Campsites during our trip to Croatia, Italy & France

06.15.2018 Le Poet Celard (3).JPG
The lovely campsite at Le Poet-Celard

During our trip through Germany and Austria to Croatia [with occasional excursions in to Slovenia] and on to Italy and France we stayed on 37 campsites.  Each site has some notes about our experience of the site:

Campsite name Number of nights Comments Cost
Camping Freizeitzentrum, Sagemuhle, Trippstadt, Germany 1 Large site by a small lake with bar & restaurant, lovely clean faclities, very hot water & indoor wash up, grassy pitches on well drained soil & open site, very good bread rolls £19.50
Hofgut Hopfenburg, Munsingen, Germany 2 Open site above the town with hard-standing walking from site in woodland, facilites excelletn, clean, warm, very hot showers, indoor wash-up, drying room, fresh bread, great site for €15 £15.00
Alpencamping Mark Weer Austria 2 Green site with grass & trees & friendly welcome, walking & cycling, clean facilities, good hot showers, bread rolls & lots of info £17.00
Camping Goldeck Seeboden, Austria 1 Grassy terraced site with clean facilities, building work going on & entrance steep, facilities dingy & cold but warm water, air of neglect £19.00
Camp Slapic, Duga Resa near Karlovac, Croatia 3 Nicely laid out site with open & shady pitches by river, English spoken at reception, lovely modern facilities, bar & restaurant, walking & cycling & railway station 5 mins away £19.00
Camp Marina Lozovac Sibenik, Croatia 2 Small site with marked pitches & some shade, clean facilities, roomy shower/wet rooms & hot water that runs continuous 2 kms from national park & excursions from site £15.00
Autocamp Peros Zaton Nin, Croatia 1 Small site, friendly welcome, grassy with trees, facilities basic but the water is hot & showers fine, peaceful, a few kms to Nin a lovely old town £17.00
Bluesun Camp Paklenica Starigrad, Croatia 4 Large site by the sea with bungalows & chalets, stony ground, level & pine trees for shade, modern facilities & good hot showers with no push buttons & roomy cubicles near the town £17.00
Hostel Plitvice Rastoke Camperstop, Slunj, Croatia 1 Car park with fantastic views over the river gorge to the town and EHU. £15.00
Camp Slapic, Duga Resa near Karlovac 1 Different pitch, the site now has bread in restaurant £19.00
Vugec Plac Camper Stop Samabor, Croatia 2 Small site for 4 vans, flat & grassy with 1 bathroom & sitting area / itchen & pool, all new & clean, hedged & gated in peaceful area with open views, good hot shower, friendly owner £20.00
Terme Olimia Camping Podcetrtek, Slovenia 1 Clean facilities, shaded pitches, aquapark not open so fairly peaceful but some road noise £17.00
Camping Terme Ptuj Slovenia 1 Grassy site, pitches in circular areas, busy with group from Netherlands, good hot showers £19.00
Camping Amarin Rovinj Istria, Croatia 2 A large grassy sloping site with trees, facilities basic but clean & hot water, fresh bread & shop water taxi & bus to Rovinj £17.00
Motovun Motorhome Parking Motovun, Croatia 1 Sloped gravel parking area for 12 vans, some trees only 1 shower & 1 toilet per sex, good hot showers & water by pitch £25.00
Camping Park Lijak Active Sempas near Nova Gorica, Slovenia 1 Grassy site with views of hills, friendly welcome, facilities modern & clean, water in showers only just warm enough, €5 tourist tax £17.00
Belvedere Pineta Campng Village Grado Italy 3 Large site by lagoon in pine woods, good size pitches, cycling routes from the site, no toilet seats or toilet paper, €17 on ACSI (we used some free camping cheques) good hot showers, supermarket, restaurant & bleach, wi-fi €5 a day £0.00
Lago 3 Comuni Alesso, Italy 2 Small site with pleasant bar, small pitches, showers push button & barely warm but facilities clean by a lake & mountain views £21.00
