Travel

The most romantic villas for couples, from Italy to Corfu

When you want a bit more independence and privacy than a hotel offers, whisk your other half away to a romantic villa. 

But you don’t want to rattle around a large property, or pay for rooms you won’t be using, so here is our pick of great villas made just for two.

Romantic French fancies… with pools to cool off in

Le Tilleul is an enchanting blue-shuttered stone cottage with original beams and trails from the door that lead through woodland

The rooms at Le Tilleul are full of character, with the original wood beams on show and antique-style furniture

The rooms at Le Tilleul are full of character, with the original wood beams on show and antique-style furniture 

The Dordogne buzzes with Brits in the summer, but if you want a quieter stay, Perigord Vert, in the north of the region, is one of the least crowded parts.

Tucked away in a quiet hamlet, Le Tilleul is an enchanting blue-shuttered stone cottage with original beams and trails from the door that lead through woodland. 

Head out to buy truffles from local markets, pop in to a vineyard to stock up, then take your goodies back to the cottage to eat in the welcoming interior, the courtyard or by the swimming pool. It costs from £595 a week (sawdays.co.uk).

Spend days exploring the north-east of Corsica and evenings star-gazing from the courtyard of Casetta Feliceta in the seafront town of St Florent

Spend days exploring the north-east of Corsica and evenings star-gazing from the courtyard of Casetta Feliceta in the seafront town of St Florent

Casetta Feliceta has an open-plan kitchen and living area downstairs and an air-conditioned bedroom upstairs

Casetta Feliceta has an open-plan kitchen and living area downstairs and an air-conditioned bedroom upstairs

Spend days exploring the north-east of Corsica and evenings star-gazing from your hot tub in the courtyard of Casetta Feliceta in the seafront town of St Florent.

The two-level compact stone house has an open-plan kitchen and living area downstairs and an air-conditioned bedroom upstairs. 

Shops and restaurants are nearby, and you can take boat trips from the marina. A week costs from £999, including flights from Stansted and car hire (corsica.co.uk).

Le Colombier is a converted dovecote just outside the underrated French town of Albi

Le Colombier is a converted dovecote just outside the underrated French town of Albi

Rooms inside Le Colombier include an open-plan living room, a kitchen and a cosy bedroom

Rooms inside Le Colombier include an open-plan living room, a kitchen and a cosy bedroom

Real love birds can stay in a converted dovecote just outside the underrated French town of Albi. 

Le Colombier is all stone and shutters beneath a pointy tiled roof, with an open-plan living room and kitchen as well as a cosy bedroom. There’s a pool outside and a ping-pong room if you get bored with gazing at the views or each other.

It books up fast, but at the end of summer a week costs from £732 (vintagetravel.co.uk).

Hammocks or homer on the Greek islands

What could be more idyllic than staying right on the beach at Agni in Corfu, with its clutch of tavernas serving freshly caught fish and wooden jetties stretching over gin-clear water

What could be more idyllic than staying right on the beach at Agni in Corfu, with its clutch of tavernas serving freshly caught fish and wooden jetties stretching over gin-clear water

Agni Cottage, done out in nautical blues and whites, has a hammock in a shaded terrace so you can swing as you listen to the sound of the sea

Agni Cottage, done out in nautical blues and whites, has a hammock in a shaded terrace so you can swing as you listen to the sound of the sea

What could be more idyllic than staying right on the beach at Agni in Corfu, with its clutch of tavernas serving freshly caught fish and wooden jetties stretching over gin-clear water.

Agni Cottage, done out in nautical blues and whites, has a hammock in a shaded terrace so you can swing as you listen to the sound of the sea.

It costs from £1,468pp for a week, including flights and car hire, which means that if you can tear yourself away from the bay you can explore this lovely part of Corfu (simpsontravel.com).

The Stone House boasts a magnificent setting in a small hamlet, around a 20-minute drive from Kassiopi

The Stone House boasts a magnificent setting in a small hamlet, around a 20-minute drive from Kassiopi

The owner of The Stone House is a designer and it really shows, with dreamy cream decor and wooden highlights that look like they're straight out of an interiors magazine

The owner of The Stone House is a designer and it really shows, with dreamy cream decor and wooden highlights that look like they’re straight out of an interiors magazine

If you’re more a fan of sea views than the seaside, head for The Stone House, in a small hamlet a 20-minute drive from Kassiopi.

