Cozy vacation rentals in Europe

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 14-20, 1996
Cozy vacation rentals in Europe
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Cozy vacation rentals in Europe
Question: My wife, two daughters, and I are presently living in Italy and are tired of the hotel-and-restaurant adventures. We are interested in information about cottage or home rentals throughout Europe, especially in Italy and Ireland.

Naples, Italy
[email protected]

At a villa in Italy's Tuscan hills you
can leave the tourists behind

Adventure Adviser: Hole up in your own Italian villa or Irish cottage for a week and not only will you lose the hassles of hotel check-ins, overpriced room service, and--best of all--other Pieta-seeking tourists, you'll likely save yourself some dough in the process. Most rental agencies I found are based here in the U.S., but that doesn't mean they're not expertly plugged in to the European market.

If you've got your sights set on the Tuscan hills, try At Home Abroad. A one-week stay in a 200-year-old restored farmhouse outside Siena, with two bedrooms and two baths, will cost you $1,500-$1,650 per week during the summer high season ($25 registration fee; call 212-421-9165). Why so pricey? Two words: vacationing Brits. Not to worry, though: Villas International offers one-bedroom Tuscan homes starting at $750; call 800-221-2260. Or consider a villa in Umbria or a village house near Florence, available through both of the above agencies.

Over on the British Isles, check in with Castles, Cottages & Flats (800-742-6030) and Country Cottages (800-674-8883) for listings of seaside bungalows in Scotland, thatched cottages in Ireland, or stone farmhouses in the English Lake District. Weekly two-bedroom rental rates range from $550-$925, depending on season and location.

If you're looking to improve your high-school French and eat some brie while touring Provençal or Brittany, call The French Experience (212-986-1115) or Interhome (800-882-6864). A two-bedroom gite, the holiday home of France, ranges from charming stone cottage to plain-vanilla stucco. Book early for best prices and selection. Good advice anywhere, since Europeans tend to plan well in advance. Note also that shoulder season (May to early June and mid-September to October) can be 20 to 30 percent less expensive. For additional details, consult "Smart Traveler: Le Bon Rental" in the Destinations section of Outside's March 1996 issue.

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