Sosta Barcis, Italy 1 Level car park by lake & cycling from site, small town with some shops, toilets nearby & water & electric on pitch, some music noise until 01.30 it was Saturday £14.00
Camping Lago Arsie, Italy 2 Level grassy site by lake with shop & restaurant, good size pitches, very little shade, helpful reception, showers hot but showerheads a burst of water rather than a shower, facilities modern £19.00
Camping Valle Verde Predazzo, Italy 3 Excellent & peaceful site in mountain valley, given a map of 10 local walks & cycle routes, facilities clean, toilet paper & paper towels, good hot showers £19.00
La Sosta, ponte di Legno, Italy 1 Car park on the edge of the mountain town with cafe & hook up, slight gradient, toilet with cafe, water on pitch £15.00
Camping Presanella Temu, Italy 1 Lovely views from this grassy site, clean facilities, cycle route from site, free wi-fi, hot showers but no heating in facilities £28.00
Camping Covelo, Iseo, Italy 4 Small site between lake & railway line, cramped pitches, friendly & helpful staff, good hot showers & clean facilities, near to town, extra €2 for lakeside £19.00
Montgenevre Aire, France 1 Large gravel aire with views over the village & mountains at 1,859 metres £13.00
Le Glandasse, Die, France 2 Large friendly site by the river popular with Dutch, marked pitches, showers small & push button, clean & almost warm enough, no toilet paper £13.00
Champ la Chevre, Lus-la-Croix-Haute, France 1 Sloping site with few level pitches but open views to the mountains & by village, indoor pool, good hot showers & clean facilities £15.00
Les Chapelains, Saillans, France 2 Small site by a town, friendly welcome, marked pitches, facilities open & showers only lukewarm & push button £15.00
Les Clorinthes, Crest, France 1 Level site with trees, friendly welcome & near to the town, facilities clean, showers push button & could be warmer £17.00
Le Couspeau Camping, le-Poet-Celard, france 2 Terraced site with wide open views across to hills, friendly welcome, 5 hrs of free wi-fi, all facilities, peaceful location, modern facilities & good hot showers, restaurant & bar £15.00
Camping de Mars, Cordelle, France 1 Overlooking the Loire, peaceful spot, facilities a bit dated & showers tepid, friendly rabbit, paid with free camping cheques so only paid tourist tax £1.10
Couleurs du Monde, Montrichard, France 1 Level site next to supermarket & 1 km from Montrichard & the Cher River, wrist bands obligatory, facilities clean but water tepid, popular with English £15.00
Les Acaacias Camping, Tours, France 2 Level site with some road noise, friendly & helpful welcome, good facilities, showers roomy & warm enough, 7 kms cycle route to Tours £17.00
Camping Les Plages de Loire, Rochefort-sur-Loire, France 1 Flat site by small town between Le Louet & Loire, facilities mixed, showers have been updated but were not very warm & push button, wash up is somewhat grim, pitches marked but narrow £13.00
Les Paludiers, Batz-sur-Mer, Le Croisic, France 2 Large rambling site with marked pitches, some very sloped, showers were roomy with sinks & warm enough in good weather, helpful reception £17.00
Municipal Campsite Corlay, France 1 Grassy area by play ground with hook up for 4 vans, toilets, basins and showers that were hot & good but a bit scruffy, no one came to be paid £0.00
Riva Bella, Ouistreham, France 2 Flat site near town & supermarkets with indoor pool but also peaceful corners, modern facilities, roomy showers with wash basins that had warm water £17.00
Camping La Fontaine des Clercs, Montreuil, France 1 The pleasant aire was full so we used this terraced site with some small pitches & dated facilties, free wi-fi, showers tepid but very hot water in sinks, popular & busy £19.90

Two months campervan trip to Croatia, Italy & France: what did it cost?

