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Top 10 luxury country breaks in Europe

If you’re looking to escape the city this Summer, in favour of somewhere more rural, then how about a country getaway in Europe?  Here we’ve rounded up 10 of the best plays to stay across the continent where you can truly get away from it all and forget the pressures and stresses of urban life. Crete 1C Crete 1C is a gem of a house and the only one of its kind on Crete. This stunning villa has been gracefully and luxuriously built and furnished by its elegant and philanthropic American owners. Set in 25,000 square metres on the sea with magnificent views, it is just five minutes from the grand hotels of Elounda and the wonderful island of Spinalonga. Crete 1C The property comes complete with tennis court, boules court, chapel and guest cottage for 4 people. It is fully staffed, with a pool, air conditioning, etc. and there is path down the hill to a private wooden swimming platform. 8 bedrooms, sleeps 12-16. Weekly cost is 27,000 Euros. Lowen, Cornwall, UK Lowen is a purpose built green holiday home. It’s been lovingly constructed on the Bosinver Farm in St.Austel. The farm boasts its own swimming pool, farm activities, adventure activities and sports amenities to keep everyone happy. Every step of the way the farm has been as environmentally conscious as possible to create this holiday gem. It’s a fun filled, zero carbon, solar powered, self-sufficient getaway for the green aware holiday maker. Lowen Lowen is one of the most striking builds on the holiday farm. Eco certainly doesn’t mean modest in this delightful property. The furnishing in this 4 bedroom house is of the highest standard, and it’s all environmentally friendly. It’s an airy colourful property packed full of character with its recycled beams and fittings. Lowen means happy in Cornish. It’s the perfect name for this high end eco haven. Crafty Camping, Dorset, UK Luxury woodland glamping at its best in gloriously rural West Dorset.  Crafty Camping has been hand crafted within a magical woodland setting and offers an adult only break with a difference. Explore the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Lyme Regis and Bohemian Bridport which are all nearby as is the River Cottage canteen & HQ & the Hix Fish and Oyster Bar. Cycle hire or electric Bikes can be delivered to the woods or catch the train from London Waterloo and be transferred by hybrid car the short distance from Axminster station up to Yonder Hill (yes really). Crafty Camping There are just seven glamping tents to choose from, all of which are dotted around the woods in their own clearing offering a complete escape from the world outside. There are two yurts (Poppet & Coracle) one tipi (Hoppus) and one shepherds hut (Bodger) all of which have en suite piping hot tree showers and private ‘proper’ loos. The 3 bell tents (like no other with canvas flysheets and oak bed heads) share the woven willow woodland shower, just hoist the red flag when in use – highly recommended in the rain or snow. All tents have electricity/lights, reindeer skins, king sized beds, linen, wood burners and hot water bottles as well as free wifi. When you have had enough of exploring the area just sit back in your hammock and enjoy the peace, tranquility and birdsong. There is a cedar lined sauna yurt to relax in as well as a games yurt with traditional board games and the shared field kitchen with wood fired pizza oven and all of the facilities and utensils you could possibly need.  The attention to detail throughout the site is testament to the craftsmanship taught on the (entirely optional) green wood craft courses that are run by Guy Mallinson and his team in the Woodland workshop parachute shelters, Guy was the ‘Wood Mentor’ in the BBC Mastercraft series which was filmed in the woods but rest assured for those that just want to relax – nobody is expected to whittle against their will! Le Pratola, Italy Escape this summer to this secluded, quintessentially Tuscan country retreat situated in the much sought after Gaiole in Chianti, set on 2 hectares of mature gardens filled with vines, olive trees, cypresses and local aromatic herbs. Built on top of a hill, the villa enjoys 360 degrees panoramic views over the countryside. An idyllic retreat, an oasis of calm, where you and your family or friends can spend moments of tranquillity and relaxation. Le Pratola A prestigious 600 sq m accommodation, Le Pratola offers its guests 5 stars luxury amenities ranging from infinity edge pool, game room equipped with pool and soccer tables, fully equipped gymnasium, bikes, library, WiFi, toys, barbecue and stone pizza oven. The villa also caters for small babies. Le Pratola’s concierge will be delighted to assist you in organizing your special event or celebration in the villa, as well as sightseeing tours, wine tours, cookery classes, private Chef, on site beauty therapists, personal fitness or yoga trainer, and other activities. Le Pratola can sleep up to 10 (+3 infants) in its indulgently decorated 5 double bedrooms en-suite. Special 10% discount offer. When booking your holiday at Le Pratola please quote your dedicated Invite Code, “ALTB”. Le Moulin de Larcy, Dordogne, France Forget the traffic, wave goodbye to the crowds and head on down to the Dordogne where getting away from it all has been elevated to an art-form. Whether driving from Paris, Bordeaux or the channel ports there’s a calm that descends, even en route. Where is everyone? Wide open motorways dotted with a few well-behaved drivers make the journey a positive part of the experience. Road tolls are a small price to pay for this quality of road and paucity of traffic. Le Moulin de Larcy The Dordogne is renowned for its castles and rivers, its lush green woodlands and its fabulous food. And a stay at Le Moulin de Larcy is the ideal way to enjoy all of those things. The elegantly renovated watermill is set in a hidden corner of this famous part of France so you can dip in and back out again as the mood takes you. Feeling sociable? Then a trip to the traditional street market in the county town of Perigueux will while away a morning and provide the wholesome local ingredients for supper into the bargain. Fancy solitude and quiet contemplation? Then stay close to home and walk on the moulin’s 20 acres of private grounds in and alongside the river Dronne, find a quiet