Farmstay vacations travel guide

Timing a farmstay with lambing season is like Christmas coming all over again for kids. I couldn't admit that we were buying a leg from the farmshop freezer to take home for Easter though.
Farmstay vacations became on trend a few years ago when ‘glamping’ went global. However, farmstays – or agrotourism, as it is known in many parts of the world – were in many ways the pioneers of tourism.
Farmers were early founders of rural bed and breakfasts where you had eggs straight from the coop and milk still reassuringly warm. Kibbutz farms in Israel have been hosting international travelers for years. Organic farms have segued smoothly and sustainably into the slow travel scene. And of course, good old fashioned campsites have long been the domain of farmers. This farmstay vacations guide reveals a whole new world of farmstays, however. Ones that have caught up with the times, catering for everyone – the urban green welly brigade, growing numbers of eco minded families, or all travelers who recognise a need for us all to get back to nature. While contributing to the livelihoods of the people who sustain us every day with food. Our farmers.

Read more in our farmstay vacations travel guide.

Is a farmstay vacation for you?

Go on a farmstay vacation if…

You are looking for a budget vacation. Many farmstays offer great value for money, especially out of season. You like the sun, but with a bit of mountain breeze thrown in. As well as a chance to get away from coastal crowds. Many farmstays in Spain and Portugal are within easy reach of the coast, and yet take you into another world. You hate the words ‘family friendly’ – because farmstays don’t need to use such terms. Families are at the core of what farmstays are all about. Farmers markets get you just a little bit giddy and envious of their lifestyle. Nothing beats a fortnight of giddiness.

Don’t go on a farmstay vacation if...

You are funny about wildlife. Screaming at a spider or having a meltdown over a mouse is not really going with the rural vibe. You are a beach bum. Few farmstays are right on the beach, and more likely to be slightly inland, with a walk or short journey to the coast. But there are some exceptions. Partying ‘til dawn is your thing. Things get chilled on the farm after sunset, but in a quiet, tranquil way. You don’t want children around. Especially during the school vacations. Farmstays are very popular with families.

Our top Farmstay Vacation

Devon self catering cottage in England

Devon self catering cottage in England

Cottage with lake view & wood burner on Devon nature reserve

From £205 to £749 per week (sleeps 4)
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Farmstay or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Activities on a farmstay vacation

The antithesis of what we imagined the Algarve to be, we had an organic vegetable box, organic local wine, and visited the farmers' market daily.
Farmstay vacations are fundamentally about connecting travelers back to the land. Whether it is by teaching them about organic farming, sharing the products of their passion, or pointing people in the right direction to discover the environs that responsible farmers are passionate about sustaining. They will have detailed maps of nearby hiking routes or books about local biodiversity, from birdlife to bees, flowers to forests. And in so many cases, the farm kitchen door is always open to those who love to break the bread and share the banter.
Many of our farmstays are organic, especially in the UK where the Soil Association label is prolific in tourism. They often include a gastronomic or horticultural aspect. Bake bread in a wood fired oven in Tuscany, help out in the vegetable garden in Andalucia, have a dairy filled delight of a breakfast at a dairy farm in the Peak District, or learn biodynamic gardening skills a in the Algarve.
Farmstays are wonderful at providing not only maps of the local area for long walks or cycles, but also local insight into all the secret spots, such as the mountains of Andalucia’s Grazalema Natural Park where you will hardly meet another soul. Cycle the Tarka Trail on a converted railway line in Devon. Serious hikers will bask in the sublimities of the Algarve’s Serra de Monchique mountains, or explore the ancient trails of Ithaca, with an organic picnic basket to relish in the shade of an olive grove.

Although farmstay vacations are, in themselves, perfect places to switch the mind off from life pressures, some also offer specific mindfulness vacations. Pilates and yoga before your organic breakfast on the Greek island of Ithaca, followed by a swim in the Med is wellness at its most wonderful. Or meditation classes by the river up in the Algarve mountains or Spanish Pyrenees will definitely transport you to another world.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Omar Prestwich] [Top box – lambs: Tim Marshall] [Do go/don't go if...: BEERTA MAINI] [Activities – Baking bread: Salvadonica Borgo del Chianti/photos/salvadonica/]