You will find a complete overview of wild camping in Europe in this article:
✅ Where is wild camping legal?
✅ where is wild camping not legal – but tolerated?
✅ Where should you never go wild camping?
In this post you will find an easy to understand and complete list of all countries in Europe (including Germany)! In many European countries wild camping is not legal. Often you have to get permission from the land owner first.
Tip: You are looking for a specific country? Just use the table of contents or search with Ctrl+f
Note: This article is a bike & hiking wild camping in Europe overview. Practically a wild camping tent & bivy guide. The laws may not apply to a car, camper, caravan or VW bus.
Wild camping – What is it?
Let’s start with an explanation of terms. In this article, I’m talking about wild camping. By this I mean camping on sites not explicitly designated. In other words, camping away from campgrounds. It can mean camping in the woods and wild regions, but it doesn’t have to.
What to consider? Wild camping in Europe
What about wild camping in Europe? Is wild camping allowed in Europe? Where is it allowed and where is it forbidden? Unfortunately, the question cannot be answered so simply, because each country has its own laws on the subject.
In the following I give you some general rules and principles. You should always follow these when wild camping in any country:
- Camping in national parks, nature reserves, landscape conservation areas, nature reserves and hunting reserves is strictly prohibited.
- Private land: Camping here is only allowed with the permission of the owner.
- Landscaped areas: Camping is prohibited here
- Do not leave rubbish and do not damage the camping area
- Camping fire: Open fires are forbidden in many countries – especially in summer. Please be especially responsible with open fires. In the forest or in bush areas there is a particularly high risk of fire.
Note about this article: Not every country enforces the rules and laws harshly. If you follow the basic rules above, then you should have no problem in many countries when wild camping in Europe. Law enforcers may turn a blind eye and many locals are often relaxed about wild camping. Nevertheless, there is a risk of being warned or otherwise getting into trouble.
With this article, I’ll give you an overview of where this danger is particularly high. However, this article does not constitute legal advice or any other legal assurance. This blogpost have been very carefully researched but is without guarantee and is for guidance.
Tent or bivy sack?
Often this question decides whether it is legal or illegal. Because tent or bivy sack often makes a big difference. Using the example of wild camping in Germany, I explain the case in more detail:
- Pitching a tent – whether in the woods, a meadow, a field or anywhere else is prohibited in most cases
- Establishing an emergency bivouac is not legally regulated by law.
In plain language this means: Erecting a tent is almost always forbidden. On the other hand, you can bivouac for one night with a bivy sack, a sleeping pad and a tarp. This puts you in a legal grey area – but in practice you shouldn’t have any problems. In addition, the principles mentioned above should be followed.
Wild camping in Germany
Wild camping in Germany is almost always prohibited by law. Bivouacking for one night is a legal grey area. Outside of nature reserves and other prohibited areas, emergency bivouacking should not get you into trouble.
Basically, each state decides individually whether wild camping is legal or illegal. In addition, individual municipalities may establish their own special rules regarding wild camping. Legally speaking, wild camping in Germany is an administrative offence and not a criminal offence.
Be sure to note the following:
- Avoid agricultural land. If you do camp there, it can be expensive: If, for example, an ornamental meadow or a wheat field is damaged by the erected tent, then the owner can sue for damages.
- Avoid private property: If the private property is not delineated by a fence or similar, then the owner may ask you to leave. The area is visibly demarcated and people are camping without the owner’s permission? Then it is a case of trespassing and there is the threat of criminal prosecution.
So when wild camping in Germany, it’s better to bring a bivy sack than a tent.
Wild camping in Europe
The laws on wild camping in Europe vary from country to country. Sometimes there are also different laws in different regions of the same country!
However, one thing in advance: If you behave inconspicuously, are not seen and also leave no traces and no garbage, then you will have mostly no problems.
Northern Europe is very wild camp friendly. Only one country in Northern Europe does not allow wild camping: Denmark. But even in Denmark there are many alternatives. Wild camping in Europe: In some countries in Northern Europe, wild camping is not only legal, it is also welcomed and encouraged.
