Just So Cottage
This 17th-century timber-framed cottage is more than 400 years old and is a listed building. (That means you'll find it on the U.K.'s Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest list.) Original oak floors and low beamed ceilings impart a bewitching historical ambiance, but Just So Cottage has plenty of 21st-century features too, such as flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and updated bathrooms with roll rim tubs. The cottage is located in Winslow, a historical hamlet in Buckinghamshire. Discover scenes of quintessential English countryside life—from ivy-draped medieval ruins to swans paddling on the Thames—in picturesque Buckinghamshire.
COSTA BRAVA, SPAIN
Mas Vilosa is located in Spain's Catalonia region, in splendidly beautiful Costa Brava (which translates to "wild coast"). It's a place full of ancient villages and pristine beaches, and it's less than two hours' drive from Barcelona. This ivy-covered Renaissance mansion sits beside fruitful Mediterranean gardens and a large pool, and rooms feature balconies with pretty views of the surrounding landscape, hand-hewn antique beams, old arched windows and super-fast Wi-Fi. Wake up to a breakfast of fresh Catalan bread and locally sourced eggs.
Chateau de Bonnemare
Normandy, the coastal region of Northern France where rocky cliffs rise above the ocean and seaside villages yield to windswept farmland, is arguably one of the best destinations for a French countryside getaway. Stay at Chateau de Bonnemare, an opulent Renaissance manor house located in Normandy (about an hour-and-a-half drive from Paris). The chateau is a historical gem—an attraction in itself. On-site you'll find a 400-year-old lime tree growing beside an old chapel, a 17th-century cider press, and an original Renaissance castle kitchen with vaulted ceilings and an enormous stone fireplace once used for cooking and baking. Innkeeper Sylvie, who grew up in the castle, serves homemade breakfasts featuring local cheeses and breads from the village.
The Heron's Cove
This charming little cove-facing cottage was originally a private family home. Although it's been transformed into a full-service B&B and restaurant, The Heron's Cove retains pleasant overtones of mid-century life in Ireland. Eclectic décor and charmingly rustic furniture, home-cooked Irish meals, and the great charm and warmth of hosts Dick and Sue Hill guarantee a relaxing, happy getaway. Dinners include homemade brown bread, freshly caught fish (including lobster in the summer), and locally sourced meats and cheeses. Grab a sea-view room and meet the morning with the sight of the stunningly beautiful blue harbor shimmering beyond your private balcony.
La Maison de l'Argentier du Roy
The Loire Valley (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a heavenly landscape of vineyards, villages and ancient castles. If you love castles, go there. And stay here: La Maison de l'Argentier du Roy, a Renaissance chateau in the heart of a medieval town. It's the perfect base for Val de Loire adventures. Some rooms have French doors that open to the beautiful gardens surrounding the property. Others have views of the ancient village. All rooms, however, feature a different historical theme. The spacious Jacques Coeur suite, for example, is named for a French merchant who traveled the world collecting riches to bring back to his country. (The room has its own treasures from abroad, including 14th-century stone floor tiles from Tuscany.)
Drive east from Reykjavik for about 20 minutes to the Mosfellsdalur Valley. Here, you'll find a pretty little cottage on a working farm encircled by blue gray mountains. Icelandic horses (with their gorgeous long manes) roam the property. At night, when the weather is right, the northern lights appear in the sky above the inn. (Though close to Reykjavik, the property is far enough from urban light pollution to allow for optimal viewing of the legendary aurora borealis.) Minna-Mosfell is a great base from which to take day trips to sites like the Golden Circle, the South Shore and the Blue Lagoon. But first, a breakfast of just-made breads, locally sourced milk and cheeses, and farm fresh eggs (complimentary, of course) will fuel your Icelandic adventures.
Antica Dimora Patrizia
A stop on the Lucca Wine Trail, Montecarlo is a quiet medieval town in the Tuscan countryside. It's the perfect place to go if you're seeking a beautiful and authentic Tuscan town—that isn't packed with tourists—surrounded by vineyards. Stay at Antica Dimora Patrizia, a former palace fit for Italian nobility. Guests will enjoy elegant canopy beds, original beamed ceilings, and Italian antiques and art around the palace. Head to the lounge in the palace tower for a panoramic view of Montecarlo. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner are available on-site (for a fee). The property's cellar houses a small wine museum.
Bodrean Manor Farm
Secluded and peaceful Bodrean Manor Farm offers a matchless English country escape. From the afternoon tea and biscuits served by charming hosts Michelle and Andy to the lovely garden of rhododendrons that surround the inn, English charm abounds. This inn is set on a working farm. As such, sheep roam surrounding meadows and the manor's traditional English breakfast features eggs sourced from the free-range hens on-site. Travelers may choose to stay in one of three rooms in the main inn, or one of three rentals with kitchens (including a beautifully renovated barn loft).
—by Caroline Costello