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Off-Beat Camping in Europe

Reykjavik, Iceland: In summer much of Iceland is gloriously green. The hub of community life is at the thermally heated swimming pool complex, with its adjacent campgrounds. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with locals while you swim, soak in the hot tub, or whiz down the waterslide. The common cooking and eating area at Reykjavik’s campground is one of the best in Europe. You’ll stir your spaghetti sauce and laugh as you exchange travel stories with outdoor enthusiasts from all over Europe and Asia.

From Keflavik Airport drive 42 km on 41 following signposting for Reykjavik. Exit Kringlumyrarbraut and drive north to Sundlaugavegur. Turn east and drive about half a mile to the swimming pool and camping. Laugardalur Camping (553-8110); just over 20 euros per night for two people, car and tent.

Black Sea, Turkey: Not far from Istanbul, the unpretentious little beach town of Kilyos makes a perfect getaway. Part of the route from Istanbul is on a mountain road that winds gently up to grassy pastures. The air is filled with the smell of whole pigs and lambs turning slowly on barbeque spits. You’ll be enticed to stop at the little park-like areas where you can enjoy a wonderful meal with Turkish families at tables under the shade trees.

Drive northwest from Istanbul on E80 or 100 for about 20 miles in the direction of Sariyer. After passing Ottoman Park, turn west following signposting up the mountain road for Kilyos. The campground is part of a lovingly cared for garden across from a small soccer field. Kilyos Garden Camping (210-1572). About ten euros for two people, car and tent.

Masurian Lake Region, Poland: Elegant swans accompany paddlers in kayaks and canoes on the glittering waterways of this serenely beautiful region. Cycling and walking paths wind along the banks and through woodlands. Guides and rentals are available so you can enjoy the camaraderie of the friendly Poles on the popular Krutynia Kayak Route.

From Gdansk drive east on 16 for about 35 miles to Mragowo. This lake and river area is dotted with lovely campgrounds. My favorite sits on the edge of a mirror-like lake about 14 miles south of Mragowo on 602 then 610 outside the village of Ukta. Kruska Camping (423-1597). About 10 euros for two persons, car, and tent.

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