Villas offer a home-from-home holiday like no other, with a unique blend of privacy, comfort and amazing mod-cons many of us could only dream of having here in the UK (read: a heated pool).
Great for families and groups of friends, villa holidays are surprisingly wallet-friendly when you split the cost among a group. And the best part? You've got the freedom to live like a local – hit up the markets, whip up a feast in your own kitchen, or simply chill by the pool without a care in the world.
As for where to go, here are six spectacular villa holiday destinations that get it right.
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete captivates with its blend of myth, history, and vibrant natural beauty. Be sure to look beyond just the beach destinations, as the island’s mountainous interior is also spectacular. Or why not mix and match, with a week by the coast and another in the rugged hills?
You’ll find most of the island’s villas in the north, with quiet locations to the east of Chania like Kalyves, Almyrida, and Georgioupoli all good options (car hire is essential). If you prefer to be more connected, historic Heraklion has a blend of urban convenience and natural beauty, while stunning Agios Nikolaos is known for its charming beaches and a cosy atmosphere.
Villas in Crete often come with the promise of sun-soaked patios and pools. After a day of meandering through the historical labyrinth of Knossos or basking on the beaches of Elafonisi, returning to yours will feel like coming home.
The deal: Villa Marcos Chara in Rethymnon is a delightful escape at £49 per person for a 7-night stay, beginning 2 April 2024, for 10 guests. Set in the quaint village of Asteri, this villa is a fusion of rustic charm and modern amenities, featuring a private pool, sun-loungers, BBQ facilities, and balconies with stunning countryside views.
For the thrill-seekers and the young at heart, Orlando is where dreams come true. A villa here is your perfect base camp for theme park adventures. It’s a place where you can return after a day of magical escapades and enjoy a comfortable, spacious home where you can kick off your shoes and relive every moment. For families and large groups, it’s the ideal blend of fun, comfort, and convenience – and having a kitchen in the villa is a real money-saver.
The sweet spot for villa rentals in Orlando is the ‘Golden Triangle’, a strategic location that gives you easy access to its famous attractions while also providing the space and privacy that comes with villa rentals. Villas located a bit further from the central tourist strip of International Drive, Highway 192, Celebration, and the theme parks, often offer better value.
If you’re after hotel amenities and the privacy of a villa, holiday home villages are an excellent option. These complexes, such as Magic Village Yards, have private houses along with services typically found in hotels, such as a front desk, concierges, on-site restaurants, and shared gyms and pools. They are often gated, for extra peace of mind.
The deal: Villa Tuscan Treat is your dream holiday home at £157 per person for a 7-night stay starting 1 September 2024, for 10 guests. Located in the Tuscan Hills Resort, this villa boasts a stunning pool terrace, a modern kitchen, and a cosy family room, perfect for unwinding after a day at nearby theme parks.
Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, with its crystal-clear waters and picturesque towns, is an idyllic setting for a villa holiday. Imagine a cottage on a cliff with panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, or a historic apartment tucked away in a serene coastal setting, and you’ll get the idea.
Prices along the coast can vary greatly by region, and have generally gone up in recent years, particularly since Croatia adopted the Euro currency in 2023. In Split, villas along the coast provide easy access to the city's cultural heart, offering a more affordable option compared to the upscale properties on the island of Hvar. Venetian-influenced Korcula is also a cost-effective choice, while Dubrovnik, famed for its old town and city walls, tends to be pricier.
The deal: Villa Blue Panorama in Trogir offers a spectacular coastal retreat at £81 per person for a 7-night stay, beginning 11 May 2024, for 10 people. Perched on a hillside, this villa boasts panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, a pool terrace, and modern, airy interiors. It's an ideal spot for experiencing the charm of Trogir's historic old town and stunning sea views.
Villas are gateways to golden beaches, scenic cliffs, and lively fishing villages in Portugal’s southernmost region. Here, the days can be spent teeing off on world-class golf courses, exploring hidden coves, or simply enjoying the Algarve’s famously cloudless skies from your private terrace. The Algarve’s culinary offerings, especially its seafood, are a delight to bring back and prepare in your well-equipped kitchen, too.
If you’re looking for luxury, upscale Vilamoura has a marina, golf courses, and beautiful beaches like Praia da Falésia on its doorstep. It’s also perfect for travellers who prefer not to rely on car hire, as many amenities are within walking distance. Carvoeiro has a more traditional Portuguese charm, combining sandy beaches with excellent dining options.
For families and groups on a budget, lively Albufeira could be a better pick thanks to its fabulous beach, an old town filled with bars and souvenir shops, and a modern 'strip' in Montechoro, where you’ll find some of the best nightlife in the Algarve.
The deal: Villa Rato in Gale is a charming Portuguese abode at £60 per person for a 7-night stay, starting 20 April 2024, for 10 guests. This traditional villa features a minimalist interior, a sun-drenched pool terrace, and a brick-built barbecue. It's conveniently located near the pristine Praia de Gale beach and the vibrant streets of Gale, perfect for beach lovers and explorers alike.
Known for its stunning beaches and lush landscapes, Dalaman is a gem for villa holidays in Turkey, especially for those looking for value for money. The options here are often surprisingly affordable, offering luxuries such as infinity pools at a fraction of the price of other summer sun destinations.
Spend your days exploring the Turkish Riviera, enjoying watersports, or discovering ancient ruins, and your evenings relaxing in your spacious villa, with a private pool. Many villas in the region are built on elevated positions in the wooded hills, which offer stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea.
The deal: Villa Alkin in Kalkan starts from just £63pp for an entire week, based on 10 sharing on 22 April 2024. Perched above the fishing town of Kalkan, it’s a spacious three-level home featuring panoramic sea views, multiple en-suite bedrooms with balcony access, and a blend of modern amenities including air-conditioning and wi-fi. There’s a private infinity pool, sun-lounging areas, and an outdoor dining space with a BBQ. It’s just a 15-minute walk from the lively town of Kalkan, making it an ideal retreat for families and groups.
On this sun-drenched island in the Balearics, embracing the Mediterranean lifestyle is best done in an authentic villa. Majorca’s charm lies in its quaint villages, rugged mountain landscapes, and hidden coves, all more accessible when combined with a rental car. Days start with a leisurely breakfast on a terrace overlooking the azure sea followed by a dip in the pool. Then spend the afternoon exploring the local market, selecting fresh olives, cheese, and perhaps a bottle of local wine, to enjoy later in the tranquil setting of your villa garden.
The best regions for villa rentals in Majorca tend to be away from Palma and the international airport, on the more secluded northeast coast of the island. Villas around Pollensa are popular, as are those in Cala D’Or in the island’s southeast.
The deal: Can Plaseta in Pollensa is available for £68 per person, accommodating 8 guests for a 7-night stay starting 13 April 2024. This four-bedroom villa combines traditional charm with modern comforts, including a private kidney-shaped pool and a lush garden. It's located half a mile from Pollensa's historic town, offering a blend of relaxation and local exploration.
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