Practical Turkey 2
Mark and Vicki will be finishing their European travels in July, 2011 and would like to sell their 2008 Roadtrek Adventurous in Europe. The RV can be delivered in England, western France, or surrounding area. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Mark and Vicki are in the 14th month of traveling in Europe. I have highlighted in bold general information in this article that you will want to know before you start. Also for the revised Part I of this guide, go to their website TheRoadGoesEverOn.com For a complete daily blog on sites, impressions and pictures (but not much practical stuff) go to www.roadeveron.blogspot.com.
We were just driving along the coast road having left the toll road (our toll card bought west of Istanbul is now all used up but they are using tickets still in the south so we will do that for now) when we spied some ruins on both sides of the road. It was time for lunch so we parked and noticed next to the beach another camper. Walking over, we mimed sleeping there and he nodded yes. We also discovered the entrance which was labeled camping. The ruins are called Elaiussa-Sebaste just 3 miles east of Kizkalesi and they are wonderful to wander around as they are deserted and have some nice mosaics and a theater.N36 28 50 E34 10 24. We spent four nights there right on the beach. Three nights were spent in the company of a Swiss woman who was half Turkish. She spoke excellent English and not only answered all the questions we had built up about Turkey but also fixed us some wonderful Turkish meatballs and gave us the recipe. She did mention that the water supply at the camping area was brackish. We did use it with our filter and Steripen for drinking and noticed no ill affects. This would have been a perfect place except for the inevitable traffic noise from D400, stray dogs, and litter. But it was free and the Turkish toilets even provided a dump site.
Driving on we saw the castles at Kizkalesi, skipped the Heaven and Hell caves, and took the road to Uzuncaburc. This gets you up in the mountains to over 3700 ft and is winding with the usual scary drop offs. However, not as bad as many roads we have been on. The traffic is fairly light as on most Turkish roads and it is a full two lanes wide. The drive passes some great tombs before reaching the ruins of the Zeus temple. We had thought we might park at the Temple but it was right in the village and not very flat. Instead we headed back towards the coast and parked at N 34 10 24 E33 56 28 which was free and seemed like it was a picnic area or maybe even a campground during the season. There was a restaurant with camping right across the road but they never came over, so we assume the area was not part of their establishment. It was well lit and we parked behind the buildings so we felt pretty safe.
Next stop was a worthwhile visit to Mamure Castle. Limited parking but you could probably park for night there though there would be a lot of road noise. We very much enjoyed our visit to Anemurium, an abandoned Roman town and the most southern point of Turkey. The parking was inside the gate next to a restaurant and pension. We considered asking to spend the night but decided to drive on with an idea of stopping at Siedre Camping near Alanya. Unfortunately, rain and early darkness caught up with us and the campground and the one across the street was closed. We ended up at a gas station on the main road with a noisy night. The next morning when Mark took his morning constitutional he did find an open campground close by but apparently their sign had not been lit up the night before. By the way D400 from Marmure to just before Alanya is two lane, winding and mountainous. They are widening it to four lanes but it looks like 3-4 years to completion. We did pass one other place along this long stretch where several campers were obviously staying on the beach probably for free. It was small and close to the road but it was all there was along that stretch.
Next stop was Side which we liked a lot. We stayed amidst the ruins at Istanbul Camping which I spotted and Mark walked to, to be sure we could get down the tiny lane and that they had a washing machine. Washing had become an issue. The last washing machine had been at Mt. Nemrut but we hadn't time there since no one has a dryer so everything has to be hung to dry. We had done a load by hand at the beach but by now we had 3 full loads. We stayed two nights and did 3 back to back one hour loads and it all got dry by 6 pm. And only 5 TL per load, with the camping at 20 TL a night. Restrooms were not attractive though and there is only room enough for 3-4 campers here. Our first night was Turkey Republic Day and there was a free concert at the theater within easy walking distance and the next day while the washed dried we walked through the ruins and the huge pedestrianized shopping area. Nearly all the tourists are Germans, mostly on day excursions from the 25 miles of coastal resorts we drove through yesterday.
Leaving Side, we headed for Aspendos as Mark wanted to see a “complete” theater. It was an easy drive but lots of tour buses there even though it is now October 31. (By the way, not a sign of Halloween here. All Saints Day is apparently not a Muslim celebration :) It is a quick visit—maybe an hour but pricey. 8TL to park, 15TL each admission. We mimed sleeping with the parking guard and decided to have lunch, catch up the blog, see the theater when most of the tour buses left, and spend the night. The time changed last night so now it is full dark at 5 pm.
