Campgrounds in Europe aren’t known for being wild and secluded. Most are more like mini tent cities, with every spare inch of grass taken up by tents, caravans and motor homes. But for those who yearn for a more back to nature experience, never fear, Corina from “Packed Again” is here to share with us her new find.
Tucked underneath the towering peaks and glaciers in the French-speaking area of the canton of Wallis, Camping Arolla is ideal for those looking for a campground that is a little more wild. Not only Switzerland's but Europe's highest campground located at 1950m, this spot is ideal for hiking as well as the "I've got this place to myself" feeling.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAMPGROUND AND THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE
I have to be honest with you, for us the more natural and out of the way campsite we can find the more we love it. We're pretty new to camping because we've yet to find a campground that isn't crowded and noisy. Hence why we were so happy to discovered Camping Arolla - the highest campsite in Europe. Quiet, no entertainment facilities, pure nature.
It is located just outside the town of Arolla in Valais, Switzerland, literally at the foot of the glacier. Accessible by public transport - take the Post Auto from Sion train station and ask the driver to drop you at the campsite, or by car, it is about a 45-minute drive off the highway by taking the “Sion Est” exit. Many visitors also come on foot, on one of their mountain hikes, Arolla is a mountaineering campsite.
WHAT TYPES OF ACCOMMODATION ARE ON OFFER?
This campground is a pretty simple campsite, offering pitches for both tents and vans,. Bring your equipment and choose from a free spot to pitch; it's that simple. They also offer tent and equipment rental (up to 4 people), great for those who aren't camping regulars.
For groups of 2 looking for a bit of luxury, why not try one of the Cocoon tents. Included in the 60chf per day rate are a large bed, bedding, wood heating and everything you need to cook your meals.
WHAT FACILITIES DOES THE CAMPSITE OFFER?
Showers (cost 1chf), toilets and washbasins in a modern building - washing machines are free for guests. Do you need more when camping in nature? There is a small shop which sells the essential items, just in case you have eaten everything on your hike to the campground. You can also ordered your bread for breakfast here too.
WHAT ACTIVITIES DOES THE CAMPSITE OFFER?
Enjoy pure nature, amazing views, fresh mountain air and the concert of the faraway river together with the morning birds. This is not a campground for families looking for organised entertainment.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER: WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS?
Unfortunately, like most campgrounds in Europe, no campfires allowed. But you can bring your gas-cooker and cook a 3-course dinner if you need to. No restaurant on-site, but there is a small shop selling the basics. For those not wanting to cook, head into the town of Arolla for a variety of restaurants.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO OUTSIDE THE CAMPGROUND?
Hiking, this place is really for nature lovers and those that love to hike. Whether it is a family hike, a more strenuous day hike or even a mountaineer adventure, it all starts in Arolla.
ANY TIPS OF WHAT NOT TO FORGET?
A warm jacket and maybe even a hat! You are sleeping at 1900m altitude at the foot of a glacier! :).
(Tip from SFT: Thermals make great PJs in any season in Switzerland, especially in the mountains.)
BEST WAY TO BOOK?
You cannot book in advanced at Camping Arolla, but there always seems to be space. Call them during shop hours in the morning if you would like to get additional information. Due to its high altitude, the campsite is only open from mid-June to mid-September each year.
WHAT SETS THIS CAMPING GROUND APART FROM THE REST?
It's pure nature, the perfect place to away from it all. For us, what camping is all about. And as wild camping is not really allowed in Switzerland, this is as close to it as it gets.
WHAT TYPE OF CAMPER ARE YOU?
We are nice weather campers only :) If there is rain forecast, I just don't see the point...