10 cute-as-pie cottages for spring break

Welcome spring with a break in one of these impossibly cute cottages around Europe. Whether you’re looking for a couple’s escape or for a family adventure you’ll never forget, expect loads of local charm and an authentic feel.

  1. Couple’s retreat in Cornwall

    With original features, pale light-flooded decor, vintage china, and local artworks, this one-bedroom 19th-century cottage is a characterful escape from reality. Peacefully located on the edge of a village, it nestles within a south-facing garden bordered by a babbling brook and populated by pheasants, woodpeckers, and even a peacock. After exploring the local area (whether it be historic houses or hidden beaches and coves), relax in front of the original Inglenook fireplace with its wood-burning stove. Cook up a storm in the Shaker-style kitchen or, in summer, on the terrace with its barbecue.

  2. Seaside spirit in Fife, Scotland

    Airy and bright, this six-person cottage near Crail and St Andrews offers nautical touches along with sea views and easy access to the most stunning of coastal walks. Great golfing is also at hand, as are traditional fishing villages just begging to be explored, plus an array of farm shops to stock up on ingredients to use in the spacious country-style kitchen with its log-burner. There’s also a stone hearth, an inviting conservatory, and a terrace and large lawned garden for the warmer months, where younger visitors delight in a “twigwam”.

  3. A nest in North Wales

    Perfect for getting away from it all, this picture-postcard rose-clad cottage for two blends classically chic decor with rustic original features, including exposed stone walls, old beams, and wooden floors. In summer you can eat out in the garden, although the village pub and restaurant will tempt you away from the well-appointed kitchen. For days out, medieval Conwy and its castle and the seaside resorts of Llandudno and Rhos-on-Sea are just a short drive away.

  4. Get cosy in County Down

    Featured in several interiors magazines, this quaint but stylish 19th-century cottage for four sits on the edge of the village of Greyabbey with its 12th-century Cistercian monastery. Antique and vintage shops, restaurants, and coffee-houses are within a short stroll, as are the beach and the marine nature reserve of Strangford Lough with its activities ranging from horse-riding to sailing. Inside, think original beams, open fires, and luxury linens. Outside, a courtyard perfect for alfresco dining overlooks the pretty, shared garden.

  5. Cuddle up in County Clare

    On the windswept and rugged Wild Atlantic Way, this lilac-painted limestone cottage with its antiques and homely decor offers you the chance to step back in time. Come in out of the elements and warm up in front of the log-burning stove, with books and games at hand. In summer, the garden with its gorgeous blooms invites you to relax outdoors. A traditional pub and a ruined abbey lie within strolling distance, or there are long walks to be had in the Burren Hills, plus several beaches within a few minutes’ drive.

  6. Beachfront bliss in County Kerry

    With a private stretch of beach, waterfront terrace, and landscaped grounds with their own stream, this luxury stone cottage will have your jaw dropping from the moment you cross the ancient stone bridge from the Ring of Kerry onto Rossmore Island. Its sleek designer interiors are only outdone by the ocean and mountain views from the large windows. Nearby, go seal-watching, cycling, canoeing, fishing, golfing, and more—all the while knowing that you have the turf fire to curl up in front of when you get back.

  7. Channel-side chic in Brittany, France

    Occupying a former barn, this stone cottage exudes traditional Breton charm while adding cool contemporary elements to the mix, including a freestanding modern bathtub. Flea-market finds sit easily alongside smart fabrics and a sleek kitchen. Sleeping five, the property has access to a garden dotted with fruit trees, along with a barbecue and children’s play equipment. Bikes can be loaned for exploring the surrounds, while you’re just a short drive from several beaches and coastal walks—some of them along Brittany’s highest cliffs.

  8. A nature break in Northern Germany

    With stunning views of the Eiderstedt peninsula, this thatched brick cottage sleeping six is a one-of-a-kind property perfect for a unique holiday amidst scenic marshland. The UNESCO-listed Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park is close by with its mudflats, porpoises, and other treasures. But several towns also lie within easy reach, boasting historic buildings, restaurants, and shops. Creature comforts at the cottage include a covered terrace, a contemporary fireplace, and a sauna, while the garden has children’s swings and a play cabin.

  9. Laid back in Liguria, Italy

    In woodland in the heart of the Montemarcello natural park south of La Spezia, with views of the Apuan Alps, this bijou one-bedroom stone cottage is the perfect spot for those who want to get away from it all. A garden with loungers invites you to make the most of sunny days, while the simple rustic interiors include a wood-burning stove. Around you lie secret coves accessed via boat-trips and tiny villages with sublime fish restaurants, while the coastal walking paths of the famous Cinque Terre are within easy reach.

  10. Playing it cool in Catalonia, Spain

    Clean-lined contemporary chic meets classic charm in this restored 18th-century house with a gorgeous outdoor pool. Inside, it’s a judicious mix of antiques and original features (old beams, vaulted brick ceilings, exposed stone walls) with modern touches. Dine out by the pool or cosy up in front of the log-burner after exploring the Serra de l’Albera natural park, the Costa Brava, and the city of Girona with its Roman and medieval ruins.

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