So now it was Monday and the Archeology Museum in Antalya would be closed. We decided to stop at Perge where we were able to visit a stadium (the long oval type) for free and skipped the 15TL each admission to the main ruins. Again feeling lazy and wanting to listen to more of our Ancient Greek History lectures from the Teaching Company, we decided to spend the night in the free parking area here. We are also watching the DVD series from TC called The Archeology of Greece and Rome which I purchased on eBay because it was not on sale. We are loving it too. I wrote this too hastily as promptly at 5:30 pm the watchman came over and explained quite clearly in Turkish that we had to leave. It was already dark and I was in the middle of cooking chicken curry. We stowed everything quickly and decided that the only place we knew to go to was back to Aspendos. It was 20 miles back and even on 4 lane roads driving in Turkey after dark is awful. So our “free” campsite this night cost us about $18 in diesel. But we left before 8 am so we didn't have to pay the $5 parking charge again. We now have had Google translate “Can we park here overnight?” into Turkish!
Next day we headed for Antalya early so as to find parking. Tom Tom did a good job of taking us right to the museum even though the traffic was crazy in Turkey's fourth largest city. There was free parking at the museum but you need to be there before all the tour buses arrive. N 36 53 07 E30 40 51. It is a terrific museum with a marvelous frieze and many amazing statues from Perge. Many of the statues and sarcophagi were marked with signs about how smugglers had either gotten them out of the county or were caught in the process. Several of these thefts had occurred in the last 10-15 years. I now understand why they didn't want anyone parking near the Perge site overnight.
After the museum we left the camper in their lot and hopped the tram right across the street which runs on the half & hour right to the clock tower and old section of the city. We spent a lovely 2-3 hours just roaming around and walked easily to the Hadrian Gate and down to the Roman harbor tower. The view across the bay to the Olympos mountains was one of the best I have ever seen and not to be missed. (Mark's blog will have the pictures.) We also renewed our Turkcell modem. Only the largest Turkcells can deal with the modem. FYI The modem worked everywhere we were in Turkey except 1 or 2 dead parking spots.
Heading west out of town we tried a couple of marked picnic beach areas for spending the night, but one had a too short underpass to try and with gates at the others we were leery of getting run off at dark again. About half way to Kemer we found a perfect spot (but you have to make a u turn at the roundabout) right on the beach. At one end was a permanent looking tent and construction type trailer but at the other was a German camper and in between several fisherman’s cars. N36 40 50 E30 34 13. Lots of stray dogs as usual but the traffic noise it not too bad. We spent two nights here.
For lunch we stopped at Phaselis which has a spectacular setting. As it is all gated there is no camping area. We had decided to spend the night at Chimaera to see the natural gas lights. The road is steep and winding down but light traffic. This is one of the very, very few places in Turkey that the large tour buses do not go to. The last 2k or so is a good, flat dirt road. Admission 3.5TL and a wide, stepped path 1k to the flames. We hiked up before dark and then Mark went again after dinner. Cost to spend the night was 15 TL, about $11. Only facilities were WC and water tap. If you didn't want to pay there were some pull offs on the stream side before the village after you are down the main hill. You might check them out on your way in. We looked for a road to Olympos but nothing was marked to cut across the peninsula. Back at D400 is was only about another 1k or so going west before we saw the road down. We decided we didn't want to make another trek down and back so we skipped it. The coast road from just beyond the Olympos area to Myra and to beyond Kas is amazingly beautiful. It is still two lane but not too far above the sea to be frightening. We passed one pretty ideal spot for wild camping at about N36 15 59 E30 06 35 where the old road went behind a bluff so it might not be too noisy.
We stopped at Myra to see the tombs and parked at a little restaurant lot—free parking and we bought some fresh juice for lunch. The tombs are very quick to see as you can't go in them or even very close. We wanted to see St. Nick's church but had a very difficult time finding parking as it was Friday, market day. We finally parked about 1k away in front of a school where I am pretty sure it said school buses only. As it was 1:30 we figured it would be a while before school was out. We hustled to church and back but did not go inside—also bought fresh vegetables at the extensive market.
