A cup of tea, a good book, a picture-book cottage window rimmed with flowers, and the promise of a nice long walk—what’s not to like about country vacations? Sure, the theme parks, the cruise ships, the high-paced cities, the rugged adventures are all fun, but are they really that relaxing? Sometimes, even the most adventurous travelers need a rest, and nothing fits the bill like country holiday breaks. Travel + Leisure’s editors and contributors have searched the world for the best rural retreats so vacationers can have the relaxing countryside refuge of their dreams.
Much of the pleasure of holidays spent in the countryside is the landscape itself. Country vacations offer people the chance to, as Cheryl Strayed articulates in her bestselling travel memoir Wild, “put yourself in the way of beauty.” Take a moment to really be somewhere. Press pause.
Imagine an immersive farm stay in Ireland’s County Kerry. Medieval accommodations in Provence, all lavender and glasses of Côtes du Rhône. A log cabin in Oregon’s primeval temperate rainforest. A week of agritourismi (and all the eating that implies) in Tuscany’s sunny, rolling hills. A bungalow among Patagonia’s turquoise lakes and snowcapped mountains. A stone cottage in England’s pastoral Cotswolds region or along the dramatic Cornish coast. A traditional guest house in Japan’s snowy Hokkaido region.
Much of the dream of the idyllic country vacation is vested in the idea of the perfect, cozy country cottage. These accommodations do exist, as bed and breakfasts as well as long- or short-term rental properties. It’s best to first narrow down where you’d like to go (near? far? the mountains? the coast?) and from there determine what kind of service you’d like during your stay. Your preferred destination may limit your lodging options, especially if you are planning to visit a particularly remote location.
Looking for a week of creature comforts set against a beautiful, bucolic backdrop? A weekend in the woods with your friends? A quiet solo retreat to rest and recharge? T+L will help explore the most striking locales and the most comfortable lodging. Check in again for the latest news, reviews, and information.