Choosing to glamp in nature is a wonderfully sustainable way to travel, and these enchanting places are just five of those trying harder than most to be sustainable for both people and planet.
Whitepod, near Monthey, Switzerland
This collection of 15 igloo-shaped pods in the Swiss mountains have toasty wood-burners, comfy beds with organic bedding and stylish furniture sourced from local flea markets and artisans. Each pod is made of a steel frame clad in white canvas which is layered with green camouflage in the summer to minimise visual impact on the landscape, and to minimise ground and noise pollution guests contact reception using walkie-talkies rather than landlines and walk to their pods on arrival. Showers are on an eco-timer, organic toiletries are Swiss-made Alpeor products, and all food and wine for the top notch Restaurant Les Cerniers is sourced from local farms and producers. The fixed team of six all live walking distance from Whitepod, and car free arrivals are encouraged. Dine and stargaze on the panoramic wooden decks and ski, hike and mountain bike depending on the season. Read more.
Finca De Arrieta, Lanzarote
This laid back family-run base in the Canary Islands for relaxation, biking, walking and surfing has a selection of eight yurts as well as stone cottages across the road from Arrieta beach in the undeveloped north of the island. It is totally off grid, using only wind and solar energy, use of an electric car comes with most of the properties and they have a desalinator plant so they can use their own water from their well. They recycle everything, only use and recommend local staff and companies, and encourage their guests to embrace local culture too. Families or groups of friends will enjoy the Eco Yurt Royale, which sleeps six in three bedrooms, and has a private walled, gated terrace and natty Mongolian and Balinese hardwood furniture, or go for a smaller Eco Yurt or Eco Beach Yurt if you’re a couple. Read more.
Eco Glamping Lambertière, France
At this lovely site on the southern fringes of La Brenne Regional Nature Park in Limousin, the owner Joanna is a glass and ceramics artist of some renown and runs regular one-day courses in stained and fused glass making, with all ages and abilities catered for. There are just two family-sized five metre bell tents spread across a single open meadow surrounded by hedgerows and pockets of woodland. Inside, the tents have a double bed, a pair of camp beds and some drawers for storage. There’s a compost eco-toilet, recycling is prioritised, a gas-powered shower offers hot water, while an outdoor kitchen-cum-dining shelter (made from up-cycled corrugated iron and local timber) comes equipped with a fridge, gas cooker and hot water for washing-up. Organic veg boxes and meat can be delivered from neighbouring farms too. Read more.
Kolarbyn Eco Lodge, Sweden
A couple of hours drive from Stockholm near to the village of Skinnskatteberg in the Bergslagen forest, Kolarbyn offers a ‘back to basics’ eco wilderness experience where you sleep in traditional coal burner huts with simple beds, sheepskin rugs and cosy fireplaces and cook your own meals, fetch your own water from a nearby spring and chop your own firewood - there is (deliberately) no electricity or running water on-site. Wildlife tours included during your stay including a moose safari in the surrounding pine forests and a sunset boat ride on the lake to track beavers - the intrepid can also opt for an extra night’s guided wolf howling tour, sleeping in a tent in wolf territory. There’s even a sauna floating on the lake for guests to use. Read more.
Refugio Marnes, Spain
This rural bolthole near the Costa Blanca is set on a 50 acre estate packed with a huge variety of trees, plants and flowers. You can glamp at La Jaima, a large Bedouin tent that sleeps four decked out with Moorish soft furnishings in vibrant yellows and reds. All energy here is generated from a giant solar system, they recycle all their waste water with a highly efficient reactor and use it for irrigation, separate all their waste and recycle everything. With a keen ‘act local, buy local’ ethos, they use local businesses for all their staff and supplies, and encourage their guest to do the same. They also support Greenpeace with a substantial monthly payment. Their aim is to be CO2 neutral by 2020. Come to kick back and relax, hike, bike and climb, go birdwatching or hang out at the beach - you can also learn Spanish here. Read more.