Wild camping in Sardinia: an unconventional holiday in complete safety, relaxation and freedom
Yes, you’re reading correctly, wild camping in Sardinia with a campervan is something you can dream of! But there’s more, with the right tips, you can make this dream come true without any problems!
If you have decided to wander through Sardinia by campervan, it means that you are looking for a completely autonomous holiday. It also is very likely that you are not inclined to stay at crowded rest areas or expensive campsites. However, renouncing to rest areas is always a bit scary. The good news is that giving up campervan parking areas in Sardinia is much simpler than it might seem. Of course, you cannot improvise and you have to be a bit cautious but believe me, it really is worth it. After all, what wouldn’t you do to admire the sunset over the Gennargentu massif in splendid solitude or wake up at a deserted beach?
Wild camping in Sardinia by campervan only requires a certain capacity of organization, safety regulations and a good dose of adaptation spirit. And with a handful of tips, you will be ready for this great adventure!
Get a good supply of drinking water
Sardinia is a notoriously arid island and in some places, finding drinking water might be harder than you would imagine. If your campervan has at least two large tanks, you might consider yourself quite comfortable. However, be aware that the heat of the island may force you to take more showers a day and the water may never be enough. If you decide to go far away from towns, a good supply of bottled water will prevent you from having to rush back to the nearest village. Don’t forget to install some useful apps on your smartphone to help you find the nearest drinking water fountains.
Be prepared against insects
Outside the inhabited areas, in the most uncontaminated nature of Sardinia, insects multiply. The most common insects found in Sardinia are mosquitoes, flies, ants, horseflies and, very rarely, ticks. Before leaving, get moschicide strips to protect yourself at least during meals. If your campervan does not have mosquito nets, take them with you and attach them to the windows of the vehicle. Also consider that life in your campervan is mainly outdoors, so don’t forget mosquito repellent sprays and after-stitch ointments. To prevent ants from attacking the kitchen, buy a special product to use if necessary.
Download, install and use Park4Night and CaraMapas
Wanting to live the day in the midst of nature does not mean having to give up technology. Sometimes you will be very tired or, perhaps, it will be too late to look for a place to stay for the night. In these cases, CaraMaps and Park4Night will be your best partners to find a place to sleep peacefully. With these apps, you’ll find the best parking spots, recommended by other campers and accompanied by tips, pictures and descriptions. And if you find a perfect place for the night in your wanderings, return the favor and share it on the apps.
Avoid high season
If possible, try to plan your wild camping in Sardinia by campervan during the less crowded months. In the middle of summer, you wouldn’t be the only one to want to sleep in front of that beautiful bay and you could probably find yourself stopping in the middle of many other campers. If you have holidays in July or August, opt for a trip inland and to lesser known and frequented beaches and coasts. For example, the south-western coast of Sardinia. Even during high season, Sardinia offers many “secret” places to live by the sea almost alone.
Join other campervan owners
We know that this will seem strange to you, given your total and enviable desire for freedom. However, union makes strength and the best way to spend a night in complete safety is to stay with other campervan friends. An intruder would be discouraged by the number of campers parked, which means a large number of people on board. In addition, in an unlikely case of emergency, help would be timely.
Do not stay at a fuel station
First of all, we believe that sleeping in the middle of petrol pumps is the furthest away from the idea of a holiday in the middle of nature! However, the real reason you have to avoid petrol stations is that these are the least safe places to stay. Statistically, the number of thefts in cars has increased significantly in recent years and truck drivers, used to sleeping in their vehicles, will hardly notice if anything is happening to you.
Avoid discos and nightclubs
You may be tempted to stop near some nightclub, thinking that the mass of people around can be a guarantee of safety. Wrong. Clubs are full of young people who just think about having fun, and the alcoholic euphoria reached by some of them could be very high. None of us would like to be woken up in the middle of the night by songs, laughter, and noise. In addition, there is always the risk that alcohol may suggest some sick counsel and that you may become the target of some stunt.
Avoid stopping in big cities
The first reason to avoid stopping in cities is that you are looking for peace and adventure! In Sardinia, there are no major city centers, but avoid traffic, horn and the risk of having problems with the police (free parking is subject to strict rules) seems like good advice to share to us. The second reason it is better to avoid cities is crime. Although there are no dangerous cities in Sardinia, as anywhere in the world, a campervan can be an easy opportunity for some quick bounty.
Verify holidays and market days
If you are going to stop near some village, always check the signs. In particular, make sure that the area chosen to spend the night is not the seat of a city market or the path of a patronal festival. Being woken up at dawn by a hard-working law enforcement officer or finding yourself hampered by the local procession is an adventure you can easily avoid.
Choose locations with sufficient lighting
Parking in the middle of nature certainly has its charm, but you should know that at night, outside the city, it is much darker than you would ever imagine. Sleeping in the middle of a forest or near a beach is an experience to try and in Sardinia you can do it without any problem. But be aware of the risks you can take. The alternative is to stay in more enlightened places, where the malicious have more difficulty in attempting an attack or theft.
Reach the parking area in the early afternoon
Most free parking spots in Sardinia, especially in high season and if advertised through apps and online forums, can be very popular. If you arrive too late, you run the risk of finding them already full and you will have to move further to find another one that suits you. Try to plan your stop in advance, making sure you arrive, if possible, in the early hours of the afternoon. Most people will be at the beach or on an excursion and you will have access to the best spots.
Do not park next to other campers
This, more than a travel tip, is a good manners norm. You’re not the only one looking for peace of mind. You wouldn’t appreciate waking up in the morning and opening the window on the table of the campervan parked next to yours. The same goes for the others. Keeping a distance that guarantees a certain privacy and intimacy is a sign of respect, which will be rewarded by smiles, kindness and helpfulness.