We had planned on stopping at Kas Camping as Tom of Pappilon website had spent almost a week there very happily 3 years ago. However the only sites available were down a very severe hill and the facilities looked pretty old for the 30TL a night. The Magbaz website had said you could free camp at the harbor; however, they were finishing up a brand new expanded harbor and it was all closed. We decided not to stay and had about an hour of daylight left to find a spot. We had planned to boat from Kas to see the sunken city but decided just to skip it. We had little luck driving west finding a spot so we decided to head for the ruins of Xanthos. Somehow we missed the sign (none of this was in Tom, not even Myrna) but followed on to Letoon. (Brown directional signs ran out—last one was the older yellow style at 1k to go.) Big parking lot, no one there, no signs, so we parked up. Just after dark a man came and said we couldn't stay there because it wasn't tourist season. We should follow road 5 k to beach. We tried that but the road turned unpaved (but good) but very isolated, so we turned around before reaching the beach and headed back to a gas station. They were very nice and directed us around the back to spend the night. N 36 20 31 E29 17 44. Note, we almost drove into a 3 ft rebar sticking straight out of the pavement. It is hard to remember that even in a parking area there might be dangerous obstacles that there would never be in US. So far our luck at staying at ruins has been pretty dismal.
Next morning we discovered why we had missed Xanthos—the signs were hidden by the gigantic Friday market by the river. As you come into town take the right fork at the Attaturk statue. After climbing the hill you come to a level car park. Mark hiked all the way to the necropolis but I just went through ruins on both sides of road. This might be a place you could stay as it is away from the town but probably you would want to arrive after closing. In case your GPS doesn't have it N36 21 26 E29 19 07.
Next stop was Saklikent Gorge. This is a huge Turkish tourist site, but not in Tom—neither was the closest town and the signs were not always clear. GPS is N36 28 27 E29 24 11. It was Saturday morning about 11:30 am and the parking lot (2TL) was empty and he said we could spend the night. We paid to go into the gorge on catwalk and didn't realize how interesting it would be tocontinue on upstream. We decided not to, but I think we should have gone back to camper and gotten our water shoes, shorts, and hiking poles. (Though it would have cost another admission fee of 4TL) You can do it anytime except during rainy season thought the signs advise hiring a guide. We saw old men, ladies, young children all headed up the gorge so unless you really want to go far, a guide would probably be overkill. By the way, the tour buses started arriving just before noon! We decided not to spend the night, nor to take the steep road to Tlos. (but we could see the ruins high on the hill on the right as we drove out to D400).
We had read about the famous Blue Lagoon and British enclave at Oludeniz so drove on and arrived at Sugar Beach Campground at about 3. We spent two nights (20TL a night with elec.) Showers were dirty but water was hot—only the w omen’s side was open and was now coed. There were no other campers and maybe only 4-5 others staying in bungalows. Walking into town the next day we found most places closed and shuttered for the season which ends with the end of flights the last weekend of October. It was a beautiful long beach and there were still some boat rides available, parasailing, etc. but it was all rather forlorn. Had one load of wash done (not self service 15TL) and it came back still very damp—not pleased at having to string it all out over the camper. There was a dump and water.
Our next stop was to be Kaya (Kayakoy) the ghost village of Birds Without Wings and worth seeing even if you haven't read the book—though you shouldn't think of visiting Turkey without having read it! Again not in Tom, lousy signage, not on our map (well with 3 names of the town, I was looking for the wrong 2). We went left out of Sugar Beach campground as LP map showed that direction. Turned out that was the way to hike to it—we had a long way to back up and scrapped more paint off of our running board. GPS is N36 37 05 E29 08 44 is parking lot of Kayakoy, where we were allowed to spend the night. There are at least two parts to the ruins so be sure walk further down the road to see the school and then a block after the school turn left to see the lower church. We did not try hiking up to the old tombs.
Two other items that might be helpful. If you are dying for some pork, bacon, etc., there is a British pork store, with some other Brit food items. Not cheap, but then no meat is cheap in Turkey. We have seen absolutely no sign of pork on our trip so far. Also we visited the Letoon Hospital in Fethiye to see a doctor about my shoulder. They have a tourist department who handles the translation with the doctor. Diagnosis was a torn arm muscle. I got a cortisone shot, pain meds, and sling for $225. and medical report and bill in English. I am not looking forward to wearing a sling for 3 weeks but it's got to be better than the pain I have been in.
