Stay overnight in a mobile home in Germany and Europe
“Where are you allowed to stay overnight in a mobile home in Germany and Europe?” – that is the question we ask ourselves. Are parking spaces for RVs or campsites better? Can you stay overnight in a mobile home on the side of the road? We're thinking about a motorhome trip through Germany. As is the case with types of travel that one has not yet done, questions arise that we want to clarify before deciding on such a trip. Among them was one that is not that easy to answer: Where can you stay overnight with a motorhome in Germany? "Well, on a campsite," you say? You are right about that. But there are other options. We want to present them to you in this post:
Stay overnight in a camper van at campsites in Germany and Europe
The most comfortable way is to stay overnight in a mobile home on a campsite. Of course there are campsites where you can find everything you need for your motorhome trip through Germany. Electricity connection, water connection, ways to get rid of your sewage. You have to take these things into account when planning your trip. Not all motorhome parking spaces in Germany and Europe offer the possibilities for this. Campsites include washing and toilet facilities.
Often there is also a café or a restaurant where you can get snacks. A shop that sells bread rolls in the morning is often also part of it. At a campsite you can relax on a portable grill Your dinner in one Dutch Oven prepare. You can also find Dutch oven accessories you can find here. For facilities such as those offered by campsites of this type, you have to pay accordingly. Two adults and one child pay an average of 27,90 euros for a car or caravan site, electricity, hot showers and tourist tax per overnight stay on campsites in Germany. According to RP Online, that's even five euros less than in the rest of Europe. But it's even cheaper.
Where can you stay overnight with a motorhome in Germany - on motorhome parking spaces
Where can I stay overnight with a mobile home? This can be done, for example, on parking spaces specially designed for mobile homes. In holiday regions there are often special mobile home parking spaces that are set up by the villages. These offer parking spaces where you can usually stay with the mobile home for a limited time. How long is determined by the local authority. Sometimes you will find electricity on such spaces where you can charge the battery. Water supply or sewage facilities are less common.
The pitch fees vary between zero and 15 euros per night. They are often located near attractions, at outdoor pools, on a river or other body of water, on a farm, at a mountain railway, a marina or a winery. It's worth keeping an eye out for. A source for the whole of Europe is, for example, the Stellplatz.info site. It answers the question: where can you park your motorhome in Germany.
Where can you stay overnight with a camper - in parking lots: sleep yes, camping no
In Germany, however, the law allows you to spend the night in a mobile home in public parking spaces "to maintain your ability to drive", as long as you don't set up your camping chairs and start barbecuing in public. This means that if you get tired from driving, you can sleep in a public parking lot to wake up. As a rule, ten hours are considered acceptable to restore driving ability.
However, it is important to note that if you stay longer in a parking lot and even unpack camping chairs, you are claiming a special right of use that is not given in public parking lots.
Campground Guides in English
Where can you stand with the roof tent?
If you like to travel and you have your roof tent with you, you are probably wondering where you can stay overnight. The good news is that there are many options. However, there are also some limitations that you should be aware of.
First of all, it is important to know that staying overnight in residential areas is prohibited in Germany. Therefore, you should always look for special campsites or suitable pitches. However, there are many campsites that are specially equipped for rooftop tent campers. At these places you will often also find sanitary facilities and power supply.
are you with one Car with roof tent on the road, you can generally sleep in a roof tent in public parking lots – provided that your tent does not exceed the width of the vehicle. You can stand in these parking lots for one night and then have to move on. In addition, you should limit yourself to sleeping in the roof tent in such parking lots. Setting up picnic tables or similar is not permitted there. However, be careful, because such parking spaces are often visited by thieves.
It is also important to always be careful not to cause environmental damage and respect nature. Don't leave litter and avoid loud music or noise at night. There are many options where you can stay overnight with your roof tent. Nevertheless, it is of great importance to follow the rules and protect nature.
However, parking lots of supermarkets or shopping centers are not included as they are private parking lots. One possibility is, for example, in parking lots on the motorway or in parking bays and rest areas on federal highways, provided there are no signs prohibiting mobile homes. Staying overnight in such parking lots is usually free of charge, unless it is a paid parking lot.
Fines for a violation can be high. Here some examples:
- If you violate a ban, a fine of 10 euros or more will be levied
- If a parked motorhome hinders others, the fee is from 15 euros.
- If the motorhome is parked in a blind spot, it costs 35 euros.
- If the motorhome hinders others at the same time, the fine increases to 55 euros.
- If you camp in forbidden places with the mobile home, it costs between 10 and 200 euros, depending on the federal state. "Camping" differs from "parking". You camp when you set up your camping chairs, grill in front of the motorhome or extend the awning. Parking means that you park the mobile home unchanged from the outside. Inside you can stay and, if necessary, sleep to restore your driving ability. Even staying overnight in the same place several times is considered camping.
- If you camp in a nature reserve, the fine (depending on the federal state) is between 15 and 1500 euros.
- Camping in a nature reserve is also prohibited. If you violate it, it costs between 50 and 2500 euros, depending on the state.
The dimensions and weight of the motorhome play a role if you want to stay overnight in the motorhome outside of campsites in Germany:
- If you park the motorhome on a parking lane, you have to make sure that you do not hinder anyone or pose a danger to others.
- If a motorhome is allowed to park on a sidewalk, this only applies to motorhomes with a total weight of up to 2,8 tons.
- There are parking spaces where campers can stay longer. Such places are marked with the signs 365-67 and 365-68 or the addition 1010-67.
What about motorway rest stops? Where can you stay overnight in a mobile home in Germany?
