The Rhine Route by tandem – notes on camping

Campsite, Mainz

Of our 15 nights out, we spent 11 under canvas. We took with us a Coleman Rigel X2. Weighing in at 980g, it was potentially ideal. However, there are two significant compromises that come with the low weight. First, It has only a single lining, which means that it is prone to condensation, especially if there are two people in it – for which it is realistically not suitable; it is just too small (the second compromise). So despite it being watertight (we survived a lively thunderstorm on one night), by the morning the inside of the tent was very wet indeed.

As for campsites, here is a summary of the places we stayed:

Campsite Comment
Leimuiden, NL The campsite is 2km south of Leimuiden. It is a working dairy farm. Delightful, though basic. Everyone was very friendly, including the owner who waved at us from his tractor whilst we were drinking some generously donated beer before taking a modest 10 Euros from us. The cheapest campsite we visited. It is close to Schipol Airport, however, so there is a bit of noise. Other than that, a must if you are in the area.
Bunnik, NL East of Utrecht. Very large site with a mix of semi-permanent and travelling pitches. Very big field for campers. Facilities are good. We walked into Bunnik for some food and found a pub. A bit impersonal, but functional.

Aerdt, Pannerden, NL

3 km east of Pannerden, near Arnhem. Small campsite for cyclists run by the Jakobs. Excellent value and really welcoming. The reception is open until 2200. No washing machine, but it has a spinner. Thoroughly recommended.

Xanten, DE There are three campsites to the west of Xanten on Urseler Straβe. The first is a field attached to a pub. The second “Wild Camping” is a combination of semi permanent caravans and shacks and camping. We arrived late to find the reception closed. We pitched, but were unable to shower because the showers required tokens. That said, we missed the after-hours intercom. There is also a Gaststätte there which is not recommended. It is a shade unfriendly. They turned the lights off on us twice whilst we drank a bier.
Düselldorf, DE This is an eccentric campsite run by a no-nonsense man and his wife. It is a bit close to the airport, but very convenient for the city and on the Rhine path (as it skirts Lörick to the east). The wife of the partnership did us a service wash. A bit expensive, but everything was clean for the following morning. Recommended.
Köln, DE We opted for under the bridge which carries the A4 motorway (3km south of the centre of the City). This was our most expensive site at 19 Euros, but it had everything that was needed. The showers were an extra 50 Cent. There is a washing machine and a dryer. Friendly proprietor. The motorway is a little noisy, but still well recommended.
Koblenz, DE Campsite opposite the Deutsches Eck at the junction of the Rhine and Mosel. Well signposted. Excellent facilities with restaurant where breakfast is also served. Has a washing machine and dryer. Well recommended.
Mainz/Wiesbaden, DE A sizeable site that is a little soulless. Though we arrived in the dark, which did not help. Facilities good, though. Including washing machine and dryer. A walk into Mainz took about 30 minutes. The paths are a shade on the dark side, so we did take a taxi back, which cost around 15 Euros. There is no easy road access to the site.
Gambsheim, F This is a large municipal campsite. We arrived at 2030, too late for the reception. We pitched in any case, but the toilet and shower blocks require a key. We borrowed one from a very helpful fellow camper and checked in the following day (we intended to stay for two nights so that we could have a day off in nearby Strasbourg). Very cheap – 20 Euros for the two nights. No washing machine, but showers hot and functional. Plenty of room. Recommended – but arrive before the reception closes to avoid ablution dilemmas.
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