Since getting bitten by the travel bug, I’ve been introduced to rural tourism on several occasions: olive-picking in Southern Spain, staying at an eco-lodge in the mountains of Guatemala and experiencing farm life in Western Australia. Rural tourism is a way of exploring and immersing in nature – and it often leads to surprising and unusual finds. I’ve become a huge fan of rural tourism, especially after setting up our base-camp in Spain. For those sharing the same interest as I do, here are some unique ways to explore rural tourism.
Eco-Lodges and Farm stays
With more people becoming eco-conscious, green hotels and lodges are popping up all over the world: Besides the usual self-catering country cottages, there are many unique eco-accommodation on offer these days from tree houses to Mongolian-style yurts. Farm stays are also a popular option in Australia and it gives you the chance to mingle with locals and get a good feel of their rural lifestyle. You can often combine these stays with vacation packages to explore various faces of a country.
From olive-picking to wine-tasting and truffle-hunting, there is no shortage of culinary experiences in the countryside. What better way to get a good feel of a country’s gastronomy than to understand where they come from and how they are produced. During a recent trip to Tuscany, I had the pleasure of visiting Azienda Agricola Spazzavento, a farmhouse that grows/produces rich,organic foods. I sampled home-grown tomatoes, olive oil and cheese; the flavors were outrageously tasty and remarkably fresh.
Walking allows us to explore our surroundings in a more intimate way – we can take in the details of the scenery, and new panoramas are constantly around the corner. Walking holidays can be guided or independent, depending on your preferences. Combining a few days of walking with eco-stays make for excellent ways to explore places like the Picos de Europa in Spain, the Italian Cinque Terre and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
Eco-living and wellness often go hand in hand. With an increase in eco-consciousness comes a rise in awareness of spiritual and psychological wellbeing. Whether you are a stressed-up blue-collar workaholic or a long-term spiritual traveler, holistic retreats provide an uplifting experience and a rejuvenating break. Holistic retreats are conducted in rural areas due to the tranquil setting and natural surrounding. They can range from yoga retreats to meditations courses and body-cleansing programs.
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