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Ein VW Grand California Van steht vor einer Bergkulisse, eine Frau geht auf die Kamera zu.
Ein VW Grand California Van steht vor einer Bergkulisse, eine Frau geht auf die Kamera zu.

Camping in the mountains - a weekend trip

Autorin Babsi
Article from Babsi

Camping in the mountains is worth it: wake up directly in front of the mountain scenery, jump into a crystal clear lake before breakfast and go hiking.

This time Fabienne is our guest and tells you about her weekend camping trip in the mountains.
October 2021: Last weekend, a long-awaited wish came true, because it was my first time on the road with a camper. Together with my sister, I thought about where we could go on the first weekend in October. It was immediately clear to us: it must be a place with a beautiful view in the morning! So where is it most beautiful? Where do you lie in bed in the evening and look forward to the next day? The location of campsites is definitely decisive. A lake in the mountains would be a wonderful choice. We decided on the Walchensee in Bavaria because you can easily go hiking from there the next day. While searching for campsites in the area of the lake, we finally found what we were looking for. We found a campsite that had several pitches directly on the lake.
VW Ocean steht in idyllischer Berglandschaft man sieht Füße in roten Ringelsocken die aus dem Beifahrerfenster herausgestreckt werden
Weeeeeell, you can plan and book everything so perfectly but it often goes quite differently from what you actually imagine. Due to a case of illness we received a cancellation of the campsite on Thursday afernoon because unfortunately they therefore had to close their pitches prematurely.
Whew! One day before departure we needed to reschedule once again and look for new campsites ... Whether we now continue to look for a campsite in Germany or go to another country, remained open to us now. Our own country has to offer many beautiful places as well. There's a massive choice and everything is possible: the Hopfensee or the Forggensee in Füssen, the Tegernsee, the Attersee and the Mondsee or still the Achensee in Austria? Since we haven't been to any of the lakes yet, we didn't know where it would be most beautiful. One of the top favorites has definitely been the Mondsee, but this is also much further away than the others and therefore we decided against is. We also decided against camping at the Hopfensee and Forggensee.
After a few phone calls our new destination was now clear: the Achensee. The way and the number of kilometres were about the same as before and the choice of campsites was at least as nice. So off to the neighboring country - namely to Austria and the Achensee!
Mädchen sitzt auf dem Dach eines VW California Ocean und blickt in bewaldete Berglandschaft

Camping in the Austrian mountains

We had to arrive with two cars, because we came from different directions. My sister had more luck because I needed 04:30h instead of 02:50h due to a traffic jam.
The agreed arrival time was long overdue, but as we kept in constant contact with the Off employees during the trip, everything went well in the end. Upon arrival, we first had a cool soda to chill out after the long drive. Despite the delay, the camper was explained and shown to us calmly. We looked at every side of the exterior and all corners of the camper and were particularly amazed at how much you can store in it. Theoretically, there would be room for a whole family including two children. Whereas a Grand California would be more suitable, which is also available at Off.
At nightfall we finally got going. We won't see the mountains tonight which is a bit of a shame as it is always the most beautiful scenery when you go to the Alps. Weeeell and what can I say, we actually also thought that we could still - on the way or somewhere near the campsite - go shopping and cook on arrival... but nope.
Zwei Frauen sitzen lachend oben im Dachzelt des VW California Ocean.
We hoped to not get into another traffic jam, which actually worked out quite well. We stopped briefly at a service station to get some dinner to go there. Because until we would arrive at the campsite, the restaurant kitchens would certainly be closed already. We phoned the campsite and assured our arrival before 10pm because the barrier of the campsite would close at this time. We drove along the Achensee, past two other campsites until we arrived at our chosen spot - at ´Camping in the mountains`.
09:50pm - precision landing! By using our flashlight we picked our spot between the other caravans, set up the bed, got ready for bed and then snuggled right into the van. Thank God because wild camping would not have been such a great option for us in the dark. Unfortunately, we were'nt able to see the location and the view of the lake that well anymore in the darf. If we do not like the pitch tomorrow morning no longer, I'll just park somewhere else I thought, because there were certainly more free pitches and then I fell asleep.
Eine Frau sitzt abends lesend im VW California Ocean mit offener Tür.

