1/10 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.
More info: Kolarbyn
2/10 An Italian culture safari
Bringing the gin-soaked exuberance of colonial Africa to the Venetian plains, Canonici di San Marco is a beautiful family-friendly glamping lodge nine miles from Venice. These luxury safari tents set in a lush private meadow have been spanked out with Venetian aplomb – think four-poster beds draped in white tulle, antique sofas, ornate mirrors and vintage aluminium bath tubs. While big-game sightings are unlikely, there’s plenty of space for wild children to roam. Inspire young culture vultures with a trip to Venice, a swift 20-minute train journey from nearby Mira-Mirano straight into Santa Lucia on the Grand Canal.
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.
More info: Via Canonici
3/10 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.
More info: Glisten Camping
4/10 Ikea meets war of the worlds in Germany
There’s nothing fairytale-like about the modern, architect-designed wood and glass cabins in the Baumgefluester forest resort in Germany. Raised 4m above the ground on steel legs, this forest retreat lies in Ammerland between Zwischenahner and 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.
More info: Hidden Treehouse
5/10 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.
More info: Camp Spirit
6/10 A stargazing enterprize in Aquitaine
Squirrel yourselves away in a giant, wooden pine cone in the Landes forest just south of Bordeaux in south-west France. These quirky, rocket-shaped tree houses have been cleverly built with clear roofs that are perfect for stargazing once darkness falls. Each ‘cone’ can sleep four people and is simply furnished with comfy beds and composting loos (on the ground floor) while hot
showers and cooking facilities are housed in a communal hut nearby. A breakfast hamper filled with local produce is delivered to you each morning and at night, the on-site restaurant serves locally sourced organic meals. Cap’ Cabane is a great base to explore the chateaux region of Aquitaine or just hang out at camp, rummage through the forest and take a swim in the natural pool. Sports and crafts are available for children during the school holidays.
Best for kids aged: 3–12 years.
Price: From £108 for a family cabin for four.
Getting there: Captieux is an hour south of Bordeaux airport. Flights with British Airways cost from £47 each way.
More info: Capcabane
7/10 Goldilocks’ Italian summer house
Nestled in the boughs of a huge fir tree, this fairytale tree house is like Goldilocks’ summer house with 360-degree views of the forest in case of encroaching bears. Il Giardino dei Semplici is tucked away in the village of Manta at the foot of the Monte Viso, the highest mountain in the Western Alps. The Goldilocks theme continues inside with cosy, quilt-laden beds, a wooden sink and tables carved out of tree trunks. Breakfast (no porridge) is delivered to your terrace every morning. The quiet Piedmont region is great for walking and eating and is renowned for its elusive white truffle and local fizz. Five minutes’ walk from the house is Castello della Manta, a medieval castle with intricate frescoes that date back to the 12th century.
Best for kids aged: 5 and over.
Price: From £109 per night.
Getting there: Ryanair flies to Turin, 40 miles away, from £17 one way.
More info: giardinodeisemplici
8/10 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.
More info: Lanzarote Retreats
9/10 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 small but 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.
More info: campeggioduparc
10/10 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.
More info: casaskaren