Size limit for full time in Europe

#1
Hi All,

Moving from Canada to the EU and looking for feedback on size/weight limits. We are fulltime in North America in a 45' class A motorhome. We see some dealers in EU advertising class A for sale but from all the reading we did it seems that 8 meters is the common limit for campgrounds in Europe.

Our lifestyle will involve staying for one month in/near some of large cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Bristol, and a few more with getaway for wild camping in between for a week or two.

How easy or realistic is it to drive and find parks around Europe in larger (10 meters) motorhome?
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#2
Just for clarification, are you a Canadian citizen ? Do you hold any other EU citizenship ? Are you intending to apply for 'Permant residency' in a country within the EU or are you just talking about travelling for a fixed period of time in your RV around the EU ? When are you planning on doing this ?

This information is important, if you are not planning on taking permanent residency then you will need to check on the Visa requiremens for the length of time you can spend in the EU. I know that Canada has a 'Trade Deal' with the EU but I do not know if part of the deal included negotiating 'free movement', something you will need to check yourself because to my knowledge, under current arrangements, you could only stay for 90 days in the 'EU' then not return again for 90 days e.g. Limit of 3 months at a time !! This 90 day period is the amount of time in the whole of the EU, not 90 days in each individual country. However, if, or when, UK ceases to be part of the EU then under our visa arrangements you could spend 180 days (6 months) within the U.K. so logistically, you could, subject to obtaining the appropriate Visas, spend some time in UK, some time in the EU member states and some time in 'other' non-EU countries.

As for your vehicle, what is the width and official weight and how many axles does it have ? the length you say is just under 14 metres. You may experience some problems, just with the length, finding camping sites in the U.K. that have 'pitches' large enough. That is not to say that there isn't any but it will certainly limit your choice and some Campsites may not permit 'tag axles'.

Wildcamping is not impossible in the U.K. but is certainly less tolerated than in the EU, although some EU countries are getting tougher on this than others. Europe does provide much better opportunities for Wildcamping and they also have dedicated Motorhome Parking areas, known generally within the Motorhome community as 'Aires' but they are officially called by different names depending on the Country e.g. France (Aires), Germany (Stellplatz), Italy (Sostas), however if you just type in Google 'Motorhome parking in........(Country)' you will get the information you require. There are also very useful mobile 'Apps' that provide good information on both 'official parkings' and non-official parkings (Wildcamping locations)

Please provide a little more information which will enable forum members to perhaps provide more accurate details that you require. Good luck and enjoy your adventure :thumb:
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#3
Missed some points, the size limit on some camping units is not just to do with 'pitch' sizes but also the actual access into some sites.

Length of your RV on major UK (and most EU) roads should not be an issue, although they do not compare to many of the USA/Canadian Expressways, but we too have large transportation trucks, tourist coaches and there are lots of Motorhomes that tow cars or trailers behind them. There are smaller roads that may have width/weight restrictions but there are alternative routes to get to most of the main towns.

The UK has not signed up to the 'Shengen Agreement' even though it is currently part of the EU community, the difference here is that whilst, in EU, you are limited to 90 days in any one period of 180 days (does not need to be consecutive days, e.g. you can stay for 30 days then leave and you still have 60 days, but the 90 days has to be taken within the 180 day period. UK on the other hand permits 180 days stay within a 365 day period, without confining visitors to 90 day periods. This is why a lot of non-EU visitors can get around the 90 day EU travel restrictions if they work out the logistics. Morroco is a great destination for the Winter, moreso the South which is much warmer than the North, it is only a 60 or 90 minute ferry journey from Southern Spain (dependent on your selected route) and you can obtain a travel visa for 90 days usually from some places where you purchase your ferry ticket :thumb:

So there are lots of opportunities to travel to different places, you just need to do your homework in respect of respective Visas and time restrictions.
 

Willum

Active Member
#4
Hi All,

Moving from Canada to the EU and looking for feedback on size/weight limits. We are fulltime in North America in a 45' class A motorhome. We see some dealers in EU advertising class A for sale but from all the reading we did it seems that 8 meters is the common limit for campgrounds in Europe.

Our lifestyle will involve staying for one month in/near some of large cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Bristol, and a few more with getaway for wild camping in between for a week or two.

