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In summer I want to travel a bit about Western Europe. I think I would start with Austria and Germany.

Is it possible to (easily?) find place, where I can just sleep in a car, a place that is free (or considerably cheaper than staying in hostels or motels), but above all, safe to stay there? Where nobody would mind me and bother me there.

I would just go in a normal car, not RV or anything. A station wagon type car, and with mattress in the back makes for pretty comfortable sleeping.

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Can you narrow down the locations or places where you intend to do this? There may be varying regulations in place based on country, province, town, etc. –  Karlson Feb 7 at 16:50
    
That's not necessary here. –  PERSONA NON GRATA Feb 7 at 17:47
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In Germany, there are two options that you might use:

  • A Reisemobil-Stellplatz is an officially designated area where you can spend the night in your vehicle, theoretically it's inteded only for RVs. However, many of them also allow cars and I doubt you'd be turned away with a car that you actually intend to sleep on. There are websites such as this and this that list such spots.
  • You are allowed to sleep in your vehicle at any public parking space for the purpose of restoring your fitness to drive (basically to ensure that nobody drives in a tired state because they can't find a place to sleep). However, in theory this only applies if you stop in that place because you're tired, not if you park, go sightseeing and then return to the car for the night. In practice, I doubt you'll ever get called out on this. Of course, spending multiple nights in the same spot is not possible under this law.

According to the Wikipedia article, laws in Austria are very similar.

As for safety, I wouldn't worry too much, Germany and Austria are generally pretty safe places.

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While in Germany if you're driving in the Autobahn you can park and sleep overnight in any Raststation‎. You also have toilets in the morning, they cost about 70 eurocents.

I've already done it a few times with no problems.

Once I slept in a car parking in Köln, near the river, but it is not allowed in the city. I don't remember the exact source of this information (maybe a travel guide I had with me), sorry.

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But is this legal? I know that in The Netherlands, it certainly isn't. –  gerrit Feb 9 at 17:21
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In Germany and TYrol it is legal, under certain circumstances, as explained by Michael Borgwardt. –  PERSONA NON GRATA Feb 9 at 17:37
    
Well, truck drivers do that all the time. I think they pay something like 5 € and get free toilet and showers in return. So, the worst that can happen is that they make you pay this. –  MrTweek Feb 10 at 1:41
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