Six countries where it is easy (and legal) to camp for free

Sleeping alone under the stars and cheap camping trips are a dream for a lot of campers.

There are countries where it is legal and uncomplicated to camp (almost) anywhere in the wild, without spending a penny. You have to follow the rules of each country and take responsibility: you cannot leave traces of your passage and damaging the environment.

Here are six destinations that are particularly welcoming for adventurous campers:

1. Norway

Shores, forests, mountains, peat bogs. Under the right of access to nature[right to roam], it is legal to camp almost anywhere in Norway, as long as you stay 150 m from the nearest house and are not on cultivated or developed land. This applies to tents, but also to motorhomes. Want to camp for more than two nights in the same place? Permission must be sought from the owner of the premises unless you are in a very remote area.

2. Sweden

The same principle of access to nature applies in Sweden, which allows everyone to walk, cycle or ski, as well as to pitch their tent on any land, except private or cultivated area. It is necessary to remain 70 m from inhabited houses and, of course, to respect local prohibitions.

3. Denmark

This Scandinavian country also allows you to spend the night outdoors free of charge on Crown-owned wilderness, but you should be well informed. There is a list of forests where wilderness camping is permitted, and different types of camping permitted: under the stars, on small developed sites, on large sites.

4. New Zealand

Free camping or freedom camping is legal on New Zealand public land. There are more than 500 designated places, with few or no services, where you can spend the night free of charge in your campervan or tent, in the heart of nature. Each of these sites has its own rules.

5. Scotland

It is legal to do informal camping in Scotland if it is in small groups, with light equipment, and if you spend only two or three nights in the same place. Avoid historical sites, proximity to homes or roads, animal fields and some national parks which banned this type of wild camping.

6. The United States

It is possible to camp legally and free of charge outside developed campsites, in tents or motor homes, on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. That gives us a lot of choices. You will find tips and regulations online, depending on where you want to visit.

streets of dominica

After Maria, Dominica relies more than ever on tourism.

Last September, the passage of Hurricane Maria brought tourist activity on the island to a halt. Six months later, the destination takes stock of its reconstruction.

Despite Maria’s devastating passage, there is no way Dominica will ever forget her tourism.” At present, efforts to rebuild the destination have been colossal, says Colin Piper, director of the Discover Dominica Tourism Authority. Dominica welcomed its first cruise ship in Portsmouth at the end of December and in the capital Roseau last January. We have also confirmed the reopening of the main natural sites. Accessibility to public services such as water and electricity are in their final stages.” In detail, 19 of 23 natural sites such as Trafalgar Falls, Indian River or Cabrits are officially open and welcoming visitors. The diving spots are also accessible, says the Tourist Office. Regarding accommodation, 40% of the rooms are available for reservation, and an additional third should reopen by the end of the year.

Tourists can participate in the reconstruction.

maria stormThe progress of the reconstruction can be followed in real time on the Dominica Update website. A positive signal, the destination announces the imminent arrival of high-end hotel projects. The Anichi Resort & Spa (Marriott Group), Cabrits Resort Kempiski and Jungle Bay Resorts & Spa will be inaugurated in 2019. A significant sector of the Dominican economy, the tourist recovery is a crucial axis for the island,” stresses the Tourist Office. The devastating passage of Hurricane Maria was a blow all the more severe as the island was making an “excellent year for tourism”.

In the end, 2017 will have ended with a relatively moderate drop of 8.9% in tourist arrivals, all markets combined. Tourists who so wish are invited to participate in the reconstruction of the island through voluntary tourism packages: travelers can register with local hotels or operators to engage in targeted reconstruction and clean-up operations while discovering the island.

Réunion island

Reunion Island continues to promote tourism in Europe.

The IRT has just completed two significant operations with European tourism professionals: Germany at the ITB Berlin and metropolitan France at the annual roadshow in several major cities. The IRT continues the growth momentum that began with the excellent 2017 figures.

