Imagine the experience of camping South of France without the headaches that it can bring. Picture being surrounded by trees and nature and those you love without having to worry about all of the details of traditional camping and instead enjoy the amazing views of the green hills and massive trees that cover the campgrounds. After spending a wondrous week at Glisten Campgrounds, I will never be able to ever camp the same way again!
Glisten, luxury camping South of France
Glisten is located near Col D’lbardin, in South West France. We spent our days outside soaking up the vastness of beauty around us and spent our nights in our spacious and comfy dome. It was truly an experience unlike any other.
Upon entering you will see a wooden frame the divides the dome into 3 different “rooms” – if you will, the main bedroom, a living room, and what could be used as a kids room. With a comfortable double size mattress, hanging beds for the kiddos, a couch that doubles as a pull out bed, and of course how could I forget, the bean bag chairs! I loved the fact that it had curtains that allow you to open up and let a ton of natural light in, while also giving you privacy at night.
We spent our mornings waking up slowly to the trickle of rain and would make our way to our kitchen area that was full of all utensils and cooking wear one would need while camping! The outdoor kitchen area is equipped with two fridges and a microwave as well. They provide outlets for charging any devices or to turn on the magical market lighting that makes the entire evening look like a fairytale!
We would make breakfast outdoors on the plancha grill while listening to the birds singing their morning tunes. It was such a relaxing and wonderful way for us to reconnect and spend quality time together. We had heard so many wonderful things about cooking on a plancha grill as well, so we were really excited to give it a try! It has multiple health benefits and works fabulously for cooking meat, veggies or for simply boiling water for pasta!
They made clean-up simple as well since there is water accessible near all domes and a tub to wash everything out in, along with a sponge and dish soap! We found it easiest to just bring our dishes directly to the spout and wash them out there and transport them in the tub.
Although we didn’t utilize the washer and dryer, it is provided and a great option if you want to pack light or if you are traveling with kiddos that seem to get messy within minutes! It doesn’t cost much to use! One of my favorite parts of this campsite was how wonderful the restroom and showers were. Each dome is equipped with an outhouse toilet however, it was really nice to be able to simply walk up to a refreshing shower! The restrooms are very large and they have a nice glass ceiling which I kept thinking would be beautiful to look up through at night.
The Glisten Campgrounds had some of the most personable and welcoming hosts we have encountered during our travels. Simon and Sue went above and beyond to ensure we were comfortable and well taken care of! We enjoyed their company so much that we had dinner with them one night at the campground restaurant!
My husband, Tim and I, both loved the pizza at the restaurant and even went as far as to say that it was one of our favorites to date! Our personal favorite was the Mexican pizza with onions and cream sauce! So tasty! On Saturday night we ate outside and listened to the live music as the sun slowly slipped behind the surrounding mountains. It really was dreamy.
The amenities at the campground are endless! We could have easily spent our entire week lounging by the pool, going on hikes into the local mountains, playing pool by the bar, or ping pong, tennis, or basketball outside! The options were endless! The pool, in particular, was a standout! With an amazing size pool and lounge chairs everywhere you look, you will feel like you’re a guest at a traditional villa! Glisten is a wonderful place for those with young children as well. The pool has a child-friendly area and the playground looked like a child’s paradise! I would love to return one day when we have children to explore all of their kid-friendly options as well!
Although we could have spent our entire time simply enjoying all Glisten has to offer we couldn’t resist doing a few day trips! One of the greatest aspects of Glisten is the fact that it is in such a perfect location. It is far enough away to give you the feeling of escape and relaxation yet it is close enough to drive 20-40 minutes and be in a different lively city every day!
Here are the 6-day trips that we took during our week stay:
6 Basque Country – South West of France Day Trips from Glisten
Basque Country – South West of France Map
This is the closest town to the campgrounds with only a 10-minute drive. In the 17th century, this charming Basque town was one of the most important fishing ports in all of France! It is an adorable little laidback beach town that is small enough for you to explore within a few hours without getting too overwhelmed.
Be sure to check out the beach of course as well as the promenade. The main pedestrian street is named Rue Gambetta. This street is filled with local stores selling a variety of goodies! Tim and I ate at a restaurant called the Le Cosmopolitan and we really enjoyed it!
2. Bayonne, France
With only a 35 minute drive you can access Bayonne. We enjoyed wandering along the river and admiring the beautiful architecture. We loved the shutters in this dreamy city! We are from Southern California so the look of these buildings always leaves us in awe! It had rained quite a bit the day before we arrived in Bayonne so the river was at record-breaking heights.
We decided to enjoy a yummy meal from Chez Pantxo, a restaurant by the river, as we took in the view. They had delicious grand creme (coffee with milk, sugar, and foam). I ordered the Lasagna which was delicious and Tim ordered the rare steak which was completely raw meat! We had never seen anything like that served before. I was so surprised he ate some of it! After finishing our meal we took a stroll over to see the beautiful cathedral. It really was quite a sight! We loved the courtyard and the beautiful arches lining it.
