Camping is one of those quintessential classics that many people grew up with. Long summer days with the camper van, or just a car packed with a makeshift tent, driving for what seems like an eternity until you’ve reached your campsite. What makes camping so fun is the nomadic feeling of it - that you can be here one day, pack up and explore new territory the next. To feel like you’re off the grid, just enjoying the land for what it is and getting closer to nature than one usually would be. Belgium’s one beauty of a country for it too, and the locals have fond memories of camping.
There are many types of camping - from our first ideas and experiences of tent camping to the RV, car camping, to bicycle touring with a tent strapped to the back of your saddle. For nature lovers who want to be more in touch with the outdoors, there isn’t one truer type of camping than the other - since our way of exploring the world around us evolves with the type of person, and lifestyle, we have. For Belgians in recent years, glamping, which means glamorous and camping - has become more intriguing, accessible and affordable to anyone who wants to be in nature without having to give up the things that make us creatures of comfort. Curious about the casual luxury of glamping is? These are our top reasons why glamping in Belgium should then be your next adventure.
Be in nature, without giving up your comfort
No judgement here - everyone has different experiences with nature. The whole world is our backyard, so no matter what your interests are or background is, there's no gatekeeping when it comes to being able to experience the beauty of our world. For some people, camping with the bare essentials is a thrilling feat, for others, it can be too hardcore. Or, some people don’t want to rough it all the time and want to switch it up.
That’s why glamping is such a great middle-ground - you get to be in nature, but you’ll still be able to recharge your phone’s batteries, not having to worry about having the power to play music along with your campfire, or if you’re gone for a long time - being able to keep in touch with loved ones back home. Sometimes, we can’t all cook our food on an actual fire, and having the proper kitchen amenities is relieving, so being able to have that all available with glamping is a hunger saver. Other times, we just want a bed - instead of a sleeping bag - while still being able to be as close (and within) nature as possible. The beauty of glamping is that you can have your cake and eat it too.
Sustainable way of travelling
Tent camping is already sustainable - leaving the land untouched as you found it. But did you know that glamping is also a great way to experience nature and travel sustainably? Glamping with Slow Cabins, a Belgium-based accommodation, takes pride in being eco-conscious and caring for the environment, even if you’re staying in a gorgeously designed cabin rather than a tent you pitch yourself. At Slow Cabins, the water you use for showering, and cooking, are all rainwater collected over time. Solar power panels are installed on your chic cabin’s roof so you have electricity. It’s most definitely a unique way to experience nature and glamping, as they use green technology to support you in experiencing camping from a new perspective, rather than excluding technology altogether.
Drawing designs inspiration from Japan and Scandinavia, Slow Cabins sources their materials to make their glamping experience minimalistic with materials such as 100% sustainable wood to minimise as much environmental impact as they can. The bonus in staying a night or doing a weekend glamp-away with Slow Cabins? For each booking made, Slow Cabins plant a new tree, so feel good glamping knowing you’re also doing good!
Explore different regions
Glamping is as easy as camping when it comes to the nomadic way of movement between different areas. The main difference is, with camping, most of the time, you’re pitching your own tent, setting up, and planning where you have to go. With glamping, most of the time, the accommodations are already prepared for you. There’s a wide range of regions and terrains to explain. On one trip, as I was backpacking around Morocco, I took a break from the hostels to ride out into the desert with my friends on camelback, to find our glamping set-up for the evening in a decked-out gigantic white tent in the middle of the dunes. The camels slept right outside, while inside, oriental carpets were laid out, and a whole feast awaited.
For something closer to home, whether you want to have a glamping experience in the magical rolling hills of Ardennes or the lush verdant forests of Noorderkempen, you’re spoiled for glamping spots in Belgium. Slow Cabins itself have four locations for their mysterious glamping cabins, set in your choice of either Brussel’s green belt, Hesbaye, Noorderkempen or the Flemish Ardennes. You can choose the region, but the fun part is Slow Cabins will choose the glamping suite for you. You won’t find out where’s the exact address of your stay until closer to your booking date. Now that’s part of its charm and romantic mystery, adding to that feeling of being a true explorer.
Fit for all types of budgets
Who says glamping has to be bank-breaking? Just because the word is a portmanteau of “glamourous” and “camping” squished together - doesn’t mean you have to pay glamorous prices for the experience. For one thing, glamping can be set up and planned out by yourself! Any way of elevating the regular tent life is glamping. Some people prefer to bring a blow-up mattress bed and place it in their tent instead of sleeping in sleeping bags. Others like adding touches of what makes them feel at home, lighting little tea candles and placing it around their dining area.
