For those interested in van life, Germany has much to offer. The country boasts stunning landscapes and an array of vibrant cities, as well as a variety of national parks and other protected areas. It also has an excellent infrastructure, making it easy to find campsites or even wild camping spots (with permission). There are plenty of free camping opportunities, too.
Germany’s landscape is filled with forests, rivers, mountain ranges and absolutely stunning castles, making it a no brainer when you are considering where to travel for van life.
Wherever you travel to in your van across Europe, you are guaranteed to see plenty of German motorhomes and campervans about, and that just proves how popular this life style is in Germany, and how well equipped the country is for van life in Germany.
If you are considering van life in Germany, then we hope that you will find this blog post informative and that it will help inspire your trip!
Van Life in Germany Quick Facts
Our Route – Lake Konigssee – Ettal – Neuschwanstein Castle – Munich – Nuremberg – Black Forest
Duration – 10 days
Currency – Euros
Language – German
Fuel / LPG Cost – Roughly 1.80euros per litre for fuel and roughly 1.20euros per litre for LPG
Toll Roads – There is no requirement to have a vignette for Germany, or to pay for toll roads or motorways, which is amazing!
Places to park / stay overnight – Van life in Germany is a very popular way of life, so there are plenty of campsites and park-ups all over the country. Wild camping is not legal in Germany, but there are plenty of places where motorhomes and campervans are permitted to park that are not too expensive, or even in many cases, free.
Water / Electricity / Emptying – All of these services are available at the campsites and some of the park-ups, and if you look on Park4night you will find some service stops also.
Laundry – There are self service launderettes (waschsalon) all over Germany and some campsites will offer laundry services too.
Supermarkets – The two most popular supermarkets in Germany are Edeka and REWE. There are also lots of Aldi and Lidl all over Germany.
Our Germany Road Trip Destinations
Lake Konigssee is a natural lake in the far south of Germany in the Bavaria region. Lake Konigssee is surrounded by the Alps and has the most stunning views. Lake Konigssee definitely has the feeling of the Norwegian fjords.
It is not possible to walk around the whole lake as there is not a path but there are many hiking routes that are possible to do. We hiked to Malerwinkel, which is a lookout point with the most beautiful views over the lake.
We then carried on our hike up into the cliffs through the forest and looped round to the Jennerbahn cable car. This cable car takes you up Mount Jenner to an altitude of 1,874 metres. We didn’t take the cable car unfortunately as it was quite expensive!
Lake Konigssee is in the Berchtesgaden National Park, and this is also the area where the Eagle’s Nest is. The Eagle’s Nest is a Nazi-constructed building, it was used exclusively by members of the Nazi Party for government and social meetings.
We were hoping to visit the Eagle’s Nest but unfortunately it was closed in April when we visited. You are however able to see the Eagle’s Nest from Lake Konigssee through a telescope, that was unfortunately as close as we were able to get to the Eagle’s Nest on this trip!
The Berchtesgaden National Park and Lake Konigssee is a very beautiful part of Germany with plenty of hiking, cycling and lots more to do, so we would definitely recommend a visit to this part of Germany.
Ettal is a small village in Bavaria. Ettal is home to Ettal Abbey which is a stunning building and a benedictine monastery.
We parked for a couple of days at a car park behind the Abbey. The car park was the starting point of some amazing hiking routes. We hiked from here up to the Ettaler Mandl which is a 1636-meter-high mountain of the Ammergau Alps. This was a great hike which we definitely recommend if you are in the area.
Also, a 5/10 minute drive away from Ettal Abbey in Oberammergau there is a place called Kolbensattel. In the winter here they do skiing, and in the summer they have many exciting activities to do such as hiking, mountain biking and an alpine coaster!
The alpine coaster is the world’s longest weatherproof toboggan run with a magnet system. The slide comes down from the Kolbensattel Lodge, (2,600 m), which you can either hike up to or take a chair lift. We took the chair lift, and the cost all together for this and the slide for 2 adults was 39euros.
The coaster is a lot of fun for the whole family and we would recommend a trip here!
If you are a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fan, then you may recognise Neuschwanstein Castle as being the fairy-tale castle of Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, and one of the most famous castles in the world.
Neuschwanstein Castle was built in 1886 and was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat.
This castle was also the inspiration for the Disney Cinderella castle!
It is a completely magical castle high on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau, on the “Romantic Road”. It takes around 30 minutes to walk from the car park in the Hohenschwangau village up to the castle, up a steep hill. You can also take a horse and cart up to the castle.
It is possible to visit the castle at a cost of 17.50euros per adult when you book online, which we did, and we would recommend doing as the castle is a major tourist spot and can get very busy, and it may be a risk not pre-booking tickets. Tickets can only be booked as part of a guided tour.
You can book a tour with a guide, or you can book an audio guide, which is what we did. The tour only took around half an hour, which we didn’t think was very long considering the cost. Also, the car parking at the castle cost 13euros, so it can become an expensive trip.
