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Ecotourism for Families in Southern Europe

by Barbara Rogers

Jul 5, 2022

© Radiokafka | Dreamstime.com

Europe

As ecotourism and responsible travel become more popular, destinations look for ways to promote their rural and natural areas and preserve local ways of life. Agritourism — staying in farms or rural houses — is perfect for family travel, offering a chance for children to meet and interact with local people. It is not only a highly sustainable form of tourism, but also a more relaxing vacation compared to trips trudging through cities with children in tow.

 

Spain, Portugal and Italy are leaders in offering agritourism experiences. You can stay in simple rural or village homes, on farms, wine estates and ranches. During an agritourism vacation, you can dine on locally grown foods, go for walks and hikes, bicycle on country lanes, ride horseback or just enjoy the views and country air. In many farm stays, you can learn to cook local dishes — pasta-making lessons are popular in Italy — or lend a hand with the grape harvest. Perhaps you can even search in the woods for truffles.

 

Whether or not you take part in the work or activities of a farm, rural stays are a perfect base for exploring surrounding villages and attractions. The most popular Tuscan hill towns, for example, are only a few miles apart, so a Tuscan farm stay is a perfect base for visiting several of these villages.

 

Farm vacations are especially well-suited for families traveling with children. There will always be outdoor activities, frequent interactions with animals and the chance to meet others their own age. Young children are surprisingly adaptable to language differences.

 

Portugal’s Alentejo region is well-equipped for family travel, with farms and ranches in all price ranges. The region is known for its horses, and you can take an agritourism vacation on a horse farm, where children and adults can learn to ride.

 

In Spain, a country house is called a casa rural and, when staying in one, you can join in farm activities like pressing cider, helping sheer sheep or feeding animals. Children can collect eggs or go on donkey rides. Many of Spain’s agrotourism farms are in beautiful protected natural spaces, such as national parks.

 

Although everyone has heard the glories of a farmhouse stay in Tuscany. Italy’s Piedmont region also offers a full range of farmhouse accommodations in the beautiful vineyard-clad hills west of Turin. Wherever you choose, feel good about being a responsible traveler.

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