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9 great European tree house stays

By Nicola Iseard, for CNN
October 8, 2013 -- Updated 1058 GMT (1858 HKT)
Sweden's simply named Treehotel, with six individually designed cabins including the Mirrorcube, lies just south of the Arctic Circle. Sweden's simply named Treehotel, with six individually designed cabins including the Mirrorcube, lies just south of the Arctic Circle.
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1. Cool (very cool) Swedish design
2. Up a Portuguese walnut tree
3. Giant French pine cones
4. A romantic woolen Welsh retreat
5. Swedish tree house 'heaven'
6. A Spanish cabin stuck up a tree
7. Where the Norwegian reindeer roam
8. Fresh croissants, 22 meters up
9. A Spanish beech house
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Some tree houses are slick and modern, such as the Swedish Mirrorcube
  • Others are little more than a hut with a bed -- but still cozy
  • Croissants are delivered daily at Europe's tallest tree house, 22 meters up

(CNN) -- Tree houses -- from the luxurious and modern to the basic and cubbyhole-like -- sum up one of the best things about a vacation: getting away from it all.

As for room service ... start hoisting.

1. Treehotel, near Luleå, Harads, Sweden

Each of the five "tree rooms" making up this hotel deep in Sweden's arboreal forest, just south of the Arctic Circle, is designed by a different Swedish architect, and each is suspended up to six meters from the ground.

The Bird's Nest is camouflaged with sticks and accessed by a retractable ladder; the Mirrorcube has reflective surfaces that blend into the landscape.

The Cabin is a capsule-like room with a viewing terrace; the Blue Cone resembles a giant red Lego block.

The UFO, built over two floors, looks a bit like a spaceship.

Each stylishly furnished room sleeps two to four people and -- this is Sweden, after all -- has access to the site's Treesauna.

Treehotel, +46 928 104 03; from $690 a night

The compost toilet completes the natural vibe here. For couples who are used to each other only, perhaps.
The compost toilet completes the natural vibe here. For couples who are used to each other only, perhaps.

2. Walnut Tree Farm, Aljezur, Portugal

This back-to-basics wooden tree house perched atop a 100-year-old walnut tree overlooking a mountain stream is a short drive from some of the Algarve's best beaches.

It sleeps two people, with a huge bed taking up almost the entire space.

Down below is a kitchen unit, lounging space, compost toilet and solar shower, plus room to pitch a tent if you want to bring friends along.

Walnut Tree Farm, +351 2829 91904; from $540 a week

3. Cap Cabane, Gironde, France

Resembling nibbles for a giant squirrel, these three pine cone-shaped wooden rooms blend into the trees in a small forest an hour south of Bordeaux.

Decked out in simple furnishings, each room sleeps between two and four people -- each also has its own wooden terrace, a transparent roof for star gazing and compost toilet at ground level.

The showers and cooking facilities are located in a communal hut a short walk away and there's a pond to cool off in after a romp through the woods.

Cap Cabane, +44 1275 395 447; from $131 a night

4. Red Kite Tree Tent, near Builth Wells, Powys, Wales

Suspended from trees within a 32-hectare private wood and reached via a small bridge, this wool-insulated orb makes for a romantic retreat-for-two.

Inside you'll find a double bed that converts into a sofa, a log-burning stove and desk with a power socket.

An en-suite deck has a shower, toilet and sink, plus there's a fire pit next to a stream for alfresco dining.

Red Kite Tree Tent, +44 1865 764 087; three nights from $479

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"Heaven" in the name creates expectations, but you are that little bit closer to the stars.

5. Sjunde Himlen, Falköping, Sweden

Built seven meters up an old oak tree, 90 minutes north-east of Gothenburg, Sjunde Himlen translates as "Seventh Heaven."

Sleeping two people, it has a cottagey feel -- lots of pastel colors and floral prints.

There's also a big balcony for guests to lay out sleeping bags under the stars.

In the morning, you hoist a breakfast basket up by rope.

Sjunde Himlen, +46 515 720 384; from $389 a night

6. Justino's tree house, Fuentes, Castile-La Mancha, Spain

Resembling an old cabin stuck halfway up a tree, this ramshackle-looking structure looks like it might have been hurled here by a typhoon.

Situated on a private estate, it sleeps up to four people with two bedrooms, a kitchenette and bathroom.

The Bilbo-Baggins-cum-Unabomber aesthetic might suggest otherwise but there's even heating and a TV.

It's unlikely you'll spend much time in front of the box, though, considering guests have free use of the estate's grounds, including a swimming pool.

Pets are welcome -- assuming they're not afraid of heights.

Fuentes tree house, +44 203 463 0087; from $126 a night

There\'s moose for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- by binocular.
There's moose for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- by binocular.

7. Tree Top Hut, Brumunddal, Norway

These three cabins located eight meters up in the Ringsaker woods 90 minutes north of Oslo are named Spruce, Pine and Larch -- a helpful botanical reminder if you can't identify the kind of tree you're in.

Sleeping between six and eight people in a cozy mezzanine area, each cabin also has a small kitchen, wood-burning stove and lounge area filled with candles, cushions and books -- there's a balcony outside.

The cabins also come equipped with binoculars -- moose and reindeer are often seen roaming the area.

Tree Top Hut, +47 9093 3356; from $165 a night

8. Nid d'Aigle, Mézidon-Canon, France

Purportedly Europe's tallest tree house is 22 meters up a 250-year-old oriental plane tree above a small waterfall.

Inside Nid d'Aigle ("Eagle's Nest") is a small, simple bedroom with a double bed -- though you'll probably spend most of your time on the south-facing patio, which has predictably wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

Fresh croissants and homemade apple juice are delivered to your tree house each morning.

Nid d'Aigle (French site only), +33 2 31 90 94 49; from $260 a night

With bridges and ladders between these tree houses, you need never really bother coming down.
With bridges and ladders between these tree houses, you need never really bother coming down.

9. Cabanes Als Arbres, Sant Hilari Sacalm, Spain

Deep in the Guilleries Forest, 80 kilometers north of Barcelona, are 10 individually designed tree houses, suspended up to eight meters high in the trunks of Douglas firs and beech trees.

Accessed via suspended bridges and ladders, each tree house, sleeping between two and four, is beautifully decorated with proper beds, sink-into sofas, candles and paintings.

Some of the cabins have views of the Pyrenees from their balcony.

There are showers and a pool at the nearby homestead.

Cabanes als Arbres, +34 625 411 409; from $150 a night, including breakfast

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