The owner is a designer and it really shows, with dreamy cream decor and wooden highlights that look like they’re straight out of an interiors magazine. The contemporary kitchen is well equipped, there’s a high-ceilinged sitting room and the indulgent bedroom has a super-kingsize bed.

A week costs from £2,100 (scottwilliams.co.uk).

For something less expensive but without compromising on quality, there is the villa Aspro Alogo in Paxos, an hour by boat from Corfu. 

The bed is on a mezzanine, and instead of a swimming pool you get a plunge pool. What’s more, it’s just a ten-minute walk from the tavernas and shop in the village of Fontana.

A week costs from £825 (scottwilliams.co.uk). 

On the island of Ithaca you can explore the sites in Homer's Odyssey before returning to the traditional stone Villa Blue

On the island of Ithaca you can explore the sites in Homer’s Odyssey before returning to the traditional stone Villa Blue

Inside Villa Blue it's all rustic chic, with a modern kitchen and open-plan sitting/dining room

Inside Villa Blue it’s all rustic chic, with a modern kitchen and open-plan sitting/dining room

On the island of Ithaca you can explore the sites in Homer’s Odyssey before returning to the traditional stone Villa Blue.

This rural escape, just ten minutes from the capital Vathy, is set amid olive groves and vineyards, and comes with its own pool and outdoor hot tub. Inside it’s all rustic chic, with a modern kitchen and open-plan sitting/dining room. 

A week’s stay with flights and car hire costs from £1,336pp (www.ionianislandholidays.com)

Over in Cyprus, the six cottages in the sleepy village of Psematismenos offer a chic but cheap stay amid thick stone walls

Over in Cyprus, the six cottages in the sleepy village of Psematismenos offer a chic but cheap stay amid thick stone walls

Some of the six Psematismenos cottages in Cyprus feature single-space suites while others have several rooms

Some of the six Psematismenos cottages in Cyprus feature single-space suites while others have several rooms

Over in Cyprus, the six cottages in the sleepy village of Psematismenos offer a chic but cheap stay amid thick stone walls beneath beam and bamboo ceilings.

Some are single-space suites while others have several rooms, but they all have plenty of character and share the use of a pool. 

It costs from £76-£101 per night (i-escape.com).

Italian hideaways and a heavenly surprise

La Molinella is a converted watermill in central Italy's Umbrian hills

La Molinella is a converted watermill in central Italy’s Umbrian hills

Done out in a shabby-chic style, La Molinella is the perfect place to get away from it all, with its own pool and a daybed on the veranda

Done out in a shabby-chic style, La Molinella is the perfect place to get away from it all, with its own pool and a daybed on the veranda

It doesn’t get much more peaceful than La Molinella – a converted watermill in central Italy’s Umbrian hills.

Done out in a shabby-chic style, this quaint stone villa is the perfect place to get away from it all, with its own pool and a daybed on the veranda. 

But should it be too far from the madding crowds, Perugia is less than an hour away. It costs from about £70 a night (sawdays.co.uk).

For a stay with a bit more style in Umbria, take a look at La Limonaia on the hills of the Borgo Bastia Creti estate.

This beautifully designed villa may be built of stone with wooden ceilings, but you certainly won’t be roughing it.

You can relax in the shared pool, play on the tennis courts, book everything from a private wine tasting to a gourmet barbecue, and use the 12th Century chapel that’s been converted into a comfy communal dining area. It costs about £240 a night (bastiacreti.it).

La Cappella is a converted chapel that has been beautifully restored

The chapel showcases many original features including marble floors and exposed stone walls

La Cappella is a converted chapel that has been beautifully restored. The rooms inside the former place of worship showcase many original features including marble floors and exposed stone walls

La Cappella boasts stunning views over the town of Sarzana on the Ligurian coast

La Cappella boasts stunning views over the town of Sarzana on the Ligurian coast

Like the sound of a converted chapel? You can stay in one on the Ligurian coast. In the hills above Sarzana, La Cappella has been beautifully restored, with the original marble altar used to create the kitchen area. 

The best bit, though, is that at the push of a button the roof retracts to reveal the skies above – talk about a heavenly stay.

A week costs from £1,300 (merrioncharles.com).

La Torre di Positano is located in a 13th-century watchtower almost bang on the Amalfi Coast

La Torre di Positano is located in a 13th-century watchtower almost bang on the Amalfi Coast

La Torre di Positano's circular main room houses a king-size four poster

La Torre di Positano’s circular main room houses a king-size four poster

For a place to stay almost bang on the Amalfi Coast, La Torre di Positano fits the bill.

