Most European countries are blessed with plenty of off road sites very similar to the pay and play sites in the UK.
However, the advantage of going to Europe is you get to drive terrain you wouldn’t normally find on home soil – like great craggy mountains under a blue sky, and that’s just for starters!
Part 3: Europe
Unfortunately the laws on greenlaning are as confused in Europe as they are in the UK, so let’s take a closer look at some of the individual countries.
In France access to rural tracks depends on the region you are in.
In some, you are free to drive virtually anywhere, while in others you may need written permission of the local mayor! To be on the safe side, always make enquiries locally before putting a tyre on any track you are unsure about.
In Holland & Germany, greenlaning is illegal :(
In Spain & Portugal there is a wealth of tracks that anyone can drive. This, and the warm climate, makes these two countries a favourite amongst British off roaders.
Austria used to be a haven for greenlaners with amazing mountain tracks, but in recent years new anti 4×4 rules has closed off most of them. Same applies in Slovenia.
Photo: Flickr – Indigoprime
Croatia has lanes and tracks that you are entitled to drive, but it’s always best to seek the services of a local guide, as many areas are still blighted with land mines left over from the conflict there in the 1990’s.
In Italy, the roads through the mountainous regions are often little more than tracks, which is great news for Land Rover owners. The tracks in the Alps in northern Italy are particularly stunning when it comes to views to enjoy.
Scandinavia has come good tracks, but law’s vary from country to country.
Take Denmark for example, there is very little greenlaning, but plenty of off road sites.
In Sweden you can drive the forest tracks with a special permit. The annual Sweden Off Road Tour is enjoyed by 4×4 drivers from all over Europe who converge on the country for a trip to the Arctic Circle, driving off road as much as possible!
But the most exciting Scandinavian country for off roading is Iceland. You’ve seen the photos and videos no doubt, so I don’t think anymore has to be said for Iceland!
Today though, the most rewarding destinations for greenlaning are probably the former Eastern Bloc countries like Poland, Hungary, Romania the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Here there are mountains & vast forests and a seemingly relaxed attitude to driving 4×4’s on country tracks. Great fun for Landy owners!
The only downside of the Eastern European countries are that criminal gangs still roam around in some areas. Remember to travel in small convoys to be safe and always check local laws before venturing off road.
So there you have it, a brief round up of European countries where you can, and can’t drive off road. If you have anything to add, or got some more detailed information about a country, then why not add it to the comments below.
In the next article in the series, we will look at places outside of Europe where you can get your tyres dirty!