The meeting took place at German time from 7 to 11 March. Germany is one of the world’s largest emitters of tourists. “It is a market of vital importance in the tourism market diversification strategy successfully pursued by the Réunion Region since 2010,” explains the IRT.

German tourists now represent more than 6% of the total number of foreign visitors to the island in 2017, 1.5% more than in 2016 and the most represented European country (behind metropolitan France). The margin of progress is therefore real, and it was essential that this year again, Reunion Island be present at the most important European meeting for world tourism professionals.

south of africaThe IRT teams accompanied twenty-two Reunionese players (hoteliers, incoming agencies, and airlines) for a week to promote their exchanges with European and international tourism operators. Nevertheless, if the first three days of the show are only reserved for professionals in the sector, the last two days are open to the general public.

A stand of more than 150 m2 was therefore made available to these professional partners to guarantee them high visibility, maximize contacts and strengthen links with visitors interested in the destination.

All participants agreed that this week was “a real success for all”: many contacts were established between the IRT, its partners, and many international tourism professionals.

Similarly, more than 30 journalists expressed “their interest in our island and their desire to make it known to their respective audiences. More generally, visitor feedback has been very positive and testifies to the considerable gain of notoriety for the great island, perceived as a prestigious, preserved, confidential destination that still inspires the most distant travelers.

In its desire to make Réunion even more attractive and to promote it to metropolitan tourism professionals, the IRT also organized, as it does every year, a roadshow in three major French cities.

Accompanying this time twelve actors of the tourist sector of Reunion, the teams of the IRT gave appointment to the travel agencies, tour-operators, commercial, specialized journalists and ambassadors of the destination Bordeaux, Paris, and Lille respectively last March 13, 14 and 15.

These meetings with professionals, the first marketing relay for the destination Réunion aupreÌ s of the general public, have several objectives: to strengthen links with the prescribers of the destination, to transmit the most striking best practices and sales arguments, but also to generate maximum sales in the short and medium term.

Metropolitan France remains “the largest emitting market for tourism in Reunion Island”: in 2017 it accounted for more than 78% of the total number of visitors. It is therefore essential for the IRT to maintain strong links with French tourism players through operations like this one.

the romantic deux cheaveaux on the french roads

Restoring the workhorse: Citroen 2CV

With an unmistakable profile the Citroen 2CV is not just a car with a heritage going back to the 1940’s, but a national icon and a highly sought after collectable. Having started as a workhorse in rural France, the ‘deux cheveaux vapeur’ (two steam horses) quickly became an affordable and easy to maintain method of transport across France. Before long it was being produced across Europe, with thousands sold globally.

Having ceased production in the 1990’s, Citroen has moved on to other things, but the 2CV is still a popular car for collectors with the chassis alone often being bought for a premium. Collectors can buy a refurbished model for a relatively small outlay and those with an old model rusting in the back yard may find that there are some surprising choices for that old ‘tin snail’ (as the 2CV has been affectionately called). So here are a few options for the budding 2CV enthusiast.

2cv car in actionPRET-A-ALLER: The old deux cheveaux can still be picked up on popular shopping websites (such as eBay or Gumtree), often pre-restored and ready to go. These are perfect if you are after this classic for a runaround or as a collectable item. There are also several companies dedicated to lovingly restoring the old ugly duckling back to its full potential. However if you are looking to get hands on there are still options for finding unloved 2CV frames in farmyards and driveways across Europe or even the above-mentioned websites. From a mechanical point of view, this is a straightforward car to play with with no electric parts and mostly straightforward engineering.

PIMP THAT RIDE: Anyone looking to turn heads with a unique look would do well to pick up an old 2CV and see what can be done. From crazy paint work and fat tyres to high torque motorbike engines, there is a world of possibility for the creative mechanic. If time and money are no object, there are plenty of companies that could come up with a very good idea for a tired old flying dustbin. As there is a surprising amount of room in these old cars so, you can have fun putting in extras such as sound equipment or plush seating to create a fast and furious ride that no one would forget in a hurry.

