As travel restrictions start to lift (yay!), we are finally able to start planning the summer holidays we’ve been dreaming of for the past year.
Offering a little extra privacy and big enough to house a whole host of family and friends, a luxurious European villa sounds like just the ticket for an unforgettable getaway.
Pick from our favourites in France, Turkey, Greece and Italy as we take you on a whistle-stop tour of some of the best villas money can rent.
Villa Galina, Greece
Hidden away in the pine-clad hills of Koukounaries on Skiathos, the sprawling single-storey Villa Galina has a sleek minimalist vibe, rustic stone walls, solid wood floors and contemporary decor, and is fancy enough for a group of hip friends or an extended family.
Surrounded by olive groves, the six-bedroom pad with far-reaching views over the Aegean Sea also has the ubiquitous Insta-ready infinity pool, a posh al fresco kitchen and even an outdoor cinema, ideal for watching Mamma Mia! (partly filmed on the island) under the stars.
Villa d’Uhabia, France
Find family utopia at Villa d’Uhabia, a bumper beachfront pad near Biarritz. The red-and-white baserri – a quaint half-timbered chalet with sloping roofs and wooden shutters typical of the Basque region – overlooks Bidart’s Grande Plage, a major surf beach.
The six-bedroom pile, set in tropical gardens, has an infinity pool, a fancy galleried kitchen and a BBQ deck with panoramic views of the Atlantic. It’s a hop and skip from Bidart’s handful of boulangeries and bars, while the bountiful brasseries and Belle Époque bars of Biarritz are a 15-minute drive.
Villa Canim, Turkey
With 180-degree vistas of a sparkling Mediterranean Sea, the swanky Villa Canim certainly brings all the buoys to the yard. Athough a five-minute stroll from Kalkan’s harbourfront bars and restaurants, there’s little reason to leave this comfortable villa.
Sprawled across four levels, the contemporary glass-fronted house is perfect for two or three families and features several sun terraces, enabling privacy for all.
Spend days around the infinity pool, which has unobstructed views across the harbour and Snake and Mouse Islands, or wander down the private staircase to the beach. Simpson perks include a concierge, hammam experience and a day trip on a traditional gulet.
Villa Neroli, Sicily
It might feel familiar as the backdrop to the Godfather trilogy but the charismatic island at the toe of Italy’s boot is the perfect place in which to reunite your own family dynasty.
The contemporary whitewashed Villa Neroli is set in lawned gardens shaded by palm trees and tropical plants, and is perfect for long, lazy days spent by the pool and warm nights listening to the cicadas sing – all while you’re lubricated by the contents of the house wine cellar.
If you can drag yourself away, spend a day in nearby Avola, the ancient seaside town famous for its Nero d’Avola wines, or go trekking through canyons and waterfalls at the Cavagrande del Cassibile reserve, aka the Sicilian Grand Canyon.
Villa Baccha, Mallorca
Tucked away in Mallorca’s rugged Tramuntana mountain range, the enchanting Villa Baccha Deluxe Soller overlooks the olive groves and citrus trees surrounding Sóller.
Built from honey-hued Mallorcan stone, the sprawling 19th-century villa features six bedrooms, all en suite, and errs on the rustic-chic side of modern.
It’s ideal for groups of friends or two or three families who want to spend lazy days lounging around the palm-lined infinity pool or on stone terraces.
Port de Sóller is a ten-minute drive, where sandy beaches curve around a horseshoe bay, and even the 17th-century train station houses artwork by Picasso and Joan Miró.
Villa Duga, Croatia
What could be better than buzzing around the Croatian coast on your own speedboat?
Book the stylish four-bedroom Villa Duga on Brac Island and it can be yours for the week (summer only). Cut into the island’s rugged forested hillside, this modern stone-and-glass villa is a minute’s walk from a secluded white-pebble beach.
Sleek, understated rooms all have balconies and sea views. Other delights include an in-house sauna, a hot tub on the terrace and an infinity pool with sweeping views of the Med.
Always check restrictions before travelling.
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