On the Map

On the Map: Best Unusual Stays in Southern Europe

16 August 2023

Otherwise known as Mediterranean Europe, Southern Europe is characterised by its proximity to the shimmering Mediterranean Sea.

Specific areas include the South of France and northern Italy, as well as Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia and Turkey… each famed for their beautiful beaches, diverse landscapes, intriguing history, and unusual places to stay.

Benefitting from the Mediterranean climate, summers in Southern Europe tend to be balmy – ideal for those who love lazing on pristine golden sand! Yet if you prefer a cooler holiday, you can explore the spectacular mountain ranges of Spain and Italy and be rewarded with truly incredible views (so don’t forget your camera).

Meanwhile, if you love natural, home-grown cuisine you couldn’t have picked a more delectable destination. The traditional Mediterranean diet isn’t just delicious, it’s also considered to be one of the healthiest ways to eat, so you can savour all that fresh fish, sun-ripened fruit and vegetables, home-baked bread, and sumptuous olive oils (relatively) guilt-free. Southern Europe is also, of course, home to some of the best wine-making regions, which means it’d almost be rude not to indulge!

We’ve selected some of the best unusual stays in Southern Europe especially to help you get up close and personal with these amazing countries, traditions, and cuisines.

Author: Nina Jervis
Main image: Cuevas Helena | Andalucia, Spain

Abeille Maison Glamping

Bol, Brac, Croatia
A sumptuous and sustainable glamping haven with a fine-dining restaurant, cocktail bar, and luxury tents with private pools, breath-takingly set just above Croatia's world-famous ‘Golden Horn' beach.
Bedrooms: 1-2 bedroom tents
Sleeps: 2-4
From
£397 / night

Casa Modesta

Quatrim do sul, Algarve, Portugal
Award-winning rural luxury in a contemporary Portuguese country house hotel, where you will feel immediately at home.
Bedrooms: 9 suites
Sleeps: 2 or 3 per suite
From
£120 / night

Desert House

Gorafe, Andalucia, Spain
An architect-designed, TV-featured eco-retreat crafted from thermally insulated glass, uniquely purpose-built in the heart of Granada's spectacular Gorafe Desert for incredible natural views.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
From
£271 / night

Cycladic Private Island

Cyclades, Greece
A luxurious and versatile retreat for secluded holidays and large group celebrations amongst clear turquoise waters and soft sand, infused with the magical myth and legend of ancient Greece.
Bedrooms: 4-9
Sleeps: 20+
From
£30,130 (7nt)

Ermita del Carmen

Carcabuey, Andalucia, Spain
Ermita del Carmen is a stunning 15th century chapel conversion, set within the soul-soothing natural heart of Andalucia.
Bedrooms: 4
Sleeps: 8
From
£580 / night

Trullo Fico

Ostuni, Puglia, Italy
A unique blend of contemporary style and ancient tradition awaits, in a family-friendly Puglian haven you won't want to leave.    
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 8/9
From
£999 / week

Cuevas Helena

Benamaurel, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Cuevas Helena defines unique cave living for the modern age, set deep in the heart of the Andalucian countryside.
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 6
From
£132 / night

Art Hangar

Val d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy
Stray from the beaten Tuscan track at Art Hangar, in an industrial hangar transformed into a unique loft space that's perfect for creative dreamers.
Bedrooms: 2
Sleeps: 4
From
£1,655 (7 nights)

A Terra

São Teotonio, Alentejo, Portugal
Secluded Portuguese eco-glamping, set beside a sparkling lake in the refreshing ‘slow lane' of life.
Bedrooms: Varies
Sleeps: Varies (2-4 per tent)
From
£115 (2 nights)

Tainaron Blue

Mani, Peloponnese, Greece
Experience elaborate architectural design in a piece of history at Tainaron blue - a fabulous hotel in a converted Tower of Mani set by azure shores on the southernmost tip of mainland Greece.
Bedrooms: 4
Sleeps:
From
£200 / night