However, this is where it gets difficult. If only truck and car parking spaces are signposted, a motorhome trailer and trailer may not be parked anywhere legally. The truck sign allows parking for vehicles over 3,5 tons, but the towing vehicle cannot be a car. It is therefore advisable to look for another parking space.
An alternative are truck stops. There, parking may be associated with costs, since truck stops are privately operated. However, you will often find disposal stations there, which are extremely practical for campers.
Are caravans allowed to park in mobile homes?
That is not allowed. A motorhome parking space is not permitted for trailers, unless a sign expressly authorizes this. If the sign only shows a mobile home, the parking space is only permitted for mobile homes.
Where can you stay overnight in a mobile home in Germany? There are free parking spaces in Germany here
However, there are places, wineries or restaurants that want to attract tourists, customers and visitors with free parking spaces for mobile homes. Few are completely free. Some ask for donations for the upkeep of the place. At others, visiting the restaurant is a prerequisite for being able to use the parking space. In these special places you can stay overnight in a camper or stay overnight with the mobile home in the parking lot.
You should know these campground guides
The Bordatlas * lists the most popular parking spaces in Germany and Europe. You will find over 7000 motorhome parking spaces and large-format maps in this parking space guide. 3800 parking spaces are listed for Germany. The rest is spread across 35 countries in Europe.
The question "Where can I stay overnight in Germany with the mobile home?" is therefore not that easy to answer. It is possible to spend the night in a mobile home in Germany at the locations mentioned, but you should also know what rights and obligations are associated with it. In addition, it is of course important to know what the average prices for such accommodation options are.
Where can I stay overnight in a mobile home in Germany
Addendum after the trip:
We did the motorhome trip along the Main as planned and we really liked it. We stayed overnight on campsites as well as on pitches and campsites without running water and electricity. We did the latter in places where campsites were not available. Since we had a shower in the RV, we found that the water supplies run out quickly if you don't fill them up every night. Staying overnight in a mobile home in Germany can be more pleasant.
As a result, we sometimes drove a little off the route we originally planned to get to campsites with amenities. Staying on a pitch for one night is fine, but not our choice for overnight stays on camping trips. We were almost always on the lookout for pitches and campsites with comfort. So it was good to know where you can stay in Germany with a motorhome.
Camping guide for Europe
Planning a camping trip down south? No problem! The ADAC camping guide is also available for southern Europe.
Camping and pitch guides to choose from:
- ADAC parking space guide 2021 Germany and Europe: ADAC expertise on over 6600 parking spaces*
- ADAC Camping Guide Germany & Northern Europe 2020*
- camping.info Camping Guide Germany 2021*
- ADAC Camping and Parking Space Atlas Germany/Europe 2021/2022 (ADAC Atlases)*
- ADAC travel guide: The 111 most beautiful campsites for families*
- Germany 2024, camping guide ACSI: incl. Benelux-Denmark-Austria-Switzerland*
- Europe 2024, CampingCard & Pitch Guide ACSI*
- Campsites & RV sites in Germany 2021: BVCD Camping Guide Germany 2021*
- Motorhome Highlights Germany. Destinations and tours between the Baltic Sea and the Alps.*
- The best RV parks in Germany. Places for holidays on four wheels. Glamping, nature and adventure. *
- The big motorhome book Germany: The most beautiful routes between Sylt and the Alps.*
- camping.info Camping Guide Alps 2021: Austria, Switzerland, Bavarian Alps and South Tyrol-Trentino*
- Let's Camp! Short trips in and around Germany*
- Camper pitches: More than 1400 pitches throughout Germany*
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I legally stay overnight with my motorhome?
There are several options to legally stay overnight with your motorhome. You can stay on special camper sites, campsites as well as in designated parking areas for camper vans.
What are RV sites and where can I find them?
RV sites are special areas reserved for RVs. They usually provide basic facilities such as electricity and water connections and disposal facilities. You can find RV parks in many cities and holiday regions.
Can I park my motorhome anywhere and stay overnight?
No, not everywhere. There are laws and regulations that prohibit staying in RVs in certain locations. It's important to educate yourself about local rules. Many countries do not allow overnight stays outside of designated areas or outside of campsites.
Can I also stay at campsites if I am not a member of a camping association?
Yes, in most cases you can stay at campsites without being a member of a camping association. Many campgrounds offer both member and non-member guest sites. Prices may vary depending on the campsite.
Are there also free possibilities to stay overnight with the mobile home?
Yes, there are some free options to campervan overnight. Some municipalities or cities offer free or low-cost parking for RVs. In addition, so-called "wild camping" is allowed in some countries, but you should inform yourself about the rules and regulations beforehand in order to avoid possible fines.
Tips for motorhome trips
- Camping Holiday Guide: Tips and tricks for all campers
- Gifts for camping friends
- camping lamps
- Packing list motorhome - what you should not forget
- E-bike folding bike for camping
- Winter Camping Bavaria – What should you pay attention to?
- Cooking in the camper
- Portable grill for picnic and camping
- Motorhome trip through the wine country of Franconia
- Motorhome tips for newbies
- Go on a culinary journey of discovery with the mobile home
- Gifts for campers and motorhomes
- Traveling with a motorhome - tips
- Camping at the Chiemsee - Here you will find campsites
- Discover Europe while traveling
- Gifts for travelers
Do you also know:
- Germany vacation and travel tips
- Camping accessories store
- Cool box for camping
- The ultimate camping guide for Aachen
Source motorhome parking spaces Germany: research on site
Text in Germany and Europe staying in a mobile home: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TWO
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TWO