05.05.2018 Krka National Park (1).JPG
Krka National Park in Croatia

On our long foray to the European mainland we spent just over two months from April to June travelling around Europe in our campervan.  I always monitor the spending of our trips.  Sp how did the spending go?  For various reasons this trip was certainly more expensive than our autumn trip to Spain and Portugal.  Here is the breakdown in sterling:

  • Diesel – £610 (Croatia is quite a long way and we travelled over 4,200 miles)
  • Supermarket shopping – £956 (we did stock up on wine)
  • Cafes, restaurants & ice-creams – £467
  • Campsites – £983 (for 64 nights)
  • Tolls, bus & train fares & parking – £218
  • Entrance fees – £279 (including about £100 for the Krka National Park excursion)
  • Miscellaneous – £115 [maps, campsite washing machines, occasional wifi & bits of kit]
  • Ferry [return Hull to Zeebrugge] – £489
  • TOTAL – £4,117 – average [without the ferry] £55 / day [this is £11 a day more than our autumn trip to Spain and Portugal]

We had travelled a long way to Croatia and to some extent this affected our spending.  We paid almost €110 for the two of us an excursion in a minibus around Krka National Park.  This tour [organised through Camp Marina] meant that we saw more than we would have and for us it was well worth it.  We used some toll motorways in Croatia and bought vignettes for Austria and Slovenia.

Not surprisingly the cheapest country we stayed in was France with some nights of free camping and plenty of ACSI sites that are reasonably priced.  Campsites are notoriously expensive in Italy but we stayed on some very good sostas to keep our costs down.

We had a fantastic trip and we both loved visiting Croatia but to stay within budget during our retirement a trip this costly isn’t something we can do every year.

 

 

 

Top tips for a fantastic campervan trip to Croatia

05.10.2018 Malapaklenica (1) small
The Mala Paklenica gorge

Drink the coffee; it is good and affordable.  Outside of tourist resorts, Croatian cafes rarely sell cakes or anything at all to eat [but bakeries generally have excellent cakes you can buy and eat with your coffee].  Buy a coffee and you can linger and watch the world go by as long as you like.

The coastline of Istria is beautiful but take the time to explore inland.  We walked the 10 kms St Simeon Path that winds steeply down from the stone village of Gračišće to a stunning waterfall that falls into a turquoise blue pool and then climbs through woodland back up the hillside.  We also cycled along the some of the Parenzana cycle trail around Motovun, a wonderful walled hilltop town with stunning views.

Paklenica National Park is a fantastic place for walking and climbing but it is also popular and it is worth turning off the main valley route where you will quickly find solitude.  Mala Paklenica is a narrow gorge where the walking is more difficult but worthwhile and just outside the National Park there are scores of other walking and cycling opportunities.  We followed the trail to see the mirila above Starigrad, fascinating engraved stones up to 300-years old that mark the places where bodies were laid down to allow the bearers to rest during the journey from their mountain hamlet to the cemetery.

Krka and Plitvicka National Parks both get very busy with coach loads of tour groups, as well as individual visitors as seeing the waterfalls is an understandably popular activity.  It is worth arriving as early as you can to miss some of these crowds and enjoy the views in tranquillity.  We arrived at Krka at 09.00 and enjoyed the early morning peace before the rush.

Don’t miss Zagreb out of your Croatian itinerary, it is a pleasant and lively city that is easy to walk around.  The city has plenty of green spaces to relax in, more cafes than you will ever need and for lunch you can visit La Štruk and enjoy a baked cheese štrukli – this is the only dish the restaurant serves and it is delicious and filling.  For culture we visited the unique, heartbreaking and sometimes amusing Museum of Broken Relationships.

Camping Slapić near the small town of Duga Resa is an idyllic spot to relax.  There are cycling and walking routes from the site or you can just sit and watch the clear waters of the river pass by.  The Croatian campsites we stayed on were generally of a high standard and well run.

Veliki Tabor sitting on a hilltop north of Zagreb is everything a European castle should be and it will charm you.

