Top Family Vacations: Natural Pools

natural pool, natural spa

Another top family vacations destination are the natural pools in Tuscany, Austria, French Pyreness and other such locations.

Compared with a chlorinated hotel swimming pool, a dip in a natural pool feels like swimming in Evian and thankfully European hoteliers are recognizing the draw of these natural, eco-friendly alternatives.

Designs vary, but natural pools all work on the same premise: a wall separates a foil – or rubber-lined swimming area from an acquaticplant garden, whose marsh plants and sand act as a natural filter for oxygenizing and cleaning the water. Here are four of the favourites.

Casanuova, Tuscany

On the large lawn by the water’s edge at Casanuova, you can sunbathe to the sound of frogs croaking while butterflies dart among the reeds.

Then it’s just a 200m towel-covered stroll back to the organic farm on the hills above the Valdarno, the valley of the Arno River. Plants and wildlife dominate the estate: ivy, wild vines and roses cover the walls while oleander bushes, oranges and bergamot grow everywhere.

You can stay in one of the fifteen rooms in the beautiful farmhouse or in two apartments, 800m from the main house on the edge of the small hamlet of La Bifolca; both will give you access to this wildlife oasis.

Chaumarty, The French Pyrenees

Dragonflies hover overhead as the sun-warmed water laps against the pool’s plant-lined rim. Beyond the rolling green hills, mountain peaks shimmer in the heat of the day.

Here at Chaumarty, a three-room eco-gite south of Toulouse in the approach to the Pyrenees, the bassin de baignade (natural pool) is exquisite, irises and papyrus surround it, plus there’s a diving board and a smaller pool for children.

Adjacent to the pools is a large terrace where you can admire the mountain panorama. Organic vegetables come from the kitchen garden, solar panels heat the water, and all the waste is separated, reduced and recycled religiously. Au naturelle.

 Schwoich’s Banana Bake, Austria

Another top family vacations site is the Schwoich’s Banana Bake in Austria. Below Mount Poelven at the edge of a pine forest, Schwoich’s banana-shaped lake was Austrian Tyrol’s first public natural bathing pool.

From its wooden jetties and pebble beach you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear water with wonderful views of the surrounding mountain slopes.

The average water temperature is 22 degrees centigrade, which is usually warm enough for young children. One of the best places to stay nearby is Ferienwohnung Steinbacher, a self-catering farmhouse apartment in Schwoich, where you can buy organic eggs and milk from the farm.

 Le Camp, France

Well what else would you call it? It is a campsite, after all, though expect more than just sleeping bags and roll mats.

Hand-made beds, solar lightning and lazy chairs all come as part of the package at this luxury, five-yurt camp in oak woodland overlooking the green Aveyron Valley, about an hour northeast of Toulouse.

Pride of place, though, is the 20m-long natural swimming pool, with a gently sloping beach that’s a perfect distraction for kids – once they’ve grown tired of playing in the big sand pit, helping to feed the chickens and patting the resident pig. What a wonderful top family vacations plan.

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