/ Camper Guide / Europe / Getting Around

The basics for driving a motorhome in Europe

Driving License

Driver's licenses are accepted from all countries by our motorhome rental companies in Europe. However, you are required to take an international driving license if your license does not include the most important information in English or the other local language. This international license needs to be presented along with the national license.

There is normally a minimum age limit for vehicle rental which may vary from rental company to rental company. We have dedicated a special section within our website for each of our rental company partners where you can obtain company-specific information on these kinds of matters. This section is always entitled 'Important rental info'.


When travelling through Europe one huge advantage is the large number of surrounding countries that are close by and indeed the rental companies do allow cross-border travel.

Be aware that several countries in Europe such as Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy charge tolls if you use their motorways. Germany does not charge any tolls for recreational drivers unless your rental vehicle weighs 3.5 tonnes or more (3,500kg).

The motorway or 'autobahn' is a highly modern road network and covers almost the whole of Germany, Austria and large parts of France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy to name a few. You will no doubt already know that traffic drives on the right and you are only allowed to pass on the left hand side. When travelling in a campervan or motorhome you should keep to the right wherever possible so that the many high-powered BMW, Mercedes and Porsche cars, etc can pass in the left-hand passing lanes. In all larger European countries there are a number of restaurants, petrol stations and kiosks alongside the motorways so you are never far away from the next meal as you travel.

While parts of Europe are famous for its autobahn sections with no speed limit this rule was certainly not designed with motorhomes in mind. In order to see more of each European country we recommend that you also take the slower-paced side roads, which allow you to see more of the heart of the country.

Child seats are compulsory in all European countries. For example, in Germany children under 4 years of age require a baby/child seat and children under 12 years of age must use a booster seat.

Within city limits, the maximum speed limit is 50 kmph (1 kilometre = 0.62 miles) and city limits are usually clearly marked. Motorhomes are required to follow the same speed limit as normal cars on the open road (normally 100 kmph unless otherwise signposted) or the limit prescribed by the motorway signs.


It is very important to take good maps with you as you travel around Europe. Most European-based rental companies do not provide detailed maps. For this reason, and especially if you plan on visiting several countries we strongly recommend that you purchase detailed road maps for your holiday destinations before departing from your country of residence. This is especially important if you wish to use a map in your native language.

Maps for central European countries use the metric system and various companies publish very good European maps. One suggested brand is the Michelin series.

Driving Requirements

In most central European countries you are required to always carry the vehicle registration documents, your rental agreement as well as proof that you are insured. The country symbol (e.g., 'GB' for the UK) must be visible at the rear of your vehicle also. This is normally placed alongside the rear license plate. Apart from standard items such as a spare tyre, tools and a jack there are several safety items you will find in your motorhome in parts of Europe which may or may not be standard for you at home.

A safety triangle and first-aid kit are required by law to be kept in the vehicles. The latter can be safely stored away and is normally required to be placed on the roadside at least 50 metres behind the motorhome if you have a breakdown or accident on the side of the road.


The digital GSM standard is used in European countries. If your mobile phone company uses this standard then you will be able to use 'roaming' to connect with your normal mobile number. This is a convenient, yet expensive system. In most cases roaming takes place automatically when you turn your phone on. However, we recommend that you double check with your mobile phone provider before departure to ensure that they do not need to connect you first and to make sure that your phone can be used on the European GSM system.

A cheaper option is to purchase prepaid phone cards locally which can be used to make calls from public pay phones. Please be aware that with the advent of mobile phones there are now not as many pay phones available in Europe.

Petrol and Diesel

Petrol and diesel prices vary from country to country. If you are planning to cross borders it is worthwhile to find out which countries offer the cheapest fuel. For example, in Germany super unleaded petrol costs € 1.75 per litre and diesel costs € 1.63 per litre (as at March 2023) while in Austria you can expect to pay a little less per litre petrol. These prices may also vary due to international oil price fluctuations. The latest European fuel prices can be found on: www.theaa.ie/aa/motoring-advice/petrol-prices.aspx. You are never far away from a petrol station in Europe.


VAT is charged on top of the price for most goods and services and this is normally included in the displayed price. Anything you pay to Motorhome Bookers automatically includes VAT. The VAT rate ranges from country to country between 7 - 20%.


Shop opening hours vary greatly within Europe and in some countries most shops are closed on Sundays. Most EU countries use euro as their currency. The most notable exceptions to this are Switzerland, Norway and Iceland (as a non-member), the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic. Credit cards are widely accepted, although not as widely as in countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand or the USA. The most widely accepted credit cards are Mastercard and Visa. As a rule, supermarkets do not accept credit cards but petrol stations do. You can find cash machines in virtually all towns and cities if you wish to withdraw money with your credit card or if your debit card displays the 'Maestro' symbol.

Camping Grounds

Throughout central Europe there are around 9,000 camping grounds available. Many European camping grounds have extensive facilities. Most of them have well serviced showers, toilets, washing areas, and many also have kitchen areas where you can cook and wash your dishes. The camping grounds often also have bars, recreation rooms and small convenience stores onsite. In a lot of camping grounds you pay for your electricity by the kilowatt hour on top of the site rental rate.

Often, the camping grounds have areas for tourist sites as well as those for semi-permanent caravans which are used by the locals especially at the weekends in July and August.

You can expect to pay between 20-30 Euros per night as the base rate for a motorhome site at a camping ground.

There are various areas in these countries where you can camp in the open for free, but it pays to be aware of the local regulations which can differ from country to country and from town to town. For example, in Germany and Austria there are also designated areas called 'Stellplätze' in some areas, where it is possible to park or camp with a motorhome for a small fee. You may also be allowed to park on private land if you ask the owner for permission first.

Some camping grounds have ordered, numbered sites while a great many allow you to park wherever you wish and in both cases you can usually choose your location on a first-come-first-served basis. Because not every camping site has an electricity connection for a motorhome or caravan it is important to request this specifically before you arrive at a camping ground, unless you won't be needing to use that connection.

To find a campsite anywhere in Europe visits www.eurocampings.co.uk.


The climate in Europe is almost as varied as landscapes but in central Europe it is normally temperate or marine. Extreme temperature lows and highs are rare except in alpine areas. Summer is a very pleasant time and temperatures typically range between 20 and 30°C during the day and occasional rainfall can be expected. Autumn is an enjoyable time to visit Germany, especially in the more densely forested areas with their spectacular Autumn colours.

As a rule, April - October represents the best time to travel with a motorhome in Europe. May, June, September and October are great times to travel around as they are not overly busy months. July and August are the months where most Europeans are on holiday and accommodation can be tight, but this is still a very pleasant time to travel around - especially if you are not travelling to where the Europeans go, which for a large part means the mediterranean coast or the mountains. However, if you do decide to travel during these months, early arrivals at camping grounds and early departures will ensure an enjoyable holiday. Northern Europe is also less visited by Europeans than the South.