From Polynesian-style daybeds in super-luxe yurts to a therapeutic escape in a tipi, here are Europe’s best ‘glamping‘ experiences
1 Eco Retreats, Powys
Located on a 1,300-acre organic farm in the Dyfi Forest, at the end of a four-mile track, this venture aims to help campers “reconnect with the rhythms of the environment”. Accommodation is made up of five tipis (each sleeping up to five) and one yurt (sleeping up to six), set among meadows and mature oak woods. All are furnished with sheepskin rugs, double beds, wood-burning stove or chiminea, and have their own outside toilet and spring-water shower. Guests are offered a complimentary healing session, evening meditation session and tickets for the nearby Centre for Alternative Technology.
Book it Two nights in a tipi start from £305/£315 for the yurt, including organic welcome hamper (01654 781 375; ecoretreats.co.uk).
2 Eco Luxury Yurt Suite, Lanzarote
This yurt is part of a collection of nine eco properties located on the family-run Finca de Arrieta estate, 30km from the capital, Arrecife. It sleeps up to five and is beautifully decorated with rich fabrics, wood flooring and antique Mongolian hardwood furniture, such as the super king-size bed. It also has its own marble-floor bathroom, outdoor kitchen and garden with a Polynesian-style daybed – perfect for a sundowner. Soak up some rays on the small sandy beach just 200m away, walk to the nearby fishing village of Arrieta, then head back to the finca for a dip in the communal solar-heated swimming and plunge pools.
Book it From €840 per week (00 34 928 826 720; lanzaroteretreats.com).
Get there Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies from London Gatwick and Liverpool to Arrecife from £39 return.
3 Canna Camping Holidays, Inner Hebrides
Campers looking for the ultimate away-from-it-all retreat can bed down in a bell tent on the Isle of Canna, the furthest of the Small Isles from the Scottish mainland, which has just 19 inhabitants. The tent comes with a wood-burning stove and solar lighting, and sleeps up to four in one double and two single futons (an extra mattress can be provided). There’s a toilet and shower a short walk away (take 50p coins). The island is renowned for its bird life, including sea eagles and puffins, and you can also expect to see dolphins, basking sharks, minke whales, and occasionally orcas.
Book it Three nights from £90 per tent (01687 460 166; cannafolk.co.uk).
Get there Caledonian MacBrayne operates ferries from Mallaig to Canna; for timetables and fares visit calmac.co.uk.
4 Mongolian Yurts, Vaud, Switzerland
These seven yurts bag the title for the best location – 2,045m-high, among edelweiss-filled meadows on the summit of the Rochers-de-Naye. Reachable via a scenic cog railway from Montreux, which takes less than an hour, the fully insulated yurts (complete with electric heating for those snowy winter nights) are open year round and decked out in authentic furnishings with beds sleeping up to eight. Watch the sun set over Lake Geneva, then warm your cockles with a Mongolian fondue in the cliff-face restaurant Plein Roc.
Book it Yurts cost CHF270 (£166) per night. The return train trip, fondue and breakfast costs an additional CHF70 (£43) per adult, CHF60 (£37) per child (00 41 840 245 245; goldenpass.ch).
Get there British Airways (ba.com) flies from London Heathrow and Gatwick to Geneva from £97.
5 Eco-Lodge Brejeira, Algarve, Portugal
Situated in the heart of the Algarve, near the town of Silves, this retreat is as unique as it is eco-friendly. Choose between a beautifully furnished Mongolian yurt, which has a raised veranda to watch the sunset, an old-fashioned Dutch gypsy caravan, or a converted German fire truck. Each sleeps two and has its own shower and compost toilet (to help feed the vegetable garden); the latter two also have kitchen areas. Or head to the communal straw-bale building, where breakfast and a three-course dinner are served on request. Spend your days exploring the nearby beaches, or set off on the new Via Algarviana hiking and mountain biking track, which passes right under Brejeira.
Book it Yurt from €30 per night/caravan from €35 (available from 1 September); fire truck from €15 (00 35 191 937 6502; eco-lodgebrejeira.com).
Get there Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies from 10 UK airports to Faro from £50 return.
