Our favourite free activities from a year of full time motorhome travel around Europe
One of the questions we’re asked most often is how can we afford to travel full time? It took about 2 years of preparation, lots of extra hours of working extra jobs and selling nearly everything that we own but also keeping an eye on our budget and looking for cool things that we can do for free! Our top travel tip is to take bicycles with you. We have 2 folding e-bikes and they have been the best way for us to see places that we just wouldn’t have been able to access with the motorhome. We also LOVE wild swimming. Find us a lake, a river, waterfall or thermal springs and we are in there!
Sun Salutation and Sea Organ, Zadar, Croatia:
Also called ‘Monument to the Sun’ & ‘Greeting to the Sun’ it consists of three hundred multi-layered glass plates set into the floor of the waterfront. The largest is a 22 metre diameter circle with photovoltaic solar modules underneath which produce a light show from sunset into the night. The Sea Organ is an ‘architectural sound art object’ which plays music through tubes located underneath the marble steps as the waves crash into them and push air up through the tubes. Along with the sea organ the monument symbolises communication with nature, through light and the sea organ through sound. There’s a cafe next to the steps so grab a beer, watch the sunset, listen to the sea organ and wait for the light show to begin!
Dune du Pilat, Arachon Bay, France:
The tallest sand dune in Europe located 60km from Bordeaux, on the west coast of France. It measures around 500m wide from east to west and is approximately 2.7km in length from north to south. As of 2018 it was measured to be approximately 106.60m tall, above sea level. It is flanked on one side by a forest and on the other, the sea of Arachon Bay & the Atlantic Ocean. This one needs a bit of effort to get to with 140 stairs up to the top of the dunes but the view from the top is certainly worth it. Due to it’s situation and the wind from the sea, it is very popular with paragliders, which provide more free entertainment. We parked in a free motorhome area just up the road and spent the following day at the beach next to the dunes.
Valencia Park, Valencia, Spain:
The river bed of the former Turia river (now diverted) is home to the city’s ‘Garden of Turia’. The park hosts numerous ponds, paths, fountains, flowers, sports areas, football pitches, cafes, artworks, climbing walls, playgrounds, cycle tracks and much more. It is also home to the Valencian Music Palace, Gulliver Park and the futuristic and visually stunning ‘City of Arts and Science’ which features a planetarium, cinema, science museum and oceanographic park. The park literally contains something for everyone and is perfect for cycling around. Valencia itself contains many cycle tracks. We stayed at Valencia Camper Park, took our bikes on the train to Valencia, cycled around the city and park then took the train back. An excellent day out that we highly recommend.
Vias Verdes, Spain:
Continuing the cycling theme we have to mention the Vias Verdes that you can find all over Spain. You can find out more about them here.
They are mostly old, unused railway tracks that have been converted into cycle tracks and walking paths through the most beautiful Spanish countryside. The paths include routes through tunnels and over bridges with breathtaking views along the coast or from the tops of hills and mountains. You can find Vias Verdes all over Spain and they even have an app that rates the difficulty of the route, shows you where it starts and ends and how to get there.
Pou Clar, Spain:
A natural river with warm natural springs located inland from Valencia. A very popular natural swimming area in the summer seasons with both locals and tourists, it is still warm but much quieter during the winter/off season months. We visited at the end of February and spent the afternoon swimming, relaxing and laying in the sun. Not far from Embalse de Tous, a huge dam, which is also worth a drive by visit for the incredible views.
Natural thermal springs, Evia Island, Greece: You can find natural thermal springs all over Greece but our favourites were the hot natural springs and waterfall in Edipsou, on Evia Island. The hot water rolls down the cliff into a steaming waterfall that drops into the clear sea. At the other end of the beach the warm water pours out of a spring underneath the road into natural pools. Each one is a different depth and temperature so try them all out then cool down in the sea. We parked right at the beach and spent the night there, in December. During tourist season it is much busier and the town is very popular with holiday makers visiting the spas and hotels. Natural swimming is one of our favourite things to do & it’s free! The warm water of the thermal springs makes that even more special!
Honorable mention: Carnival at El Grau de Castellon. Not something you can do every day but one of our favourite travel days. There’s free motorhome parking near the observatory with toilets, waste emptying and water fill stations, max 48hrs stay. It’s right next to the beach and cycle tracks. In February it is carnival season in Spain and each area comes alive with it’s own street festivals, live music and parades. We put on our brightest clothes, cycled down to the harbour and spent the evening at the festival in El Grau de Castellon followed by the most incredible tapas and sangria ‘happy hour’ meal: €16.50 for a night out for the two of us!