The best winter campsites in the Nordics
Why not discover winter camping in the Nordics? Camping is by no means just for the summer months. Many campsites are open all year round, and motorhome or caravan as starting point you can discover winter landscapes or engage in winter sports.
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Winter camping in the Nordics
Winter camping in the Nordics is a way to discover and experience the Nordic nature also in the winter months. Many who winter camp, do so to be able to engage in winter sports, such as downhill skiing, cross-country skiing or snowboarding, but you can also winter camp without doing sports. There are even year-round open campsites further south in the Nordic region can drive out with the motorhome or caravan to visit cities and sights or, for example, hike in the nature.
Winter camping with motorhome
When you winter camp with a motorhome, you can choose to go on a short weekend or a longer trip, alternatively set up your motorhome at a campsite throughout the winter season. One difference between a motorhome and a caravan when it comes to winter camping is that motorhomes have large windows that release heat, which is why it can be good to have a cover over the windows.
Winter camping with caravan
Many people who winter camp with a caravan set up the caravan at a winter campsite for the whole season. In order to the caravan to be warm when you arrive, you can turn on the heating with remote control, or ask a neighbour to turn on the heating for you. Of course, you can also take the caravan out just for a weekend or a week.
What is needed for winter camping in the Nordics?
Most motorhomes and caravans can be used for winter camping, but there can be a big difference in comfort between one vehicle and another. Some people winter camp in tents and find it works great, while others want a higher standards.
If you are in the latter category, look for a well-insulated vehicle equipped with water and drainage systems that will work even when it gets really cold, and that won’t freeze in to pieces. Many times you can count on Scandinavian brands to be better equipped than others. To be on the safe side, it can be good to be able to heat the vehicle with both electricity and gas, and of course it is important that the gas tubes are filled before you set off.
To drive in winter conditions, you need winter tires, preferably studded ones. It can also be useful to have a shovel, a flashlight, an ice scraper and, if you are traveling with a motorhome, an insulation blanket to attach over the windshield and front doors. In addition it can, of course, be cozy to pack some nice blankets and maybe a pair of warm slippers. If you want even more technical advise about winter camping, you can read this article about what you should think about.
Tips from an experienced winter camper
We have spoken with Camilla Gunnarsson, who is an experienced Swedish winter camper. Camilla’s family started winter camping eight years ago, when their twins were 12 years old. In the first seasons, they spent almost all winter holidays and weekends in the caravan, so that they could ski and snowboard as much as possible. When they later moved to Sälen, to be able to devote even more time to winter sports, the need for the caravan disappeared.
Now the family has moved to Umeå and they have found their way back to their beloved winter camping. The family today consists of two adults, two young adult children and a small dog, who all usually live together in the same caravan, a Polar from 2000.
Camilla says that they were a little skeptical before winter camping for the first time, and were worried that it would be crowded and complicated. After some acquaintances tried it, they decided to try it too, and they don’t regret it today. They find winter camping relaxing and feel that the family is able to spend much more time together.
Here, Camilla shares her best tips to make camping in the Nordic winter as smooth as possible:
- Make checklists and packing lists! If you have lists, you won’t miss or forget anything. For example, you can have lists of what to pack and what to do when you leave, or when you leave the caravan/motorhome.
- Prepare food at home! Then you don’t have to fix so much when you are on site.
- Pack warm clothes and equipment to be outdoors!
- Get a front cabin or an awning! If you are going to set up the vehicle for a longer period of time, it can be convenient with an awning or a small heated front cabin that you connect to the caravan/motorhome. Please note, that different campsites have different rules regarding whether you can have a front cabin or not, and how big it can be.
- Organise good storage! It can get crowded when you are winter camping, so it is important to organise your storage. A front cabin or awning can be helpful, but you can also winter camp without one.
- Dare to try! If you find that winter camping is not for you, then just stop after one season. If you don’t take the step, you will never know!
- Get tips from other winter campers on Facebook! There are groups on Facebook where you can talk with and ask questions of other winter campers.
The best winter campsites in the Nordics
There are many nice winter-open campsites in the Nordics, regardless of whether you want to engage in winter sports or experience the winter without skis on your feet. Which campsite is best for you depends on what you want. Do you want to be close to slalom slopes, nature areas or restaurants? How far from home you want to drive? What are your requirements for standard?
Here follows a list of a number of nice campsites that welcome you in winter with a motorhome or caravan, and offer wonderful winter experiences. Of course there are many more!