6 Teapot Lane Luxury Camp, County Leitrim, Ireland
One of Ireland’s first luxury yurt camps has just opened its doors in an unspoilt corner of northwest Ireland. Located in five acres of woodland, the three handcrafted yurts – sleeping between two and five – feature king-size beds, rugs and pot-bellied stoves. Two restored country cottages provide self-catering and bathroom facilities, and there are also compost toilets, campfire and BBQ areas, plus hammocks and swings in the woodlands. The camp also offers holistic aromatherapy, massage and reflexology treatments. This is a prime spot for surfers – Bundoran is a short drive away.
Book it Three nights from €180, including organic vegetable basket; treatments start from €40 (00 35 387 934 0341; teapotlaneluxurycamp.com).
7 Casas Karen, Los Caños de Meca, Cadiz, Spain
This is not so much a campsite as a complete tiny rustic village tucked away in a garden of umbrella pines and sand dunes and all just a few minutes’ walk from the nearest beach. It’s made up of 11 cottages and chozas – which are traditional thatched Spanish beach huts made of straw and bamboo. Our favourite is Choza Grande, which sleeps two and has a kitchen, lounge and dining area downstairs with sofas and rugs, and a bed on a raised wooden platform. Waste is composted and water is drawn from the campsite’s own well. Massage, yoga and meditation can be arranged, and there is everything from canoeing to dolphin watching nearby.
Book it From €75 per night/€405 per week (0034 956 437 067; casaskaren.com).
Get there Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies from London Stansted to Jerez from £50.
8 Écovallée Yurt Camping, Dordogne, France
Opening this weekend, this family-run camp is set in 12 acres of land just 300m from the bastide town of Lalinde. It’s perfect for families, with a handcrafted chestnut and canvas yurt sleeping four and a 12ft “play yurt” filled with toys and games. Outside you’ll find a canvas-covered kitchen/dining area, a compost toilet and woodland play area as well as foraging pigs, free-range chickens (wake up to fresh eggs every morning) and Pepito, the owners’ horse. Stock up on provisions at the weekly market at Beaumont; visit the Château des Milandes; or sign up for one of the on-site activities – there’s therapeutic massage and reiki for the parents, and bread-making and face-painting for the kids.
Book it From €350 per week (00 33 553 57 94 41; ecovallee.com).
Get there Flybe (flybe.com) flies from six UK airports to Bergerac from £112.
How do you fancy swapping your airbed for a four-poster? Jolly Days, which opened last summer, is the latest UK venture to jump on the glamping bandwagon. It’s made up of seven bell tents and seven tented lodges, set in 200 acres of private woodland on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds. While the tented lodges, each sleeping up to six, boast four-poster beds, chandeliers, sofas around a woodburner and toilets, the bell tents are more basic, with coir matting and futon sofabeds, each sleeping four. There are communal showers, as well as a communal fire pit, cooking hut and clay oven. Hire bikes to explore the trails in nearby Dalby Forest or head to York, just over 10 miles away.
Book it Four nights in a bell tent from £235/£350 for a lodge (01759 371 776; jollydaysluxurycamping.co.uk).
10 Camping Les Moulins, Noirmoutier Island, France
France has its fair share of campsites, but none has quite the same ooh-la-la factor as this one, located off the Vendée coast. Following a revamp last year, it features a range of canvas lodges (sleeping two to eight) and tipis (sleeping four) – think proper beds, kitchens, dining areas, even en suite bathrooms in some – set among five hectares of pine trees and dunes along a beach. Don your walking shoes to explore nearby villages, hop on the Noirmoutier petit train (it stops directly outside the campsite) to the centre of town or just kick back in the heated indoor or outdoor pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and spa.
Book it Lodges and tipis from €95 per night/€230 per week (00 33 251 3951 38; camping-les-moulins.com).
Get there Noirmoutier island is accessible from the mainland by a bridge from Fromentine or at low tide by a causeway. Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies from London Gatwick to Nantes from £45 return. Or take the ferry from Weymouth or Poole to St Malo from £250 return for a car and two adults (condorferries.co.uk).
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