A cheap and cool way to go on holiday, cultural activities and courses with big discounts? Then you should go to the Friends of Nature. Many of their accommodations are, as their name suggests, located in nature. The Friends of Nature is an organization that originated in Austria and now has branches all over the world. In addition to the Friends of Nature Houses, they also organize numerous activities such as walking, cycling, mountain climbing, photography courses, etc.
Anyone who thought that an organization like the Friends of Nature was something for grandfathers and grandmothers is wrong. Young or old, alone or with family, everyone is welcome and will find their place in the group. The organization was founded a century ago in Austria, to give ordinary working people some relaxation and holidays. Now there are Nature Friends in almost all of Europe and also in countries such as Togo, the United States and Senegal. The Friends of Nature stand for sustainable leisure activities for the whole family everywhere.
The Friends of Nature Houses
The first pillar of the Friends of Nature is the Friends of Nature Houses. If you are a member of the Friends of Nature, you can stay here with a significant discount. Nature friends houses can be found in all sizes and types. There are self-catering cabins, but also three-star hotels. Self-care means that you have to do everything yourself. So you cook in a communal kitchen, sort your household waste, tidy up everything and clean your room yourself at the end of your stay. In Germany there is usually a hut guard present, volunteers who register you and help you on your way. Depending on who is on Huttenwacht, light, local dishes and delicious cakes are also prepared! At some Friends of Nature houses it is mandatory to have breakfast in the morning. Most houses are located in the middle of nature or on the beach. So you can immediately start nice walks from the house.
Fun activities for children
There are also facilities for children. Sometimes there is a small playground, sometimes a small petting zoo, sometimes a ping-pong table, sometimes a games room with many games. In the common room you will usually also find a lot of reading books, comics, magazines, travel books and board games. You will discover nice extras in every house.
Free tips and social contact
Since most Nature Friends walk and travel a lot, you often come into contact with people who can give you good tips. In the houses you sometimes have family rooms with a shower or bath and even a terrace, sometimes you have to make do with a shared dormitory with sanitary facilities in the hallway. Pets are usually not allowed. It is also possible to camp cheaply through Natuurvrienden.
Although walking comes first, other sports are also practiced by the Friends of Nature. They often go cycling together. But you can also cycle alone or with friends and family. There is the European Friendship Route, a journey of several thousand kilometers through 10 European countries. For more modest cyclists, there are the Ecocyclotours, marked cycling routes in Flanders that link the most beautiful places in the region to eco-friendly sights. There is judo, water sports, skiing, dancing and caving. There is a separate branch that is particularly concerned with everything related to mountain sports: the Nature Friends Mountain Climbers. They organize mountain tours, mountaineering, wall climbing, bouldering, courses, canyoning, walking holidays, etc. Emphasis is always placed on fun in a group, not on competition.
The Friends of Nature are also not lacking in culture. There are theater clubs, debate and slide evenings, folk dancing, photography courses, etc. You can also learn to repair your bicycle yourself, you can learn to use a GPS or a map and compass. . A significant discount is also offered for all these courses. There are courses for both beginners and advanced students. Young and old will certainly find something to their liking here. Excursions are also regularly organized for the entire group. Cities are visited and museums are discovered several times a year.
Every year a photo competition is organized around a specific theme. This year the theme is the bicycle”. There are always great prizes to be won and the photos of the winners appear in the magazine De Natuurvrienden.