Rural Tourism: Unique Ways of Exploring the Countryside

Posted on March 25, 2011 by

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.

Alpujarras Southern Spain

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.

Souther Spain Alpujarras country cottages

Culinary Experiences

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.

culinary experiences in tuscany

Walking Holidays

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.

walking in the mountains of Catalunya, Spain

Holistic Retreats

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.

holistic retreats


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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

9 Responses to “Rural Tourism: Unique Ways of Exploring the Countryside”

  1. Sonya March 27, 2011 3:57 am #

    Beautiful post! I never tire of exploring the countryside.

  2. Serena March 29, 2011 5:44 pm #

    i've spent my week end in that way. Is the best solution for me to go out relaxed with friends and family.
    hugs from italy!

  3. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy March 31, 2011 12:36 pm #

    You are absolutely right: the country side offers great opportunities for relaxing, memorable, unique and usually inexpensive getaways. Living in a large metropolitan city, the opportunity to go to a rural area for a few days or longer is welcomed. Cleaner air, sounds of nature, walks through the woods or mountains.
    Really like your photo of the Eco-Lodge and Farms, is it in the Southwest? Beautiful area.
    Thank you for sharing your insights and providing great ideas for vacations.

    • Nellie March 31, 2011 7:16 pm #

      Thanks for dropping by! I grew up in a massive city, so having the opportunity to enjoy nature in the countryside is just so valuable to me now.

      The eco-lodge photo was shot in the Alpujarras, in Southern Spain, close to where I live now. It's a gorgeous area at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, sprinkled with many countryside cottages for rent. Let me know if you're ever in the area. :)

  4. Nathan April 17, 2011 10:54 pm #

    HI Nellie, I grew up in rural Midwest and exploring the countryside comes natural. Some of the best places are the ones that most people do not even know about. Following streams or animal trails is a great way to find new things, or the occasional animal that does not like being followed :). A few years ago, my wife and I were following a deer trail and came across two fawns that had just been born. It was an awesome experience to see them.

    • Nellie April 19, 2011 4:24 am #

      Wow coming across fawns that had just been born! That must have been an amazing experience. :)

  5. Steve @ rome hotels June 28, 2011 6:51 pm #

    Great post! Exploring the countryside is an ideal way to should experience once in his/her daily life.Thanks for sharing a nice idea for vacation.

  6. @agriturismo abruzo April 5, 2013 8:11 am #

    Hello ! Have you visited Abruzzo in italy? countryside is very beautiful !

  7. Lily July 19, 2013 6:04 am #

    This is one of my favorite yoga retreats. It's a little far from where you are but if ever you're in Thailand this retreat is amazing:

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