Top 10 rural accommodation holidays

From butterfly-filled farm stays in the bucolic Devon countryside to the towering peaks of the 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 hotels aren’t just picture-perfect in the summer either: winters are filled with sunshine in southern Spain, 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
Read more: Italy family travel guide

3. Catalonian countryside, Spain

Wild swimming in mountain rivers, lunches at village restaurants, perfumed pine forest trails – Catalonia in northern Spain offers a retreat into rural tranquillity. This honey-hued country house makes a welcoming base with a mountain-view pool, meals cooked up using ingredients from markets and the resident garden vegetable patch, and hosts who have connections with all the best activity centres in the region. It’s also accessible, with rooms that can be adapted for a range of abilities.

When to go: All year round
Our top selling accommodation: Catalan countryside hotel
Read more: Catalonia rural hotels 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. Andalucia, southern Spain

You don’t need Spain’s packed southern coastline for a bit of beach bliss. Rural retreats offer the same coastal wanders and swimming coves without the crowds. Choose a sail-white finca with terracotta tiles, a wood-beamed kitchen and living area, and a plunge pool in the garden for a holiday amongst the peaceful villages and mountains of Andalucia.

When to go: All year round
Our top selling accommodation: Self catering cottage, Andalucia
Read more: Rural accommodation in 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
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.
When to go: April to October
Our top selling accommodation: Portuguese tree house accommodation, northern Portugal
Read more: Portugal travel guide

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
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]