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Live like a Local with a European Villa Stay

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Live like a Local with a European Villa Stay

story by: House of Travel

Many people on holiday are in search of their destination's elusive, true local flavour. So how can you find it? If you're a traveller who likes to really get to know a region and discover its hidden gems, your accommodation choices can be a big part of the experience. Why not opt for a local villa stay, where your options range from private homes to manors as well as working farms! With this kind of accommodation, you can chat to the families who live in the town or village, be it in the UK, France, Italy or beyond.

Here's a little bit more about great destinations for villa stays around Europe. 

Greystoke, Lake District, UK
Greystoke is a quiet village on the outskirts of England's Lake District National Park. It's full of old-worldly country charm, with 17th century cottages as well as a historic village green and church. The gorgeous stony St Andrews Church dates back to 1255 and features towers, colourful stained glass windows and religious sculptures. 

Don't miss out on exploring the 12th century Greystoke Castle. You're not able to venture inside, but you can view its impressive facade from outdoors and take in its many acres of green grounds. 

To hear local stories about your destination, opt for a villa stay. Try the Mains Cottage or one of the many other home style accommodation options in the region, such as Stafford House and Blencowe Hall. 

Bonnieux, Provence, France
Provence is a beautiful region of France. One of its standout features is its laid-back lifestyle, where time seems to move more slowly and there's always a spare moment to stop and smell the roses.

Bonnieux is one of the most impressive and charming villages you can stay at in the region. It is set on top of the Luberon Hills, looking out over the valley with its orchards and vineyards. It features a gorgeous 12th century Roman/Gothic church at the top and a newer church down in the village, along with plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from. If you have a passion for bread, make sure to visit the village bread museum.   

You'll feel as though you're back in medieval times as you wander the village's narrow, cobbled streets that twist and turn around the hills. Visit on a Friday which is market day where you’ll be able to purchase local crafts and fresh produce.  What's more, the village is peaceful and isn't frequented by too many tourists, so you can really soak up the local way of life with a villa home stay. 

Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
Greve in Chianti, also known as just Greve, is a picturesque town in the lush region of Tuscany, Italy, just a half hour drive away from Florence. Like Greystoke and Le Barroux, it's a small community, making an intimate villa stay the perfect way to discover the town's heart.

Start your explorations of the village at Piazza Matteotti, the main square. This features the stunning Neo-Classical Santa Croce Church and regular events, such as the weekly Saturday morning markets with mouthwatering fresh produce for sale. Head along before 1 p.m. to enjoy its offerings. If you're in town during September, be sure to attend the Chianti Classico Wine Festival, which takes place annually on the second weekend of September. Ask a local when the grape harvest is taking place if you visit during September or October as the date varies every year, but it's a fantastic time to learn about - and taste a lot of - wine. 

Year-round, wine fans can visit the Wine Museum and taste from a range of over 200 local and regional labels. It's also a great place to view old farming machines and dozens of different corkscrews. 

The Castle of Montefioralle and the Museum of Sacred Art are also not to be missed attractions. Your time will be made all the more special by having a local connection, such as the owners of a villa home stay, who can fill you in on more must-see and do's. 

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