Heading towards Bodrum we let Tom plot our course along the south side of the peninsula to save miles rather than go all the way to Milas first. Right after the first town of Gokova the small road became miniscule and headed up away from the coast into the steep hills. We made a u turn and decided to reroute on the main road through Milas. We spent the night on a pull out overlooking the sea at N37 06 58 E27 31 34. We loved Bodrum. The underwater archeology museum is amazing especially the Bronze age ship, and it is an enormous wonderful, castle. I paid extra to see the princess exhibit—not much to it, and we skipped the glass 11th century ship. It takes 2-3 hours to see it all. We also went to the ruins of the Mauseollius, which LP said were not much but we enjoyed. Parking in Bodrum is very difficult. Either park at the Otopark near N37 02 30 E27 26 00 (coord taken while driving!) or we drove the entire one way road through the city and past the marina and parallel parked at N37 02 17 E27 25 23. If you get there mid morning, not in season, you should be able to find something. This was near the Mauseollius and we then walked to the castle—very pleasant and not too awfully far. If you park at the Otopark you will have more walking.
We wanted to go further out on the peninsula where there were 2 campgrounds on our Turkey campground map. We got about halfway and realized with all the congestion and building we would never find them and went back to the pull out east of the city that we had used the previous night. I later checked in the Church's book and they had listed one of the campgrounds but said it closed Oct. 31. To find either of them one would need to get on the tiny coast peninsula road and we just weren't up to it.
Driving back towards Milas we set Tom for Didya. He took us on a short cut! It did bypass the city on the west and wasn't too bad but I hate his shortcuts. We stopped at Euromos. The ruins are about 200 meters from the main road—but we parked right at the entrance as the road back was unpaved and deeply rutted. Though a stiff 8TL for a small site, Mark did the whole thing while I looked from the ticket booth area and also did the free necropolis. A different kind of burial area, interesting, but the temple itself was really worth seeing as they have left all of the jumble of stuff in the middle and there are 11 standing columns. The effect is really nice. I now wish I had paid to get up close.
Didya was terrific, especially being able to go inside the walls into the lower area that most temples don't have. Still looking for a campground we tried driving through Altinkum which is a huge beach resort. Again, without an address and only a symbol on a map, there were just too many streets, alleys, too much congestion. So we headed for Miletus. Good luck. Not in Tom, nor any of the towns near it. Finally just backtracked and found a sign north of the lake. Loved Miletus. Really huge site, many mosquitoes because area is low but quite worth a visit. Be sure to look to your upper left as you leave the theater as there is quite a nice piece of frieze there that we almost missed. Museum was closed for renovation. Asked the ticket seller and after conferring with 2 others, they agreed we could spend the night in the parking lot. N37 26 51 E27 21 00.
We drove to Priene the next morning. The car park is up a steep but short road and would be unsuitable for sleeping as it is very angular. Priene is in an outstanding setting and thoroughly Greek as the Romans never built on top of it. You would think that by now the ruins would all be looking alike. But we have found that the more we go to the more interesting the next one is as there is always something different or unusual to see.
It is a short drive to Selcuk where we stayed at Garden Motel and Camping. It is expensive at 35TL a night with free electricity for multiple night stays but the location is excellent. By the way, none of the campgrounds have hot water this time of year as it is all solar—we just shower in our camper. We could easily walk to town, the fabulous museum, the fairly barren Artimes Temple etc. Be sure to see the carpets inside the Bey Mosque. We only peeked into the Basilica of St. John as it is quite ruined; the restoration of the citadel was not finished so it was not open. The campground people were quite nice; we bought a small rug there and had an Abraham sacrifice holiday dinner with the family and a Dutch couple who were staying there. (see blog) We stayed five nights to sight see, wash, rest. I think the GPS is N37 46 15 E28 35 49. If you can't find it, just ask someone when you get close. It is indicated on the LP map of Selcuk. The city's Saturday market is also quite large. The car park's in town charge 15TL to park if you decide not to camp.
