Self-drive camping holidays

Self-drive camping holidays

Getting there is part of your holiday

Making your own way to your park or campsite is all part of the adventure. Just load your car with everything you need for your holiday and drive yourself to Europe. 

From the UK and Ireland you can drive to one of our European parks and campsites in FranceSpain or Holland. Work out how to get there and how to get around with our travel planner map or with an online route finder before you set out. You’ll find GPS coordinates for each park and campsite on our campsite pages as well as the full address and map.

Taking the ferry is practical and fun

We live on an island so let’s face it, a self-drive trip to Europe from the UK or Ireland means one thing… crossing the channel! Here’s why we think that’s great.

  • Ferry and Eurotunnel crossings are usually charged per car so it can work out as an affordable option, particularly for a family.
  • * In the privacy of your own car or ferry cabin you don’t have to worry about disturbing other passengers if you’re travelling with kids or pets (or both).
  • * From shops to kids’ play areas to restaurants, a ferry journey offers plenty to keep you entertained while you travel.

At Canvas we love the flexibility and freedom ferry travel adds to your camping experience, which is why we offer the option to add a ferry or Eurotunnel crossing to your booking to create a self-drive camping holiday to Europe. 

Ferry prices start from £50 return for Dover-Calais crossing - find out more about the different ferry and Eurotunnel crossings.

Taking your car abroad

Before driving to and on the continent, make sure you’re aware of what’s needed when driving to your destination for a hassle free self-drive holiday.

Before you go

We strongly recommend your car is serviced ten days before departure so any problems can be identified and rectified before you leave. Before you set off on your camping holiday, check the thread and pressure of all tyres including the spare. As your car is likely to be fully loaded, ensure that the tyres are inflated to the pressures recommended in your car handbook.  

You should also let your insurance company know you are planning to take your car abroad to ensure you are covered.

What you'll need when driving in Europe

  • * Dipped headlights are compulsory in FranceItalyCroatiaSpainGermanySwitzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. You can purchase a headlight beam adaptor kit from a car accessory shop. These prevent your beam from dazzling other drivers when you drive on the right.
  • * It is compulsory to carry a warning triangle if you are driving in Europe in case of a breakdown or accident. It should be placed 30 metres from the car to warn oncoming traffic. In Spain, you also need to put a warning triangle in front of the car.
  • * If you are driving in Spain, you must carry a spare set of front, rear and indicator bulbs for your car.
  • * It is also compulsory to carry high visibility jackets in France (one per passenger), Germany, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Croatia. These must be worn if leaving your vehicle on the carriageway of a motorway or non-urban highway at any time, day or night.
  • * It is compulsory to carry a breathalyzer kit if you are driving in France. The single use kits are available in the UK (they must meet the French certified standards) or at Channel ports. If you are stopped and breathalysed by the police, they won’t ask you to use your own kit, but you can be fined if you don’t have one.
  • * A windscreen sticker is required to drive in Paris, Grenoble and Lyon to reduce levels of pollution. There are six stickers of different colours that identify the levels of emissions produced by your car. You can be refused entry depending on the certification of your car on days where the cities are reaching high levels of emissions and fined upwards of £60 for not complying. Get your certificate here.

Using a mobile phone while driving

As in the UK, it is against the law to use hand held mobile phones whilst driving across Europe. If you are caught you are liable to a heavy on-the-spot fine.