We all have different ideas about the ideal vacations. Some wish to party every night, some want to invest their time in shopping, some like to visit casinos, some museums and some just wish to relax or connect with nature. If you are one of the casino lovers you can visit NetBet. If you are one of the nature-seeking people we present you five farms in Europe that offer unforgettable accommodation experiences, to get closer to ourselves and nature.
With every luxury
When in 1989 the Italian Francesca Bevilacqua bought the Ebbio, an abandoned 13th-century farmhouse in the heart of Tuscany, to create a convent for people who wanted to get close to nature and themselves, she could not imagine that in the year 2021 that convent would be transformed, with the help of her daughter, Sibilla, into an agritourism paradise and at the same time a luxurious wellness retreat. Here you will attend yoga workshops, meditation, and holistic therapies, cooking, and even cosmetics making workshops, while the farmhouse itself, using renewable energy sources and ecological practices, is an ongoing sustainability lesson. Accommodation is offered in ten bedrooms decorated with elegant antiques, while (exclusive) vegetarian meals are prepared with seasonal raw materials grown on the estate’s organic farm or collected from the neighbouring forest, often with the help of guests. The area is ideal for horseback riding, cycling, springboarding, and excursions to nearby cities such as Siena and Florence.
Hymn to simplicity
In the Allgäu region of the Bavarian Alps, cows and sheep outnumber the locals, who in turn outnumber the tourists. Maybe that’s why Christian Müller and Lisa Rühwald chose the area to create Rosso, a farm-shelter for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend quality time with family, friends, or themselves. Based on the principles of the wabi-sabi, the Japanese notion that beauty lies in the transient, the imperfect, and the incomplete, the farm is an ode to the unpretentious, rustic simplicity of creaking stairs and swaying beams accommodation is less luxurious. The three available apartments, each with a different capacity, have comfortable bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, and bathroom, while common areas include a sauna, patio with benches and deck chairs, a comfortable living room with kitchen and fireplace, ideal for adjoining situations, studio lessons (if you rent the space for a workshop or seminar), as well as a grocery store with everything you need, in case you do not want to leave the farm at all. If you decide to explore the area, the owners are available for suggestions and advice.
Yoga, meditation, and nature
Although his loyal students would travel anywhere in the world to attend one of his demanding workshops, American yoga teacher Anton Brandt has been looking for years for a welcoming place where he could stay and create his yoga retreat. He finally found it in Portugal, specifically on a 1,112-acre farm near the sea in the Alentejo region, about two hours from Lisbon. The Brandt Cocoon can accommodate up to 24 guests in 11 rooms, the minimalism of which will probably find yoga-visiting guests in agreement. The most important thing, after all, during the stay here is the contact with nature and mainly the feeling of belonging to a community of like-minded people that is created during the workshops. The days start with morning meditation, continue with the workshops and end with meals reminiscent of a celebration around a common table. Activities include tasting wines, garden tours, cycling in the surrounding area, swimming or surfing in the sea, and refreshing dives with or without clothes in the pond on the farm.
La Donaira, Andalusia
The 6,000-acre La Donaira eco-retreat is located a short distance from the Andalusian provincial town of El Gastor and includes a biological farm and equestrian centre. Here are the Portuguese Lusitano horses (the oldest riding horses on the planet) and offer a variety of equestrian activities for all levels. And for those who have nothing to do with horseback riding, La Donaira promises a stay full of activities in harmony with nature. Among other things, you can take a tour of the farm and learn all about biodynamic farming, visit the garden with 350 species of medicinal plants, take vegetarian cooking classes and participate in wine or oil tasting. You can even observe the stars or wake up to the sound of bees on a bed placed near the bees so that the visitor can live up close to this unique ecosystem. In the evening you will enjoy a peaceful sleep in one of the eight ultra-elegant suites.
Guardswell Farm, Scotland
A different holiday model
If Scottish pastures are your version of happiness, then you will love Guardswell Farm in Perthshire, Scotland (about an hour from Edinburgh). It occupies 607 acres of fertile land on a hill and enjoys panoramic views of the area’s pastures, which are bathed by the River Tay, between the cities of Perth and Dundee. Designed to detoxify visitors from the modern lifestyle and the cement of the cities, the farm promises stray lambs, friendly donkeys, birds chirping, refreshing breezes and endless nature walks. Accommodation options range from secluded Scandinavian-style two-person huts at the top of the hill without electricity, Wi-Fi, or TV, to spacious rustic farmhouses, ideal for families or groups, with no digital amenities but with electricity. In the mornings you can participate in farm life, feeding the animals and learning how to grow a garden or how to “hunt” mushrooms, while in the evenings you can enjoy the quiet with a cool beer under the stars.