Use this handy companion guide for some pointers when you come to book that next villa holiday. It can help with creative destination suggestions and tips on how to bag a bargain, no matter if you're pining for the Trentino lakes or Canarian volcanos.
What sort of villa holidays are there?
If you're not sure that a villa holiday is for you, read on to see just 3 types of trips and groups these forever-enticing rentals are suited to.
Honeymoon villa holidays
Deluxe villas are everywhere, from the clifftops of Sicily to the glowing bays of Sardinia to the rolling vineyards of the Douro Valley. Some are so sumptuous that they can even check the boxes for that all-important honeymoon – think cosy bedrooms, terraces for clinking the champagne and hot tubs to bubble away in.
Family villa holidays
Planning on bringing the whole crew? That won't be a problem. From Italian farmhouse conversions to old French mills, there are all sorts of villas that can accommodate family-sized parties. They often have rooms with twin beds or bunks for the little ones and a master bedroom for the parents.
Villa holidays for large groups
There's a whole sub-section of oversized villas that aim to capture those travelling groups of friends or packs of families who want to make memories together. These could be huge estates on the Andalusian sierras or historic lodges amid the Tuscan plains, but they all offer lots of bedroom space and capacities of up to even 20 or more.
How to book cheap villa holidays
Keeping costs down and the travel budget healthy is an important factor for many travellers seeking villa stays. Cue this selection of 3 top tips for saving on the cost of your home away from home.
Sort your villa holiday early
Thousands of us pine for an escape to a luxurious pad in the Italian Alps or the French Dordogne each year. The upshot is that villas are in high demand, which means those who book early are often rewarded with the biggest selection and the best bargains before they all sell out.
Go on off-the-beaten-track villa holidays
If you're keen to stray away from the tried-and-tested villa holiday hotspots – Andalusia, the Costa del Sol, Tuscany – then you could be in for a pleasant surprise on the price front. That's because lesser-known areas tend to have lower rates in their homes, mainly because they aren't so sought after. So, get creative and start swapping Umbria for Marche, Tenerife for Sardinia, the Loire for the Garonne.
Do villa holidays outside of summer
Whoever said your villa holiday had to be between June and August? Many travellers are stuck to those dates because of school breaks and work commitments, but those who aren't could consider pushing their escape to the more affordable autumn. In destinations like Crete and Sicily, the weather's still sunny and the mercury still hovers around the 25-degree mark throughout October, so you should be fine when it comes to topping up the tan.
Some favourite destinations for the best villa holidays
If you're settled on a villa holiday but aren't quite sure what corner of the planet to explore this year, a few humble suggestions are made below.
Spain is a villa holiday hotspot
Spain reigns supreme as one of the villa holidaying meccas of the world. There are more home rentals than you can shake a bowl of steaming Andalusian paella at in these parts, ranging from the sandy stretches of the Costa Blanca – a favourite with families – to the windmill-creaking mounts of La Mancha – brilliant for foodies and explorers. Of course, that's forgetting the islands, which include hedonistic Ibiza and always-warm Tenerife.
Italy for all sorts of villa holidays
Italy covers some seriously alluring regions of Europe. In the north, a villa holiday could put you in the shadow of the craggy Dolomites and by the glistening waters of Lake Garda. Down south, Sicily offers pebble coves topped with enthralling Greek temples. In between, Lazio has lonely hill towns and Tuscany flows with tasty red wine.
France also beckons
France is not only eminently accessible for UK travellers – it's also exceedingly attractive. The laid-back pace of life in the valleys of the Dordogne pulls in plenty each year. There are lots of farmhouses with pools near the rustic villages in those parts. Meanwhile, jet setters might prefer a pad on the French Riviera, close to bustling Cannes or beach-fringed Nice, for example.