Our first night in the campervan at lake Achensee

You just sleep well in the van - that's what we discovered in the morning. Then we had to take a shower and get breakfast because there were no leftovers from the night before. We had such luck with the weather: the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm. So I decided I definitely wanted to have breakfast outside. Over breakfast, we planned what hikes we'd like to do over the weekend.
We had a little look around the campsite in the morning. The site is not even 100 metres away from the lake, there's a playground for children in close proximity and it's also not far from the beach. Furthermore, there's a restaurant right next to the site, as well as plenty of parking lots for caravans, tents or motorhomes. No matter where you stay, the great thing is: you can always see the mountains or the big lake. The service as well as the price are great. The Achensee offers a wide variety of possibilities - whether hiking, cycling, water sports, fishing or walking - there's something for everyone. If you want to enjoy a little wellness treatment on vacation, there's a panoramic pool for families right next to the lake in the same village, which is open all year round. Whether for children or adults - there are slides as well as saunas. The bath is located in a spot from which you have a nice view of the lake. We think the campsite is quite nice, as there are numerous things to do due to the direct proximity to the lake.
Eine Frau sitzt im offenen VW California Ocean und zieht sich Wanderschuhe an.

Hiking, shandy on the summit & warm soup

Afterwards, we walked through town to the Rofanbahn and then directly up the mountain into the Alps. The Rofan mountains offer many hikes and there are also some via ferratas. Besides hiking and climbing, you can experience a kind of a flight on the mountain above from the Gschöllkopf with the Airrofan. From there we hiked to Gruber Lake and back again.The view over the mountains is fabulous and in my opinion the best part of hiking. It's highly recommended if you love the mountain panorama as much as we do. On the way back, before we took the train back down to the valley, we stopped at one of the three huts. After hiking, ordered a cool shandy and a large portion of Kaiserschmarrn. Who could resist that? That's what a perfect Saturday looks like!
Zwei Menschen in Wanderschuhen blicken von einer Anhöhe aus auf einen Bergsee.
Ein Teller mit schön angerichtetem Kaiserschmarren mit grüner Bergkulisse im Hintergrund.
Once we were down in the valley, we shopped for our dinner before heading back to the campsite. We had some leek soup with cheese.
Eine Frau schneidet auf einem Campingtisch eine Stange Lauch in Ringe.
We noticed that it was getting dark early, so we had to use the flashlight for cooking. Well, summer was already over. With thick sweaters, warm soup, the awning above us and a candle on the table, it was still very cozy and warm enough to sit outside for a while though.

Our second and final day

Our second night in the van was comfortable and quiet as well. Just as the day before, we could start Sunday morning with tea and a delicious breakfast outside while enjoying the view of the mountains and the lake. Oh how wonderful! A camper simply offers the best view when travelling. It's really special that you have so many possibilities and places to stay while camping. Germany alone has many beautiful campsites to offer. Here you can find a few great campsite tips!
We spent our last day at the Achensee, because we had not seen much of it until now. Around 3pm we headed back to Germany, more precisely to Munich to the Off site. We stopped at a cheese shop very close to the Tegernsee to take a piece of good cheese as a souvenir. The weekend literally consisted of amazing weather and lots of sun. Who would expect it to be that warm at this time of year. Unfortunately, this was also the reason why it was so busy on the road. The way back from the mountains was similar to the way there. Traffic jam, traffic jam, traffic jam....Luckily the campers have automatic transmission - that makes the constant starting more pleasant at least. But we weren't surprised - you have to make the most of such beautiful weather.
Zwei Frauen sitzen auf einem Steg am Achensee.
Fun fact: due to the traffic jam, we reached the site in Munich with the same delay we had when we picked up the camper. But due to the good service and the accessibility of the Off employees, it was not a big problem. So, in a way, we remained true to ourselves. Nevertheless, everything went well, no one can do anything about the traffic jam. You have to make the best of it and the main thing is that you arrive safe and sound.
A very successful weekend with my sister in the mountains in the golden October of 2021.

Conclusion: We loved it!

Camping in the mountains is definitely worth it. Waking up right next to the mountains and having one of the most beautiful lakes in your immediate proximity - I don't think there's anything better! The location was simply unbeatable. The size of the campsite was ideal as well. We actually think smaller campsite are the nicest as they are somehow more familiar and cozy.
P.S.: We took way too much stuff with us. The campers are really well equipped, in addition, small goodies from cooperating companies can be found everywhere in the van. Everyday things like salt, pepper, coffee, garbage bags and also dishwashing utensils (sponge, soap, etc.) are available as well.

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