shady spot and enjoy a good book. This is life in a very low gear and all that’s left to do is to relax into it and enjoy… The Europe Hotel & Resort, Killarney, Ireland Voted Best 5 star Hotel In Ireland, and recently described on Trip Advisor as “Probably the #1 Hotel in Ireland at the moment”, The Europe Hotel & Resort overlooks the famous Lakes of Killarney. From this 5 star resort, set in beautiful grounds, you can explore one of the most famous and popular road circuits for tourists in the South West of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry. Dramatic panoramas, majestic mountains, ancient sites and towns are found along the 166km (104 miles) route through the southern tip of Kerry. Fishing on the lake at The Europe Hotel & Resort can be arranged from their own private pier with all equipment/tackle and tuition provided (at an additional cost). The hotel can arrange the services of a ghillie to instruct and guide you to the most fruitful parts of the lake, or you can simply while away a few hours by yourself, the silence only disturbed by the sound of the lapping lake. The Europe The resort is also famous for its own Austrian Haflinger ponies which can be seen grazing in the hotel grounds. Guests may enjoy complimentary horse-riding along sheltered bridleways during their stay. Their Haflinger ponies are a gentle breed and are ideal for children and novice riders. Schloss Wasserburg, Austria The castle Wasserburg is situated 45 km west of Vienna, the capital of Austria. Nearby is the Danube valley “Wachau”, with its famous vineyards, monasteries, castles and small old villages – one of the most beautiful parts of the country and perfect for sightseeing tours. The history of the castle of Wasserburg goes back as far as the 12th century. Today it presents itself as a romantic baroque castle surrounded by a lovely pond -once the moat – inhabited by all kinds of ducks and other water birds as well as lots of fish. Thoroughbred horses graze in paddocks in the historical park in the shade of enormous old trees and you will find many romantic spots for picnics. Schloss Wasserburg, Austria There is a luxurious outdoor pool (22m x 14m), a pool house and a tennis court (sand) set in a historical rock garden. For golf players there are several excellent golf courses in the vicinity. The castle sleeps 20 (on request up to 26 ). There are 10 bedrooms ( on request up to 13 ), 5 double with bathroom en suite, 5 doubles with 3 bathrooms to share. The rooms are spacious and very comfortable, decorated in English country style. Cortijo El Carligto, Andalucia, Spain What better way to experience the Spanish countryside than to live like a well appointed local in your own private rental estate? At Cortijo El Carligto you can do just that; and with all of the services of a five star hotel delivered right on site, you’ll want for nothing. The renovated farmhouse sits on a hilltop perch, facing the sea and surrounded by vine and olive laden hillsides with mountains encircling the locale and romantic white-washed villages dotting the landscape. Cortijo El Carligto, Spain At this tranquil country retreat you might enjoy a poolside massage to the sound of jingling bells from a grazing goat herd as the private chef begins preparations for your evening paella. Or, you might lock yourself in on the rambling estate and take in the views undisturbed… The owners pride themselves on being connected to the local culture and cuisine of the rural area as a recent article in The London Evening Standard testifies, so whatever your country pleasure you can find it at Cortijo El Carligto. Shooting Box Tower, East Sussex Down a sleepy country lane, surrounded by woodland, Shooting Box Tower appears as if from nowhere like something from a fairy-tale. As a former shooting lodge on the Ashburnham Estate the property boasts a charmingly remote location. Peering out of its beautiful woodland setting this looming tower is the perfect country bolthole. Shooting Box Tower Look out from the inside and let you view take you in. With windows in every direction you can look out at the changing scape from the comfort of the tower’s tasteful interior. With all the modern amenities you may need this property has been sympathetically renovated to complement the style of this period property. Knole sofas, pews, and 4 post beds sit comfortably amongst the tower’s original features. The Shooting Box is a somewhat modest claim for this large 4 bedroom character property. Villa Klima, Aegina Enjoy the famed ‘Greek island’ life, just one hour from Athens, on the beautiful island of Aegina. In an exclusive location overlooking the bay of Klima at the southernmost part of the island you will find this spacious and elegant stone-built villa with its infinity pool. Villa Klima can comfortably sleep up to 8 persons. Wake up to the sublime sea view from your bed! The villa is surrounded by large gardens and is completely secluded and private. Villa Klima, Aegina Aegina has a lot to offer with many lovely beaches, fresh fish, excellent food and there is lots to discover on the island as well. You can visit the famous 5th century BC Temple of Aphaia or the Orthodox monastery of Saint Nektarios – while visiting the hill of Paleachora the “island Mistras”, with its many Byzantine churches, is an unique experience, and it’s easy to pop over to Athens to visit the Acropolis and the renowned Acropolis Museum.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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One Comment

  1. Cavo Grosso hidden in Mavrovouni by Gytheio in SE Peloponnese, is made into little bungalows of a traditional Greek village, each with its own courtyard parking in front. Shaded by olives and being a gated complex.

    Each with sea view to the wide beach of Mavrovouni.

    Your own little yard to sit out of an evening with ther stupendous sea view.

    An evening meal in Gytheio along the fishing marina and the islet from which Beautiful Helen was taken to Troy in ancient times.

    The road down from Athens now a wide, flat motorway, recently upgraded. And can bypass Gytheio town and go direct into Mavrovouni.

    I’ve been going for years to this same hotel and miss it now in old age. But glad I made it over the years. If I won the lottery I’d live there.

    Tripadvisor review:

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