The Campervan Roadtrip

September 2021
Living the #vanlife

One day I will be driving in my own converted campervan through Europe. Working in the mountains during the winter season and somewhere along the coast during the summer. In the meantime I capture the adventures that will cross my path through the lens of my camera.

While planning a surf roadtrip with a good friend the opportunity of doing this roadtrip in a campervan popped up. We both decided that this would be a great way to be able to experience the van life for a couple of weeks. (and of course this gave our roadtrip a decent upgrade as we went from a car and a tent to a fully equipped campervan)
Étretat and Bretagne

The first stop of our trip on our way to Bretagne was Étretat. This is a small town along the coast famous for its chalk cliffs and natural arches. Located in the Normandy region just above Le Havre it was about a seven-hour drive from the Netherlands.

We spent the first night on a small camper spot close to the centre of Étretat. In the morning we went for a little walk through the village and over the cliffs along the ocean. After that, we headed further down the coast on our way to Bretagne.

The plan was to find some spots in the western-most point of Bretagne that would provide good waves and camper spots close to the beach. The surf forecast for the coming days looked promising and the van already felt like a home just after two days.

While we were on the road we found a small campsite in Tréguennec close to the beach. This camping was actually just a field of grass in the dunes with a sanitary building in the middle and the reception was located in a small wooden cottage.

The next day when we woke up we went for a sunrise surf. The conditions were perfect for a ‘first’ surf with glassy mid-heigh waves and nobody else around except for some people walking on the beach with their dogs.

We enjoyed the quiet vibes of this small campsite. It was literally located in the middle of nowhere and there weren’t any towns close by. After three days of chilling, reading, playing guitar and some surfing it started raining and it was time get back in the van and drive further along the coast.

Biscarosse and Les Landes"

The next region we were planning to spent some time with the van was the Landes region in the Southern part of France under Bordeaux. After a nine-hour drive from Bretagne we arrived late in the evening in Biscarosse and parked the van on a camper spot close to Plage du Vivier.

"Can you smell the pine trees?"

The following morning we woke up with the smell of pine trees and the entrance of the beach at our doorstep. The vibes of this camper spot were great as it was full of campervans in all colours and sizes parked in the shade of the trees. In the evening I went for a surf trying to catch some waves in the hollow shore break while the sun slowly dropped in the ocean.

The solar panel on the roof of the van provided us enough energy to be able to spent three nights on this spot. After that, we drove just an hour further down south towards Moliets. We stayed at the camping where I also spent the summer last year working on the Surfblend Surfcamp. The conditions were perfect with clean and glassy waves and a less crowded line-up compared busy summer season.
Biaritz and Côtes des Basques

After two days in Moliets we drove further down south towards Hossegor. A well-known surf town known for its famous beach breaks and a huge variety of cafes, restaurants and surf shops. The next day we drove further along the coast to Biaritz. We were able to park the van on a spot just outside the city but still close to the beach of Côte de Basques. In the evening I paddled out to catch some surf in a small bay between the rocks. The current was strong and it was a tough paddle session, but the local beer afterwards tasted really well while watching the sunset.

Instead of going further down south along the coast the plan was to drive towards the Pyrenees to spend some time in the mountains. We found a cool spot named Cirque de Gavarnie which was about a four hour drive from Biaritz.

The campsite was located a few hundred metres outside the village of Gavarnie and next to a river with water coming from the waterfall of Cirque de Gavarnie. As the campsite was surrounded by mountain peaks and located at 1570 metres above sea level the temperatures rapidly dropped as soon as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. With a temperature just below the freezing point during the night it was a big difference compared to the warm days along the coast. However, breathing the fresh cold mountain air in the morning made it all worth it.

The plan for the first day here was to hike towards the waterfall located in the center of the Cirque. We followed the hiking trail which started at the campsite and it took about one and a half hour to get to the waterfall. For the rest of the day we chilled in the sun and enjoyed the views that surrounded the campervan.

After three night on this small cosy campsite we had to leave as the camping was already closing its doors for the winter. We drove the van further into the Pyrenees to a spot called: Plateau de Lhers. This place was situated at around 1000 metres above sea level and for just 8 euros per night we were allowed to stay here with a handful of other campervans.

Despite the rainy days here we enjoyed some time in the van playing guitar and reading books. In the meantime I had contact with a friend who was planning to go to Zarautz for the next few days. The surf forecast was looking good for the next week. So the choice was made easily to head over to Spain and go back to the coast for some more surf before going back home to the Netherlands.

Going back home...