Evaluate where to stay
A good observation spirit and the ability to make lucid analyses are fundamental qualities for the wild camping lover. You have found a good pitch, illuminated and discrete, but how can you be sure that it guarantees a maximum level of safety? Look around: if you see syringes, condoms, fragments of bottles or rubbish on the asphalt, you can be sure that that place is not a safe one. You’re better off leaving and looking for an alternative.
Check the weather forecast
Although your campervan is your second home, remember that it still is a vehicle and does not ensure the same safety as a roof above your head. Sardinia is an island that in all seasons is often blown by strong winds, especially the mistral. Always check the weather forecast at specialist sites. We suggest you use Windfinder, which, thanks to its interactive map, will certainly be very useful to easily evaluate the strength of the wind and any expected precipitation. In case of bad weather, avoid staying underneath trees where breaking branches could fall on your van. If you’re concerned about time, avoid the woods, but above all, carefully assess the terrain on which you’re standing. In case of heavy rain, mud could become a serious problem and if the tires start to slip, you could get stuck.
Do not park too close to the sea or rivers
With the same attention to the weather, avoid parking too close to waterways, which could suddenly increase. Although the Mediterranean Sea does not have noticeable tidal changes, some excursions do exist. Therefore, avoid stopping just a few meters from the sea.
Do not leave objects outside the camper
Before you lock yourself in your campervan to sleep, take everything you’ve used to safety: bicycles, tables, stoves, shoes, towels, everything. The reason is trivial. Avoid that they can be stolen from you during the night or that you can forget them when you leave.
Don’t come in the dark
Even if you’ve chosen to stay somewhere little-known, try to get there before it gets dark. By 4 p.m. if you travel in winter, before 8 p.m. if you travel in the middle of summer. Don’t get us wrong, you don’t have to compete with others for the best place, but know that positioning your campervan in the dark will always be more difficult. Not to mention the fact that you may have difficulties with the route, with any holes and with dangerous and invisible differences in level.
Create difficulties for possible intruders
If a thief wants to enter, he usually enters, but there are ways, more or less effective, to slow down his attempts. First of all, lock the entrance: you can stop the handle with a belt, a rope or even with a chain and padlock. If someone tries to get in, they’ll have to make noise. For driver’s cabin doors, don’t just rely on the safety locks provided on the vehicles, but lock them by tying them together so that they cannot be opened from the outside. It won’t happen, but having the opportunity to make an emergency call, without wasting time looking for the phone in the whole campervan, can make a difference.
Open the awning and windows carefully
In Sardinia, wild camping is forbidden. Opening the awning and even opening just the campervan windows to the outside is frequently associated with wild camping. Yes, you have understood correctly, you can be severely fined for simply opening your campervan windows outwards. In our camping experience in Sardinia, we never had any problems with it. We are sure that you won’t have any either. However, it is right to advise you to always be very careful, especially with the awning. Only open the awning in places that aren’t crowded and only where you are sure you can do so.
Assess what you would do in case of an attack
Remaining in the field of personal safety, it is necessary to hypothesize what you would do in case of danger in advance. There is no advice to give on this, other than to properly assess your level of anxiety, your responsiveness under stress and how quickly you can make decisions without mental clarity. Only after this, you can think of a deterrent to discourage an attacker or even just to attract the attention of your neighbors. Usually, a noise dissuader is more than enough, but if you think you can handle the situation, you can also get a stick or a more harmless chili spray. Always consider what you would do and the consequences of your actions. Also consider the fact that fighting an attacker isn’t always the best move. In fact, indulging him, you may lose some valuable object, but you will often risk much more personally.
Enjoy a few luxuries
As you can see, wild camping by campervan requires a good dose of organization and commitment. So, although it always gives exciting emotions, every now and then it’s worthwhile to treat yourself to some extra comfort. Sardinia also offers numerous campsites and equipped rest areas, where you can take advantage of the many services available. A few days of relaxation will give you that extra gear to face the next kilometers, which will take you back to live your holiday in complete freedom and autonomy. Staying in an organized parking area overnight is also useful to connect to the electricity supply and fully recharge the campervan batteries.
Respect the environment
We left it last but it’s the most important of all. That would be the twenty-second tip, but no, respecting the environment is not a suggestion but an obligation to be scrupulously observed! If wild camping is now prohibited, we owe it, in fact, to all those who have adopted uncivilized behavior towards our land. Free campervan parking in Sardinia is still well tolerated, as long as you adopt every precaution for maximum respect for the environment. In particular, take care of these things:
1. Do not abandon waste in nature. Remember that Sardinia is a very windy island where a plastic bag can easily be carried away by the wind. Therefore, always take care to keep light objects in safe places (plastic bags and packaging, paper handkerchiefs).
2. Separate the waste and deliver it to the appropriate ecological areas. Please avoid abandoning waste in any way where you find piles of waste. The fact that someone has created a pile does not give you the right to abandon further waste!
3. Check that you have closed the waste water tap. Sometimes, even the most experienced camper owners can forget the water drain is open!
4. Always discharge the waste water in the appropriate areas.
We convinced you to try wild camping in Sardinia with a campervan, but you do not have a camper?
First of all, it is not worth renting a camper in the peninsula and facing the huge ferry costs to cross the Mediterranean. Better to rent it directly on the island. Yep Campers offers its Westfalia campervans, fully equipped with every comfort and small enough to reach even the most inaccessible places to stay for free!
Wild camping in Sardinia by campervan is there, within easy reach. Now you have all the tips you need to tackle this adventure, which will be one of your favourite memories permanently. What are you waiting for to leave for your most beautiful holiday?