Casa Acantilado

Salobreña, Andalucia, Spain
An innovative, architect-designed retreat with an infinity pool and far-reaching Mediterranean sea views, set within the clifftops on Spain's breath-taking Costa Granadina.
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 6
From
£991 / night

Siesta Campers

Faro, Algarve, Portugal
Simply choose your favourite, fully-equipped VW campervan - then get ready for new holiday adventures in Portugal!
Bedrooms: Varies per van
Sleeps: Varies per van
From
£80 / night

Casa Canelo Circus Wagon

Malaga, Andalucia, Spain
Roll up, roll up, for a Big Top-themed stay in a gloriously renovated 19th century wagon with an al fresco swimming pool, surrounded by the soaring mountains and abundant wildlife of rural Spain.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
From
£75 / night

Cerchio Del Desiderio

Pianella, Abruzzo, Italy
Italy's very first geodomes, luxuriously positioned amongst the olive trees and rolling green hills of Abruzzo.
Bedrooms: Open plan
Sleeps: 2-4 per unit
From
£70 / night (yurt, low season)

Coucoo Grands Cépages

Avignon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
A sumptuous collection of eco-cabins, set amongst the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for a wine-lovers' paradise!
Bedrooms: Varies
Sleeps: 2-6 per cabin
From
£155 / night

iHouse

Paliouri, Halkidiki, Greece
A sustainable, custom-created wooden retreat, overlooking the crystal-clear waters and soft sand of Halkidiki's beautiful Kassandra Peninsula.
Bedrooms: Open plan
Sleeps: 4
From
150 / night

GoOutside Naples

Procida, Campania, Italy
Sleep under the Italian stars, on a gorgeous green island perfectly positioned for you to explore the Bay of Naples.
Bedrooms: Varies
Sleeps:
From
£135 / night

Eco Fisherman's Cottage

Arrieta, Lanzarote, Spain
A quaint and historic off-grid retreat, featuring soothing sea views and an authentic slice of rustic village life in Lanzarote.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps:
From
£110 / night

Glamping Canonici di San Marco

Mirano, Venice, Italy
A pioneering taste of nature and luxury await, in a glamping paradise set just 20 minutes from Venice.
Bedrooms: Varies
Sleeps: 2-6 per tent
From
£108 / night

Koza Cave Hotel

Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
Set inside a historic cave house among the magical ‘fairy chimneys' of Cappadocia, Koza Cave Hotel offers a wonderfully indulgent, eco-inspired hideaway - a true Turkish delight!
Bedrooms: 10
Sleeps: 2 per room
From
£323 /night

DDG Retreat

Casares, Andalucia, Spain
The ultimate in unique Andalusian luxury; a peacefully private glamping haven featuring the world's most opulent tents.
Bedrooms: 1 per unit
Sleeps: 2 per unit
From
£149 pp

La Esperanza

Granada, Andalucia, Spain
A grand, authentic hacienda with luxury suites, a swimming pool, and a designer courtyard inspired by the Alhambra, nestled amongst private flower gardens just 35 minutes from Granada.
Bedrooms: 6
Sleeps: Up to 14
From
£394 / night

Macaronesian Eco Suites Caves

San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Live in harmony with the natural world in a Tenerife cave suite steeped in rustic luxury and just a short drive from the beach.
Bedrooms: 2
Sleeps: 4
From
£158 / night

Attrap'Rêves

Allauch, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Attrap'Rêves is an incredible, unusual and romantic retreat in the French countryside, which will certainly have you and your loved one bubbling over with excitement...
Bedrooms: Studio
Sleeps:
From
£133 / night

Windmill Villas

Santorini, Cyclades, Greece
Scenic tranquility amidst the cool Aegean breeze awaits you from your private, sun-soaked Santorini home from home.
Bedrooms: 2 per unit
Sleeps: Up to 5
From
£279 /night

VIVOOD Landscape Hotel

Benimantell, Alicante, Spain
A sumptuous selection of adults-only cabins, with a window-walled spa and two shimmering infinity pools, beautifully secluded in Spain's pure, rugged Guadalest Valley.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
From
£149 / night

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