Most of these dreamy European villas and apartments are guaranteed to sell out for summer 2020 in the next few weeks. So, hop to it and secure your family holiday at one of these 10 popular destinations, before someone else beats you there…
Best for: Kitesurfing on the windswept shores of the Atlantic (and a day trip to Morocco)
This trio of secluded beach houses (sleeping 2-6) in Tarifa’s natural park ooze surf-chic charm. El Cancho’s rooms are simplistic; focus on the mesmerising landscapes beyond each window pane. One house even has a kingsize double nook, complete with woodland prints on the ceiling and a large window to gaze from at its foot. Exhausted kite and windsurfers can take respite on the terrace: look above and spot birds migrating between Europe and Africa.
Brand new to i-escape, Villa Star Mlin is a 16-century former olive mill (sleeps 2-10). If you can bear to take your eyes off the mountains rising from the sea for a moment, you’ll see the Bay of Kotor peppered with fortified medieval towns, olive groves and secluded beaches. You can ponder on Montengro’s lush interior beyond the hills ’til your heart’s content from your very own pool. Inside the villa you’ll find renovated stonework, modern art, old prints, Persian rugs and wooden beams. Break up the day with a spot of sea kayaking or paddleboarding from Veslo beach on Lustica to the Blue Cave.
Come rain or shine, Antonia’s Pearls – a collection of cottages (sleeping 2-6) in the tiny Cornish village of Charleston – have bundles of seaside style. At home, find brilliant white surfaces, cabin beds, antique accents in restored rooms – plus the impeccably-planted gardens outside each house. Beyond your base, kids and adults alike will love covering their faces in local ice cream, rock pooling, visiting the Eden Project, crabbing off the harbour wall and blowing away the cobwebs on a brisk hike along the coast.
These two barn conversions (sleeping 8-12 and 2-4) are tucked away on the estate of a historic chateau, hiding in a wooded valley above the Dordogne. The Watermill is a grand, six-bedroom hideaway, while the smaller Tobacco Barn has no WiFi, TV, central heating or a pool – perfect for digital detoxing. The surrounding 5,000 hectares of forest are waiting to be explored on foot, or join the birds and view the vast woodland by hot air balloon.
Best for: Quick jaunts to one of Spain’s natural wonders
You’ll need to move quickly to secure some of the last remaining dates at this quartet of apartments (sleeping 2-4). We absolutely adore Asturias, and Bufones de Pria Apartments sit on a particularly exclusive patch – overlooking the wild Atlantic coast mere minutes away from eponymous dramatic spouting geysers. You can even take a boat to the caves for a close-up view of the blowholes. If you prefer to shun the crowds, there are around 30 quiet beaches nearby.
Assemble your own Von Trapp gaggle and run for the hills. Salzburg Boutique Apartments (sleeping 2-6) are in the same city near the setting for The Sound of Music (and of course, where Mozart called home). These stylishly restored townhouses have their own helpful 24/7 concierge. They can fill your fridge, rent a cook, or organise concert tickets and babysitting to boot. Fill your culture trip with mountain views, narrow cobbled streets, cosy restaurants and grand squares.
These four cottages (sleeping 2-4) on rugged Ithaca – home of Homer’s hero Odysseus – are as romantic as they are suited to families seeking respite. Hidden among herbal gardens, stone steps lead to a shimmering infinity pool. Levendis Estate soaks up the best bits of an exclusive gated estate and grassroots organic farm. Lather yourself in home-blended homoeopathic toiletries and drink from Kalamos’ spring: legend has it you’ll return to Ithaca if you do.
Hide away from it all at Istria Design Villa (sleeps 2-7), which overlooks the sleepy Hamlet of Zamask (home to just 19 inhabitants!). Minimal interiors, with three ensuite bedrooms, are wrapped in slick oak, glass and concrete. By day, laze by the infinity pool, and when the sun sets, gather on the large L-shaped sofa. If you don’t fancy cooking, have your food delivered by the manager. Rates include a daily clean, so all that’s left to do is lap up those views.
The Lanzarote Beach Apartments (sleeping 2-7) are all less than 15 minutes from the airport. That’s suitcase-lugging to roof terrace-reclining within half an hour of landing! These do-it-yourself retreats have the added comforts as and when you need them. Think farmer’s grocery box deliveries, shopping service, and insider island knowledge (the friendly British owners’ office is just down the road in Costa Teguise). And don’t forget those all-important sea views and proximity to golden sands.
Xaghra Farmhouse (sleeps 6-8) is no less than 400 years old, but its rustic sandstone exterior conceals a vast amount of space for the whole family inside. If you can tear yourself away from the pool, there are underground caverns, the mysterious Ggantija Temples and Gozo’s best beaches to explore nearby. Keep an eye out for the weekend festa, held by local villages, which sees fireworks fizz into the night sky and processions fill the street.
Villa from £414/night in summer
Explore more of our most popular European rentals for summer 2020 here