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Is it possible to do wild camping in Germany? Are there specific zones for that? If yes, can someone recommend a few, preferably with nice trails to walk. The idea is to go into nature.

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Do you mean possible or legal? The two questions are completely different. It's not legal, but if you're remote, invisible, and well-behaved, nobody's going to arrest you. –  gerrit Apr 10 '13 at 12:13
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This has been addressed on The Great Outdoors. (1), (2), (3), for example. –  gerrit Apr 10 '13 at 12:25
    
@gerrit both. If legal where. If not legal is it tolerated, and also where. –  nsn Apr 10 '13 at 19:01
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5 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Check out Freagle. Freagle is like couchsurfing, instead of your couch you can offer your backyard, barn...

It's not wild camping per se but it is trying to fill the gap between the illegal wild camping and the normal camp site. And indeed, not so many hosts available. Still worth a try.

My own experience with wild camping in Germany is positive if you keep simple rules in mind.

  • Don't camp in a bigger group
  • Don't campfire
  • Don't litter
  • Keep yourself out of sight
  • Don't stay more than one night
  • Don't camp in a natural reserve (from comments: thanks @amon)

Even if you get "caught" by a ranger or police they will ask you to move or make you pay a little fine. It is more or less a trivial offence in my opinion.

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Some additions: Don't camp in a natural reserve (don't even leave a marked trail there). Don't use a tent; this makes it more obvious that you are just staying for the night, and reduces visibility. Avoid camping near hunter perches, they may be frequented at night. Avoid camping near water or moist ground: wild boars like to roll in the mud. If you sleep in the open, moving on before sunrise prevents your stuff getting wet from morning dew, and minimizes encounters. –  amon Apr 10 '13 at 10:21
    
@amon That is excellent advice –  Simon Apr 10 '13 at 10:35
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In general wild camping is illegal in Germany.
However I could find where you can do it, but not for free. Trekiking-pfalz.de offers 10 camping places for up to 6 tents, the price for one tent is 10 EUR / night. You're allowed to stay on one place only for a night and then you have to move along. On their website there are some recommended routes, and there are also iOS and Android Apps.

place 4

place 5

place 7

The camping places are in wild areas but within walking distance. You can make a reservation online or locally

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Ha! you beat me by 40 seconds. –  daamsie Apr 10 '13 at 8:21
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According to this page wild camping is illegal in Germany, but what is allowed is "overnight parking".

The distinction is that overnight parking just means you are parking in a regular parking lot and not setting up a table outside your vehicle or anything similar.

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Do you know how does that apply to tents? –  nsn May 3 '13 at 7:34
    
It would basically be illegal to set up a tent next to your car. –  daamsie May 3 '13 at 10:05
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It is possible, but not legal.

Other questions have already addressed the illegality of wild camping in Germany, and offer some alternatives if you don't want to violate the law. However, if you're in a remote place, high up in the mountains, or otherwise in a place where people do not pass by, and you are very well-behaved, the chances of being caught may be very low indeed. Of course, whether you are willing to violate the law is up to you. I have some experience with illegal wild camping in Belgium, with a nature organisation. I don't know what would happen if you would get caught, but probably not much more than being told to leave.

See also

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AFAIK almost every forest/unoccupied land in Germany is private property and therefore legally off-limits.

But I have often camped wild as resident with tent in Germany and never ever experienced problems. Conditions:

  • You are camping in a forest which is really big enough. Noone likes uninvited campers in direct vicinity. An option is to ask a farmer if you may use the lawn for your tent.
  • You are not seen. So go inside the forest on a place which is well concealed. I use a green tent which is practically invisible.
  • Do NOT camp on roads. It is dangerous because even dead ends may used by forest vehicles which are big and have poor visibility. You would not the first one killed because the driver did not expect you and could not see you.
  • Much higher risk is camping in a national park where some are heavily patrolled. In Rügen (island before the eastern coast of Germany) I did not camp.
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