Wild camping in Denmark
In Denmark wild camping is not allowed, i.e. you are not allowed to pitch your tent just anywhere. But there are many private campsites and also free camping facilities spread all over the country.
These primitive campsites are often equipped with simple wooden shelters. Sometimes there is even a toilet and running water. In the vast majority of cases you will find a roofed sleeping facility at these free campsites. Wild camping without a tent would therefore be possible in Denmark. Please note: Especially in the high season the roofed sleeping places can be occupied by other campers.
Please note: The free tent sites as well as the wooden shelters set up there are exclusively for hikers and cyclists for one night. The camp facilities are not permanent accommodation for several nights.
Camping is strictly prohibited on all beaches in Denmark.
The risk of being caught camping outside of campgrounds is very low. After all, Denmark is very sparsely populated. If you are caught wild camping, however, you will face a small fine.
Wild camping in Estonia
Wild camping in Estonia is legal. Only in a few national parks it is forbidden. Wild camping is part of the Estonian culture and therefore there should be no difficulties in the country.
There is even official and free infrastructure: at many places you can stay overnight for free on official campsites. Partly there is also a dry toilet on these places.
There are even many official campsites with some public facilities that are completely free.
Wild camping in Finland
Wild camping in Finland is legal. However, there are some exceptions and limitations. Even though wild camping is mostly legal: It’s best to check again before you go wild camping in Finland.
Wild Camping in Island
Wild camping in Iceland is theoretically legal. However, there are some limitations, which is why it is not recommended:
- You are only allowed to camp on undeveloped land
- No more than three tents may stand together
- You can only stay one night
However, there are a lot of special cases and restrictions – especially in the tourist areas. In addition, in the past tourists often left garbage in the nature. Therefore, wild camping in Iceland is not welcomed by the locals.
You still want to go wild camping in Iceland? In the highlands, after all, there are fewer restrictions and regulations.
There is one important rule you should always follow: If there is an official campsite nearby, use it. Because you are only allowed to wild camp in nature if there is no official campsite nearby.
Wild Camping in Latvia
Wild camping in Latvia is legal. However, there are some exceptions and limitations. So better inform yourself again, before wild camping in Latvia. As I said, you shouldn’t have any problems in most areas.
Wild camping in Lithuania
Wild camping in Lithuania is legal. However, there are some special cases where wild camping is prohibited in Lithuania. It is therefore best to check in advance whether there are any special cases for your desired region. The rules are very similar to those of Latvia. As I said, you shouldn’t have any problems in most areas.
Wild camping in Norway
Wild camping in Norway is completely legal. The laws and rules on wild camping in Norway are very similar to those in Sweden. As long as you don’t destroy anything and don’t disturb anyone, you should be on the safe side. Please camp on uncultivated land, i.e. not too close to houses and also not on farmland.
Wild Camping in Sweden
Wild camping in Sweden is completely legal. In Sweden the so-called Everyman’s Right (“allemansrätten”) is anchored in the law and therefore Sweden is one of the best countries for cyclists and hikers who want to camp wild.
Please make sure that no one is disturbed by your presence, i.e. do not camp too close to houses. Otherwise there are hardly any regulations and you are even allowed to spend two nights wild camping in the same place.
Simply put, you should follow the rule “Don’t disturb anyone and don’t destroy anything”. If you do, then wild camping in Sweden is quite relaxing.
The Everyman’s Right also allows camps in nature. In the hot seasons, authorities sometimes impose local and time-limited fire bans. Therefore, inform yourself on the Internet or at the local community and handle a campfire responsibly. With the app Naturkartan you can find the best fireplaces in Sweden.
Most countries in Central Europe are not as wild camp friendly as the countries in the north. Fortunately, wild camping in Europe is possible in most countries, even in Central Europe: Bivouacking for one night is tolerated in most countries here as well.
Wild camping in Germany
The situation regarding wild camping in Germany was described in detail at the very beginning of this article. Please read this paragraph carefully.
To sum up: wild camping in Germany is illegal. Emergency bivouacking, on the other hand, is a legal grey area and should not usually lead to any problems.
