Staying in a private villa may seem like the ultimate in travel luxury – and probably is – but it’s not necessarily impossible for even those with budgets that may be limited. We checked with Booking.com who identified 7 superb European villas but – here’s the tip – check the Booking tools to see what other recommended villas offer the sort of once-in-a-lifetime vacation you want.
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Kymaros Villas, Greece
A private, island oasis in the form of an infinity pool facing the Ionian Sea
The Greek island of Zakynthos – aka Zante – is home to some flawless beaches, particularly Navagio Bay. Only accessible by boat, this perfect arc of white sand and pebbles enclosed by cliffs is defined by its rusty shipwreck – the remains of a cigarette smugglers’ ship that ran aground in the 1980s. Since it can get a little overrun in the peak summer months, it’s worth booking a private oasis like Kymaros Villas, so that you can lap up the beach’s natural beauty before retreating to your own infinity pool facing the Ionian Sea.
Casa Espiritu Santo, Canary Islands
High timber beam ceilings and carved wooden doors in this historic Canary Islands villa
Located off Northwestern Africa, the island of Gran Canaria iis known for its ancient, forest-covered volcanic mountains and subtropical white sandy beaches. But the capital Las Palmas is also a major draw, filled with Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture. Stay in the middle of the old town – Vegueta – at Casa Espiritu Santo. This villa has high, timber beam ceilings, carved wooden doors and a regal, square staircase curling around its light-filled central courtyard.
Il Giardino degli Dei, Italy
This Italian villa sits within a huge garden of palm, olive, fig, carob and lemon trees
Standing on a Sicilian hillside is the tangerine-tinted villa Il Giardino degli Dei. You’ll feel spoilt taking a dip in its vast, lake-like swimming pool while enjoying the views of its verdant garden filled with palm, olive, fig, carob and lemon trees. Dry off and step inside to discover natural stone floors, designer furniture and a contemporary look featuring a pale colour scheme, which will provide a welcome respite from the summer heat. Your villa is also just a 9-minute walk from the beach and close to celebrated ancient Greek archaeological site, the Valley of the Temples.
Sunset Paradise, Portugal
Sit back and enjoy this quiet, coastal retreat
Just an hour’s drive from Lisbon, you’ll find Sunset Paradise. This cubic vision of white and orange brick provides a quiet, coastal retreat as well as access to the Portuguese capital and its daintily-tiled houses, hilly, cobbled streets, sublime seafood restaurants and nightlife scene. A white-washed exterior and pool with a view gives way to an interior of cool furnishings, while sunshine streams through the enormous windows.
Villa Regal, Turkey
Stay in a modernist villa with impeccable Mediterranean views on the coast of Turkey
In the coastal Turkish town of Kalkan, Villa Regal has impeccable Mediterranean views. From the edge of the infinity pool, the view is of nothing but forested hills leading down to royal blue sea. Spend your evenings watching the glowing orange and lilac sunsets with a cocktail on the terrace or enjoying the view from a hot tub right by the window.
Villa Yanko, Croatia
Enjoy this villa’s views of greenery, blue ocean and the town of Tučepi’s charming harbour on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast
Located above the town of Tučepi on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast is Villa Yanko. After arriving, step outside and take in the divine views of greenery, blue ocean and the town’s harbour below. Even the glass balcony outside your window is invisible against the azure backdrop. And the two-tiered infinity pool is the perfect spot from which to appreciate Croatia’s gorgeous coastline.
Villa LA MOUTTE SAINT TROPEZ, France
Jump into a perfectly-square infinity pool to cool down from the Saint Tropez summer sun
With a few subtle, typical Saint Tropez touches, like powder blue shutters and a clay tiled roof, Villa La Moutte Saint Tropez is all about contemporary luxury. Its perfectly square infinity pool looks like it could be an art installation, especially when lit up green at night, with flickering orange lights from the house reflecting off its glass-like surface. Head inside after a dip to find floor-to-ceiling windows and slate floors, while the decked outdoor kitchen area has a huge barbecue and seating area for laid-back evening entertaining.