You could walk the 2 miles to Ephesis but we decided to move on to Pamukale and then see Ephesis on our way back. It was a 3 ½ hr drive to Aphrodisis where we were allowed to spend the night in the carpark. You have to pay 10TL to park anyway. This is again a marvelous site and may turn out to be my favorite in Turkey. Allow 3-4 hours. We felt rushed in 3. If I had to do it again I would go to the included museum first, see the site, and then drop back in the museum again to see your favorite things. Parking lot is N27 42 50 E28 43 54. At the museum shop I bought the book All You Need to Know Before Buying Oriental Carpets in Turkey by Yalniz for 20TL. Very interesting and I wish I had found it in Istanbul but this was the first time we had seen anything like it in 7 weeks! Maybe it's available in the US?
I thought the explanation in LP of Pamukale and Hierapolis was somewhat confusing. It is basically all one site with an entrance fee of 20TL which gets you in all of it. There are 3 entrances. If you get there early enough you can park right in town by the travertines or if later in the empty lot just before the turn to the south entrance. N 37 54 58 S29 07 21. From this area you walk up to the ticket booth on the path (not the road). You then have to take your shoes off to walk the 250m over the travertines to Hierapolis. I used my hiking stick upside down to help, but it is not slippery and quite an experience. We didn't think we would be impressed having visited the travertines at Yellowstone many times, but this was a completely unique and different experience. Wear shorts and wade in the many pools if you can. By the way there is a new 4 lane north bypass to Pamukale. Just follow the signs if it is not in your GPS. (not in ours)
Heirpolis itself is a huge site and there is even a shuttle bus. We spent a lot of time looking for the poisonous gas chamber of the oracle described in LP and finally decided it had all been filled in. We did not walk up to the martyr site but did get to the north end to the necropolis. Certainly this was the very best of any of the necropolis's we have been to. Full access and many, varied different types of tombs. We did not go in the museum but did sit for a while by the antique pool. I had very much wanted to swim in it with all the Roman columns etc. but with my arm in a sling we had decided not to. Entry fee is 25TL and you need to bring your swimsuit, towel etc. with you because if you leave Heirpolis to go get them you would have to pay the entrance fee again. If you don't park in town and walk up over the travertines, you can drive to the south or north entrance and pay 10TL to park. We asked and you cannot spend the night for security reasons. It turns out the only way back down if you walk up is back over the travertines (and I was exhausted after 5 hours) or take a taxi. Mark decided to walk down the south entrance road, get the camper, and pick me up. It is 1.4 miles to walk the road to the bottom. We spent two nights in the empty lot at the bottom (GPS above) with no problem. The restaurant/campground in town was 20TL with electricity and use of washing machine but we really didn't need that. So bottom line is that this is an all day trip so take a backpack. Food at the top was fairly expensive and didn't look particularly appetizing.
Back to Selcuk to see Ephesus
It is a several hours drive back to Selcuk to see Ephesus. We stopped at Cotton Castle/Varol Textiles immediately south of Pamukale. Best selection of robes I have ever seen and fairly priced—also towels, clothes etc. We bought some evil eye dishtowels as gifts—6 for 10TL. We also drove back the 1k to Laedocia but just drove around the side rather than pay to go in. The descriptions we had read weren't enticing. On the way back to Selcuk we stopped at a shopping center with a large Migros. We had hoped to find turkey for Thanksgiving but no luck. Since we didn't want to pay 35TL to Garden Camping, we decided to drive to the east entrance of Ephesis/Mary's House looking for a wild camping spot. We parked but about 5:15 the military came along and said no stopping or parking along the road to Mary's house. We drove to the northern Ephesus parking lot beyond the road barrier cones for the road that were now in place. About an hour later, they said we couldn't stay there either so we backtracked about 5 k to roadside rest area at N37 53 48 E27 22 07. The weather remains wonderful even though it is November 20th. Highs in mid 70s with lows now to 45-50.
We parked at the southern parking lot of Ephesis for 5TL. We were there at 8:30 am and beat the tour buses who seem to start dropping off about 8:30 but at the northern end. The northern parking is free but a small area so since you have to walk to both ends anyway you might park there. We did ask about overnight parking at the southern lot but they also said not allowed. Ephesus takes about 3 hrs. though we skipped the terrace houses.
In the afternoon we drove the 5 k to the beach at Pamucak hoping to stay there a day or two. We asked the passing jandarma's—no camping, so we drove back to our roadside rest area of night before.
