Luxury camping: To all in tents

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

European glamour at affordable prices? Pitch up at a luxury campsite for sunshine, fresh air and a chic, cheap holiday. Kate Simon unrolls her smartest sleeping bag

What's the attraction?

Who can resist a foreign field with frills? Like Britain, Europe has been embracing the great outdoors with the introduction of quirky and luxurious accommodation, from treehouses to geodesic domes that offer affordable indulgence. Some are equipped for self-catering while others offer on-site restaurants, bars and other facilities. Camping portals such as canopyandstars.co.uk and coolcamping.co.uk have expanded their focus from luxury sites on home soil to France, Spain and beyond. Other resources include campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk, camping-france.com, easycamping.it, and goglamping.net.

Adults only

La Jaima (00 34 637 063 003; rental-tent-rural-spain.com) is a Bedouin tent set in the bucolic grounds of a guesthouse near Dénia on the Costa Blanca. A rich colour scheme, complemented by ornate furnishings and plump cushions, combine to create an exotic escape. Open April to September, from €395 per week for up to four sharing.

At Haut Toupian (00 33 4 66 50 40 71; bit.ly/NeTwd2) in the hills of the Ardèche, guests in the safari-style tents are spoilt with extras such as bathrobes and evening dinners. Open April to October, from €785 per week for two, with breakfast.

 

Keep it in the family

The Lodge Suites offered by Selectcamp (0161 241 7637; selectcamp.co.uk) offer luxury camping with holiday-park facilities. The large tents, sleeping up to two adults and three children, are fitted out with four-poster beds and roll-top baths. Meanwhile, the five campsites that feature these canvas palaces – Del Sole, Le Pianacce, Norcenni Girasole Club, Weekend in Italy and Les Ranchisses in France – feature swimming pools, playgrounds, sports facilities, and kids' clubs. Open April to October, minimum two nights, a week during high season costs around €745 for five sharing.

At Cerza Safari Lodge (00 33 2 31 31 82 30; cerzasafarilodge.com) in Normandy, France, guests staying in its comfortably furnished wooden lodges, yurts and "zoobservatories" (two-storey wooden wigwams) can count lions, zebras and snakes among their neighbours. Open February to November, yurts April to September. During high season, lodges cost €860 per week for up to six, yurts €130 per week for up to five, and zoobservatories €150 per night for four people.

 

On the beach

A pine forest on Spain's Costa de la Luz is the idyllic location for Casas Karen (00 34 956 437 067; casaskaren.com), where accommodation options include three chozas – traditional thatched straw houses – five minutes' walk from the beach at Los Caños de Meca. The chozas provide rustic luxury for two to four sharing, furnished with handmade wooden beds and African rugs. Open year-round, from €240 per week.

Portugal's Alentejo region is gaining in popularity among foreign visitors, with miles of unspoilt coastline. Here, the golden sands of the Costa Vicentina – Europe's biggest coastal natural park – run down into the Algarve. Close by, A Terra (00 351 936 914 279; aterra.com.pt) is a collection of beautifully furnished Rajasthani tents and tepees set in fields near a lake. Open April to October, from €53 per night for two, including breakfast.

 

Bizarre structures

Is it a chalet, or a safari tent? At Huttopia Rambouillet (00 33 1 30 41 07 34; huttopia.com), in a forest near Paris, the two have been fused to create cahuttes. These wooden cabins with terraces, set on stilts and sheltering beneath canvas canopies, make the most of indoor-outdoor life. Open March to November, minimum two nights, from €99 a night for up to five sharing.

Or float away in a Camping Raft (camping-raft.com), a wooden tent set on barrels, sleeping up to four, available at sites in Belgium and The Netherlands. You reach your floating raft by canoe. Three nights from €150 for two.

 

Return of retro

Twentieth-century Americana is celebrated at BelRepayre Airstream & Retro Trailer Park (00 33 5 61 68 11 99; airstreameurope.com) in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, where Airstream trailers dating from the 1940s to the 1970s have been restored. Open April to September, from €110 per night for two.

Bright contemporary styling enhances the white simplicity of the two pods at Otro Mundo (00 31 614 360 523; otro-mundo.com). The accommodation is set on terraces where vines once grew, in the Sierra del Segura, near Alicante in Spain. Open May to October, from €70 per night for two sharing.

 

Who said that?

"There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing."

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

 

"Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel industry."

Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

 

"The first axiom for camp is... do not make yourself uncomfortable for want of things for which you are accustomed."

Taken from 'The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook', 1890

 

Fields of glory

You'll need your own tent for these five campsites, where the luxury is the location. Pitch up behind one of St Tropez's most famous stretches of sands, Pampelonne, at Les Eucalyptus (00 33 4 94 97 16 74; leseucalyptus.fr). Open May to September, pitches from €16 per night. Hikers can use Camp Liza (00 386 5389 6370; camp-liza.com), on the Soca river, as a gateway to the Slovenian Alps. Open year-round, €12 per adult per night. An olive grove provides a shady spot for campers at Tartaruga Camping (00 30 2695 051 967; tartaruga-camping.com), overlooking Laganas Bay on the Greek island of Zante. Open April to October, from €4.40 per adult per night. Enjoy laid-back beach life on Tavira island in Portugal, just outside the old colonial town of the same name, at Camping Tavira (00 351 281 32 17 09; campingtavira.com). Open April to September, from €9.50 per night for an adult and tent. Camping Harmonie (00 370 614 21560; harmonielitouwen.nl) is a peaceful retreat in Lithuania with attentive owners that's a train ride from Vilnius. Open year-round, €17.10 per night.

 

Insider information

"Luxury camping has spread its canvas wings and is taking hold in Europe. With longer summers, warmer weather and landscapes that make you want to sleep under the stars, it was only a matter of time. Luxury camping on the Continent means Moroccan tents among orange trees, roulottes hidden in wine country, and hidden cabins on private lakes."

Alastair Sawday, founder of canopyandstars.co.uk

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game