Exhausted by the recent rollercoaster of events? Sport, politics, touch-and-go weather – summer has certainly been packed with ups and downs so far. To help you get away from it all, we’ve rounded up restful retreats that still have availability over the coming weeks. There’s something to suit all tastes and budgets, including a cheap and chic new opening in Croatia, a dreamy family-friendly Greek escape, a super-elegant adults-only B&B in Provence, and hilltop cottages in Portugal. What’s more, all are in Europe, so there are no arduous journeys to get in the way of your relaxation.
On the quiet side of Hvar, just one block back from the harbour in Stari Grad, this great-value new opening is the latest venture from an experienced English couple who’ve run small hotels and bars in Brighton and Ibiza. There are just 4 B&B rooms, plus an extra bedroom with a roof terrace that’s available if you rent the whole property. The décor is eclectic, the bathrooms snazzy, and cocktail guru Chris and interior designer Amanda create an atmosphere that’s refined yet fun. Breakfast is a spread of homemade croissants, fruit and smoothies that sets you up perfectly for a day of sea swimming, hiking and wine tasting, and the town beach is just a 10-minute stroll away. Come evening, Stari Grad has plenty of low-key restaurants where you can linger over delicious Dalmatian cuisine and the freshest of seafood.
Rooms from £51 per night, based on 2 people sharing on a B&B basis. Plenty of summer availability – a week in a double room from 8th August is priced from £480 for 2 people, including breakfast.
Evia is a rare and beautiful thing – a gorgeous Greek island with few crowds, just two and a half hour’s drive from Athens. There’s no ferry to worry about, either; you just head over a bridge from the mainland. Sandwiched between dense pine forest and the crystal-clear Aegean, this sleek wood-and-glass hotel is a great place to indulge in simple pleasures: sunbathing, sea swimming, and seafood at the beachside restaurant. With 50 rooms there’s plenty of space for families and couples, and little ones can join the kids’ club, splash around in their own pool or play in the ‘Magic Forest’ playground. Horse riding, sailing lessons, complimentary morning yoga sessions and sunset Pilates are all available, too.
Rooms from £94 per night, based on 2 people sharing on a B&B basis. Summer availability – a week’s half-board stay from 20th August costs from £2237 for a family of 4 (2 children under 12) sharing a Junior Suite.
A cool adults-only B&B: Metafort, Provence, France
This tranquil hideaway sits at the top of a pretty village in the untouristy Vaucluse area of Provence. With only 5 rooms, seriously chic interiors, an infinity pool and stunning hilltop views, this is where Zen calm meets rural France, and where your daily decisions might stretch to ‘Inside or out, ma chérie?’. The ‘Sous les étoiles’ room has a private roof terrace, and the bed is on tracks so you can wheel it out and sleep under a blanket of stars. Other chill-out aids include Jacuzzi bathtubs with multi-coloured lights and music piped in at the push of a button. And of course, the local food and wine is sensational.
Rooms from £126 per night, based on 2 people sharing on a B&B basis. Availability in August – a week’s stay from 13th August is priced from £987 for a couple sharing a double room, including breakfast.
Cute hilltop cottages: Casas do Coro, Marialva, Beiras Mountains, Portugal
This collection of rooms, cottages and eco-cabins for 2-11 offers the best of both worlds: breakfasts and inspired cuisine in the on-site restaurant, with the option to self-cater should you wish. It sits in the sleepy, cobbled village of Marialva (home to just 30 souls, plus another 40 or so when Casas do Coro is full), and it’s a gem of a find. Families are welcome but it’s also super-romantic, with a shared pool, beautiful gardens, mountain bikes to borrow, paths to hike, and a new spa where you could easily while away a whole day. You can even borrow the keys to the village castle, where you’ll have incredible ruins and amazing sunsets all to yourselves.
Rooms from £124 per night, based on 2 people sharing on a B&B basis. Summer availability includes a week’s stay from 19th August, priced from £868 for 2 people in a double room or from £2692 for a family of 4 in a 1-bedroom house (both with breakfast included).