Chateau Ventenac, France

Searching for a Family Holiday Property in Europe

The worst thing about our nomadic lifestyle is that we don’t get to see our friends and family very often, but this also means that when we do see them, we make the most of our time together. Currently we’re planning a big trip with Andrew’s family for summer 2016 in Europe, so we’ve been searching for the perfect holiday property for a group of 12 people.

Finding a Holiday Property in Europe

A few years ago we took a holiday with all of Andrew’s family in France; his parents rented out the amazing Chateau Ventenac near Carcassonne and we spent most of our time there eating and drinking together on the terrace as a big group. We’re hoping to replicate this kind of holiday next year for Andrew’s mum’s birthday, which meant we had some specific criteria in mind when searching for a suitable property.

Chateau Ventenac, France - Credit: Homeaway.co.uk

The amazing Chateau Ventenac

We were looking for a house big enough to accommodate us all, with six double bedrooms, at least three bathrooms, a large kitchen, outdoor terrace or dining area and a pool. Location-wise, Andrew’s parents wanted somewhere easy to fly to in Europe, ideally near a beach or lake with a village or town close by. We were looking for a ten-day stay during the last week of July and first week of August in 2016.

We used our travel planning skills, villa-booking websites and Airbnb to help Andrew’s parents search for properties in the following countries:

France

We’ve visited France numerous times on short breaks and family holidays, Andrew and I also took our first road trip together through the South of the country. Given that the country is so big and diverse there are still plenty more areas to explore, either in the mountains, countryside or along the coast.

France is probably the easiest and cheapest country to get to from the UK and you can choose whether to fly there, take a ferry or drive through the tunnel.  We looked at possibilities along the Cote d’Azur, as well as colder areas in the North of France, such as Normandy; there were also some good riverside properties along the Dordogne.

Spain

Spain was an obvious choice given that flights there from the UK are cheap and available from London, Bristol and Cardiff, close to where Andrew’s family live. If all goes well, Andrew and I will be living in Madrid next year so Spain would be a really convenient option for us too. Obviously the weather, great beaches, cities and food were also an attraction.

Spanish villa rental - Credit: Homeaway.co.uk

Spanish villa rental – Credit: Homeaway.co.uk

We found most holiday properties in Spain were concentrated along the south and east coast, with the cheapest options in Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca. Properties in Catalonia also caught our eye, as they were within driving distance to Barcelona as well as beaches and the mountains, as well as Lanzarote and Tenerife.

Italy

We’ve been itching to go back to Italy since our trip to Rome in 2012; I still dream about the delicious pizza and gelato, the ancient buildings and beautiful countryside. Again, it’s easy and cheap to fly to the main cities in Italy, particularly Rome, and there are some spectacular lakes and beaches to explore.

Andrew & Amy in Rome

Us in Rome

We looked at homes in popular Tuscany as well as Sicily but we found the best properties to suit our group were near lakes; we also loved the possibility of tagging on a few days on to the beginning or end of the holiday in one of the cities we’ve yet to explore.

Croatia

We’ve heard great things about Croatia and given that Andrew’s parents honeymooned there years ago and both our brothers have recently visited and given rave reviews, we’re keen to visit. We considered some properties near popular Dubrovnik but found the best houses for our group were along the North coast of the country, particularly in scenic Istria.

We’re Going to Italy!

After much discussion, we all decided that Italy was the ideal place for our family holiday. We found a great property in Perugia, which is close to Lake Trasimeno and only two hours from both Florence and Rome. This means that everyone has the option of flying into any of these three airports and spending a couple of days at the beginning or end of the trip exploring a city. We can also take day trips to the lake and we’re just one kilometre away from the local village, which has restaurants and grocery stores.

Villa La Serena via www.laserenaumbria.com

Villa La Serena via www.laserenaumbria.com

The property itself is beautiful, with a pool to cool off in and sunbathe by as well as an outside dining area for the whole family to enjoy long lunches and dinners together. Now all that’s left to do is look forward to an amazing family holiday in Italy!

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