After a wonderful time in Greece, Fiete and I took the ferry from Igoumenitsa to Bari in Italy. What an adventure! I was super nervous to get the motorhome on to the ferry, as I have heard nightmare stories about it from other campers. Ferries leaving hours late, unfriendly staff guiding vehicles in a rush, cramped spaces and excellent driving and parking skills needed.
For no reason! It was all easy as you can tell from my cheesy video on our new YouTube channel:
In fact, taking the ferry over to the other side of the Adriatic Sea was a wonderful experience as we did Camping on Board (COB). Never heard of it?!
You stay in your motorhome overnight. This was the perfect option for Fiete and I, because we could enjoy the comfort of our home on wheels while making miles across the sea. In fact, this was my most favorite campsite of the trip. Feeling the waves of the smooth sea, waking up with a breeze in the alcove and making my own coffee and breakfast in the morning. Simply wonderful!
After arriving in Bari, we drove down to Sicily via Tropea and Messina. After touring the island along the coast, we took another ferry from Palermo back to the mainland up North stopping in Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Pisa, Florence and Venice. You can read more about in my upcoming Tuscany post.
Here is my route in detail with the campsites we stayed on. I hope this is helpful for you in case you are planning this or a similar route through Italy.
What’s Camping in Italy like?
Loud! Really loud. Except between 2.00 and 5.00pm in the afternoon which is generally official siesta time in Southern countries. I am not kidding about the loudness factor. There is no negative association to this statement, it’s just a surprisingly different experience.
Camping is almost a sense of life for Italians. Typical Italian campers live in their mobile homes covered in plastic tents in the Summer time. Whereas Northern Europeans seems to prefer relaxation and quietness on their camping trip, Italians simply shift their passionate lifestyle from house walls to a camping pitch.
You basically have two options if you choose a campsite in Italy – both of them are loud either way.
- You pick a small family-owned place where you will meet a lot of Italian families who live there permanently in the Summer time, or at least for weekends or bank holidays and in August when people have off from work. Huge families with multiple generations sit outside until long after midnight being social, sharing stories, laughing and living.
- You pick a big professionally led campsite with more than 500 pitches, pool areas, restaurant, bars and all the facilities you need, sometimes even hairdressers. These places always also have an entertainment program. Constant amusement. From kids karaoke parties, sports events to adult disco nights.
I promise – I will write about the unique Italian camping experiences I have had during our trip in a seperate post. Back to my most favorite campsites.
Here we go with my Top 5 list of campsites in Italy from Calabria to Sicily, main tourist areas such as Amalfi coast and up to North to Venice. The scale rates from a low 1 to a high 5 stars based on location, facilities, dog-friendliness and my personal Happy Place factor.
Camping Il Cicero (Sicily) * * *
Address: VIA POLA, 98 98063 SAN GIORGIO DI GIOIOSA MAREA
GPS: 14°-56′-11” E / 38°-10′-27” N
This is a great campsite with extremely friendly and helpful owner and staff. It’s right across the street to a sandy dark beach with restaurants, bars and supermarkets close by. I chose this stop right before visiting Palermo as the location is ideal.
The bathroom facilities seemed to be just for the interim when I stayed here in May 2018. Toilets and showers in containers with medium warm water but very clean. Only three stars for being very close to the train tracks which can be very loud when trains pass by. Other than that all wonderful.
Camping La Timpa (Sicily) * * *
Address: Via Santa Maria la Scala 25, 95024 Acireale (CT)
GPS: 37 37 12,43 nord -15 10 25,6 est
Nice campsite on multiple levels in the rocks. The pitches are very small though but with a stunning view if you make it to the first row. This place is very special because you can take an elevator down the rocks to get to a small plateau right at the sea. What an adventure!
The facilities are moderate and could use some updating. They definitely need a better hot water supply. There is a small mini market with the best croissants I have ever had – try them out. The restaurant onsite is okay, but nothing special, pretty pricy for what it is. This place is average dog-friendly, watch out for all the cats strolling around.
This place ended up on my top list because it is very close to Mount Etna and therefore perfect if you are planning to visit.
Camping Village Pappasole * * * * *
Address: Torre Mozza Via Carbonifera, 14 – 57025 Vignale
GPS: NN 42° 57′ 4,2” E 10° 41′ 16,14′
I love this place! I just wanted to stay for three nights max and ended up for over a week. Remember what I told you in the beginning about professionally led campsites? This is the best example as it is very professionally managed with outstanding nice and helpful staff.
Camping Pappasole is a wonderful place. A huge campsite with large shady pitches. Some of them even have their own private bathroom per pitch. The other more public bathroom facilities are modern with hot showers and washing machines, even driers are available.
It’s impressive how well the entire campsite is maintained. Beautiful gardening all around, grass areas with bunnies, flowers and trees everywhere. The pool area is outstanding as well with three huge pools to enjoy yourself in the Summer time.
There is also a small market with fresh supply and long opening hours every day, you can find even a pharmacy onsite. This place is very dog-friendly with dedicated dog walking and relax areas. Wow! Wi-Fi access costs extra: One day 4 Euros, two days 6 Euros and it works very well.
All thumbs and paws up! Especially for what you get for just 18 Euros per night. Five stars with an exclamation mark.
Camping Giardino (Pisa) * * *
Address: Via delle Pinete, 382 / 54100 Marina di massa
GPS: 42.083057 / 14.740556
This is a wonderful place to stay if you are visiting Pisa! Just a thirth minute drive from the main tourist area and the city center. They have large pitches with hedges and tall trees.
There are separate areas for permanent campers and motorhomes. Basic but clean facilities and nice staff. You need coins for using the shower facilities, but they are free and available all the time at the reception. There is even a pool, mini market and a bar (with great croissants in the morning).
The public beach is very close by across the street. The Wi-Fi is free and actually works perfectly – yay! Very dog-friendly place as well. I will definitely come back.
Camping Miramare (Venice) * * * *
Address: Mare Alighieri 29, Punta Sabbioni, 30013 Cavallino-Treporti
GPS: N 45° 26′ 25.130” / E 12° 25′ 15.920”
Camping Miramare is the perfect spot to stay if you are visiting Venice. This place is situated in a beautiful position with a good panoramic view over the lagoon of Venice. It lies only a few meters from the boats to Venice and to the Islands (Murano, Burano, and Torcello) with boats. There is a free shuttle bus to the ferry port station and to the beach on the Adriatic sea. Fiete loved this beach because it is extraordinarily spacious with lots of runways in the sand.
The pool area is fantastic and brand new, so are the facilities such as toilets and showers. Perfect after an exhausting trip to Venice!
If you need any further recommendations on campgrounds in Greece, feel free to contact me directly. We have visited a lot during our trip, but I had to limit the selection to my top places.