What do you need to know when caravanning in Europe?

A car towing a caravan

Some 60,500 searches for caravan holidays have already been made so far in 2024, according to Towergate Insurance.

While many of these touring trips will be within the UK, others will venture over to the continent to spend time in their trusty leisure vehicle.

With this in mind, the experts at Towergate Insurance put together some tips to ensure your caravanning holiday in Europe goes as smoothly as possible.

Get your documents in order

Organising all your documents so you can grab them easily is a good idea. Of course, you’re going to need your passport, but taking a caravan abroad requires additional paperwork.

Here’s a handy checklist of the documents you’ll require:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Vehicle registration document
  • Insurance certificate for the towcar and caravan

Requirements for taking your caravan to France

Hopping aboard the ferry or Eurotunnel to France is a popular option for UK holidaymakers, but there are some strict laws about driving with a caravan in the nation.

When towing a caravan in France you are required to have a high-visibility vest and warning triangle in your vehicle.

It is also a legal requirement to switch your headlights on during the day when towing, which may come as a surprise to most British drivers.

France checklist:

  • Warning triangle
  • First aid kit
  • Reflective jackets for every passenger
  • Nationality sticker
  • Breathalyser kit

Rules for driving your caravan in Spain

With over 5,000 miles of stunning coastline, it’s not hard to see why Brits have a longstanding love affair with holidaying in Spain and taking your caravan makes beach trips even better.

In Spain, it’s the law to have a warning triangle in your vehicle when driving, but this increases to two warning triangles when towing. You also need high-visibility vests for everyone in the car. 

If your combined vehicle and caravan measure over 12 metres, it’s also compulsory to use a marker board to indicate your outfit length.

Spain checklist:

  • Two warning triangles
  • Spare tyre
  • Reflective jackets for each passenger
  • Spare bulbs
  • Nationality sticker
  • Two external towing mirrors

Considerations for caravanning in Italy

From the beauty of the Alps to its stunning lakes, caravanning around Italy is an appealing prospect.

With just 1,500 miles lying between Calais in France and Italy’s capital, Rome, it’s a fairly straightforward road trip to undertake.

Driving in Italy is also less hassle as you just need a warning triangle, high-visibility vest, first aid kit and nationality sticker.

Be sure to have your headlights switched on when travelling through a tunnel in Italy, as this is mandated by law.

Italy checklist:

  • Warning triangle
  • First aid kit
  • Nationality sticker

Caravanners are reminded that since September 2021, the nationality sticker required is UK as opposed to GB.

Some nations fine drivers or even prevent them from entering the country if they’re not displaying the right sticker.


Photo credit: Unsplash/Salah Ait Mokhtar