Top 10 rural accommodation holidays

From butterfly-filled farm stays in the bucolic Devon countryside, to the towering peaks of the Spanish Pyrenees, we’ve pieced together our top 10 rural accommodation holidays where peace and quiet goes hand in hand with horse-riding, hiking and mountain biking. Rural accommodations aren’t just picture perfect in the summer either: winters are magical in Transylvania, while autumn in Italy offers truffle hunting and olive harvests. So fill your glass with some local wine and read on to find the best places for a chilled-out cheers.

1. Devon, UK

With tiny thatched villages tucked into rolling hills, just a stone’s throw from two stretches of cove-lined coastline (and perhaps one too many tea shops) it’s little wonder this little corner of south-west England is one of the best places in the world for a family-friendly rural break. Stay on a farm-cum-nature reserve full of butterflies, swallows and barn owls for ultimate off-the-beaten-track bliss.
When to go: April to October
Our top selling accommodation: Devon eco-lodge accommodation
See all our accommodations in Devon
Read more: Devon travel guide

2. Italian mountains

From the high alpine peaks of Piedmont to the majestic Majella National Park in Abruzzo, rural accommodations in Italy’s mountains are the perfect gateway for hiking and biking adventures – or even wild swimming in otter-filled rivers. And you won’t go hungry. Trawl local mountain-side markets for truffles and olive oil, or learn the secrets of traditional pasta-making alongside your local hosts.

When to go: April to October
Our top selling accommodation: Italy villa near Majella National Park, Abruzzo
See all our rural accommodations in Italy
Read more: Italy family travel guide

3. Crete, Greece

Lunches at quaint mountain tavernas, breakfasts on freshly baked bread, local honey and sheep’s milk yoghurt – Crete’s White Mountains offer a delectable retreat into rural mountain-top tranquillity. Villas here offer panoramic views across the island’s valleys, peaks and coast – with jasmine-scented doorstep hiking. And you’re never too far from a soak in the sea – peaceful, pretty port villages abound too.

When to go: May to June and September to October
Our top selling accommodation: Rural Crete holiday villa, Greece
Read more: Crete travel guide

4. Dordogne, France

This is France at its finest, a swathe of deep forests and limestone-lined river canyons best explored by bike and canoe. A smattering of honey-coloured fortified towns and a succession of elaborate chateaux are this region’s nod to civilisation. But what it does best is off-grid adventure; think woodland cabins, lazy lakeside days and some of France’s best local produce.
When to go: April to October
Our top selling accommodation: Dordogne self catering cabin, sleeping four
See all our accommodations in the Dordogne
Read more: Dordogne travel guide

5. Rural Andalucía, Spain

Forget the Brit-infested beach clubs of the Costa del Sol, sheep bells are the backing track to Andalucía’s near-empty hinterland of whitewashed villages, mountain ranges and spectacular national parks. Stay in an off-grid hotel overlooking the wild Altiplano de Granada or cosy up in a traditional Moorish house in the secluded Alto Genal Valley near Ronda, with spectacular mountain hikes on the doorstep.

When to go: All year round
Our top selling accommodation: Granada holiday accommodation, Spain
See all our accommodations in rural Spain
Read more: Andalucia travel guide
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Rural accommodation or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

6. Le Marche, Italy

Rural accommodations in Le Marche dot the rolling cypress-lined hills linking a succession of gloriously elaborate renaissance towns and villages. Stay at an agriturismo for a glimpse into rural Italian farm life, with delicious home-grown, home-cooked food – you might be foraging for local fruit, perfecting your pasta-making, hunting for truffles or heading out to explore on horseback. All idyllically isolated from everyone else.

When to go: April to October
Our top selling accommodation: Le Marche holiday accommodation in Italy
See all our agrotourism accommodations in Italy
Read more: Farmstay holidays travel guide

7. Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal

Tucked up against the northern Spanish border lies one of Portugal’s most breathtaking and unspoiled spots – and its only National Park, Peneda-Gerês. Here rugged hills, home to wolves and eagles, give way to ancient oak forests and crystal lakes, and a Roman road to explore by bike. Go wild and stay in a treehouse on a traditional quinta, or cosy up in one of the park’s small, stone-built hamlets.

8. Loire Valley, France

While your rural accommodation in the Loire Valley might not quite reach the extravagant grandeur of its 400 chateaux, you’ll be avoiding the rampages of the tourist hordes. Farmstays on the outskirts of the Loire’s picturesque villages offer easy access to the region’s excellent family-friendly, off-road cycling trails, traditional markets (goats cheese anyone?) and its plethora of vineyards. Keep eyes peeled for signs saying ‘Degustation-Vente’ for tastings.

When to go: April to October
Our top selling accommodation: Loire Valley self-catering farm cottage, France
See all our accommodations in the Loire Valley
Read more: France family travel guide

9. Pyrenees, Spain

You won’t know the meaning of blissful solitude until you spend some time in the Spanish Pyrenees – a vast region of vertiginous granite massifs and lush valleys and tiny hamlets. The Pyrenees may be tranquillity personified – even in peak season – but you certainly won’t be bored. Rural accommodations in traditional stone cottages offer access to hiking and via ferrata trails, white water rafting and, in winter, skiing and snowshoeing.

When to go: All year round
Our top selling accommodation: Self catering accommodation in the Pyrenees, Spain
See all our Spanish Pyrenees holidays
Read more: Spanish Pyrenees travel guide

10. Konavle Valley, Croatia

Dubrovnik may be bruised by the cruise crowds, but travel just half an hour from the medieval city centre and the wide, lush cypress and pine-filled Konavle Valley offers an oasis of peace. And vineyards. This is one of Croatia’s prime wine-making areas and people here make good use of the ancient family farms – and the delicious produce from their fruit trees and olive groves.
When to go: April to October
Our top selling accommodation: Dubrovnik countryside villa in Croatia
See all our Croatia accommodations
Read more: Croatia travel guide
Written by Sarah Faith
Photo credits: [Page banner: Ranloth] [1. Devon: Dave_S.] [4. Dordogne: Manfred Heyde] [7. Peneda-Gerês: Turismo En Portugal] [10. Konavle Valley: Modzzak]
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