Next stop was Bergama for Pergamon. We parked just beyond the Red Basilica at the free lot and also spent the night there. N39 07 17 E27 11 06. You could walk to museum from there but we decided to go early in morning. We were too long for the street slanted parking so we parked in a lot about 1 bl from museum at N39 06 49 E27 10 33. No one collected for parking. The museum is now 5TL and was quite small and part of it was closed. I would consider it optional, nothing really wonderful. We drove up the road to Asclepion but didn't go in. Then crossed town and started up to Pergamon. About 1k up the road they have put in a new cable car for 12TL round trip. There is limited parking but most people seem to come by tour bus anyway. We had thought about driving but one branch of road said height limit 2.7 and the other branch looked iffy. My shoulder was still bothering me a lot so Mark went up by himself. When he got back the parking attendant wanted 12 TL since he said we were a minibus. We talked him down to 6. We have found the charges very inconsistent from one place to another—some charging for a private car—others for a dolmus with 20 paying passengers. It pays to argue. Anyway you should do some research before deciding to go to Pergamon. With admission at 20 TL the cost to park plus the cable car fares means 70TL or $49. a couple! And that is without the museum or going to Asclepion.
Assos & Biga Penisula
We took the small coastal road from Kucukkuyu to Assos/Behramkale. It was winding but interesting and not much traffic. There were lots of coastal campgrounds in Kucukkuyu and along the road but all were closed. We spent the night at an overlook just before Assos. N39 29 54 E26 32 40. If coming from the east to find the ruins you just have to keep bearing left. We parked to see the ruins at N39 29 25 E26 19 57. No one was collecting for entry to the site. From Assos we decided to continue round the Biga Peninsula. At Gulpinar Mark walked down to the Temple of Apollo and the Mice God. We parked in town but it looked like they were building a new road in to the temple from the west side of town. We also drove out to Babakale which is the most western point of Turkey. Worst road for potholes of any we have been on in 5 months and not really much to see. Not recommended but you could probably wild camp where we had lunch at N39 29 43 E26 04 23. Next we drove to Alexandria Troyas. This turned out to be an interesting site. The attendant was there when we arrived and let us in the gate to the ruins but did not collect a fee. We had planned to see more the next morning but he had not returned by 10 am. He had indicated we could spend the night in the small parking lot so we did. Be sure to pull off the road and walk over to the big arch on your way out. (This is actually before you get to parking lot and fenced area.) The largest bath in Anatolia is here and there are actually 3 standing arches. We loved it because it has not really been excavated yet and we felt like Indiana Jones.
There is no place to wild camp around Troy but a couple of really old looking Campgrounds at the entrance. We were there from 12:20 to 2 and only one other tour bus was there. Four were arriving as we left. It is small enough you could probably walk around it twice and you may want to as it is somewhat confusing with 9 cities piled up and multiple excavations done over 150 years. When you get to the Temple of the gods of Samothrace (on the path to the cave) be sure to look up and out and you will see the Hellspont and the Gallipoli peninsular on the horizon.
We caught the ferry in Canakkale. It was 35 TL for camper and us and seems to leave on each hour and takes 30 minutes. As it was getting dark we parked at the large, empty parking lot in front of the information center just north of Eceabat. We had just gone to bed around 10:30 when the jandarma pulled up, drove around us, and then left.
This is a rather confusing area. We drove straight down to the end to Point Helles, then back up the central road following signs to 57 Regiment. That got us to the area with all the cemeteries, trenches, and monuments. There is very little parking and the road is quite narrow. We saw only two other cars but in season it is supposed to be a nightmare of tour buses. We did not go to the museum. We saw a campground at Kabatepe and also just south of there at Hotel Kum which is about N40 09 21 E26 14 53. After you leave the area, just north of Eceabat there were several pull offs on the coast where you could probably wild camp. We continued driving and ended up spending the night on the beach at a pull off just north of Tekirdag at N41 00 15 E27 40 47. We have 5 days left before we can enter Greece and since it is supposed to shower for the next couple of days we are going back to Istanbul.
So here I will end this. If we have any problems crossing the border into Greece I will add that later. We have loved Turkey. We probably have spent less money this last month than any of the other twelve of our travels even though diesel is high. The main difference has been all the wild camping we have done. Some of that has been by choice, but if you are traveling after mid October most campgrounds will be closed. If you are not comfortable with wild camping, you could probably pay any of the restaurants or pensions to park in their lots. We have just chosen not to. We haven't seen any campground guides but the Dutch couple we met at Garden Camping said they had one that they bought in the Netherlands which gave locations and open and closing dates so you might try to find it.