And if you’re my parents, whenever we use to go camping when I was younger, they would bring oysters and shrimp for whole seafood boil on a little barbecue out in the woods. It definitely beats out our neighbour’s beans for dinner. Also, some experiences aren’t officially labelled as glamping even if it is - such as a tent stay on safari, or having porters and a dining tent while doing a multi-day mountain trek. I got to do all of these cool types of glamping on a budget (the tent stay on safari was part of the package bundle that I had negotiated in Tanzania, and the dining tent was wonderful even if it looks like it has been through many, many mountain journeys before me). So no matter what your budget, any nature camping experience can be elevated to glamping.
Great year-round, no matter what the weather
Now, sure you can go camping in the snow, harsh winter, and pouring rain, and that doesn’t stop anyone from cosying up in a tent. But when you are glamping - the various weather conditions add to the air of romance. Freezing cold winters and hailing snow storms outside? No worries, glamping with Slow Cabins, you have your own personal wood-burning fireplace in your own mini living room out in the woods. Autumn may be a less popular season for camping, especially right after the peak of summer, but that just leaves you with gorgeous colourful-filled trails to explain, with the crunching of fallen leaves below you. After, you can go back to your glamp-site and still have a nice warm shower. For regular camping, that warm shower during colder seasons is definitely not going to be a thing.
And for glamping accommodations like Bulles d étoiles, it’s designed as a transparent bubble in the remote nature, so you don’t even have to leave your bed to be able to have a full clear view of the stars and Milky Way. No matter how cold the night is, your glamping suite will feel just right - because you can set the temperature accordingly.
Aesthetics and Instagram-worthy
For those who appreciate beautiful design, like to document their travels through photographs, or just want to experience something playfully built-in in nature - glamping is an activity that indulges in the beauty of having a camp spot ou tin the middle of nowhere. No matter what style you prefer, the style can also affect the type of mood and experience you can get out of glamping.
Scandinavian and Japandi interior design fans? Glamping places like Scandinave - In the Woods tap into that minimalistic interiors, with touches that will make you feel like you’re in the Nordic outback. Other glamping experiences, like Helshovens Wijnvat, is where you can stay in what looks like a gigantic wine barrel - appropriately nestled by the grape vines nearby. A chic eye for design is heightened with a love for protecting the environment at Slow Cabins. This fusion of caring about aesthetics and green impact is how Slow Cabins built their glamping experience - from the sleek interiors to how the cabin consumes energy.
Going glamping is all about having access to fun amenities, as well as the essential ones, to be able to make the most out of your getaway. Some glamping sites have personal jacuzzis that you can sink into after a day of hiking, or saunas on site that you can turn up the heat in, especially during the snowy winter months. Others may have projectors where you can cast your favourite movies for a special showing under the stars. As for the essential amenities - most campsites either don’t have running water or bathroom facilities - so you have to just dig your own pit in the outbacks. But for glamping, you don’t have to worry about bathrooms, since they’re a given onsite, or even within their own separate tent.
At Slow Cabins, your amenities include a uber cosy wood-burning stove that’s already set up for you in the living room. This makes it the prime spot to gather around for board games or snuggle by the flicker of the flames. You also have a wood-burning barbecue for the outdoors - so it’s easy to grill your food and then plate it all together in the petite furnished kitchen… That comes with a refrigerator, by the way! The cool thing? All of this is running on full-charged solar panels, including the lights inside your Slow Cabins. Now with regular camping, you’ll often have to bring your own soap, coffee, tea, and towels - but here, it’s all taken care of. No unpacking and setting up are needed, just check into your Slow Cabins, and glamping already awaits!
An evolution and elevation
Little do most people know, Belgium has a long history of camping - actually dating all the way back to the early 20th century. The first campgrounds in Belgium were opened in the 1920s, and by the 1930s, camping had become a popular leisure activity among Belgians. Fast forward to today, camping in Belgium is still a popular activity among both Belgians and travellers doing road trips through Europe. Did you know that there are over 250 campgrounds throughout the country? Most Belgians would have fond memories or experiences of camping with their family - and there’ll always be a fun story that goes with it.
But as families grow and lifestyle changes over time, some seek new experiences and a refresh on old classics - camping included. So while camper vans may come and go, a new crop of glamping sites like Slow Cabins and the ever-chic Abarolodge offers an elevated twist for wanderlusters looking to experience another side of Belgium’s nature, in style.