TTT Puglia Casino Doxi Stracca NOV22 042

A Place in the Sun – Top Private Villas to Visit - Europe

The ultimate summer indulgence has to be your own private villa in a sun-kissed destination. Jo Davey heads to the Mediterranean and beyond, from Italy and Greece to Morocco and Turkey, in search of the best


Five acres of sun-flushed olives and grape-laden vines lead up to Casino Doxi Stracca’s restored 18th-century estate. Pressed into the Pugliese countryside are three central buildings: the main palazzo, the traditional casino and the picturesque baroque chapel between them. The palazzo, a series of grand arches and white stone beside a blue plunge-pool, leads into the gardens, where you can seek out shade beneath cypresses and Roman-style arches. Inside, original features and intricate brickwork create a cool, contemporary home, from the beckoning hallway to its myriad bedrooms. The villa comes with a daily maid service, cook and a housekeeper who stays discreetly within the grounds ready to see to every detail and need.

When you’ve exhausted the acres of private gardens and groves, pristine sandy beaches await nearby, while the architecturally beautiful towns of Alezio, Gallipoli and Lecce offer shops, cafés and restaurants. There’s also the chance to immerse yourself in Italian life with locallyhosted meals in Ostuni.

TTT Puglia Casino Doxi Stracca NOV22 042

Travel Details

Sleeps 14, from £921pp per week,


At the base of the Alaró twin mountains, in Mallorca’s north-west, sits Son Fuster: a sprawling estate dating back to the mid-14th century. Some 31km from the nearby town of Soller, a handsome manor and lush, palm-studded grounds offer complete privacy for up to 20 guests. Built in 1350, the unique sand- and terracotta-coloured estate was renovated in 2021 to bring modern luxury to its historic setting. Staffed 24 hours a day, the villa comes with a professional chef who prepares full-board meals with ingredients picked and plucked from Son Fuster’s organic gardens. With dinner comes a range of soft drinks and alcohols, from local wines to crafted cocktails. As well as ten plush bedrooms, the estate features a grand swimming pool area complete with Berber-style tents and loungers, courts for badminton, paddle and volleyball, a pool table and boules green.

For a break from the blazing Mallorcan sun, head to the in-house cinema, gym or wellness spa that offers facials, saunas and massages. Easy as it is to lounge all day in Son Fuster’s luxury, don’t miss the island’s deep-green scenery: explore the surrounding region by hiking, biking or horse riding

Spain Mallorca luxury villa rent Son Fuster 4

Travel Details

Sleeps 20, from £2,770pp per week,


Just an hour from Portugal’s pastel capital lies Comporta, a destination that lends itself to soaking up laid-back local life among thatched traditional houses and agricultural vistas of poppies and rice paddies. This Iberian idyll is home to Casa Cabana, one of AMA Selection’s 16 new and exclusive villas in the region – a sure testament to the draw of the area since the company that started with 15 properties in the French Riviera has spread its wings across Europe with over 1,000 holiday homes.

The pretty coastal property, decked out in beachy white and wood, is made up of three independent cabanas, enveloping some of the most peaceful nature in Portugal. The first cabana houses the living spaces, with a kitchen, dining room and terrace, while the second and third are where you’ll find bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms. At the heart of the property, the private pool has a lounge-worthy outdoor area with covered terrace, and the Praia do Prego beach is less than 15 minutes’ walk away. Sophisticated but entirely unspoilt.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 6, from £575pp per week,


The fishing village of Sivota sits on Greece’s west coast, balanced on the southern edge of Lefkada island. High above its bobbing boats you’ll find Villa Yasemi, a bright, modern home of beige and stone set into the quiet tree-flecked hillside. Yasemi’s infinity pool and generous terrace take in views of undulating Grecian coastline and the Mediterranean’s rippling blue expanse, with a barbecue ensuring gourmet grillers don’t have to tear themselves away even to cook. Yasemi’s contemporary style carries through inside in similarly soothing tones, with an open-plan living room and kitchen, large picture windows and two en-suite bedrooms with sliding doors opening straight to the pool.

