It felt like it might never happen, but finally foreign travel can once again become more than just a distant fantasy.
Soon after the road map to recovery was announced, agents reported a flood of holiday inquiries, with villa bookings proving most popular.
It’s no surprise. Villas offer the reassurance of crowd-free privacy and minimum interaction with strangers so many of us are seeking.
Here are some of the fantastic options available…
A Bond-esque beauty wrapped by the sandy beaches of east Sicily, four-bedroom property Villa Baroniblei, low-lying and angular, is an architectural treat. Aquamarine tiles match the seascape, while floating beds conjure up a fantasy escape.
Set in the countryside, it’s close to the flamingo-filled Vendicari nature reserve, Baroque town Noto and fishing village Marzamemi. A seven-night stay costs from £415pp (10 sharing), excluding flights.
Le Mas des Chenes Verts, a grand French farmhouse with modern trims, this six en-suite bedroom house is the fit for a multi-generational summer break.
An open-plan kitchen and dining room invites family get-togethers or, outside, meals can be taken on north or south facing verandas with views of the Luberon Valley and Mont Ventoux, and there’s a semi-covered space for barbecues next to the pool. A short walk away, the village of Bonnieux has a selection of shops selling fine wines and fresh pastries.
A seven-night stay in June costs from £1,025pp (12 sharing), excluding flights.
Villa Isidora is a three en-suite bedroom property on the rugged far eastern side of Crete. Ideal for families with older children, the contemporary property is decorated in coastal colours and has a pool and a gym.
Set on a hillside in an area of olive groves and wine production, it overlooks low-key town Sita, where pretty tavernas line the seafront.
Seven-night stay from £795pp (six sharing), travelling on May 25, including flights and car hire.
Villa Kalypso, brand-new to the market, is near Spartia on the south coast. Located at the foot of the headland, a fixed ladder leads to the water and one of the best snorkelling sites in the Ionian Sea.
Sandy beach Spartia is a 3km drive away, or enjoy the privacy of the headland in what is one of the quietest corners of the island.
A seven-night stay in shoulder season starts from £225pp (six sharing), excluding flights.
Properties new to the market are more likely to have space, such as Casa Majada.
Two of the four en-suite bedrooms open on to an inner courtyard covered by trellises with vines, and the vast gardens are filled with lavender and 100-year-old olive trees. The addition of a pool, pizza oven and barbecue means there’s little reason to venture far, although anyone seeking a cultural fix can visit Seville, Cordoba or Granada, an hour’s drive away. A seven-night stay costs from £1,000pp (eight sharing), excluding flights.
Classic Tuscan villa La Poderina is a revamped ruin surrounded by olive groves, only three miles from Siena.
Sleeping 10, the property has a pool, wine cellar, orchard, pizza oven, cook service and daily housekeeping. A seven-night stay costs from £893pp (10 sharing), excluding flights.
While villas offer a great holiday space for families, there are other options for smaller groups. Couples could try a cottage or apartment out for size.
If you fancy a home from home, check out some properties on airbnb for something cosy and unique. Visit airbnb.co.uk
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