3 calming campsites in Europe for mindful hikers and escape artists

Bell tents at Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, England
Bell tents at Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, England.
(Image credit: Soho Farmhouse)

Ditch the chaise-longue therapy session. The new road to mindfulness is firmly routed in the great outdoors. So says a new breed of hikers, who are littering our hilltops, forests and coastlines with positivity. Here’s a few remote (and not-so-remote) locations from which to base yourselves, as you set out on a weekend of well-earned 21st-century escapism.

Jura, Switzerland

Saignelegier campsite, Jura

(Image credit: Soho Farmhouse)

Step one to a mindful retreat: cut the electrics. That’s the idea behind this forest-deep campsite embedded in the Swiss Canton of Jura, where phone signal, WiFi and basic power become a delightfully distant memory. Guests are encouraged to cook – in designated areas – on campfires and stoves, so as to not disrupt the delicate balance the local authority-run site has built between its existence and the natural environment.

Setting this site apart from others – alongside the unbeatable Swiss mountain air – is its architectural focus. Thanks to a project inititated by nine practises who met in the context of the 2014 Wallpaper* Architects Directory, Saignelegier is adding six conceputal living structures to its camping facilities. Touching the ground lightly (if at all), to avoid disturbing the foliage, the contemporary structures respect the site’s sensitive nature, offering the bare basics to their guests – along with a hefty dollop of architectural panache. Read more about the concepts here.

Parque de Campismo
Fuseta, Portugal

Parque de Campismo Fuseta, Portugal

(Image credit: Soho Farmhouse)

If digital detoxing isn’t on your mindful hiking agenda, stopping here won’t hurt your Instagram feed. Designed by Lisbon-based architects Atelier Rua, this 7000 sq ft urban campsite is enclosed by a comforting wall of white, behind which you can disappear from the city, and your city-self. But not completely – the open slats provide interaction beteen the surrounding civic centre, and the inner oasis.

Positioned across the Tagus river on the city of the tourist-atypical town of Abrantes, the closed-off campsite is in prime position for hiking to the celtic castle – a stop-off for city-breakers seeking mindful moments without the clash of complete natural immersion.

Soho Farmhouse
Oxford, England

Soho Farmhouse, Yurts

(Image credit: Soho Farmhouse)

A slice of festival chic can be found at the luxe surroundings of Oxfordshire’s Soho Farmhouse, in a somewhat incongruous field dotted with low-fi yurts. Launched in 2016, when glamping was at peak cool, the Farmhouse campsite is a solid base for exploring the surrounding Cotswolds countryside – with House-typical amenities a stone’s through from your canvas door step.

Available for Soho House members, each of the enviable tents has a six ft bed for two, wood-burning stove, rugs and a pair of armchairs. Bathroom, shower and sauna facilities are located in the Boathouse, less than 100 metres away. There’s also an outdoor living area, with tea, coffee, a hot water bottle station and hay bales around a fire pit, perfect for toasting marshmallows – mindfully of course.

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.