Organic Escape

Reviewed by Emily McDonnell

Contemporary eco-lodges with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, hidden in the rolling Franconian-Swiss hills, surrounded by forest

From €80
Two cabins each sleeping 2-3
Betzenstein, 4 hours from central Berlin


Tucked away at the edge of a tiny village, overlooking treetops, are two striking slate cabins. Their bold, grey exteriors contrast with the surrounding greens, and shimmer enticingly in the sunlight. Inside, you remain connected to the natural world with wooden furniture, decorative silver-birch-tree-trunks and windows that perfectly frame the forest. 

Owners Herbert and Petra were keen to design and build an architecturally significant retreat where high-quality design and environmental principles were effortlessly combined. They succeeded rather spectacularly, and have created an elegant escape from where you seamlessly reconnect with nature. After an afternoon on the terrace, you can feel your stress slip off you. If you can bear to pull yourself away, you’re surrounded the Franconian-Switzerland Nature Park, which is famous for its cave structures, Jurassic cliffs and castles. With all that fresh air, a weekend here is just what the doctor ordered.


I fell in love because...
  • The effortless blend of stunning, modern design with sustainability principles: this is how all living should be
  • You could not be more immersed in nature, and the views over the treetops are immediately calming
You must...
  • Embrace German beer culture: this region has the world's highest concentration of breweries!
  • Explore: go hiking, biking or canoeing, the area is simply stunning
You might dislike...
  • The decor might not be to everyone’s taste
  • The two apartments sit side by side, but each has plenty of privacy
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Introducing Herbert and Petra! 

“We think that the spaces we live should blend sustainable-living principles with exceptional architecture and great interior-design: when we built our own escapes, there was no reason to compromise!”

They love…

“You’re totally submerged in the forest: as freelancers, we both realised how important it was to escape the city, and surround yourself with nature to switch off and enjoy peace and quiet. We designed the terraces to give you a panoramic view over the treetops, and we could lounge here for hours!”

Herbert and Petra’s insider tips 

  • You’re in the middle on the sprawling Franconian-Switzerland Nature Park, famous for its natural springs, deep valleys and caves featuring impressive rock formations dripstone formations: take a map and head out exploring
  • For the more adventurous, try climbing or bouldering the striking Jurassic cliffs. It might be nerve-wracking, but the views are well worth it!
  • There are 650 hiking trails in the region, so it can be tough to know where to begin. Start with one of the themed walks: there’s the art trail, which leads you past extraordinary sculptures that have been integrated into nature; the German Castle Road, along which are 170+ impressive medieval castles and ruins; or the brewery walk that takes you from beer stop to beer stop!
  • The UNESCO-town of Bamberg is a short distance away, and well worth a visit

What people
are saying.

“We slept wonderfully and left feeling wonderfully rested. A real retreat, well done.”


“We had a very quiet and incredibly relaxing weekend. Super interiors and stunning architecture!”

Familie Elflein

The essentials.

The essentials 

  • Sleeping arrangements: There are two cabins, each with a double bed.
  • Bathroom set up: Both cabins have spoiling, rainfall showers.
  • Food: You have a kitchenette, and there are a handful of restaurants in the village.
  • For families: The sofa can convert into a bed for a little one. Both cabins can be booked together for larger families.
  • Optional extras: You can rent e-bikes to explore.
  • Help: You can always call for help should you need it.
  • Remember to pack: Your hiking shoes: the Nature Park on your doorstep is too irresistible to not explore!
  • Pets: Not allowed.
  • Sustainability: The cabins boast incredible sustainability principles, having been built using only environmentally-friendly building materials. They are almost energy self-sufficient, with the remaining energy coming from 100% green sources.


The Organic Hotel is located in the village of Betzenstein, at the heart of the Franconian Switzerland Nature Park. 
It’s a 4-hour drive from Berlin.

It is possible to arrive by public transport. With the train, most will come (via Nürnberg) to Pegnitz, from where you have to take a bus.


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