Travel inspiration and insider tips

4 years, 8 months ago

Summer holiday in a grand European villa

Rent a HouseTrip villa with family and friends from Florence to the Algarve.

  1. 1. Florence
  2. 2. Lake Como
  3. 3. Makarska Riviera
  4. 4. Cannes
  5. 5. Algarve


A large, luxurious house in its own land. The definition of a villa doesn’t quite capture its timeless appeal. After all, who hasn’t hankered for an Italianate piano nobile on the shores of Lake Como or secretly longed for the lone, white edifice in Cap Ferrat? Then there are the grand Medici masterpieces soaring around Tuscany where they’ve been whispering, ‘mine, all mine’, for centuries. And, right back where it all started, it takes a lot to resist the ancient charms of Tivoli’s Villa Adriana with its sprawling acres of mystery, imperious columns, endless cascades and elegantly ruined statuary.

You don’t have to restrict yourself to day trips round the villas of Europe this summer. Come and live in one instead. From Florence to the Makarska Riviera, Lake Como to Cannes, Housetrip has an entire collection of romantic villas to rent. They’re all large, luxurious and in their own land – some even have their own pools and private jetties. And every one is perfect for a large family or group of friends, which makes them fantastic value too.

Serenity in the heart of Florence

The legendary drama and intrigue mixed up with the art, architecture and a stunning Tuscan setting, make Florence one of the most visited cities on earth. During the summer you might think the Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio or Santa Maria del Fiore would be in highest demand here. But, we can tell you from experience, what you’ll want most of all in Florence come July or August is some breathing space.

So this elegant 19th century villa from HouseTrip is perfect. It has a panoramic view of the city’s domes, spires and towers. Red-tiled Florentine roofs stretch into the distance framed by gentle Tuscan hills and laser-cut cypress silhouettes. And it’s a few minutes’ stroll from everything that makes the city so irresistible. But, sitting peacefully in its own large, shady garden, it’s complete escapism too. Which is probably exactly what the Medici had in mind when they built their iconic Tuscan Villas round these parts centuries ago.

Lively Lake Como without the crowds

Gently flowing down from an ancient church to the water’s edge, beautiful historic villas, twisting cobbled streets, terraces, trees and tumbling banks of lush, bright flowers, make Pognano Lario one of Lake Como’s prettiest villages. The undeniable chic of Como itself is just 20 minutes away. And, if you’re interested in these things, George Clooney has a villa in Laglio directly across the lake.

Pognano Lario is also home to HouseTrip’s gorgeous Villa Tilly. Right on the edge of Lake Como (close enough to have its own private jetty), this is a fabulous holiday rental for up to 10 guests. And one of the best restorations of a traditional property we’ve ever seen (and we’ve seen a few). Villa Tilly balances original features with clean, contemporary design – think quietly luxurious and very comfortable. It has a huge sun terrace on the lake with views of the mountains. And it’s within easy reach of everything we love about Lake Como but completely avoids the resort style crowds.

Luxury on the Makarska Riviera


This immaculate little piece of the Adriatic coast tucked between the Split and Dubrovnik earns the title ‘Riviera’ more than most these days. Stunning white pebble beaches, bluest seas dotted with intriguing islands, pretty towns and villages, mountains and forests are what to expect as standard. What you shouldn’t look forward to are snaking lines of traffic, hordes of visitors and packed shorelines. It would be going to far to say the Makarska Riviera is ‘undiscovered’ but it’s pretty close – so far. Which is surprising because it’s an almost perfect holiday destination for families, teeming with activity for outdoor types and cute and seaside charming too.

We fell in love with this HouseTrip villa immediately. Just on the edge of Makarska town with huge sea views, it’s beautifully designed inside and out, has a fantastic pool and terrace and couldn’t be more bright and airy – Croatia is hot in summer. There’s plenty of space for up to 10 guests and the location is pleasantly private but walking distance from lively bars and restaurants, good shopping and dozens of gorgeous beaches.

Iconic Côte d’Azur view from your pillow

The Ancient Romans may have invented the villa, but the Côte d’Azur created the legend. And few places on this glamorous stretch of France are more iconic than Cannes. Home to the film festival and yachts the size of mountains, Cannes looks best seen from above. So this exquisite villa is ideal. There’s a perfectly framed view of the iconic town and its wide, curving bay from almost every window. The broad terrace looks out over classic French Riviera pines. And in the evening, you can sit in the garden and enjoy the glitter spread beneath you – it’s totally mesmerising.

Your own, private beach on the Algarve

Western Algarve is where most visitors head if they’re looking for a bit of peace in this very pretty part of Portugal. But without the parks and big beaches and endless water sports, things can be a bit too quiet for teens and children. This HouseTrip villa is a wonderful solution. It’s close to all the energy of busy Albufeira but it has a private beach. So you can play golf on some of the region’s best courses, play all day in the water parks and enjoy the lively restaurants, bars and clubs when you want, and escape and recharge in seclusion when you need to.

Feeling inspired? Check out 1000s of other European villas to rent with HouseTrip this summer and find a large house in its own land that’s perfect for you (and your budget).

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