After enjoying our time simply soaking in each others company and the beautiful architecture we decided to head to Chocolatier Cazenave. This little cafe had been recommended by multiple people. It was originally founded in 1854 and they are world famous for their chocolate. Once we heard that we hustled right on over to try some of their traditional Basque cake, as well as the hand, whipped le mousse hot chocolate. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! They also had some beautiful stained-glass inside that I really enjoyed as well.
3. San Sebastian, Spain
This was a location that both Tim and I had heard a lot about and we were so excited to have the opportunity to visit considering it is a tad under 40 minutes away from our dome! We were in Spain in February but didn’t make the trek up to San Sebastian due to weather so it was lovely to be staying in France but to still have the ability to access Northern Spain with ease.
While in the Basque Country you must try pintxos (pinchos). If you are unfamiliar with what pintxos are they are similar to tapas but when you walk into a pintxos bar you simply pick up a plate and select which finger foods you would like to snack on. They each have a toothpick in them and once you finish your meal they count up your toothpicks and that is what you owe! I love that- it embraces the Spanish culture and the trust they have in others!
We ate at Arabia Extra and they had really delicious sangria and traditional Basque beer as well. We were told by our host at the campsite to avoid callos tripe which is the lining of the beef stomach. It is a traditional dish in Madrid but we were warned that it is not commonly enjoyed by tourists. However, we did not struggle to find delicious food to munch on. Not only is there amazing food to eat in San Sebastian but there is an abundance to do in the stunning city!
Right after, we decided to take the climb up to see the Jesus statue (Urgull) up close. It was definitely worth the minor hike up as we were greeted with a breathtaking view of the entire city. They also offer a free museum at the top with an audio guide to give visitors a taste of the history of San Sebastian. After your walk back down be sure to stop at La Viña for some refreshing gelato or some amazing cheesecake!
We grabbed our desserts and headed down to the boardwalk to admire the famous beach of La Concha and to take in all the street performers and musicians that lined the path! It was a beautiful day and the city is filled with lovely people that all seem to have pep in their step and a smile on their faces.
4. Biarritz, France
This city holds so much historical charm and is approximately a 30-minute drive away from Glisten camping South of France. We decided to go on a rainy day and we enjoyed the cafes and crepes! We window-shopped at all of the fun and eclectic stores that were scattered around the city.
It was such a relaxing day roaming the streets and stopping into little bars and cafes as we pleased! If it hadn’t been raining we would have laid out at Le Grande Plage, and taken the walk out to see the Rock of the Virgin Mary – as well as the Biarritz lighthouse!
I have heard that those are all amazing activities for this area. Truth be told, I was just as content taking it slow and enjoying the rainy weather.
5. Hendaye, France
It took us a little under 20 minutes to arrive to this exciting town.
This is a wonderful spot to go for those who are looking to learn to surf. With waves that are friendly and forgiving, this would be a lovely spot to try it for the first time! The hosts at Glisten can help you make reservations for lessons as well which is so helpful!
Tim and I loved this beach town. We found a really great spot called Glaces Bar which is right on the water. We ordered a delicious Caesar salad and watched the World Cup. France won and it was a lovely environment filled with high energy and excited fans!
6. La Rhune Train Ride, France
This was a highlight for me and something I would do again and again! It is about 15 minutes up in the mountains surrounding the Glisten campsite and the drive was one of the most beautiful that I have ever taken.
Rolling green hills scattered with cows and wildflowers. It feels somewhat like a dream. This is the same road that they bike in the Tour de France. Upon arriving at the train station we purchased our tickets (19 euros for adults/ 12 euros for children under 12 years of age) and boarded the old train.
We took the train ride up to the top of the most beautiful outlook that gave us 360-degree views. We went in the late afternoon and it was so sunny and beautiful. Truly a moment I will never forget. I felt like every 5 minutes on the train ride up I kept saying how stunning everything was. We spent about 40 minutes at the top soaking in the view and taking photos, that were unable to do it justice I might add before boarding the last ride down.
It takes approximately 35 minutes to get to the top so just be sure to keep that in mind.
Here’s a video we did of the six Southwest France day trips:
As you can see there is an abundance of things to see, do, and explore while staying at Glisten! What I loved most about our time there was the relaxation it provides as well as the ability to custom create your day to do as much or as little as you would like! It was such a lovely getaway for me and my hubs to unplug and devote time to each other while exploring a new part of the world so different from our part of the world!
As I mentioned before, camping will never be the same now that I have experienced glamping at Glisten. I look forward to returning one day to again enjoy the bliss that Glisten provides! Trust me, you need to go and experience it for yourself- you won’t regret it!
Thank you to Glisten Camping for your invite!