is to die for! Lots of fresh fruit and veg. Meals out tend to be quite meat heavy. Around €4 for a meal is quite normal.

Fuel: Diesel is on the pricier side, a lot like Greece.

Tolls: There are only tolls for some bridges and tunnels in Albania. It is mostly toll free. However, the road quality reflects this, and the drivers can be a little crazy.

Wild camping: Wild camping is legal and we didn’t have any problems. Some restaurants will let you park on the premises in a camper if you eat there. Lots of clean water.

Croatia

We spent a good amount of time in Croatia, as there is a lot of climbing. It is far more touristy that Albania, and therefore more expensive and busy. The main towns, like Dubrovnik, were a little much for me this time around. Too many people!

Croatia still has its own currency called the kuna.

Food: Food is very good and there is much Italian influence. Prepare to dish out quite a bit more for a meal here than in Greece or Albania, though! A lot of fish, and veggie options too.

Fuel: Diesel starts getting cheaper now as you get closer to Austria.

Toll roads: There are toll roads in Croatia, which we avoided.

Wild camping: Is tolerated, but you have to be careful not to encroach on anyone’s property. Water is available, but sometimes you need to search for a while.

Slovenia

Slovenia is also touristy, so most things are more pricey. It is beautiful though, so totally worth a visit.

Food: We were only there for about a week and didn’t really eat out. Drinks in touristy places were quite expensive.

Fuel: Diesel is cheaper here than Greece and Albania, generally by around 10 cents a litre.

Toll roads: Slovenia has a vignette system – a sticker you have to buy and stick on your windscreen. The prices differ, but for a camper it was €15 for a week and €30 for a month. We found it was worth it.

Wild camping: Possible, but not very well tolerated in the most touristy areas. So stay away from the eyes of the police! Water easy to get, in the mountains at least.

Austria

A beautiful place, but definitely feels more Western European. Not particularly expensive, unless you go somewhere really touristy. Lots more rules than in Southern Europe!

Food: Similar to Germany, the food is stodgy and very meat heavy. But some alternatives usually available. Expect to pay €10 or more for a main dish at a restaurant.

Fuel: Diesel is cheap in Austria! It’s possible to find it for around €1.20 per litre. Germany is more expensive, so fill up here before crossing the border!

Toll roads: Austria has the vignette, but it’s pretty cheap at €9.20 for 10 days. There are also some toll tunnels. The roads are really good!

Wild camping: One of the hardest countries for wild camping that we have been to. But it’s still totally doable and we never paid for a campsite. Water fountains very easy to find.

Italy

Italy is a lot more expensive than you would expect, especially when it comes to driving around it! Touristy areas, like the Dolomites, are especially bad. But I would never consider missing it!

Food: Amazing. Pizza. That’s all you need to know! Expect to pay at least €8.50 per pizza. Probably the best food in Europe, apart from maybe Greece.

Fuel: Shockingly expensive. €1.50 per litre in northern parts, up to €1.70 in the Dolomites. Fill up in Austria!

Toll roads: Expensive, hard to avoid and a real pain in the bum. Similar system to France, where you take a ticket and pay for the number of kilometres you have been on a toll highway.

Wild camping: Pretty easy, even in touristy areas such as the Dolomites. Water easy to find.

Germany

Very similar to Austria in many ways. The South is beautiful and really worth visiting. The North is pretty flat, so more for city lovers.

Food: Again, pretty similar to Austria. Being a vegetarian is hard, unless you’re in Berlin or one of the bigger cities.

Fuel: Pretty cheap, though not as cheap as Austria.

Toll roads: There are no tolls in Germany for now, and no speed limit on many highways.

Wild camping: Depends on the area. Many places have free designated parking spots for motorhomes. Your best bet for water is a petrol station, as there aren’t many drinking fountains. They usually charge a euro or two.

Luxembourg

We only spent a few days here, so information is a little limited.

Food: We didn’t eat out, but beer in the city was expensive!

Fuel: Cheapest fuel this side of the world! Fill up here.

Toll roads: There are no toll roads and roads are good.

Wild camping: We stayed with a friend, so don’t have experience. It didn’t look very easy though.

Netherlands

Again, we only spent a few days here, mostly around Amsterdam.

Food: Western European prices, everything is available in the cities. Fries and mayo are the local thing!

Fuel: Pretty expensive! Fuel up in Luxembourg if you can.

Toll roads: There are no toll roads across most of the country, only for some bridges and tunnels.

Wild camping: The hardest place we have come across and the only country where we have been told off by the police. Campsites are quite expensive too.

France

Food: The supermarkets are pretty good, but quite expensive. Eating out is similar to other Western European countries.

Fuel: Pretty expensive.

Toll roads: Really expensive and annoying. A trip from Calais to Spain will easily cost you €100 in a van. If you have time, best to avoid!

Wild camping: Pretty easy with the Park4night app.

Spain

Last but not least, we have spent a lot of time in Spain, on this trip and previously. It was a different part of our trip, and therefore not on the map above. We will definitely go back!

Food: Veggie food is available, and the prices are pretty low in general. It’s quite heavy on the deep-fried stuff though, so going out is definitely not a healthy choice.

Fuel: Super cheap! In fact, the cheapest we ever found was in Spain, at €1.06 a litre.

Toll roads: Quite pricey, but easily avoidable. Non-toll roads tend to be pretty good.

Wild camping: Really easy and tolerated well in most places. Very common with the Spaniards.

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