A Guide to RV and van life in Germany – wild camping, water, laws ETC

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A guide to van life GERMANY!

After spending 2 months in Germany during our Europe trip we have racked up a few tips for you to take with you on your Germany travels. So if you are traveling in an RV/motorhome or a van this guide is for you. We are in no way experts but this is what we learnt on the road. 


There are large well-established campsites all over Germany. Even the cheaper campsites have toilets, bathing facilities and a small shop. The more well-equipped campsites can almost be characterized as open-air hotels with swimming pools, and supermarkets. Prices vary by location and facilities, and most are booked between June and September.


Well it’s not legal nor illegal. The law states that you are allowed to rest one night in your van/motorhome to be able to continue traveling safely. On the other hand you are in no way allowed to set up camp or even have chairs outside so remember that. Usually you won’t get any trouble if you sit in a chair outside your van during the day, just remember to take everything in at night and respect nature and locals wishes. 

When it comes down to it, if you are responsible, leave no trace and be kind to the people you meet you won’t have a problem.

How to find wild camping?

I wrote down a few words you can type in to google maps to find good places to sleep:

Waldparkplatz – Forest parking lot (Usually start of hikes)

Grillplatz – BBQ area with a BBQ pit and usually a gravel parking lot in nature.

Whonmobilstellplatz – RV parking (for free)

Parkplatz – parking lot

Park4night –

Honestly just the best app ever, this is an app we use in every country we go to. Pro tip is to buy the upgrade in the app. then you can choose what kind of spots you are looking for like electricity or water as well as campsites etc. We just absolutely love this app! 

Park4night google play 

Patk4night apple 


Germany has one of the best waters in the world. You can drink it with no problem. 

But how about finding places to fill up on, well that’s a walk in the park as well. 

We mostly traveled in the south and there it’s full of water fountains that you can connect to and fill up from. The water is super clean and comes from the mountains. I have heard that during the winter most of the taps are turned off but since we travelled during summer we have no experience of this. If you can’t find water from fountains you can always check park4night where you can find many water taps. 

Most campings usually have water taps that you can fill from from a small fee, we only did this ones, after that we just took the free water from the fountains instead. Honestly. We never struggled to find water so you shouldn’t be worried. 


In Germany the have EURO


German. In the bigger cities most people speak English but if you head to the smaller villages it will be hard to get around on english. A few words in German are very helpful to know. We come from Sweden and realized it was super easy for us to pick up a bit of Germany on the way to manage simple conversation. 

Phone signal and sim cards

We didn’t look into getting a local sim so we have nothing to say about that. We did on the other hand have our sim card from Sweden and we always had a signal except from deep into the Black Forest. You should be alright. 


There are not that many laundromats around but you can always do laundry at campings. 

Electricity plug

In Germany, the following power source is used: 220V, 50Hz

Shop opening hours

Shops are open from 9.00 to 18.30 (Monday-Friday), Thursday often until 20.30, and from 9.00 to 13.00 / 14.00 (Saturday) Banks are open from 8.00 to 16.00 (Monday-Friday), Thursday often until 17.30. A few banks have closed for lunch. 

DO NOT FORGET: All shops are closed on Sundays exapct some gas stations so make sure to stock up on whatever food you might need for Sunday. 

Green emission sticker

Lastly, And don’t forget to buy a green emission sticker, you won’t be able to drive in cities without it and you can get it at a MOT shop for just 5 euros. 

The decal is called Feinstaubplakette or Umweltplakette and shows that the car’s particulate emissions are below a certain level. Vehicles without an environmental decal can not enter the environmental zone. 

So the rumor says that there are fines up to 80 euro for not having a sticker in the cities so make sure that you have one. 

Top tip

If you are doing a Europe trip like us make sure to stock up on food before you leave the country. They have the best discount super markets you can find in this part of Europe.

If you found this useful, save this post for later so you can come back to it.

If you have a question or anything to add, please do. We love that we share the knowledge on this platform and we are in no way experts, this is some small little tips from us to you on your journey.

And don’t forget to buy a green emission sticker, you won’t be able to drive in cities without it and you can get it at a MOT shop for just 5 euros.

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Picture of Indie Åkerblom

Indie Åkerblom

Indra Akerblom (also called Indie) is one of 2 founders of Onthefreeside. She is a creative soul with an extra passion for digital creativity and DIY- building. Indie lives together with Joel in their self-converted van, traveling the world and building a tiny house in the Swedish countryside.

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