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Old 09.04.2021, 23:48
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Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

This summer we (2 people) would like to travel round Switzerland and stay in campsites, either car+tent or bicyles+tent or campervan - to be decided.

We did this before in many other countries, and usually we decide the itinerary day by day, nothing pre-booked.

Does anyone know if this is possible in Switzerland?
i.e. can you find campsite space without pre-booking in July/August?
And does anyone have experience from summer 2020 during the pandemic?

We would be happy with small and remote campsites, with few facilities. I know that the big child-friendly campsites get booked up. We will always camp legally. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 10.04.2021, 00:43
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

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i.e. can you find campsite space without pre-booking in July/August?
And does anyone have experience from summer 2020 during the pandemic?
The 2 campsites near us were jam packed all last summer.
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Old 10.04.2021, 07:10
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

Camping with a tent, most sites will have space anytime of the year, generally booking is advised if you want electricity or a nicer pitch or a site with a pool and kids entertainment.
We were fine all through last summer, in Germany, France and Switzerland.
There are so many sites, from the big fun park types to small fields, I'd be totally shocked to not get a space somewhere.

Some sites don't even allow bookings in summer, they just guarantee a pitch if you arrive before 3pm.
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Old 10.04.2021, 07:33
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

I have just tried to book 2 nights in a period we have been prior and with the same advance notice and found all is booked out.

I sense campsites are in higher demand, perhaps CoVid?

In any case, many have a "Zeltwiese" (tent field) where there is no pre-book allowed so just turn up early and should be fine.

So all in all, I don't think impossible but I would factor in a few bumps
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Old 10.04.2021, 08:15
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

We spent time in the Grisons last July and indeed reservations made in advance was crucial as there was a surge in camping- I expect it to be a bigger issue this summer considering cumulative confinement fatigue

Nevertheless camping is a great way to contend with this bizarre situation we live in
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Old 10.04.2021, 10:14
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

In general, you should assume that things in Switzerland are booked early by well organized Swiss people.

You might be lucky and find free spaces spontaneously, but you shouldn't be suprised, especially this summer, if every camp site you want to stay at will be booked out if you don't pre-book.

One data point: last summer a coworker of mine stayed in a camp site in tessin. He booked early (before the corona scare) and the campsite filled up afterwards.
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Old 10.04.2021, 10:18
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

I think you should be fine if you go for the tent option, most camp sites have tent pitching areas which don’t need to be pre-booked. Some places don’t even take bookings for tent pitches.

If you go for the camper an option than I think booking in advance would be essential.
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Old 10.04.2021, 13:21
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

just depends - but it can be stressful at the end of the day, of looking for places and not finding any- no worse though than for Hôtels or B&Bs.

In our region, there are some places where you can put a campervan 'wild'- the parking at Lac des Taillères is one- with WCs and running water- but in season it is almost impossible to park there.

We have space to put tents and campervans in our field, with access to WCs, a kitchen, BBQ and water- if ever in the Creux-du-Van/Gorges de l'Areuse or de La Poetta Raisse (NE) region. Monies go to pay costs for our charity.
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Old 10.04.2021, 13:57
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

This year I would definitely pre-book unless you are on bicycles carrying a tent, in which case you're more likely to be squeezed on a pitch but even then it may not be possible.

In other countries, it's quite possible, when campsites are full, just to pitch somewhere (ask first) if it's just overnight.

I'm pretty sure it's not the done thing here in Switzerland.
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Old 10.04.2021, 14:51
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

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just depends - but it can be stressful at the end of the day, of looking for places and not finding any- no worse though than for Hôtels or B&Bs.

In our region, there are some places where you can put a campervan 'wild'- the parking at Lac des Taillères is one- with WCs and running water- but in season it is almost impossible to park there.

We have space to put tents and campervans in our field, with access to WCs, a kitchen, BBQ and water- if ever in the Creux-du-Van/Gorges de l'Areuse or de La Poetta Raisse (NE) region. Monies go to pay costs for our charity.
How does something like that get set up? Just wondering because the farm opposite us has had a lot of campers staying in one of their fields for the last few weeks. Are there any permissions needed? What facilities, if any, have to be provided?
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Old 10.04.2021, 14:53
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

Here it has been really well tolerated so far. But last year, as people chose to stay local, it just became crazy and there were camping vans parked all over the place, from all over CH -included the Church parking bay in front of us. So the Commune has decided to tighten regulations and limit stays to official sites. Saying that, driving around this week and Easter week-end, it was clear that that was not adhered to.We have a village picnic place above the village, with huge tables and BBQs, including free wood, and this week there are 3 mobile homes up there. As long as they take their rubbish with them, including WC waste, or properly use the 'spade and cover' method- I don't mind.

As said, if anyone is visiting western Switzerland and the NE Jura, we have got space here, with WCs, water and even a kitchen. Wild flowr meadow surrounded by fields and forests.

Last edited by JackieH; 10.04.2021 at 18:15.
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Old 10.04.2021, 17:58
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

We had trouble finding places even with bikes & a tent at some smaller campsites even back in 2018. If you're fit enough to add 20km to your daily riding, it's probably no problem, but if not...
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Old 11.04.2021, 08:35
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

We probably camped on at least a dozen sites last summer..
We book in advance because we generally go to sites with kids entertainment, pool, bar, resto etc and we want electricity if we take our own tent or we book a cabin or something..

Even in the peak of summer I didn't see the tent areas anywhere close to full, more like 20% full .. Maybe that's the trick, these sites are aimed at families who book the accommodation rather than the drop in with a small tent people.

Maybe this year is going to be different .. Looking at the TCS camping site now its warning that they are not taking any more bookings!
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Old 11.04.2021, 20:50
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

They had a report on the news last year about farmers throughout the country allowing families camp on their land (but arranged in advance). I think there was even a website to help you find farmers, but I can't find any info now.
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Old 11.04.2021, 21:13
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

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They had a report on the news last year about farmers throughout the country allowing families camp on their land (but arranged in advance). I think there was even a website to help you find farmers, but I can't find any info now.
Yeah, hubby had a dig around on the net, but couldn't find anything.

Some are staying for a few days, others just seem to be there overnight.
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Old 12.04.2021, 23:41
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

Thanks everyone. Sounds like we'd be better to book a couple of camp sites in advance for a longer period and use them as a base for trips out.

I just couldn't work out if things would be quieter or busier when there's fewer foreign tourists
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:00
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

After having tried in vain to book for a couple of nights in may, I can tell you that things are definitely A LOT busier. Wrote to about 10 campings and all booked out.
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Old 13.04.2021, 10:16
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

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Thanks everyone. Sounds like we'd be better to book a couple of camp sites in advance for a longer period and use them as a base for trips out.

I just couldn't work out if things would be quieter or busier when there's fewer foreign tourists
Fewer foreign tourists is not the problem - it's more Swiss deciding (or being unable) to travel abroad and instead taking camping holidays and weekends here.
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Old 19.04.2021, 14:01
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

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After having tried in vain to book for a couple of nights in may, I can tell you that things are definitely A LOT busier. Wrote to about 10 campings and all booked out.
Indeed ..

Our May trip is cancelled .. EuroCamp ..
They are cancelling everything until at least 25th June. Was on one of their sites at easter and the rep told me they are struggling to get people work permits post Brexit.. Plus the cover travel restrictions..

So yeah I'm now seeing just how booked up everything is trying to find something else for ascension :-/
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Old 29.04.2021, 18:21
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Re: Do campsites need to be pre-booked?

We have just been camping in Ticino. We did book but didn't need to as we had a whole area of a campsite to ourselves so definitely COVID-safe!
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