How easy or realistic is it to drive and find parks around Europe in larger (10 meters) motorhome?
Another odd-ball, particularly applicable in France, is that most permanent sites do not allow tag-axle (double rear axle) motorhomes of any size. You can have a 9 metre, 7.5 tonne, twin rear wheel motorhome, no arguments, but tag-axle and out you go. Been there, seen it, done it.
I've a strong suspicion it's to keep the gypsies out, but being French, they love their beurocracy and won't bend.
There are getting to be more of the bigger units but the majority of Europeans use up to 7.5 metre motorhomes and that is what most 'Aires' cater for. By no means impossible to find plenty useable for the bigger motorhomes but some just don't have the capacity.
Will
 
#5
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the replies. Yes, I hold an EU passport so can stay. I am looking to buy a motorhome in Europe, not bring one from Canada. I am getting mix info from different sources regarding campsite availability, road restrictions etc so hoping to get first hand knowledge. One important feature in a motorhome is kitchen counter space as we cook a LOT. Most motorhomes we looked at online had a small L shape counter that 90% of it was sink and stove-top, not much actual counter.
 
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Willum

Active Member
#6
.......... One important feature in a motorhome is kitchen counter space as we cook a LOT. Most motorhomes we looked at online had a small L shape counter that 90% of it was sink and stove-top, not much actual counter.
True of a lot, I'm afraid, unless you're going to spend €150,000+. It's also the reason we use a folding outdoor kitchen in a safari room/wind-blocked awning whenever moored up for more than a couple of weeks. European Motorhomes (except UK market - and right-hand drive) don't do indoor cooking as a rule.
The German website someone gave a link to earlier is excellent - and probably the best starting place to browse for options. I think I'm right in saying Germany is the biggest and best market in Europe, especially secondhand. The German system of roadworthiness testing is tough and therefore a reasonable starting point - especially as a buyer. Most of Northern Europe also have fairly good 'habitation' checking systems (water leaks, gas safety, etc) and I'm sorry to say that from my understanding a lot of North American RVs don't seem to do well under them. I know you said you weren't bring one with you, but by comparison they are fairly cheap to buy here - probably for the aforementioned reason.
Will
ps where does the 'Wingover' come from?
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#8
might be best to look at self builds . many have good kitchens . as for german mot,s they arent as hard as a uk version. its a myth. i used to import cars and campers from germany and their mot is very poor.
but for size i wouldnt worry , my mini artic is 10mtrs long and cant say its given any probs. yes height etc you do have to watch for warning signs . but really trucks and coaches get to most places .
i can say living in cornwall there are some very small tight width and height places but then even a high top van wouldnt get through.
i can say i do sometimes think of going back to a vw t2 or a toyota hiace , or even a nissan cabstar van conversion . they fit just about every where .but for long terming size is better being bigger.
definately a full oven etc is ideal . especially when out in the country make your own bread etc . and cornish pasties of course. ha ha .
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#9
Hi, welcome
You should really go onto a sister site for better big motorhome info. www.rvoc.co.uk it is a British site for rvs. They will, of course, say bigger is better!!!!!!! But in our experience we believe that when you get near 30ft every foot will increase your problems!!!!!!
We run a German nieshmann+bischof ( spelt something like that!!!!) It is 26ft and we feel it is a reasonable compromise but like you correctly say kitchen space is something you have to learn to work around!!. US RVs are relatively common here (UK) and can be good value ------ BUT they have a lot of problems, mainly water ingress, they seem to be built for a dry climate!!!! The heating is VERY hungry for LPG (propane) and 12 volt .
Have you thought of 5ers?? We have run a couple, and it would give you a truck to run around in, we have run a couple of Dodge challenger but really although great tow motors are too wide for running around town!!!!
The best site for looking at motorhomes for sale is mobile de. ---de =Germany There is an English translation. They sell mostly European motorhomes, but have a bit of everything!! I believe that if you bought one there you would be better importing it to UK and registering it there. Others may think differently?? ------ if you don't have an address in UK it may prove problematic!!!!!!
See you on rvoc
Nigel & Pamala
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#10
as above ,i find my mitzy ideal for use as a run around . its narrow not too high and seats seven people.
at a push can sleep across the rear seat. but could make it into a two sleeper with a bit of work. ideal for that one ,two night stop overs.
plus it fits in car spaces ok.
beauty of a 5er or artic is it bends ideal for those bends etc .
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#11
I forgot to say that afaik your Canadian RV is too long to be registered in UK (I know you are not bringing yours--- it's just that there are some in UK/ Europe that cannot be registered--- don't buy one of those!!!!)
Supermarket car parks are not like Walmart where you can easily turn an eighteen wheeler, so getting shopping is more of a challenge with a big van!!
I also forgot to ask what driving licence you will be using in Europe/UK?? I assume the licence you drive your RV on in Canada???? If so I don't know how long it is valid in UK/Europe??
 