In a previous post I mentioned how gorgeous it is around the village of Samobor so I couldn’t miss it out of this post too.

North-east of Zagreb we were enchanted by the city of Varazdin with its garden-cemetery and pretty historical centre and castle.  This is certainly somewhere that needs a campsite so that visitors can stay longer.

Croatian people will be so happy if you learn just a few words of their language.  Just being able to say hvala [thank you] and dober dan [good day / hello] will get you a long way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oodles of kindness found in Croatia

05.08.2018 Starigrad cycling (8)
Cycling by the Croatian coast near Starigrad Paklenica

Perhaps all our spring holidays are destined to have an ‘incident’ and if a bicycle accident is as bad as it gets on this trip then we are happy enough [although no incident at all would be better].  We were visiting the lovely town of Samobor, a short distance north-west of Zagreb and in a region famed for its wine and the grapes are grown in small strips of vineyards on the steep slopes.  Samobor’s main square is packed with cafes, many of them serving the local speciality cakes, kremsnita, a light and fluffy version of a vanilla slice.  These are delicious and we tucked in to a slice each while considering how friendly all the Croatian people we had met were.  In every cafe and campsite people had been helpful and welcoming and also pleased when we used our four words of Croatian.  We speculated whether Croatian people were naturally nice or if all these people were just good at their tourism jobs.

 

Our lovely campsite was a two kms easy cycle ride in to Samobor’s town centre along flat roads.  Climbing back on our bikes after our cakes we found the one-way system took us up a hill and as we then descended a steep residential street a breeze caught my much loved Portuguese sunhat I was wearing and I stupidly put a hand up to save the hat.  At that moment time went in to slow motion as it dawned on me that I was losing control of my bike and I was going to hit the tarmac.

Every part of my body hit the road in some way.  My lovely calm husband made sure I was safe and gently untangled me from my bike.  I could hardly move as I cautiously checked the many different parts of my body that hurt and when I did try and sit upright dizziness overcame me so I stayed lying down.  Over the next thirty minutes every Croatian who passed us by, in cars, on foot and other cyclists, stopped to ask if they could help, reverting to English as soon as they realised we weren’t Croatian; their kind-heartedness was both natural and extraordinary.  One man from the street bought a bottle of water, other local residents offered a pillow and everyone asked if they could call an ambulance for us.

I hoped I would be able to get back on my bike but it became apparent this might not be possible in the short-term and so Luka and his brother Noah, whose house I had fallen outside, came up with a plan to help.  They stored my amazingly undamaged bike in their garage, helped me in to their car and drove me the short distance to our campsite.  Hubby followed on his bike and then Luka and Noah took him back so that he could return on my bike; what heroes!  During our car journey I was still in shock and at first could only keep repeating ‘Hvala’ [thank you], ‘You speak Croatian!’ Luka delightedly exclaimed.  I managed to pull myself together enough for conversation and Luka, Noah and I found a shared love of Manchester United, we talked about the many beautiful places we had seen in Croatia and they told me about their studies.  They were both exceptionally generous human beings.

At the campervan I investigated my injuries, cleaned up the cuts and grazes, got out the ice packs and ibuprofen and counted my lucky stars I had no broken bones.  My left wrist was sprained, a rib cracked, my right hand had some wounds and there was blood on my face from grazes.  In truth it is easier to tell you where I don’t have any bruises than describe where they are.  The right side of my face soon swelled up and after a couple of days the bruises emerged from underneath my tan.  I keep forgetting about this visible sign of my injuries and then wonder why people are looking at me strangely, children must be saying to their parents, ‘Why has that woman got a blue face?’  I can’t open a jar of olives just at the moment, reaching up to all those high cupboards in the ‘van is painful and getting comfortable at night is tricky [even with painkillers] but it could have been so much worse.

Falling off my bike is a drastic way to test the goodness of the people of Croatia but we can now confidently say that Croatia is not only beautiful it is also truly friendly.