Want to discover some of Europe and ensure the kids are enjoying it too? Camping in Europe is so well catered for now that it really offers all the modern conveniences one expects as well as offering a chance to explore a new destination.
These small campsites, all set in gorgeous locations, strike just the right balance between being child-friendly and appealing to parents who don’t want to feel like they are holidaying in a giant creche. Here are the top 8 family campsites in Europe.
1. No Wolves Allowed at This Straw House in Andalucia
Casas Karen is a peaceful and rather rustic campsite in the sleepy Andalucian village of Caños de Meca. Located just a huff and a puff from Costa de la Luz, Casas Karen’s traditional Spanish chozas are hand-built, thatched with straw and are perfect for little piggies. They’re surprisingly spacious inside with tiled floors, handmade beds and are authentically furnished with colourful rugs and local pottery. The region is blessed with swathes of quiet, sandy beaches that are ideal for babies and toddlers who need little more than a bucket and spade to get their holiday kicks.
Best for kids aged: babies and toddlers.
Price: From £65 per night for a family of four.
Getting there: Fly to Jerez with Ryanair from £24 each way. Caños de Meca is an hour from the airport.
2. Roll Out the Barrel in the Italian Alps
Perched 1,000m high in the Aosta Valley with magnificent views of Mont Blanc, the perky pine barrels at Campeggio du Parc may look smallbut the insides are as cavernous as Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. Each barrel sleeps four and has a small kitchen hut attached. The camp is great for children and has a climbing wall, volleyball court and playground. For older thrill-seekers there’s mountain biking, hiking and white-water rafting on the nearby Dora Baltea. Set on the edge of Morgex, it’s surrounded by vineyards, hence the barrels, and it’s a short walk through the forest to the thermal baths of Pré Saint Didier. Courmayeur is 3 miles away and Chamonix is a half-hour drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel.
Best for kids aged: 8 and upwards.
Price: From £50 a night for four people.
Getting there: Swiss flies to Geneva from £66 on way, an 80-minute drive away.
3. Live the Good Life in Lanzarote
Surrounded by mango, papaya and banana trees, the off-grid Finca de Arrieta is powered by wind and solar energy and is more a chic smallholding than a luxury eco-retreat. Located on Lanzarote’s volcanic north coast, the black-sand beach of Arrieta is 300m away. Ideal for young families, nippers can pick fruit and
vegetables from the garden, collect eggs from the hens and feed Molly the donkey. On-site there’s a play park and a funky solar-heated pool and sun deck. The Mongolian yurts are spacious and luxuriously fitted out with boho-style furnishings, including one with an ornate Indonesian four-poster bed.
Best for kids aged: toddlers to teens.
Price: From £87 per yurt per night.
Getting there: Monarch flies to Lanzarote from £59 each way.
4. Hidden Treehouse – Germany
Ikea meets war of worlds! This is definitely a treehouse with a difference. Raised 4 metre above the ground on steel legs, this forest retreat Hidden Treehouse is located in lower Saxony, Germany near the North Sea coast.
Each cabin is decked out with slick Danish furnishings with under-floor heating and a large terrace that juts out into the trees. Ideal for active families, there are more than 200 miles of cycling and walking routes right on your doorstep. Nearby is the Go-Ape style high-rope trail through the 30m-tall trees while Lake Zwischenahner is a short drive away for watersport fanatics.
Best for kids aged: 6 and over.
Price: From £108 per person per night.
Getting there: The resort is a 45-minute drive from Bremen airport. Ryanair flies to Bremen from £15 each way.
5. Canonici di San Marco Glamping – Italy
Now are you someone who can’t bring yourself to camping outdoors? Well, here is camping like you’ve never seen it before. Canonici di San Marco is a beautiful family-friendly glamping lodge nine miles from Venice. This is a piece of colonial African style brought to you in the Venetian plains.
Luxury safari tents, decked out in an exuberant fashion – four poster beds, opulent decor, soft furnishings and vintage tubs are the order of the day. While you are unlikely to see any of the Big Five here, there’s plenty of space for wild children to roam.
With Venice only a 20 minute journey by train away, you can really maximise the city culture while preserving your 5 star expectations!
Best for kids aged: 10 and over.
Price: From £87 per tent per night.
Getting there: Easyjet flies to Venice from £28.99 each way
6. Digital Detoxing in A Quirky Eco-Lodge in Sweden
Live like a hobbit in Sweden’s most primitive hotel. With no electricity or running water, inflict a digital detox on your teen in this grass-covered, wooden forest hut on the banks of Lake Skärsjön. Spend idyllic days fishing for salmon and foraging for wild berries and by night take a guided safari in search of wild wolves, elk and beavers. Despite the rustic appearance, the huts are very cosy and furnished with sheepskin throws, wood-burners and sturdy wooden beds. For the true Swedish experience, borrow the camp’s boat and row out to the floating wooden sauna in the middle of the lake.
Best for kids aged: 10 and over.
Price: From £35 per adult and £17 per child per night.
Getting there: Kolarbyn is a two-hour train ride north of Stockholm. Norwegian flies to Stockholm from £30 one way.
7. Eden Project Meets George Clark’s Amazing Spaces in France
Dotted like crystal zorbs on the banks of the Pyrenees, a night in the space-age eco-pods in Col d’Ibardin is like sleeping in a big glass bauble. Kick back on Fatboy bean bags to admire the Milky Way or cook up a storm in your own al fresco kitchen before climbing into a proper bed with hanging pods for the kids. Col d’Ibardin is a family campsite with outdoor pools and a kids’ club. It’s close to the Belle Epoque city of Biarritz and the stunning Basque coast, home to some of the best surfing beaches in France.
Best for kids aged: all ages, but great for surfing teens.
Price: Two nights from £150.
Getting there: It’s a good 12-hour drive through France or Easyjet flies to Biarritz, 16 miles away, from £40.99 one way.
8. Play Swallows and Amazons on A Dutch Private Island
The small enclave of tepees, yurts and tents on the private island of De Klutt is a cross between Swallows and Amazons and Peter Pan’s Neverland. Lost boys will spend idyllic days exploring the forest, climbing trees or paddling canoes around the island. There’s a large communal tepee where you can mix with other natives, play games, read books and draw. It has a small grocery stall and fresh bread can be delivered to your tent daily. If you need civilisation, a ferry connects the island to the town of Hardewijk.
Best for kids aged: 6 and over.
Price: Family tepees from £105 for a weekend.
Getting there: Flights to Amsterdam cost from £21 each way with easyJet; Harderwijk is an hour’s drive away. A ferry to the Hook of Holland costs from £88 each way for a car and four passengers with Stena. Hardewijk is 90 minutes away.