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#12
I forgot to say that afaik your Canadian RV is too long to be registered in UK (I know you are not bringing yours--- it's just that there are some in UK/ Europe that cannot be registered--- don't buy one of those!!!!)
Supermarket car parks are not like Walmart where you can easily turn an eighteen wheeler, so getting shopping is more of a challenge with a big van!!
I also forgot to ask what driving licence you will be using in Europe/UK?? I assume the licence you drive your RV on in Canada???? If so I don't know how long it is valid in UK/Europe??
Thanks for all the info and website link. I have a commercial driver license with air brakes endorsement so with an international driver license that is good for one year I should be okay to drive anything in the EU (i think)..
 

chrisjones18

Well-Known Member
#13
The max vehicle size in the UK for a rigid vehicle is
Length... 12 mtrs
Width......2.55 mtrs
A psv/ bus is a little different as they can be longer but not as a motorhome.
My UK hgv licence was valid for Canada, (exchange) though it was around 10 years ago. Things change so it's worth checking it out.
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#14
It is very difficult to register a van without an address?? I don't think they would accept a Canadian address??? Do you have an address in UK/Europe that you can use??
We registered a truck on export plates in US but used a relative's address in Texas --- then re-registerd it in Alaska at a friend's address. Our licence covered us to drive, I imagine that yours will cover you to drive what it covers in Canada???
Insurance was expensive for us as foreigners, I have no idea if that will be an issue for you?????------ Aussies are always coming to Europe, buying vans and touring for months so it must be available.
There is no tax to pay when buying a second hand vehicle (unless it was a commercial and tax was re-claimed on it)
Air brakes make no difference on UK driving licence, it all depends on weight and whether semi trailer or truck& trailer or rigid, there are other little things as well!!-----
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#15
RV verses euro van is not so straight forward a small RV will have a much better fridge & a more powerful engine (usually!)----- we have owned two US demountable campers both had much bigger fridges than larger euro vans and for some reason they work MUCH better!!!! and both had a lot more work top, both had microwaves, a/c, generators, power sockets all over the place, always one where you need it, lights everywhere, you can see wherever you need to!! etc. Etc.this was on demountables!!!!!!------ I don't think you will get all this on even a more upmarket eurovan!!!!
But as I said earlier, the later, better eurovans do not have timber in the shell construction so is no longer a major problem!!
A self build using a commercial van/trailer body makes a lot of sense!!!
 
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chrisjones18

Well-Known Member
#16
Some dealers in Germany will let you use their garage as an address to reg a vehicle bought from them...

The UK is the worst place to register/ insure a vehicle without an address.
Look in europe
No idea what brexit will bring though.
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#17
A lot of ex pats living in Portugal/Spain use a co in Gibraltar for insurance but I believe it is not valid for long stays in UK!!!!
 

chrisjones18

Well-Known Member
#18
A lot of ex pats living in Portugal/Spain use a co in Gibraltar for insurance but I believe it is not valid for long stays in UK!!!!
How the heck did i forget that, we have family there..... darn old age.
Yes there are Insurance companies in gib insuring ex pats living in Spain/Portugal....
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#19
Just thought of another major plus IMHO for rvs (and very rare bigger eurovans) they have black tanks which after having a few I feel are far superior to little cassettes, there are advantages with both but I reckon black tank with a macerator is king!!!!!------- I don't know about us RVs but the newer eurovan black tanks seem to have got unnecessarily complicated, I can't see why they have added so much to a simple system!!!!!!but then I am very old fashioned!!!!!! (Maybe because I am old!!!!!)
 

coolasluck

Well-Known Member
#20
Some dealers in Germany will let you use their garage as an address to reg a vehicle bought from them...

The UK is the worst place to register/ insure a vehicle without an address.
Look in europe
No idea what brexit will bring though.


I know of an Australian couple who do the same.They buy the vehicle from a dealer and register it at the dealers.They had a variety of vehicles not particularly expensive ones and had them in Africa ,Australia ,S. America and the u.s.Cant remember if they had one in the u.k though.
 
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