As enthusiastically as we all talk about ‘getting away from it all’, there’s something magical about waking through the front door of your holiday villa and feeling instantly at home. Europe is full of charming and welcoming towns that tend to get their visitors hooked, and at Oliver’s Travels, we’ve spent years establishing exactly where they are. After a stay at one of our luxury villas to rent in these idyllic locations, you’ll want to go from awed holiday-goer to honorary local.
Chateau Gaillac is a luxury retreat in the Pyrénées, set on the outskirts of the town of Gaillac in a region best known for its legendary wine production. We highly recommend touring one of the spectacular vineyards during your stay – but to get a true taste of local life, follow the time-honoured French tradition of buying handmade bread and heady cheeses at the Friday market, run by local tradesmen renowned for their friendliness. The beautiful 10th century Abbey Saint-Michael is the town’s most famous building and during summer, open air concerts are held in the Abbey grounds with fine wine and fresh food.
If you’ve always wanted to escape into a fairytale, the historic hill town of Gubbio in Umbria is about as close as it gets. Set at the foot of Mount Ingino, Gubbio’s towering palaces, churches and basilica date back to the Middle Ages and are carved from limestone, giving them a pearly white sheen. The Castello Gubbio is as enchanting as any mythical castle you’ve read about, and sits an easy drive away from the town centre. Head down in the evenings to watch open air performances in the ancient amphitheatre, which was once one of the largest in the Roman Empire.
Comillas is a beautiful and unspoilt seaside resort on Spain‘s north coast. The town contrasts hidden coves and sandy shores with remarkable architecture throughout its centre, with Gaudí’s magical El Capricho a definite highlight. Stop by the Pontifical University and the Sobrellano Palace to tick off the tourist hotspots, then settle into local life by heading out to spend a summer evening at Pamara, a club famous for having the latest opening hours in town.
Located in one of the country’s most unspoilt national parks, the village of Brecon in Wales is a perfect example of rural Britain at its best. Our Brecon Villa is ideal for families who plan on spending their annual holidays largely outdoors – alternate between walks along the Monmouth canal, horse rides across the park and canoeing down the River Usk. A sociable craft market is held in the town on the third Saturday of each month, and in August the Beacons buzz with the sounds of the annual jazz festival.
We’ve got a whole range of luxury villas and chateaux to choose from – though these are our particular favourites, there’s sure to be one unique and characterful property that you’ll fall in love with. After all, it’s like we say – Why Do Ordinary?Photo Credit: Comillas image via Nacho Castejón Martínez on Flickr