Of all the holiday trends of the moment none has charmed the world quite like glamping. Where camping can be seen as an acquired taste reserved to the most outdoorsy of travellers, glamping has become the compromise loved by all and is making even the most seasoned hotel lovers swap their luxury suites for kitted-out bell tents and indulgent yurts. Not content with the original forms of glamping, locations around the globe are now creating new and inventive ways to allow guests to go back to basics in style. Here we found the most unique glamping retreats in Europe to inspire your next holiday…
Step straight back to your childhood with the La Truffière treetop cabin in Rocamadour, France. Part of the wonderfully rustic Château de Cantecor holiday estate which includes numerous sleeping options, the tree house is hidden from view of the rest of the estate and sits amongst the lush foliage of the trees. Taking guests to the very heart of nature, this extraordinary accommodation offers all the comfort and convenience of a boutique hotel but in a unique setting.
Lavishly decorated, the 44m² cabin can host up to four guests and it includes a large bay window and two balconies giving views over the Dordogne Valley. With all modern amenities you could possibly require for a stay, the treetop cabin is equipped with an extensive kitchen including a Nespresso coffee machine and dishwasher, living room, two bedrooms and a barbecuing area for sunny evenings. With more amenities including a shared swimming pool situated across the estate, it is the perfect place to spend a unique summer vacation.
On the stunning Scottish West Coast, the Ecopod boutique retreat was years in the making due to the environment requiring a sympathetic approach when considering human habitation. Offering an exciting retreat yet not distracting from the landscape around it, the Ecopods hail from Zendome, Berlin who crafted the unique looking spheres. Light-filled and open plan, the resort has just two pods with another opening soon and the spaces are the most design-led of our top list. With commanding views of Loch Linnhe, the mountains of Mull and the Kingairlock coastline, guests can feel at one with nature whilst luxuriating in a private luxury pad.
The pods’ interiors are superbly decorated with classic soft furnishings, high-end audio-visual equipment and an array of locally sourced produce and toiletries. The environment has been firmly on the resort’s mind when creating the pods as the geostructures leave no permanent footprint on the land, the shape is conducive to maximum heat retention, minimalising the need for additional heat and all wood has been sourced from sustainable forests. Inside the pods, every effort has been made to ensure that the buildings remain as ecologically friendly as possible with FSC accredited wood from sustainable local forests used throughout, high-efficiency wood pellet biomass stoves used to heat the pods and a tankless instantaneous hot water supply to ensure no water wastage. The Ecopod boutique retreat demonstrates that 5* resorts needn’t be a guilty pleasure for the environmentally conscious anymore.
Located just 300m from Lake Bled, the Garden Village resort is an entirely ecologically designed complex offering tree houses, glamping tents with hot tubs and pier tents on the edge of a running stream. With its own source of drinking water, heat pump for heating and a charging station for electric vehicles, the resort also grows its own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries making it the perfect retreat for the environmentally conscious.
Other amenities at the resort include a popular restaurant with grass table tops and a stream running through it, an open fire pit, a steam with a natural massage waterfall. Also on the site is a unique pool filled with refreshing spring water where guests can enjoy Kneipp therapy, reflexology foot massage and a Finnish sauna stands above the stream among the trees. The glamping tents and pier tents are the best examples of unique glamping at the resort. The family glamping tents are air conditioned, situated in the midst of a floral glade, luxuriously furnished and include a hot tub, whilst the pier tents are the perfect place for a romantic getaway and are perched on their own docks with direct access to the stream and a small beach for guests to cool down on hot summer days.
The historic Matera village can be found in the Apennine mountains in the south of Italy, and the area is world famous because of the Sassi quarters which are a perfectly preserved example of ancient cave dwellings. Turned into homes, churches and palaces, the city carved into the rocks dates back thousands of years to the stone and bronze ages and the area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the oldest part of the Sassi lies Le Grotte Della Civita, where guests are able to sleep in the dramatic caves themselves.
Facing the striking Murgia park and its rock-hewn churches, Le Grotte della Civita comprises of just eighteen rooms which have been renovated to restore as many of the original features as possible and an ancient church called the Cripta della Civita has been turned into a unique restaurant in which to experience the local cuisine.
Ferienparadies Natterer See is one of Austria’s finest camping retreats in Austria and is set amongst the Inn Valley in the Tyrolean Alps. A sprawling resort, Natterer See caters to every holiday budget but the Nature Resort which opened in 2015 is what makes the holiday destination unique as it is Austria’s very first glamping resort. The accommodation is also a huge drawing point for the new nature-led resort and includes safari lodge tents, family and panorama wood lodges and pine wood sleeping barrels for the more adventurous.
