By Ruth Doherty
Apart from the obvious sun-soaking, swimming and poolside cocktail-sipping, we're missing travel for its abundance of style inspiration; it's where much of the cool, forward-thinking design ideas filter through from, offering us aspirational style notes for our own homes.
To quench our travel design thirst, we've rounded up some of the most chic private villas in Europe you can stay in, from a modern rustic masseria in Puglia to a traditional-meets-trendy farmhouse in Provence.
Time to get an interiors fix and plan your next getaway at the same time...
Discover seven awesome private villas in Europe below:
1. LES MOUTONS, PROVENCE, FRANCE
This traditional Provence farmhouse has been recently renovated into a superb luxury villa. With five bedrooms, exquisite design inside and out, plus a private infinity pool, it’s an incredibly stylish base from which to explore the French countryside. Les Moutons is a rural idyll that’s easily accessible from Avignon, just a 35-minute drive from the airport, or 45 minutes from the train station. From here, you can admire the majestic Massif des Alpilles mountains in the distance.
Inside, natural materials of stone and oak are artfully blended with sumptuous furnishings. In summer, you can step out onto a south-facing terrace for al fresco dinners. Then, as the nights draw in, gather round the magnificent fireplace in the impressive vaulted sitting room.
There are five bedrooms and suites, each with its own individual character. We love the pared-back plastered walls, exposed beams, organic textures, and neutral hues given a pop of glam with a sprinkling of metallics. This has to be one of our favourite private villas in Europe.
2. MASSERIA OLIVO, PUGLIA, ITALY
This beautifully restored Italian farmhouse combines rustic charm and opulent elegance. A family hideaway in the heart of Puglia, Masseria Olivo, is steeped in history and character. The luxury villa sits on 50 hectares of picturesque farmland and boasts two swimming pools, a tennis court, a private chef and is a short drive to the closest beach.
Built in 1689, Masseria Olivo, local craftsmen and international experts have transformed the traditional farmhouse into something truly unique. The history of the house lives on in the stunning vaulted ceilings, courtyard and its very own chapel. Inside is a tranquil living space combining charming rustic features with modern amenities. The grand dining room boasts beautiful limewashed stone walls, a statement chandelier and a fine fireplace for epic, stylish feasts, perfect for parties or weddings.
Wild grass meadows, walled citrus gardens and ancient olive groves surround the property along with beautiful gardens. The estate also prides itself on its eco-friendly initiatives with renewable energy resources powering the villa’s heating, water and air conditioning in summer. There's a main outdoor pool set in its own one-acre lawn, roof terrace with large day beds and a smaller rooftop pool, which oozes rustic vibes with a view.
And when you've sunbathed, swam and soaked up the views, you can hit the hay in a luxurious yet pared-back stone-walled bedroom.
3. LA BERGERIE, PROVENCE, FRANCE
La Bergerie is a supremely spacious villa near the Medieval village of Tourettes, in the Cote d’Azur. A luxury villa for up to 16 guests, it boasts a private swimming pool and large, landscaped gardens surrounded by lavender fields.
As private villas in Europe go, this is a bit of a gem. The property sits in the French countryside, between the Massif des Maures mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. This region is famous for its picturesque ‘perched villages’, of which close-by Tourettes is a particularly special example.
Inside, the interiors are a mix of super high-end formal areas and more rustic-chic corners. The kitchen is relaxed and modern, while the bathrooms boast freestanding tubs and neutral hues.
The pool and pool house are a standout feature where you can enjoy authentic, long, lazy poolside Provencal lunches.
4. VILLA LAGO, THE LAKES, ITALY
This is an ultra-luxury villa on the site of a medieval watchtower with majestic views over Lake Como. Accommodating up to 16 guests, the fully-serviced property boasts an infinity pool, extensive gardens and a rooftop bar.
The residence was originally built by the Peduzzi family in 1909, on the site of a medieval watchtower. Recently restored by celebrated architect Andrea Meirana, the villa retains features of the original Liberty-style architecture while offering contemporary luxury and cutting-edge technology.
The eight double rooms are connected by a lift, and each bedroom has a balcony with breathtaking views. The dining and relaxation areas give a lesson in how to create a classy modern retro aesthetic. Interiors heaven.
5. VILLA NAFSIKA, SANTORINI, GREECE
Perched on the Santorini caldera, with majestic sea views, this stunning property offers five-star service, a private swimming pool and a helipad for when you want to arrive in style.
With its dramatic clifftop setting and panoramic sea views, the interiors are cool and neutral to let the vista do all the talking; think raw, edgy concrete mixed with contemporary finishes.
Organic linen furnishings and a mix of industrial furniture keep the look contemporary throughout, and create one of the most effortlessly elegant private villas in Europe.
6. VILLA LA FLEUR, LANGUEDOC-ROUSILLON, FRANCE
Villa La Fleur (La Fraissinède) is a modern design feat in the beautiful valleys of the Languedoc region in France. The house is in the footprint of an 18th-century barn, which contained the tanks, or ‘curves a vin’, where the wine of the Domaine de la Fraissinède was made.
Designed by esteemed British designer, Samantha Todhunter, the house was lovingly restored and reimagined to create a beautifully elegant and modern home with hints of traditional French dècor throughout. In the main house, the bedrooms are situated around a dramatic atrium, and there are a further two bedrooms in a separate apartment.
Samantha has created a space that balances relaxed, modern glamour with traditional rustic features. The expansive concrete walls add a dose of modern industrial chic. The surrounding area is real, unspoiled France with sparkling Mediterranean beaches and the Pyrenees on your doorstep. It has its own cinema area and an all-weather tennis court, as well as a pool and outdoor dining and barbecue area. Open plan living runs the length of the building... This is pared-back luxury in real France; do everything or nothing.
7. VILLA VOUNO, CORFU, GREECE
This new luxury villa is perfect for a Greek retreat with all the family. Situated in the hills above the north-eastern coast of Corfu, it has seven spacious bedrooms, a private swimming pool and stunning views over the verdant countryside.
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The villa is the ideal starting place from which to explore the island on foot; head out on one of the hiking tracks behind the house and you’ll soon be rewarded with panoramic views of Albania, Corfu Town and Mount Pantokrator.
There's incredible architecture to admire on the inside too, with a double height windowed staircase offering bucolic scenes that stretch for miles.
And when it's time to tuck into some Greek fare? Head outside to the rustic stone terrace that serves up soul-stirring views as well as mouthwatering food.
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