Villas in Europe
Villa holidays in Europe have captured the hearts and minds of British travellers for centuries, with their promise of warm weather, space and a life of simple pleasures. Whether it’s a few days in the Algarve or a year in Provence, we so often turn to Europe and its beautiful big homes for sun, sea and escapism. Our collection of villas stretches from the hills above Porto to the heel of Italy’s boot, via the Spanish coast and every corner of France. We’ve personally inspected them all, making sure that they’ll live up to that eternal dream of sipping wonderful wine on fragrant terraces in golden evening light.
Our most popular places to stay in France
Why the south of France is villa heaven
The villa has been an icon of travel for centuries, with its air of Roman grandeur that winds through our culture, held up in books, films and tv as a byword for relaxation and beauty. The south of France is home to some of my all-time favourite villas, places that conjured that timeless sense of ease the moment I stepped through their doors on inspection trips that were far from a hardship. A great villa should be spacious and sunlit, a fusion of indoor and outdoor that lets life flow with the weather. That’s the feel of so much of the south of France and, happily, of its finest villas.
– Nicky de Bouille, In-Country Manager, France
Our most popular places to stay in Spain
Our most popular places to stay in Italy
Our most popular places to stay in Portugal
Where to stay
A few articles to inspire your next villa holiday
Nicky de Bouille, our in-country manager in France, looks back on the origins and pleasures of the villa as a place of relaxation and indulgence.
To match the elegance and charm of their surroundings, here are our favourite villas with stylish interiors, guaranteed to inspire your own design dreams.
Here are our dream villas with private pools – from splash pools to full length (not Olympic!) – for a sun-drenched summer holiday in the south of France.
Our luxurious collection ticks all the boxes for stylish design, classic architecture and charming character. Here are a few that wowed our inspectors.
What is a villa?
Villas are built for gathering people together. A great villa is spacious, with big rooms that can be turned to any purpose and one that you can set aside for dining. There’s normally no hard divide between indoors and out. Large doors and windows fill the place with light and fresh air, allowing sociable meals to take place inside, outside and sometimes both, as the light and temperature gently dictate your day. These days, they’re increasingly being fitted with large and well-equipped kitchens too – servants and in-house chefs are out, chatting as you cook together is in. Lastly, a handful of big bedrooms should give you room for everyone to finally retire at the end of a long day of laughter, food and sunshine.
What makes a villa special to stay in?
If you pick the right one, you’ll find an incredible combination of architecture, design and natural beauty, along with a few good tips from the owners on where to shop for the best fresh local produce, or hang out for coffee in the morning. What it all adds up to, is a stay that makes you feel like one of the more well-adjusted celebrities, breezing around in soft linen clothes and sipping cocktails by the pool. There’s also the chance to explore whatever fabulous corner of Europe you find yourself in, from the Atlantic or Mediterranean coasts, to hills, forests and islands right down to smouldering Sicily.
Where you’ll find our villas across Europe
The classic villa location is of course the south of France and while we have plenty of beautiful properties there, you might want to check out the rest of the collection. There are rustic old homes in the hills of Portugal, beautiful retreats with pools waiting all across Spain and terracotta-roofed palaces the length of Italy. In each country and region, your villa will carry the flavour of its setting, in its design, and décor, the scenery out the window and the food available around you.
Why choose Sawday’s?
There’s an alarming trend in modern travel, in which something that proves popular is copied, packaged and churned out in a diluted form, without any of the passion and soul that first caught the eye. Fortunately, there are still people who live and breathe hospitality – not the industry, but the sentiment. We look for those people and the places they create. We visit them, in person, to get to know them and what they’ve built, then we bring those places to you with honesty and clarity.