the i-escape blog / Rosanna Spence

By Rosanna Spence, i-escape Editorial Assistant

Precious summer holiday dates are guaranteed to get snapped up by the end of January at every single one of these top European rentals. So, you’d better book your stay now for 2020 before they completely sell out – availability is disappearing by the day!

St Ives Boutique Hideaways, Cornwall, UK

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / St Ives Boutique Hideaways

Best for: Digging your toes in the sand

Despite the creamy beach of Porthmeor being mere seconds away on foot (60, to be precise), we’ll understand if you find it hard to leave a lazy breakfast in bed at St Ives Boutique Hideaways. And with décor featuring pebbles, slate and driftwood, nature’s textures are as important to the indulgent interiors as the cottages’ coastal setting. Polish off a romantic supper while staring out to sea.

Cottage from £108 per night.



Chateau Les Carrasses, Languedoc, France

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / Chateau Les Carrasses

Best for: Bringing fairytales to life

Dreamy Chateau Les Carrasses boasts a silhouette pulled straight from the pages of enchanting literature. Surrounded by protective vineyards, this castle was rescued from abandonment and is now home to self-catering suites, a charming gardener’s cottage and wine cellars-turned-villas. Irish owners Karl and Anita have brought this fairytale bang up to date with a heated infinity pool and a Mediterranean-style brasserie.

Apartments from £126 per night.



Pollensa Bay Villa, Mallorca, Spain

Best for: Spreading yourselves out in

Hidden among fruit orchards (and without a neighbour in sight), Pollensa Bay Villa is part Mallorcan finca, part Swedish show home. White walls and beams frame French windows that open out to the wraparound terrace and pool. Multi-generational families can find their nook to relax in – be it a poolside Balinese daybed, the movie room, the cosy sitting room or the secluded granny flat.

Villa from £545 per night.



White River Cottages, Crete, Greece

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / White River Cottages

Best for: Seclusion and rustic charm

Seeking the ‘real Crete’? White River Cottages is a beacon of resistance to mass tourism. These restored stone houses stud a leafy valley, just inland from Makrigialos beach. There’s a pool in the heart of the hamlet to wind down in after a hike through the pine-shaded gorge just above the cottages. Plus, the thick walls of each rustically and simply furnished cottage mean interiors stay blissfully cool in July and August (though there’s also A/C if you need it).

Cottage from £69 per night.



Villas Martinhal Sagres, Algarve, Portugal

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / Villas Martinhal

Best for: Little explorers

This collection of villas will make you rethink resorts. Villas Martinhal Sagres has it all: sleek-line designs, eco-concerns, fully-fitted kitchens (juicers n’all), three restaurants within walking distance… Oh yes, and a long beach nearby, four heated swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa, football academy, kids’ clubs, a crèche and cartoon screenings on long, balmy summer evenings. Your kids will be telling tales of their adventures until it’s time to visit all over again.

Villa from £124 per night.



Ea Astei, Basque Country, Spain

Best for: Foodies seeking local produce

Head to the forested hills between Guernica and Lekeitio, where you could stay in an apartment within a Basque-style house, a tiny bucolic cabin or grand-design ecological house (a personal passion project of owner Peio). The area surrounding Ea Astei’s clutch of self-catering boltholes is renowned for its local cheese, cider and honey. So between dips in the glistening pool, head to Guernica’s market and stock up your kitchen. Don’t forget to sample the Txakoli wine.

Apartment from £131 per night.


The Boathouse at Knotts End, Lake District, UK

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / The Boathouse at Knotts End

Best for: Bijou lakeside living

Availability at The Boathouse at Knotts End is like gold dust – blink and it’s gone. Thankfully, there are still some dates for a quick summer getaway. So, run for The Lakes! And there you’ll find this Tardis: its arched oak doors conceal a burst of modern and antique furnishings. Plus there’s the jaw-dropping view over Ullswater. Row your very own boat out onto the water, hire a kayak, hike up Helvellyn or simply sit and watch birds flutter by from your balcony.

House from £180 per night.



The Gecko, Lefkas, Greece

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / The Gecko

Best for: Shimmering sea views

The Gecko perches above a sleepy village on the remote, wild west coast of Lefkas. Though the villa can sleep four adults, it makes the ultimate island hideaway for two: its exquisite galleried master bedroom and pool (complete with long, uninterrupted views from mountains to sea) offer stylish seclusion you won’t want to share. Lie in bed and gaze out to the ocean beyond.

Villa from £271 per night.


Borgo Pignano, Tuscany, Italy

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / Borgo Pignano

Best for: Switching off from it all

Maisonettes and cottages of all shapes and sizes (sleeping 2-13) are spread around Borgo Pignano’s idyllic 750-acre estate. This retreat offers the chance to disconnect from the rest of the world, yet two picture-perfect towns are nearby, and it’s less than an hour from Florence, Siena and Pisa. Or, indulge in isolation: climb the tower and stargaze, tour the biodynamic garden, go horseriding, book yoga and pilates sessions or take an art class. You certainly won’t miss the TV.

Maisonette from £381 per night.


Tavira Boutique Apartments, Algarve, Portugal

the i-escape blog / Summer Rentals to Book ASAP for 2020 / Tavira Boutique Apartments

Best for: Great-value stays

Minimalism reigns supreme at Tavira Boutique Apartments. But that doesn’t mean it won’t feel like home. Splashes of colour and tasteful furnishings bring each apartment to life. This former convent on the edge of Tavira’s alluring old town is close to Ria Formosa’s best beaches, plus it’s surrounded by miles of salt flats and a lagoon. The best bit? All this could be yours for a snip – the rates even include some self-catering basics.

Apartment from £145 per night.


*Please note, all prices may vary according to which month you book.


Curious for more? Try our collection of Europe’s fastest-selling small hotels