Just a ten-minute drive away, you’ll find waterfront tavernas at Sivota serving classic Lefkada cuisine, with local products including olive oil – look out for the regional halvastyle dessert ladopitta (olive oil pie) – salami, lentils and fresh-caught seafood found in dishes like baked eel and stuffed crab. Sivota days are all about serenity and slow-lane life; late lunches and pool lazing are best followed by a drive around the southern coast, where you’ll find a handful of small coves and mountain-backed Vasiliki Beach.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 4, from £500pp per week,


This year, Oliver’s Travels are encouraging their guests to book a combination of city break and rural villa, allowing travellers to experience the best of both – and this season they’re focusing on the beauty of Florence and countryside further south. After a few days of seeing the world’s finest art, marvelling at architecture and tucking into bistecca al fiorentina along the Arno river, head to Villa Art-Wine, a 16th-century stone home located among the rolling hills of grapes and olives on the Alto Lazio-Umbria border.

This serene masterpiece of elegant antique decor is set over two different wings connected by a tunnel, and includes an independent cottage. Elsewhere on the grounds, you’ll find the villa’s spa complete with Turkish steam bath, massage rooms, heated pool, yoga and fitness classes. Your stay includes a maid and a private chef who provides breakfast and lunch, but the villa’s biggest pull lies outside: its large grounds feature an outdoor pool and its own sculpture garden featuring works by Banksy, Anish Kapoor and Igor Mitoraj.

Villa Art Wine Lazio Olivers Travels 13

Travel Details

Sleeps 24, from £1,874pp per week,


While many villas’ main appeal lies in sweeping grounds and grand houses, Vintage Travel’s Villa Lüks offers an intimate stay for four – but it’s far from modest. Built on a hillside in Kalkan on Türkiye’s Lycian Coast, the striking, modern building of white and silver hues overlooks the town’s shimmering Mediterranean bay, just a short drive away.

Views of the sea and mountains are best enjoyed from the long infinity pool while the barbecue is fired up ready for lunch. Inside, the villa begins with an open-plan living space with kitchen, dining and lounge areas decorated with grey-veined marble floors and colourful accents. Its two vast bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows offering exquisite vistas of the region, as well as a spa bath in one and an indoor heated pool in the other. After luxuriating in your sun-drenched corner surrounded by peace and solitude, head to nearby Kalkan, where you’ll find the famed pretty cobbled streets, boutiques and beach clubs as well as a handful of local seafood restaurants.

DSC 4835 Luks

Travel Details

Sleeps 4, from £712pp per week,


Forming part of CV Villas’ ABOVE collection, Dar El Sadaka is just 9km from the centre of Marrakech but it’s a world away from the overwhelming bustle of the souks. The huge apricot-coloured villa was created by visual artist Jean-François Fourtou, and it doesn’t take long to spot his fun, faunal touches. Animal-themed artwork is scattered throughout, adding colour and character to this brilliant, and occasionally bizarre, villa.

The ground floor houses a bright, white lounge complete with abseiling chimps, as well as a dining room, library and home cinema. It also has a hammam and spa, where you can book in-villa treatments. Each of the nine suites is designed with close attention to detail and its own unique feature, whether it’s the plunge bath in the Camels Suite, the fireplace and rain shower in the Snails bedroom, or the gigantic giraffe that takes centre stage in its own sizeable apartment. Despite being bedecked with various animal sculptures, Dar El Sadaka’s design manages to be artful without gimmick, and its elegance continues outside in the villa’s 25-acre grounds.

Here, amid whispering palm fronds and cultivated lawns you’ll find a running track, tennis and pétanque courts, a two-bedroom riad, heptagonal pool, organic vegetable and herb garden, maze, sculpture park – and, to top it all, a traditional Caïdal tent. With a house chef and team, the villa comes alive in the evening, when meals can be served in a range of stunning banquet-table settings – including atop the astronomy terrace or under the tree of 1,001

37 DES Riad Suite Add On 01

Travel Details

Sleeps 24, from £1,126pp per week,


The great house of Bastide des Chênes rises out the Luberon Valley in archetypal tones of buff and blue. The chateau is surrounded by the mountainous landscapes and lush green foliage synonymous with the southern French region, between Avignon, Arles and Aix-en-Provence. Renovated with dedication to its Provençal architecture – while updating its interiors – the beautiful Bastide des Chênes is new to One Fine Stay’s extensive catalogue. Pale stone-washed walls, earthy accents and large artwork typify rooms that are split between the main house and the farmhouse alongside. The kitchen is the home’s hub, with arched ceilings, a host of equipment and an island ideal for entertaining. Outside, there are three dining areas, a Japanese-style garden, a traditional French garden and a courtyard connecting the two buildings.

