A top choice is one of the two charmingly styled, self-contained, four-person Casitas de Luriezo apartments, set within a traditional stone house in the tiny farming hamlet of Luriezo. Isabella Noble.
When well-heeled Barcelonesas want to escape the heat of the city they head north. Vintage Travel has a wide selection of masias such as the four-bedroom Mas dels Avis, near the sleepy hamlet of Vall Llobrega. Vintage Travel also has coastal villas across the Costa Brava. Eddi Fiegel. The Catalans have a talent for understated glamour and elegance. You can see it in their architecture, and that includes some extraordinary homes, such as Villa Gelida.
They also have some exceptional villas inland such as the room San Ferriol with original Tracey Emin and other YBA artworks adorning the walls. Each has its own pool and outdoor dining and sunbathing areas as well as a fully equipped kitchenette in which your butler will make breakfast for you.
An impressive feature of each is the large bathtub set within a basalt stone recess beneath a skylight. Andrea Montgomery. Mallorca Farmhouses specialises in characterful properties that have been revamped just enough to have all the facilities you need for the family without losing the beamed ceilings, tiled floors and other original features. Annie Bennett.
There are four bedrooms — including one with a vaulted stone ceiling on the ground floor. Lovely as the house is inside, guests usually just hang out on the large covered terrace with its outdoor kitchen. Palm, olive and tamarind trees provide plenty of shade in the grounds, where there is a fenced eight-metre pool. Swings, table tennis and a basketball net will help keep the kids amused. The villa is in a peaceful rural location in Ses Mongetes in the west of the island — hire bikes to explore the surrounding countryside.
You can drive to the coast in 10 minutes and take your pick of the string of idyllic coves. The pretty town of Ciutadella is only 5km away and it is less than an hour from the airport. The year-old property has six bedrooms divided between the main farmhouse and an annexe, making it a comfortable choice for two or three families, different generations or a group of friends.
You can drive to Ibiza Town in 15 minutes and there are plenty of beaches only minutes away. Fancy a change from the usual holiday villa? The family-run Finca de Arrieta is a small solar- and wind-powered complex by the sea with a range of stylish accommodation, including cottages and a romantic tower as well as the yurts. It's virtually warm all year round and in part, sites and attractions are open. Schools break up from June-early September, so the locals take the month of August to jet off to one of the Spanish Costas.
It can get a little overcrowded in the south, so if you're looking to escape the crowds then you can either visit one of the major cities, which will be particularly sleepy in August, or you can plan your summer holiday in early June. Summers can be extremely dry, and winters can get very wet, especially to the north of the islands. On the other hand, the cool sea breeze often manages the temperature on the Balearic Islands. Summers are long, and temperatures are usually in the high 20s, so if you don't fancy a scorcher or the blinding crowds, you'll be better off visiting in the spring or autumn.
At present, the population stands at just over 46 million, but each region identifies differently to the next. Universally, the natives speak Spanish, but the Basques, Galicians and Catalans all add their own languages to the mix - which adds to the country's diverse mix of cultures and traditions. Despite any local rivalry though, the Spaniards just want what's best for their country, people and tourism. One of the most important aspects in the country is family.
No celebration is ever complete without an extended gathering; the elderly are well looked after and children spoiled to the core. Most gatherings will take place in restaurants, because on average the food is cheaper, and it saves from the aftermath of cleaning up. On the topic of food, la comida is the biggest meal of the day - often starting at 2pm and finishing after 4pm. One word of advice:don't show up for lunch at Evening shenanigans typically kick off at 10pm, and will start with a paseo stroll , followed by a light dinner of tapas and finished with a couple of drinks at a couple of different bars.
While bar hopping is quite common in Spain, heavy drinking is not. When in Spain, don't forget to leave a friendly tip. Here you have some things to consider before you book your villa holiday.
We ensure every house meets the 10 demands on the ' Oliver's Essential Checklist '. Quality and character nab the top spot when it comes to adding to our portfolio, but great value for money is a close second, with all our villas going through a thorough competitive analysis.
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