The safari lodge tents are straight out of an African safari with two stories and separate sleeping areas on a mezzanine level. Including a private bathroom with rain shower, the tents also have large covered panoramic terraces with lounge furniture and a barbecue grill. The interior of the tents as with the rest of the Nature Resort accommodation have been carefully considered to include sustainable elements which are also style statements. The panorama wood lodges and cosy pine sleeping barrels have also been formed using the same high standards as the safari tents and are equally as chic to spend a short stay in.
Homoki Lodge takes the fixed tent glamping experience to another level with an equestrian themed camp in the heart of Hungary. Described as a nature quest resort, Homoki Lodge offers a unique natural reserve for safaris in the heart of Europe on the secluded South Hungarian Puszta. With seven exclusive yurts each with a private terrace, the yurts are split into three levels with separate living, sleeping and bathing areas and include under-floor heating, mini-bar, TVs, rain showers and a Jacuzzi bathtub. The final finishing touch to the yurts are the gallery beds offering beautiful views onto the starry dome.
Situated in a low sandy basin between the Danube and Tisza rivers, Homoki Lodge is south of Budapest and the Hungarian Southern Great Plains are interspersed with small farmsteads, forests, orchards, lakes and meadows to be explored. Balancing between activity and relaxation, the lodge also offers carefully selected beauty treatments, a natural pool and acacia wood sauna. A paradise for horse riding holidays, the terrain is perfectly equipped to explore on the back of Hungarian half-blood horses and the resort can arrange unforgettable horseback holidays or riding tours for guests.
Inspired by the legendary American Great Camps the new North Star Club woodland retreat is nestled within 500 acres of the Yorkshire countryside. Infused with classic Yorkshire country style in striking contrast to the American camps the design has been based on, the retreat blends beautifully into the untamed forest setting and the result is a cosy and indulgent woodland escape. Deemed as the perfect remedy to 21st century living, it isn’t your usual glamping experience as there are no self-catering facilities but barbecues and food hampers can be delivered straight to your door.
From romantic weekends to family breaks, The North Star Club is a British forest holiday with a difference and asks guests to discover beautiful native forest with huge biodiversity instead of over-used facilities and commercial woodland. With just eight well-spaced woodland suites decorated in a modern, rustic style, each cabin has a private veranda, living room, large bedrooms and a spa-style bathroom and some suites sleep up to six people. The most luxurious of the cabins is the Star Suite, which includes the added indulgence of a four-poster bed, freestanding copper bath and an infra-red sauna.
Arguably one of the most unique stays in the world, Jumbo Stay allows you to spend the night in a jumbo jet without ever having to leave the ground. Based at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport in Sweden, the hotel has been open since 2009 and it is the perfect place to spend a quirky night before jetting off elsewhere. Housed in a 1976 Jumbo Jet 747-212B, Jumbo Stay comprises of 33 rooms in three different room options – a three person rooms, a four person dormitory and three suites, one of which is located in the cockpit of the plane.
A must-stay for aviation lovers young and old, the interior of the plane has retained its charm whilst receiving a contemporary makeover and the exhilarating experience of staying in this unique accommodation will delight all types of travellers. The airport lounge-style café is the final finishing touch to the quirky hotel where guests can dine and drink in vibrant orange chairs, whilst imagining they are up in the clouds in a first class lounge.
A step away from the classic summer glamping resort, although Kakslauttanen do also offer a host of summer activities to explore, this glamorous resort really comes alive in the winter when the Aurora Borealis is shimmering in the Finnish night sky. A family run hotel in Finnish Lapland, it is just 250km north of the Arctic Circle. At the edge of the Arctic wilderness, it is just a stone’s throw from Urho Kekkonen National Park, the largest of the country’s national parks, and is one of the cleanest environments you can travel to in the world. What really sets this resort apart is the accommodation on offer which has been built with the Northern Lights at the forefront.
Nowhere else on earth can you witness the beauty of the Aurora Borealis as clearly than at the northern edges of the Scandinavian countries and at Kakslauttanen you can take in the priceless view from the comfort of your bed due to their innovative sleeping options. From the glass igloos which sit entirely under the stars which contain beds for two and their own private bathrooms, to the kelo-glass igloos which blend the comfort of cosy log chalets with the aforementioned glass igloos to still experience the beauty of the Norther Lights. For a truly unforgettable experience, the snow igloos are the perfect retreat for the most adventurous of travellers and are entirely crafted out of snow each winter.
Top image courtesy of Ecopod Boutique Retreat.