For memorable sleeps, give glamping a go

Photo by Lucija Ros via Unsplash
Photo by Lucija Ros via Unsplash

For memorable sleeps, give glamping a go

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

By this point in time, most lovers of the great outdoors are familiar with the term “glamping.” The word, a mashup of glamour and camping, might conjure up images of a spacious tent furnished with wooly rugs, rustic wooden floors and a potbelly stove for taking the chill off cool evenings.

While well-appointed yurts in a forested setting might have been amongst the forerunners of the glamping movement when it first entered the U.K. scene back in 2005, nowadays, the word is used to apply to a variety of accommodations meant to bring an element of comfort at the end of a day of outdoor adventure-seeking. In addition to the classic tent set-up, you can spend the night in a wooden chalet, teepee, wine barrel, treehouse or even a plastic bubble.

A typical glamping experience might see a group of family or friends spend their daylight hours hiking, cycling or canoeing.  When night falls, they’ll most likely be cooking dinner over the grill together, playing cards or board games with late-night chats around a merry blaze in the fire pit.  While accessing bathroom facilities can sometimes involve a bit of a walk, the creature comforts are likely to involve flush toilets and running water.

More rustic than your typical hotel stay, yet vastly more comfortable than a bare-bones camping experience, a growing number of adventurers are embracing this style of vacation. With the threat of the spread of Coronavirus making formerly mundane settings such as hotel lobbies or hostel bars just the sort of threatening environments many people would prefer to avoid, the glamping trend seems destined to be with us for a while yet.

Geared up to give it a go? We’ve rounded up these five options, each of which is close to a U.S. military community in Europe.

All Saints, Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, UK

The Champing movement came about as a use for gorgeous churches no longer used for regular worship and is the brainchild of The Churches Conservation Trust, a national charity tasked with protecting historical churches at risk. Once a deposit has been paid and the booking has been confirmed, the church will be reserved for the exclusive use of your party between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. This particular church, the All Saints Church, was the first property to be put to use in this unique way. Less than half an hour’s drive from Alconbury, the property dating back to the 13th century offers fold-out camp beds, chairs and cushions. Guests bring their own bedding or sleeping bags. Nearby recreational possibilities include exploring a disused quarry pit or canoeing the River Nene. Champing season runs March – September. There is no minimum stay requirement, and the property can accommodate up to 12 guests. Expect to pay approximately 120 UK pounds for two adults and two children per night.

Theodosius Forest Village, Vipava, Slovenia

An ancient pine forest overlooking the Vipava Valley in northern Slovenia is the setting for five well-appointed, contemporary wooden cabins, some of which offer a sauna and outdoor hot tub. A shared terrace offers vineyard views, the perfect setting for your wine tasting or morning coffee. Breakfast is served in a picnic basket. Hiking, fishing and hang-gliding are some of the pursuits enjoyed near this property that’s just under a two-hour drive from Aviano, Italy. A two-night stay for a couple in the luxury unit with a sauna goes for around 480 euros.

Camping Donnersberg Pfalz, Gerbach, Germany

This camping area nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Rhineland-Palatinate covers all its bases by offering a campground alongside various permanent structures promising a restful night’s sleep. Choose from two Finnish “kota” cabins, two tiny houses, safari tents or even a tree tent. The tree tent is stretched out between the branches of three trees hanging over a babbling brook. On-site amenities include a swimming pool, playground, restaurant and store selling fresh baked goods and camping gear. Nearby activities include hiking, canoeing or mountain biking. A 45-minute drive takes you to Kaiserslautern, and an hour of travel gets you to Baumholder or Wiesbaden. A two-night stay for two adults in the Finnish kota with a hot tub at the end of June would set you back some 289 euros.

Glamping Brdy, Hutě pod Třemšínem, Czech Republic

A glamping dome that lets the light of day and stars of night shine bright is equipped with a queen-sized bed. A well-stocked kitchenette makes self-catering a breeze, and bed linens and towels are provided. Each unit has its own fire pit, hot tub and barrel sauna. A wood-burning stove keeps the unit cozy even during the cold months of the year. The property is located just an hour’s ride from Prague and a two-and-a-half hour’s drive from Grafenwoehr. The cost per night of a dome is 3,990 CZK (about $180) per night, plus a one-time end cleaning fee of 750 CZK ($34).

IUTA Glamping & Farm, Bochini, Sicily

Amid ancient olive and lemon trees, yet close to the gorgeous Baroque city of Noto and fabulous beaches, five comfortable, well-appointed lodges offer comfort and seclusion to travelers seeking a break from the daily drag. Guests appreciate amenities including a spa, swimming pool, restaurant, bar and coffee shop. Inside the lodges, espresso makers, flat-screen TVs and free bottled water await at this eco-friendly “agriturismo.” Things to enjoy nearby include wining, dining and swimming. Bochini is a one-hour drive from Sigonella. A two-night stay for two adults with breakfast at the end of June goes for around 540 euros.

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