Wild camping in Liechtenstein
Wildacmpen in Liechtenstein is illegal. Probably bivouacking for one night is a grey area and should be tolerated. However, I could not find a reliable source for this statement.
Wild camping in Poland
Wild camping in Poland is illegal. However, people are very tolerant when it comes to wild camping here. Only in national parks is there a stricter enforcement.
So in most cases you should not have any problems. So when wild camping in Poland, it’s best to stay away from the touristy and crowded areas like the Tatra Mountains.
Wild camping in Poland – Summary: Wild camping in Poland is illegal, but mostly tolerated.
Wild camping in Slovakia.
Wild camping in Slovakia is legal. Only in the national parks you are not allowed to camp wild. Wild camping in Slovakia is unfortunately also forbidden in the Tatra Mountains.
Wild camping in Slovenia
Wild camping in Slovenia is illegal. Likewise, it is forbidden to build a fire in the wilderness. So wild camping in Slovenia is only possible if you really go deep into the wilderness. Some people think that wild camping is tolerated in Slovenia. Other people don’t share that opinion. There may also be different attitudes in the country towards wild camping in Slovenia.
Wild Camping in Switzerland
In Switzerland, wild camping is illegal. Nevertheless, the Swiss are very tolerant here: even if you get caught, you are often not sent away and can leave your tent pitched.
The risk that you will have to pay a fine is very small but the risk is there.
In the mountains you may bivouac for one night.
Wild camping in the Czech Republic
Wild camping is not allowed in the Czech Republic. The legal situation here is quite similar to that in Austria: pitching a tent is prohibited. Bivouacking for one night is tolerated in most cases. You must not be in prohibited areas such as a national park.
You want to go wild camping in the Czech Republic? Then take a bivy sack rather than a tent.
Wild Camping in Hungary
In Hungary wild camping is allowed for 24 hours in the same place. Also, you are not allowed to make a fire if it hasn’t rained for a long time and wild camping in Hungary is forbidden in national parks.
In addition, the national parks are very often controlled by foresters or other personnel. So better stay outside the national parks when wild camping in Hungary.
Wild Camping in Austria
Wild camping is prohibited by law in Austria. However, bivouacking for one night is usually tolerated – but make sure you are not in a prohibited area such as a nature reserve. Bivouacking means, for example, sleeping in a bivouac sack. The erection of a tent is prohibited in any case.
If you want to go wild camping in Austria, then better with a bivouac sack than with a tent.
In Eastern Europe there are no laws prohibiting wild camping in most countries. One could also say: Most of the Eastern European countries have no problem when it comes to wild camping in Europe. These countries are also very large in area. Therefore, the whole territory of the country cannot be controlled permanently. This statement applies only to Eastern Europe and not to Southeastern Europe.
Wild camping in Armenia.
Wild camping in Armenia is legal and allowed. There are also few restrictions on wild camping in Armenia.
Wild camping in Georgia.
Wild camping in Georgia is legal and allowed. There are also few restrictions on wild camping in Georgia.
Wild camping in Moldova
Wild camping in Moldova is legal and allowed. There are also few restrictions on wild camping in Moldova.
Wild camping in Russia.
Wild camping in Russia is allowed by law. However, there are some limitations here as well. Making a campfire is usually also allowed – with the exception of the hot summer months: then there are also bans.
Wild camping in Ukraine.
Wild camping in Ukraine is legal and allowed. There are some restrictions in national parks but in practice there is no real enforcement.
Wild Camping in Belarus
Wild camping in Belarus is legal and allowed. There are also few restrictions on wild camping in Belarus.
Southeastern Europe is not as wild camping friendly as Eastern Europe. In some of these countries wild camping is prohibited. However, in most countries wild camping in Europe is tolerated if you keep a low profile. Be sure to avoid tourist areas, beaches and mostly national parks for wild camping.
Wild Camping in Albania
It is difficult to find official information about wild camping in Albania. I haven’t found any legal texts. However, wild camping seems to be tolerated very generously in Albania. Even if there are bans, they are hardly enforced.