Munich is the capital city of the Bavarian state of Germany and the third largest city in all of Germany. Munich is a city filled with history and centuries-old beautiful buildings, especially in the old town. Munich is also known for its huge annual beer festival, Oktoberfest.
There are not too many options for overnight parking around Munich for motorhomes and campers. We parked at the Allianz football stadium, which is the home of FC Bayern Munich, which was a fantastic place to park.
It’s further out from the city centre, but has great transport links to the city with an underground station right by the stadium.
It cost 15euros per night to stay at the stadium and it cost us around 15euros to get to and from the city on the underground, which took around 20 minutes.
The stadium parking has all the services you need for your motorhome or camper too, with waste and toilet disposal, drinking water and electricity. You are not able to park here on match days so it is worth checking this before you arrive.
In the heart of Munich, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel is a popular tourist spot. This is an attraction clock which chimes at 11am and 12am daily and puts on a show where the clock moves and plays music and tells a story!
We would definitely recommend a trip to Munich as it’s a wonderful city to walk around and take in the beautiful buildings and architecture.
An hours walk away from the stadium is the English Garden. This is Munich’s largest park, and also one of the largest urban parks in the whole world, even larger than Central Park in New York!
It is called the English Garden due to it’s layout which is like an English landscape park. The park is fantastic and has many activities on offer, and also has it’s own restaurants and beer gardens, well worth a visit on a nice day.
Nuremberg is the second largest city in the state of Bavaria. It is a city which held great significance during the Nazi Germany era where the Nuremberg rallies were held and also the Nuremberg trials.
Now though, Nuremberg is trying to shake this Nazi-era reputation and reinvent itself as a city of peace and human rights.
It is a beautiful city, especially the old town, with the cobbled streets, stunning timber framed buildings and beautiful statues and landmarks. The old town and new town of Nuremberg is split by the Pegnitz river.
We missed the Glockenspiel clock in Munich unfortunately but we managed to be in the right place at the right time to see the Glockenspiel at the Church of Our Lady in Nuremberg which we were really pleased about!
The black forest is a forested mountain range in Germany, full of mystical and magical tales, and is often associated with the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. The black forest covers an area of 6,000 km2, so it is absolutely huge, and you need to spend a good amount of time here to cover some of the amazing things there are to see and do here.
We didn’t feel that we were able to spend enough time here unfortunately, so we would definitely go back and dedicate a trip especially to the black forest, we loved it that much!
We started our trip to the black forest with a visit to the Wildline Suspension Bridge. This bridge is 60 metres above ground and 380 metres long above the black forest, and it is certainly not one for people who don’t like heights!
The bridge is on the Sommerberg in Bad Wildbad, and there are also some other attractions here including a viewing platform with a slide and a children’s play park.
From the bridge we headed to Baden Baden. Baden Baden is a spa town, known for it’s fabulous thermal baths. It is a beautiful, luxurious town.
We went to the Caracalla Spa which cost 22.50euros each for 2 hours. The spa has various indoor and outdoor pools at different temperatures, a steam bath, a sauna, a steam room and much more, so there is plenty to do to fill the hours that you spend here and have an amazing relaxing time.
After this we our next stop was Mummelsee Lake. Lake Mummelsee is located directly on the famous Black Forest high road, 1032m above sea level. The lake is a very mystical and magical place with lots of myths surrounded it, included the legend of a mermaid that lives in the lake.
There are lots of information points around the lake where you can learn more about these legends, so it’s a really interesting and fun place for the whole family and a great stop if you are travelling through on the Black Forest high road.
Triberg Waterfalls are the tallest waterfalls in Germany, with a descent of 163m and are well worth planning into your Black Forest trip. There are lots of cute squirrels roaming free around the waterfall, and you can buy food at the ticket entrance to feed them!
Also, there are lots of other activities to do around the waterfall such as a Black Forest Museum and an eagle show.
The Feldberg Mountain is the highest mountain in the Black Forest region at 1493m above sea level.
We followed this walking route that we found on All Trails – Explore | AllTrails – which was fab, and we really enjoyed it and had a great day.
We finished the hike with some great food at Siner Zit Pizzeria and Restaurant by the Feldberger Hof – of course giving the Black Forest cake a try! This hike was an amazing way for us to end our time in the wonderful Black Forest, where we hope to return and explore lots more one day.
In summary, van life in Germany was amazing. The country is literally made for van life, it is so popular and everywhere is well equipped for it. There are lots of great, free places to spend a night!
Whether you’re looking to go off-grid and explore the countryside or park up in vibrant cities, Germany has plenty of options for van lifers. The country is also known for its liberal attitude towards campervans and motorhomes, making it the ideal place to set off on a new life adventure.
We really hope you have found this guide to van life in Germany useful, and hope that it has helped to inform and inspire you if you are thinking of planning your own Germany road trip!
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!