Three nice winter campsites in Sweden
Bjursås camping in Bjursås
Bjursås camping is located right next to the ski slope in Bjursås and has room for 230 motorhomes and caravans. Here you can stay the whole winter season, or just a night or two. The sites are equipped with webb electricity posts, so you can control the electricity yourself. There are also three service houses here, that are specifically adapted for winter camping.
Address: Björsbergsvägen 65, Bjursås
Kläppens camping in Sälen
Kläppens camping is popular in winter, but even if the seasonal plots are fully booked, you can try to book a drop-in plot. From the campsite, you can walk to the ski slopes and there are both electrically lit cross-country tracks and prepared snowmobile trails that take you up to Kläppenberget-mountain. At the campsite you will find a service house with a sauna and a grocery store, and you can turn the electricity on and off yourself via internet.
Address: Kläppens Camping, Sälen
Isaberg Mountain Resort in Småland
Isaberg Mountain Resort is a year-round campsite and activity center in Småland in Sweden. There are ski slopes here, and nearby you can go cross-country skiing. The resort also has a year-round rodel track, which consist of one kilometer of rails that wind down the mountain in breathtaking curves and drops. The campsite has 86 camping plots with electrical sockets and cable-TV.
Address: Nissastigen, Hestra
Three nice winter campsites in Norway
Trysilelva Camping in Trysil
Trysilelva Camping is a family campsite centrally located in Trysil, right by the river and only 600 meters from the center. Here you have a fantastic view of Trysilfjället-mountain and good opportunities to experience nature. In winter, a bus runs from the campsite to the ski slope.
Address: Bygdervegen 385, Trysil
Gol Campingsenter in Gol
Gol Campingsenter is a large and modern leisure facility with around 600 plots for motorhomes and caravans, of which 200 plots are intended for drop-in guests. There are large service houses and indoor swimming pool here. If you want to go skiing, you can go to Skagahøgdi Skisenter, which is ten minutes from the campsite.
Address: Heradvegen 189, Gol
Lillehammer Turistsenter in Lillehammer
Lillehammer Turistsenter has space for 200 motorhomes, caravans and tents, and the entire area has access to electricity and WiFi. Here you will find kilometers of ski tracks and some of the country’s best ski slopes, including ones in Hafjell and Sjusjøen. In addition, Lillehammer offers shopping and cozy cafes.
Address: Sandheimsbakken 20, Lillehammer
Three nice winter campsites in Finland
Ruka Caravan Park in Ruka
Ruka Caravan Park is located at the popular ski resort of Ruka, where you can experience everything from skiing to snowmobiling and dog sledding. There are 150 plots for a caravan or motorhome, and a service house and a sauna. It is possible to book both a seasonal plot and single days.
Address: Rukatunturi, Vuosselintie 13, Kuusamo
Laajis Urban Caravan in Jyväskylä
Laajis Urban Caravan is located just outside Jyväskylä and offers a campsite with a service house, sauna, restaurant and proximity to public transport. In winter, you can engage in various winter sports, such as skiing, ice skating or snowshoeing.
Address: Laajavuorentie 15, Jyväskylä
Rastila Camping in Helsinki
Rastila Camping is a five-star campsite close to the city in Helsinki, and is open all year round. Here there are modern camping plots for motorhomes and caravans, as well as a sauna and opportunities for outdoor activities. You can also get into the big city and, for example, do some shopping or visit Sveaborg.
Address: Karavangatan 4, Helsingfors
Don’t you want to stay on a regular campsite, and are curious about free camping? Then you can read this article about free camping in winter.
Checklist for those who want to rent a motorhome or caravan in the winter
Are you planning to rent a motorhome or caravan for winter camping? When you search for a motorhome or caravan on Housecar, you can make it easy for yourself by choosing to display only winter adapted vehicles. You do this by clicking on ”show filter” and clicking on ”yes” under the option ”winter adapted”. Here is a small checklist of things to consider:
- Make sure the vehicle has winter tires or studded tires.
- Find out how well the vehicle can withstand the cold (Scandinavian brands are often more resistant).
- Find out how well adapted the water and sewage system is for cold, and how you need to take care of it so that nothing freezes.
- Make sure the vehicle can be heated with both electricity and gas, to minimise the risk of problems with heating.
- Find out if the following equipment is available or consider whether you want to pack it yourself: shovel, flashlight, ice scraper and (if it is a motorhome) insulating blanket for the windshield.