With the Abenteuer & Allrad Show in Germany approaching, here’s a few tips and pointers for would-be visitors who’ve still not experienced what is in our opinion, the best 4x4 & off-road show on the planet.
The event takes place in the picturesque Bavarian spa town of Bad Kissingen. If you’re thinking of driving to the show and camping, Bad Kissingen is 750kms or 465 miles from Calais. Many Brit’s do the drive in a day but it’s a long boring slog, all on the autobahn with the exception of the final 20kms.
With around 50,000 visitors over four days this is the largest gathering of its type in Europe, so unsurprisingly the various campgrounds get busy and the make-shift facilities can get stretched. When it rains, think of a wet Glastonbury with Unimog tyre tracks. The crowded campsites won’t be to everyone’s taste but there are nice continental touches, like the fresh bread and the fruit and veg stalls. The overland exchange board is where you’ll find A4 ads pinned up for that Unimog camper you’ve always hankered after.
Frankfurt Airport is less than two hours drive away from Bad Kissingen and serviced by the world’s major airlines including cut-price operators such as Ryanair. This makes flying into the show and hiring a car and staying in a hotel a viable alternative. Whether you drive or fly, if you’re looking at hotel accommodation, be aware that the show always coincides with a national holiday weekend in Germany. This means in addition to the show attendees, Bad Kissingen hotel rooms always fills up with tourists. Our advice is to book hotel rooms as early as possible.
Unlike traditional UK shows, visitors don’t camp at the showground. There isn’t even any public parking at the show site. Instead a never-ending fleet of shuttle buses ferry visitors the ten-minute journey from the town and campground to the event site in a continuous loop. This is Germany so the logistics of moving several thousands of visitors is an impressive and slick operation. If you miss one bus, rest assured, there will another along in five-minutes!
At the showground you won’t find any rows of oily auto-jumble bread baskets. Premium products abound from the overland trucks with million euro price-tags to those ingenious widgets you don't know how you ever managed without. The German’s appreciate good engineering and will happily pay for it so don’t expect any bargains, but do expect cool stuff that you can't afford!
When you’re tired of the showground, you should set aside another day just to look around the campground/s. Here you’ll find camper conversions of all shapes, sizes and configurations. Funky camp set-ups. Vehicles you didn’t even know existed. Cool gear and neat ideas, some of it off-the-shelf, some of it DIY home-made. Just make sure you have plenty of memory on your phone/camera to take it all in.
The town of Bad Kissingen is often overlooked by many of the visitors who never stray from the campsite. For my money, sipping on a cold pilsner sat at a café bar in the sun within the towns beautiful Rose Garden provides the perfect antidote to overland-overload.
Since the end of Defender production, there has been a noticeable absence of Defender specific product or camper conversions at the show. It’s interesting to see how aside from the ubiquitous Toyota Land Cruiser, the pick-up truck or 4x4 van is increasingly becoming the overland platform for the vehicle conversion specialists and accessory manufacturers. Rest assured, you will still come home with something you can’t buy at home or at the very least, come away with a wish list of products you desire. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but you might even come home and want to sell your Land Rover…
The 2019 event takes place from Thursday, 20th June to Sunday, 23rd June. For more information, log onto the event website at www.abenteuer-allrad.de