Discover seven of the best European holiday rentals

quaint house by fjord in norway

Our borders are open and it’s time to start planning your next European trip.

Here’s our guide to some of the best holiday house rentals across Europe, from luxurious castles to quirky cottages.

The Open Book, Wigtown, Scotland
This charming property offers a unique bookshop experience.

The Airbnb is upstairs, but downstairs the price of your accommodation includes the run of the bookshop. That’s right, you can play at owning a bookshop without owning a bookshop.

You’ll be well supported by volunteers and visitors can chose how much they want to be involved, from simply browsing to a more hands-on role.

The property is in Wigtown, Scotland’s first National Book Town, so you will be in good company.

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Read: European cross-border road trips

House by The Sognefjord, Leikanger, Norway
Is it even a trip to Norway if you haven’t seen a fjord?

With just six metres between the house and the fjord, you’re just about as close as you can get at this property.

With plenty of decking, a spa, barbecue, and access to boat hire, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards there is plenty of outdoor entertainment right on your doorstep.

If you want to venture a bit further afield there are hiking trails, local fishing spots and skiing in the winter.

And the indoors isn’t too bad either. It has modern appointments, pared back Scandinavian style and as it sleeps seven for just under $160 a night, it’s also an absolute bargain.

Cartuja 10, Valldemossa, Balearic Islands, Spain

Mix up some decadent island life in a spiritual setting in this apartment in former monastery on Mallorca.

It has its own pool, gorgeous green kitchen garden, sundeck and its location right in the heart of town makes it close to the local cafes and restaurants.

The design is all minimalist Mediterranean with white walls, plenty of exposed stone and timber trim. Those solid walls keep out all the street noise.

And you are in good company, as well as plenty of monks, this property has hosted composer Frederic Chopin and writer George Sand.

Casa da Contessa, Colares, Portugal
Those with even a limited grasp of the Romantic languages will recognise this as ‘House of the Countess’, and you might feel a little on the aristocratic side staying at this elegant property.

Built into the cliff facing the Atlantic Ocean and located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra-Cascais National Park, this property’s location is one of a kind.

For the adventurous there’s a sea pool at the base of the cliff, but if your idea of a holiday is a little more laid back there is a lap pool on the property.

Read: The best European cities to visit for 2022

The blue and white interior echoes the waterfront views outside and includes some original pieces of mid-century furniture by renowned Portuguese designer Jose Espinho.

As it’s a tourist area, there are plenty of restaurants close by, but it may be a struggle to pull yourself away from the view.

Tubbrid Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland
Oh come on, who hasn’t wanted to stay in a castle? So maybe it looks like more of a tower than a castle, but it’s called a castle, so that’s good enough for us.

Drink in the views of some of Ireland’s most striking scenery, all the while snuggled up in your very own slice of history.

While the outside is authentically weather-beaten, inside the exposed stone walls contrast to striking effect with the modern amenities.

It’s 20 minutes from Kilkenny City and it might be a good idea to put aside at least a day to explore this ancient town, from the centuries-old stone houses and cathedral to Kilkenny Castle, which is an actual, proper castle.

Trullo Suite Martodda, Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy
Small on space but big on history is this traditional Apulian trullo.

Originally constructed as dwellings for small proprietors or agricultural labourers, these sweet little conical shaped houses are now being offered as holiday accommodation.

Although small, this property offers a kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, enclosed garden and parking. And a car might be a good idea to explore Locorotondo, a 10-minute drive away.

Locorotondo is one of Puglia’s nine ‘white’ towns, so called for the dazzling white-washed walls of the city’s dwellings and the pale stone used for their construction.

Read: European cities that are better in winter

La Pitchoune, Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur, France
Experience a slice of culinary history in this enchanting home on the French Riviera.

The property was built by Paul and Julia Child, who is best known for writing the cooking classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Simone Beck.

La Pitchoune has a glorious garden, an astonishing kitchen fully fitted out in the French provincial style, a barbecue, pizza oven and wood-burning grill. Freshen up in the pool with stone surrounds and sundeck.

Visitors expecting sleek, anonymous hotel-style accommodation might need to look elsewhere. This property is regularly used as a cooking school and is a busy, well-used space.

Cooking classes are available as a package.

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Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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