Picture this: it's something like 9 in the morning; you get the sun coming through those beautiful cotton curtains; it's warm out there. You smell toasted coffee beans and fresh butter croissants from the downstairs kitchen’s; life’s good today. And no, I am not joking; this is not your beautiful Florence or Paris, nor the busy Madrid. Is everything just a trip away from those bustling cities?

Smaller towns are easier to manage, both with private and public investment; this results in a more flexible way of adjusting to tourism demand. Additionally, you have government investment to reevaluate small towns and a lot of much more affordable and bigger real estate available. Recently, a new wave of farms and homesteads started to sprout everywhere in the countryside, thanks to easier loans and European Union monetary contributions.

Farming lifestyle


In the rustic countryside of Italy, nestled amid the serene beauty of the Tuscan hills, visitors can immerse themselves in the art of pasta-making in the quaint town of Montepulciano. Here, they can discover the ancient secrets of "pasta fatta a mano" (handmade pasta) using locally sourced "farina di grano antico" (ancient grain flour). Delightful "ricotta fresca" (fresh ricotta cheese) from nearby farms is served alongside "confettura di frutta di stagione" (seasonal fruit jam), enhanced by the subtle nuances of "miele artigianale" (artisanal honey) from the nearby village of San Gimignano.

In the rolling vineyards of Piedmont, guests can savour the rich flavours of "carne di razza locale" (local breed meats) paired with a glass of "Barolo biodinamico" (biodynamic Barolo wine) in the charming village of Alba. Here, they can experience the traditional "cucina piemontese" (Piedmontese cuisine) at its finest, with dishes crafted from the freshest ingredients sourced from the surrounding countryside.


Crossing the border into France, travellers can explore the picturesque wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. In the mediaeval town of Saint-Émilion, farm stays offer a glimpse into the world of "vignoble durable" (sustainable vineyards), where grape varietals such as "Merlot" and "Cabernet Sauvignon" flourish in harmony with the land. Meanwhile, in the quaint village of Beaune, visitors can sample the delights of "cuisine bourguignonne" (Burgundian cuisine), with dishes infused with the aromatic flavours of "herbes de Provence" (Provencal herbs) and "huile d'olive artisanale" (artisanal olive oil) from the nearby town of Nyons.


In Spain, the verdant landscapes of the Basque Country beckon with their unique culinary traditions. In the coastal town of San Sebastián, farm stays highlight the region's renowned "pintxos" culture, with delectable bites of "anchoas del Cantábrico" (Cantabrian anchovies) and "queso Idiazabal" (Idiazabal cheese) served alongside glasses of "txakoli" (local white wine) from the nearby village of Getaria. Meanwhile, in the charming town of Ronda, guests can savour the flavours of Andalusia with "tapas" made from freshly pressed "aceite de oliva virgen extra" (extra virgin olive oil) and "verduras de temporada" (seasonal vegetables) sourced from the surrounding countryside.


In Austria, travellers can embark on a culinary journey through the picturesque Alpine landscapes. In the village of Hallstatt, farm-to-table feasts feature "käse aus roher milch" (raw milk cheeses) from local herds, "hausgemachte wurst" (homemade sausages) crafted using traditional methods, and "frisches brot aus urgetreide" (fresh bread made from ancient grains) baked in wood-fired ovens. Meanwhile, in the vineyards of the Wachau Valley, guests can enjoy glasses of "Grüner Veltliner" and "Riesling" alongside dishes made with "frischer fisch aus dem see" (fresh lake fish) and "saisonales gemüse" (seasonal vegetables) cultivated using biodynamic practices.

A deeper connection

Why we do this? The answer is pretty simple: for the seasoned traveller seeking a unique experience off the beaten path, it offers an authentic and immersive alternative to the usual tourist hotspots. Away from the crowds, these hidden gems provide a tranquil retreat where guests can reconnect with nature, indulge in delicious farm-to-table cuisine, and immerse themselves in local culture.

For young families seeking a quiet and affordable getaway, European farm stays offer an ideal option. With a range of accommodations to suit every budget, from cozy cottages to rustic farmhouse apartments, there's something for everyone to enjoy. And with activities like farm tours, cooking classes, and nature walks, families can create lasting memories together while experiencing the beauty of rural Europe.

Warming up sustainable practices

Supporting smaller enterprises, or let's just call them family businesses as they righteously are, is most probably one of the kindest and most conscious business choices.

Empowering family businesses and sustainable practices

Choosing a farm retreat in 2024 is a win-win for you, the environment, and the future of European agriculture. It's a conscious decision to support sustainable food systems and empower family businesses that are the backbone of rural communities.

Family businesses lead the sustainability charge

Family-run farm retreats are at the forefront of a recent trend highlighted in the February 2024 FarmEurope report (Farm Europe, 2024): the rise of agritourism 2.0.

These dedicated families are not only preserving traditional practices but also embracing innovation to ensure the long-term viability of their farms and the health of the land.

Aligning with the EU's green vision

The European Commission's emphasis on sustainable agriculture, as reflected in the recent January 2024 AGRIFISH Council meeting (Georgescu, 2024), aligns perfectly with the innovative practices seen at many farm retreats. Here are some examples you might encounter during your visit:

  • Resource-efficient production: techniques like vertical gardens and aquaponics are gaining traction, especially in drought-prone areas of Europe. These methods enable farms to produce fresh, local food year-round using minimal water and land.

  • Holistic farming approaches: biodynamic farming and regenerative agriculture, are becoming increasingly popular. These holistic approaches focus on soil health, biodiversity, and natural pest control. This fosters self-sustaining ecosystems and improves carbon sequestration, a key aspect in addressing climate change.

  • Shifting to renewable energy: farm retreats are increasingly investing in solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal energy to power their operations. This aligns with the EU's push for cleaner energy sources and is further bolstered by the European Commission's €186 million allocation in 2024 specifically for promoting sustainable agriculture throughout the European Union.

Beyond innovation: education and tradition

Farm retreats also play a vital role in preserving local food traditions and promoting cultural heritage by offering educational workshops on cheesemaking, bread baking, and time-tested food preservation techniques, ensuring these skills continue to be passed down through generations.

Together, by supporting sustainable farm retreats, we can promote a healthier planet, empower family businesses, cultivate a deeper appreciation for the food we eat, and contribute to the goals outlined in the EU's Farm to Fork Strategy.


1 Farm Europe. (n.d.). Farm Europe highlights that EU agriculture sovereignty is still to be built.
2 Council of the European Union. (2024, January 23). Council of the European Union: Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting (23 January 2024).