Albania has a lot of nature, which is perfect for wild camping. So it is very unlikely that you will have problems while wild camping in Albania. Albanians are also very hospitable and hospitality is deeply rooted in the culture. So chances are good that you will be invited by locals in Albania more often than usual.
Wild Camping in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Wild camping in Bosnia and Herzegovina is allowed but not advisable. You should know exactly what you’re doing! The country has great nature and there are many scenic spots. However, the country is still very heavily mined long after the Bosnian war. To put it in a nutshell: There are hardly any other countries that have as big a landmine problem as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Therefore, wild camping in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not recommended. If you still want to do it, consider the following:
- Find out in advance exactly about the area in which you want to wild camp
- Sometimes there are signs indicating that camping is okay in this area
Wild Camping in Bulgaria
Wild camping in Bulgaria is illegal. Recently, a law was passed that specifically prohibits camping outside of official campgrounds. In the past, there were beaches where people went wild camping for the entire summer. Presumably the law is supposed to put a stop to this.
Bulgarians are still very tolerant towards hikers, bikepackers and bicycle tourists. It seems that this law is only to prevent permanent camping and if you keep a low profile then you should not have any problems with wild camping in Bulgaria.
Wild camping in Greece.
Wild camping in Greece is not legal but is tolerated in most of the country. When wild camping in Greece it is best not to stay in tourist areas. Camping on the beach or in a national park is also not recommended.
If you are wild camping in a remote area or in the mountains, you should not run into any problems.
Wild camping in Croatia
Wild camping in Croatia is illegal. Tourists are an important economic factor for Croatia. This is why the official side takes action against wild camping more often than in other countries.
If you want to wild camp very remotely and in nature, then you probably won’t have any problems. It is best to keep a low profile here too and never camp in tourist areas or on the beach.
Wild Camping in Kosovo
Wild camping is allowed in Kosovo. I couldn’t find any sources online that said otherwise. There is also great nature in the country and therefore nothing stands in the way of wild camping in Kosovo.
Wild camping in Macedonia.
Wild camping is not allowed in Macedonia. However, many locals also camp wild in Macedonia. Macedonia is a very beautiful country and there are plenty of places to camp.
When wild camping in Macedonia, however, it is best to remain undiscovered.
Wild camping in Montenegro
Wild camping in Montenegro is not legal. However, most of the time wild camping in Montenegro should be tolerated. However, you should avoid touristy areas, the beaches and best of all the national parks.
Wild camping in Romania.
Wild camping in Romania is illegal. However, the Romanians are very tolerant towards campers and there are hardly ever problems. Again, the best thing to do here is to keep a low profile and stay out of sight of people
Wild camping in Serbia.
Wild camping in Serbia is legal. The only exception is national parks. But even there, the ban does not seem to be enforced. You should have absolutely no problems with wild camping in Serbia.
Wild camping in Slovenia
Wild camping in Slovenia is illegal. Some people claim that wild camping in Slovenia is tolerated. Others claim that Slovenians are rather critical of wild camping.
If you are wild camping in a remote and obscure location, you should not have any problems.
Wild camping in Turkey.
Wild camping in Turkey is legal. I couldn’t find anything to the contrary online.
Wild Camping in Cyprus
Wild camping in Cyprus is allowed – with a few restrictions: There are specially protected areas. Forest camping in Cyprus is also prohibited in these areas.
Wildacmping in Cyprus is therefore handled very loosely and there is nothing to be said against it. However, Cyprus is very strict about campfires: especially in the hot summer months, campfires are expressly forbidden.
In Western Europe wild camping is a rather difficult thing: In most countries wild camping is illegal in Europe and also not very welcome. The countries in Western Europe are densely populated, which is probably the reason for this situation.
Wild Camping in Belgium
Wild camping in Belgium: In Belgium there are generous rules for camping.
Outside campsites you are allowed to stay overnight in Belgium for up to 24 hours. The rule applies to campers as well as to travellers with tents. You are only not allowed to camp on parking lots, streets and private property. One night camping is allowed, both with tent and camper. On the coast you are also not allowed to camp and here is also strictly controlled.
Belgium also has a good infrastructure of scout campsites. On these places you can also camp legally. For an overview of Boy Scout campgrounds, check out this map.