When you aren’t spending time in the gym, library or offices, there’s a heated pool and, beyond, you’ll find hiking and biking in the hills, with the coast 45 minutes away. Best of all, local restaurants serve all the specialities you’d expect, from socca flatbread and tomates à la Provençale to the region’s AOC wines.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 12, from £2,124pp per week,


Villa Campi is a southern Italian jewel suspended between Brindisi and Lecce. Just outside the delightfully named village of Squinzano, this inimitable home is formed from an old water tower and chapel. Campi was added to Welcome Beyond’s collection in late 2022, making this its first season open to visitors. Many of its original features have been retained, mixing a traditional Pugliese atmosphere of white and straw with modern bursts of colour from the Mediterranean and Morocco. The water tower’s lower level contains the kitchen and living spaces, as well as a wraparound portico and outdoor dining area, while upstairs is an en-suite bedroom. The lovely chapel building continues the tasteful, minimalist style with another large bedroom and bathroom. Just 20 metres from each other, the buildings are separated by Mediterranean gardens, orchards and the original olive groves surrounding the villa. Both buildings have views over local scenery – near-endless fields of green and gold that typify the agricultural region. Nearby towns and vineyards make for great day trips, where you can while away long sunlit hours with a bottle of local wine.


Travel Details

Sleeps 5, from £652pp per week,


Balanced on a peninsula overlooking Balos Bay is the sleek, chic Meganissi AL. Owned by Five Star Greece, the ultramodern property is a haven of clean cut lines and engaging design on the little Ionian island of Meganisi. Its seven bedrooms, airy living room, kitchen, dining room and office are built around the view, with huge windows that bring the glittering Balos weather inside. The green and blue of the vast bay and nearby Lefkada island unfold outside, where guests can sunbathe by the large pool, take cover in the pool lounge or make use of the barbecue. Star feature is the private beach access – a path leads directly down to the shore, where you’ll find a fridge, kayak and paddle boards, showers and changing rooms. The bay is also perfect for mooring a boat, for those wanting to get out on to the water and explore the coastline.


Travel Details

Sleeps 14, from £1,647pp per week,


Freshly renovated in 2021, Villa Dubravka is a contemporary take on a traditional Istrian villa, embedded into the greenery of Croatia’s Veliki Brijun, the largest of the uninhabited Brijuni islands. Located just off the west coast of Pula, Dubravka is one of Sunvil’s new properties in the region and is one of only a few villas available to rent on the small island. The interior is awash with natural light, with an open-plan kitchen, dining and living space with full-length glass doors to the terrace and outdoor eating area. The ground floor also hides a small wellness area with a hot tub and Finnish sauna. The villa comes with a housekeeper-hostess, who prepares breakfast daily and cleans as well as being on hand to organise activities and arrange for chefs to cook evening meals. Outside is where the villa really comes into its own: here, the new heated pool overlooks the Adriatic, with vistas of scattered Croatian islets, sinuous peninsulas and the mainland on the horizon. A staircase leads down to Dubravka’s private, pebbled beach, which catches the breeze, making it the perfect spot for sunbathing in the summer heat – there’s a stone jetty for lazing directly above the water.

With the coast to one side and large, sheltering trees on the other, Dubravka feels like an isolated retreat – and that goes with the territory: the entire island is part of the Brijuni National Park and no cars are permitted; instead, Sunvil provides a free electric buggy for you to explore the surrounding nature in all its untouched beauty.

Villa Dubravka 14

Travel Details

Sleeps 4, from £2,334pp per week including flights and transfers,

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