Pristine white-washed village in rural Italy

Inspiration


Must Visit Villages


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Looking for something a little different than the usual beach resort getaway this year? Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life with a healthy dose of village vibes. Quaint and idyllic, these heart-melting towns might be just what your holiday is missing. From cute cliff-top locations to hillside hamlets, here’s some inspiration to find that picture-perfect place to call home.

Plaka, Crete

Overlooking Souda Bay from the horseshoe shaped village of Plaka

The enchanting Plaka sits on a cliff top above the quaint fishing harbour of Almyrida. Beautiful vistas of Souda Bay and the Aegean Sea can be found from every angle of this horseshoe shaped village. Oozing a traditional Greek atmosphere, and surrounded by nature, this is a place to kick-back and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. The prime hillside location means you’ll be spoilt by serene sunsets night after night, or if you prefer, you can stroll the small selection of tavernas and while the evening away with the locals.

Les Adrets de l’Esterel, France

The quaint architectural arches of Les Ardets de l'Esterel

Say bonjour to the charming, unspoilt village of Les Adrets de l’Esterel. Show stopping beauty wherever you look, your Instagram feed will go into overdrive! Nestled in a breathtaking mountain setting with panoramic views of the Riviera, you’ll be able to watch the sparkling Mediterranean dance in the distance. Get stuck in to the quintessential countryside and follow one of the many signposted walks, or explore the winding medieval streets and taste your way to the perfect bottle of wine. C’est parfait!

Premantura, Croatia

Crystal blue seas of Cape Kamenjack nature reserve

Sitting pretty on the southernmost tip of the Istrian peninsula, Premantura is the perfect destination for anyone seeking natural beauty. 30km of cove-clad coastlines and crystal blue sea is yours to explore at nearby Cape Kamenjack. Mind-blowing beauty awaits in this entirely uninhabited landscape, from pebbly bays and natural stone terraces to rolling hills covered in wild flowers. If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, you may just have met your match in this scenic stunner!

Xaghra, Gozo

Immaculately decorated church in the centre of Xaghra

Gorgeous and full of old-world charm, Gozo’s Xaghra is home to a collection of quaint attractions. From the Temples of Ggantija – a must see for budding history enthusiasts – to intriguing grottos, an 18th Century windmill and an immaculately decorated church. A little outside the village, you’ll find the mythological Calypso Cave (alleged to be the cave referred to by Homer in the Odyssey). Here you have the best seat in the house, overlooking the gorgeous red sands of one of Gozo’s most glorious beaches – Ramla Bay.

Argaka, Cyprus

Bench overlooking The Akamas Peninsula

Real-life rural heaven, Argaka is tranquil and traditional in every sense of the word. An idyllic location only made better by generous Cypriot hospitality – tantalise those taste buds and tuck in to local delicacies like Sheftalia and Kleftiko. Secluded beaches are only a short drive away and offer up some seriously dramatic natural beauty. The Akamas Peninsula is the most westerly point of Cyprus and just a 20 minute drive away from Argaka. Trace the footsteps of myth and legend and enjoy the spectacular views and diverse landscape. Back at your villa, watch the sky show off as the sun dances in beautiful golden hues and feast your eyes on a magnificent Cypriot sunset.

Castel Rigone, Italy

Tranquil waters of Lake Trasiemno

Steeped in tradition, this small, medieval village is the ideal base to explore the countryside and towns of northern Umbria and Southern Tuscany. Jump in the car for five minutes and you’ll be on the shores of Lake Trasimeno. A natural paradise brimming with wildlife and surrounded by sunflowers, corn fields, vineyards and olive groves. There’s plenty of eateries and shops nearby, as well as Umbria’s capital Perugia – an Instagram worthy medley of cobbled alleyways, arched stairways and Gothic houses.

Sami, Greece

Light rays hit the electric blue waters of Melissani Lake

Full of charm and magic, Sami is a beautiful coastal village on the East coast of Kefalonia. The gateway to the mythical island of Ithaka, a ferry ride only takes 40 minutes across the dazzling Ionian Sea. With its awe-inspiring backdrop of mountains and stunning coves, it’s not hard to see why this haven deserves a spot on the must-visit list! The natural wonders of Melissani Lake and Drogarati Cave are both close by, an impressive underground lake and a stunning cave with stalagmites and stalactites over 100 million years old!

Periana, Spain

Church and whitewashed village of Periana in the background

Cobbled streets and winding whitewashed alleyways make Periana an Instagrammers paradise! Vibrant pots of flowers add a splash of colour to the traditional Spanish village – full of more heart and atmosphere than most big cities. Friendly locals frequent the excellent eateries and tapas bars, so be sure to tuck in to some of those little dishes and make the most of the second-to-none company. Nature lovers are in for a treat! Mountain ranges to the north and Lake Vinuela to the south means stunning panoramic views and countless trails to explore. So lace up your walking boots and get ready for a dose of the great outdoors.

Methoni, Greece

14 arched bridge that leads to Methoni Tower

Last, but most certainly not least, is the magnificent Methoni that overlooks the Ionian Sea. A stunning Venetian castle steals the show, and for good reason! One of the largest in the Mediterranean you’ll be amazed at the bridge stone of 14 arches which connects the castle to the shore. A rich fishing village, there’s plenty of places to tuck in and enjoy a leisurely bite to eat or a friendly drink with the locals. Take a stroll and admire the lovely patios and fragrant flowers – Methoni will charm you time and time again.

Emma Mackey

Emma Mackey is a Content Executive at James Villa Holidays.

To say I have an obsession with travel would be an understatement. Adventuring with my...

See all articles by Emma Mackey

See all articles by Emma Mackey


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