Planning European holidays? First read our guide to the continent's fabulous hidden gems.
If herb-scented Corsica is your idea of heaven, why not venture a little further to this private 300-acre isle off its south coast? There’s just one hotel, Hotel & Spa des Pecheurs, where the guests are as starry as the pollution-free sky. Spend days snoozing on the pink-shell sand then dine in the hotel’s Med-fusion restaurant, where spoiling dishes like scallop terrine with herb gratin and lobster linguine let you know you’re in one of Europe’s most exclusive spots.
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No wishy-washy neutrals for Casa Porpora! This just-renovated Amalfi Coast hideaway for eight is brighter than your summer wardrobe! Its designer interiors open on to flower-wrapped seaview terraces and a chic infinity pool. Each space feels utterly private, yet it's not remote: just 100m away you'l find the path to the deep, blue waters of Praia beach, chic restaurants and bars.
This verdant Greek isle's north-east coast is dotted with desirable sea-view hideaways. Villa Iriti, which is perched high in the hills near St Stephano, is one of the best for a romantic getaway. Its painterly, light-flooded interiors and delightfully-styled al fresco areas create a stress-free world where you can spend all day sipping chilled white wine and counting boats and butterflies from beneath a shady pergola.
Bördübet, an all-natural forest chill-out on the mountainous Datça Peninsula, is unlike any other Turkish hotel you've stayed at. Its balconied bedrooms - creamily elegant, newly revamped - are strewn along a sun-dappled, meandering river. Watch for kingfishers from a secluded hammock. Or hop on to a boat that chugs downstream to a swish island-esque beach club.
Slovenia is Europe's most sublime secret. It stretches from the Adriatic to the Alps, taking in fairytale Lake Bled, the emerald forests of the Soca Valley and the ever-charming capital Ljubljana along the way. Just Slovenia will tailormake a fly-drive, booking you into stylish boutique hotels like Vila Preseren Hotel, where a lakeside terrace is just the place to sample the country's world-class wines.
Be one of the first to discover Georgia's Caucasus Mountains, a remote walker's paradise close to the Russia border. Rooms Hotel Kazbegi is a stunning new design hotel that's been cleverly converted from a stark Soviet building. You'll appreciate its mix of antiques and ultra-contemporary furnishings. But the real USP is the view - bedrooms, pool and sweeping decking all look out to a magnificent emerald-green, church- and sheep-speckled vista.
The West Country's traditional stone villages may swarm with visitors, but on the exclusive Lower Mill Estate all is tranquil. This community of contemporary luxury apartments - many of which can be rented for holidays - is hidden away on a 550-acre nature reserve. It's made for lazy summer days: an award-winning spa has an outdoor pool and you can try out Gwyneth Paltrow's favoured pastime of paddle-boarding on one of eight lakes.
A Pobra do Caramiñal in Galicia is hugely popular with the Spanish but little known amongst us Brits. So its white dunes and authentic prom-side restaurants feel like your own special secret. For a family holiday, splash out on Castro Baroña (sleeping 6-8), an award-winning modernist beach house that fuses cubes of concrete, glass and reclaimed wood to spectacular effect.
The sleepy Eden Valley lies between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, so you can see take in all the highlights then retreat to your own idyllic cottage. Sheepskin has one of the most enticing: Burrell Hill, an exquisitely styled stone farmhouse for six with unpopulated views in all directions.
A luxury apartment hidden in the heart of ancient Edinburgh is a wonderful way to 'own' the city for a few days. The Old Town Chambers 'fuse' with their medieval origins: the largest, the Townhouse, hangs on to original wall paintings and 16th century fireplaces while adding in top-of-the-range kitchens and pampering bathrooms. And balconied apartments give you your own peaceful place in UK's most charismatic skyline.
Book a swish Parisian home with One Fine Stay, and you'll benefit from the owner's own guide to the city. It's a fab way to discover insider secret addresses such as L'Etage de Pastavino, an unmarked 'foodie speakeasy' set above an Italian deli. It's just down the 'rue' from this grand, parquet-ed and balconied apartment for 4-6 on the Boulevard Saint-Germain.
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