For some, the back to basics lifestyle of living off the grid is highly appealing. However, living off the grid is not as simple as simply throwing together a cabin and finding a water supply. You cannot live off the grid just anywhere, and in Europe, the places you can live off the grid are in short supply.
Why? The simple fact is that living off the grid is illegal in most places. You cannot build a house wherever you want. Luckily some places are already set up for off the grid living in Europe. Here are the 8 best locations if you want to live off the grid in Europe.
Torri Superiore, Italy
Torri Superiore is an ecovillage in Italy that started life hundreds of years ago as a medieval village. It now combines its historical traditions with an eco-friendly approach for a lifestyle that is totally off the grid.
The village of Torri Superiore is actually a single building consisting of 162 rooms. It was built in the medieval era, and in 1989 was made an eco-village.
There are 20 permanents, residents in Torri Superior, and they are open for new members. Membership, however, can be hard to gain. The 20 residents are a tight community, even sharing meals.
However, if you are looking for off-the-grid living to get completely away from modern life, this may not be the place as their economy relies heavily on the tourism this unique locale attracts. The rest of the rooms are used by guests and as a cultural center for tourists.
At Torri Superiore, you will find a back to basics approach that fosters a strong community and is connected to history.
Matavenero was a ghost town until it was resettled 30 years ago. It is now home to around 60 people and has things such as a free school and a bar (non-alcoholic).
Matavenero is a free community, so you do not need to become a member of any group or association to set up shop here. You can visit here for up to two weeks before either committing or leaving.
There are a couple of things you need to know if you truly want to live in Matavenero. You need to be responsible. This community is off the grid, so if you want to stay after the two-week visitation period, you better be prepared to take care of yourself by growing your own food.
The community of Matavenero frowns on alcohol. They have a non-alcoholic bar, but if you plan on drinking, you will not be welcome here.
If you want to live a self-sustaining lifestyle and get away from the hustle and care of the modern world, then Matavenero is a wonderful place to get back to the basics.
If you have ever dreamed of living sustainably on a small island, then stop dreaming because this exists! Suderbyn is a small community of 25 people located on the island of Gotland. The people share the common goal of creating a sustainable lifestyle and a regenerative society.
Those who live in Suderbyn volunteer their time and effort to the community’s goals and ideals. It is an international community, so all are welcome.
Suderbyn is a community experimenting to find a more sustainable way of life. Like Torri Superiore, it is a tight-knit community. Suderbyn highlights a simpler life that is not obsessed with material gain.
If you want to live off the grid and also have a strong belief in non-violence, then Tamera, Portugal may be the community for you. Tamera is known as a peace research and education center. With over 200 residents, Tamera is a larger sustainable community with a vision for a better world.
Tamera is one of the few off the grid communities with the clear goal of global outreach to the world. If you not only want to live in a sustainable nonviolent community but also want to help spread awareness of those concepts to the rest of the world, then Tamera could be both a home and a purpose.
Romania: Rural Areas
Since going completely off the grid is a huge life decision and often extremely challenging, starting in an established community such as the ones above is a great way to get started. However, if you want to get away and start up your own homestead, Romania may be just the place.
If you want to live off the grid, you need land, and land that is not heavily regulated by any government. Farmland in Romania is privately owned, and there are swathes of it that can still be bought for a low price.
In our heavily populated world, land is hard to come by, and Romania is one of the few places where you can buy land and create a self-sustaining lifestyle all by yourself.
Also see: Can You Live Off the Grid in California?
If you want to live off the grid, but want to take a slower approach to the change, then the Mid-Pyrenees area of France is an excellent location. In this area, the government offers support to residents who invest in alternate power.
If you want neither the full commitment of an eco-village nor the supreme independence of your own homestead, the Mid-Pyrenees region has a more laidback approach. Some people here are totally off the grid, while others are only partially.
This is a great location if you want to live off the grid but are still somewhat hesitant.
As we mentioned, the biggest obstacle to living off the grid is the legality. However, most of the things that make living off the grid illegal are tied to the building of a permanent structure and an off the grid system.
Technically, going mobile is not an off the grid location, but it is becoming increasingly popular. In our world’s current highly urbanized society, space is a highly valuable commodity. Finding space for living off the grid can thus be tricky, but going mobile solves this problem.
The best part about being off the grid with a mobile lifestyle is the ability to go anywhere. Everywhere else on our list requires you to be tied to a small location. Now that working remotely is easier than ever, you can live off the grid, make a living, and travel.
The truth is that there are not many places in Europe where you can live off the grid today, but if you make your van or motorhome your location, then you can be off the grid anywhere!
Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge, Sweden
For the ultimate back to nature and the basics experience, nowhere beats the Kolarbyn Eco-lodge in Sweden. This is technically a hotel, so you cannot live here permanently, but we had to put it on here because you cannot get more off-the-grid than this place.
At the Kolarbyn Eco-lodge, you will be staying in a charcoal hut. Food has to be cooked over the fire, and your water comes from the nearby spring. During the day, you can swim in the lake or take a hike to hopefully spot a moose.
Kolarbyn Eco-lodge is the experience you need to have if you want to know what living off the grid is all about. You may not be able to stay here permanently, but it could very well spark your desire to do that elsewhere.
Whether you are just visiting or plan to take up permanent residence, these 8 off-the-grid European locales are wonderful places to check out! You can get a sense of what a sustainable, off-the-grid lifestyle is like and what it takes to make it work.