Another overview of so-called bikawzones can be found at Biwakzone.be.
Wild Camping in England
Wild camping in England is illegal – except in Dartmoor.
Wild camping in France
Wild camping in France is a complicated matter. Most national parks have their own rules. There are also special rules in certain regions.
There is also a rule that says you should be at least an hour away from any road. How practicable this rule is, you may decide for yourself.
You want to play it safe? On this page you will find the official french law text (french) about wild camping in France.
Wild Camping in Ireland
Wild camping in Ireland is illegal but largely tolerated. If you stay in nature and pitch your tent far away from civilization, then you should not have any problems.
Wild Camping in Luxembourg
Wild camping in Luxembourg is illegal. For one thing, the country is very small and also densely populated. In Luxembourg, penalties are often imposed on wild campers. Wild camping in Luxembourg is therefore not recommended.
Wild Camping in Monaco
Wild camping in Monaco is illegal. Apart from that, there are hardly any places here where one would want to camp.
Wildcamping in the Netherlands
Wild camping in the Netherlands is illegal. The situation is similar to that in Belgium. After all, the Netherlands is very densely populated and there is even less free and natural space.
There are so-called “scout campsites” where camping and tenting is allowed. The places are marked by an appropriate sign. On these sites you are allowed to pitch your tent within a radius of 10 meters for a maximum of 3 nights.
Wild Camping in Northern Ireland
Wild camping in Northern Ireland is illegal. Most of the land is privately owned. Therefore, you actually need the permission of the owner before you pitch your tent. In practice, nothing should happen in remote areas.
In very remote areas, on public land and in the mountains you should not have any problems.
On this map you will find an overview of all Scout campsites in the Netherlands and Belgium.
For more tips on wild camping in the Netherlands, check out this helpful article.
Wild Camping in Scotland
Wild camping in Scotland is legal but there are some regional exceptions. These rules largely concern islands. So it’s best to find out the details that pertain to your travel region.
Wild camping in the United Kingdom.
Wild camping in the UK is allowed in some areas. In practice, there should be no problems if you keep a low profile in a remote area.
Please note the following when wild camping in the UK:
- In some areas wild camping is tolerated
- In other areas forest camping is strictly forbidden and is also punished in practice.
Wild Camping in Wales
Wild camping in Wales is illegal
Wild camping in Southern Europe is a difficult thing: in most of these countries wild camping is illegal and it is not tolerated.
Wild camping in Italy
Wild camping in Italy is a complicated business. Similar to France, the relevant laws are passed at local level and not nationally.
In general, wild camping for several nights is not welcome. Inconspicuous bivouacking in the mountains, on the other hand, should not be a problem. In between you often move in a grey area.
When wild camping in Italy, you should avoid tourist areas. Unless you are sure that wild camping is allowed in this region. In most areas, the laws are very strictly enforced.
Wild Camping on Malta
Wild camping in Malta is illegal and it is not tolerated.
Wild camping in Portugal
Wild camping in Portugal is illegal. In the low season you should not have any problems with wild camping in Portugal. Especially if you pitch your tent in an obscure spot and keep a low profile. This, of course, includes not starting a fire.
You should always avoid places like beaches for wild camping.
Wild Camping in Spain
Wild camping in Spain is very complicated. Similar to France and Italy, the relevant laws are passed at the local level rather than nationally.
In general you can say: Wild camping in Spain is mostly illegal and is usually not tolerated. There is even a department of the Guardia Civil that specifically tracks down wild campers. You really want to go wild camping in Spain? Then inform yourself in advance about the applicable laws of the respective region.
If wild camping is illegal in this region, then you better not do it, because the laws are enforced harshly.
You have more questions about wild camping in Europe? Feel free to write me your question as a comment below this article. I will answer your questions with pleasure and as soon as possible 😉
Wrong? Outdated or incomplete?
The rules and laws on wild camping in Europe are complex and can change over time. Most of the information in this article comes from online information and has been very carefully reviewed by me.
If you still noticed something in the article that isn’t true today, get back to me. Same goes if you want to share more tips here on the site.