In a 13th Century watchtower looking out to sea, its circular main room houses a king-size four poster. A separate kitchenette and sitting room are in an annexe, linked to the tower by a large terrace with panoramic sea views.

One of five rental properties in gardens full of olive and lemon trees, it shares a small pool cut into the hillside.

A week costs from £2,000 (theluxurytravelbook.com).

Casa Fiorenza has stunning views over Florence but is still perfectly secluded

Casa Fiorenza has stunning views over Florence but is still perfectly secluded

The enchanting stone-built Casa Fiorenza has been given a contemporary makeover inside

The enchanting stone-built Casa Fiorenza has been given a contemporary makeover inside

Or how about staying within walking distance of Florence?

Casa Fiorenza has stunning views over the city but is still perfectly secluded. The enchanting building has been given a contemporary makeover inside. 

It also has a hot tub, so after a busy day looking at Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the city centre, you can relax under the stars. A week costs from £1,127pp, including flights (cvvillas.com).

Rustic chic and buzzy bars in Spanish hills

One of the joys of staying at Casa Lujan, in the Spanish hilltop town of Vejer de la Frontera, is that there are plenty of buzzy tapas bars and restaurants. Yet you can sit on the villa’s patio, look out over the Costa de la Luz, and feel like you’re in your own world.

This little house is the epitome of rustic chic, and just a few miles away is the huge Las Brenas Natural Park. You’re on the edge of Andalusia’s Sherry Triangle, too. A week costs from about £420 (califacasas.com).

On a private estate in the Andalusian countryside, Rondavels Lodge is made up of two round timber buildings ¿ one for the bedroom, the other for the kitchen and living area

On a private estate in the Andalusian countryside, Rondavels Lodge is made up of two round timber buildings – one for the bedroom, the other for the kitchen and living area

The bedroom at Rondavels Lodge features floor-to-ceiling windows and a decked terrace with pool offering panoramic views

The bedroom at Rondavels Lodge features floor-to-ceiling windows and a decked terrace with pool offering panoramic views

On a private estate in the Andalusian countryside, Rondavels Lodge is made up of two round timber buildings – one for the bedroom, the other for the kitchen and living area – featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and a decked terrace with pool offering panoramic views. 

It costs from about £140 a night, with a three-night minimum stay (oneoffplaces.co.uk).

Ca'n Paner in Majorca is just three miles from Pollenca and offers bucolic country views

Ca’n Paner in Majorca is just three miles from Pollenca and offers bucolic country views

Converted from a former stables, Ca'n Paner has a spacious interior

Converted from a former stables, Ca’n Paner has a spacious interior

In the Balearics, Ca’n Paner in Majorca is just three miles from Pollenca and offers bucolic country views. 

Converted from a former stables, it has a spacious interior and private pool.

A week costs from £1,576 (vintagetravel.co.uk).

The Finca Arrieta estate by the beach in Lanzarote features a converted water tower you can stay in

The Finca Arrieta estate by the beach in Lanzarote features a converted water tower you can stay in

The Finca Arrieta retreat serves up uninterrupted sea and mountain views from 360-degree windows

The Finca Arrieta retreat serves up uninterrupted sea and mountain views from 360-degree windows

Or how about a converted water tower by the beach in Lanzarote on the Canary Islands? At this quaint bolthole you can enjoy uninterrupted sea and mountain views from the 360-degree windows.

Just a few hundred yards from a sandy beach, it is part of Finca Arrieta, an estate of mango, banana, guava and lime trees. Guests can use the communal pool as well as the kitchen and dining room, or eat in the restaurant.

It costs from about £150 a night (oneoffplaces.co.uk)

Casa do Lagar in Portugal is a former olive press that's been cleverly converted into a holiday home

Casa do Lagar in Portugal is a former olive press that’s been cleverly converted into a holiday home

There's plenty of space to relax and unwind at Casa do Lagar. A week in August costs from £1,450

There’s plenty of space to relax and unwind at Casa do Lagar. A week in August costs from £1,450

Casa do Lagar features a split-level living and dining area and a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows

Casa do Lagar features a split-level living and dining area and a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows

In Portugal, stay in Casa do Lagar, a former olive press cleverly converted with a split-level living and dining area and a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and access to the pool terrace.

A week in August costs from £1,450 (vintagetravel.co.uk).

  • Prices for two guests, May to October, unless otherwise stated.

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