WORK THE WORKHORSE: Another idea is to take the old workhorse and take it to a new market. The modern taste for retro and vintage means that in the right hands a 2CV could become an integral centrepiece to the right project. Perhaps a pop-up coffee shop, posh burger stand or even part of a mobile vintage clothes shop. The sky is the limit. There are also several models of 2CV van that can be found if needed for the right type of project. The Citroen HY and the H van are both designed as more heavy duty workhorses in a similar mould and can still be found if you look.

TAKE HER FOR A RIDE: One thing about certain old cars, the 2CV in particular, is the fuel economy. A well-restored Deux cheveaux would make a fabulous long distance road trip companion with plenty of interior space, good suspension, and high ceilings. The original model was designed to do around 50 mpg, but one might find that new reconditioned tin snails have different engines with varying degrees of fuel consumption. If you’re looking to go on a tour with a difference this summer, then take a look at a restored 2CV.

These old cars are popular for a reason, mainly their accessibility and ease of use and the surprising amount of fun you can have driving one, especially with the top down. If you’re looking for a little bit of retro ‘joie de vivre’ or even thinking of an engineering project then finding one of these flying dustbins would be a great start!

streets of paris during winter

A potted guide to ‘La Belle France.’

As one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations, France has much to offer. With a rich cultural history, fantastic scenery and some of the best food and drink to be had anywhere on the planet, there is so much more to be seen that just Paris. So where else should you go to experience this marvellous country?

The Mediterranean Coast: You don’t need to be a billionaire with a pad in St Tropez or Monaco to enjoy the French Mediterranean.

view of the town of sete south franceMarseille has a reputation as a bit rough and ready, but the city has a charm all of its own. As a port with connections to North Africa, the cosmopolitan nature of the city is evident not just in its people, but it’s food and lifestyle. Take a stroll around the Vieux Port (old port) and sip a pastis as you watch the ships sail and then try a Bouillabaisse (fish soup) or genuine Berber tagine just off Canebiere boulevard.

Just down the road is Avignon, previous home of the Popes (before the Vatican). The city boasts fantastic Medieval forts as well as the famous Pont de Avignon (Bridge of Avignon).

The area around cool and trendy Montpellier is where the French come for their summer holidays. Long sandy beaches, cool coastal towns, and a genuine ‘laissez-faire’ vibe are the reasons to hit the beach here. Montpellier itself is a beautiful little city full of winding alleys lined with boutique shops.

Visitors to the region should also visit the Camargue, a vast protected natural area home to flamingos and other migratory birds.

amazing local producer selling traditional french foodThe East and the Alps: Fans of winter sports don’t need to be told of the fantastic opportunities to be had in the French Alps. Popular resorts such as Chamonix, Alpe de Huez and Courcheval have a reputation as some of the best skiing in the world and rightly so. No matter if you’re a learner or more advanced there will be something for everyone.

The region around Alsace and Reims is more famous as a farming heartland and where some of France’s most famous produce comes from. Reims is the centre of the Champagne region and is surrounded by beautiful lakes and farmland. The Alsace region provides some of the county’s most famous cheeses as well as exceptional beer thanks to the Germanic influence.

Normandy and Bretagne: The rugged north of the country is home to some of the most famous sights and food too. The stunning castle on the island of Mont St Michel is found close to Rennes or St Malo and is one of France’s most picturesque sights. The region of Bretagne (Brittany) is stunning and dotted with small fishing villages and rolling hills. After a day spent strolling the rugged coastline grab a crepe or a savoury galette (pancake) and wash it down with some local cider.

The Atlantic Coast: Bordeaux is a sleepy city world famous for it’s wine. Like most French cities it also has a host of exceptional museums, ancient churches and cathedrals and more than enough food to keep the most demanding gourmand happy.

In the furthest south-west is Biarritz in France’s Basque country. This pretty little town is famous for being the surf capital of France but has a distinct character thanks to it’s Basque influences.

If you’re looking for art, great food or adventure no matter where you head in this great country there will be plenty to keep even the most world-weary traveller happy.

the amazing city of carcassonne
The amazing city of Carcassonne