Relaxation comes in many different forms. For some, the best way to empty your head is by lazing on a beach or reclining on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand. Of course, you needn’t hop on a plane to chill: solace can be found on the couch before the TV or with an easy-listening album drifting out the stereo. For many, though, nothing achieves the desired effect quite like a cottage holiday. Quaint, peaceful and charming, a holiday cottage set in the countryside or near the sea represents the ideal opportunity to get away from it all.
Such is the appeal of a cottage holiday that one might instantly assume that the cost involved would be beyond their budget. Admittedly, this can sometimes be the case; but if you know where to look, there’s no reason to break the bank. You'll find a number of beautiful properties set in some of Europe’s most lush and tranquil natural environments - and a proportion of them weigh in at wallet-friendly prices.
Below you will find a brief overview of some of the incredible areas you can find cottages. If you wish to venture beyond the continent, simply use an advanced search to specify cottage - and type in a location!
Cheap cottages in Scotland
If scenery is an integral component of the cottage experience - and it almost always is - then the mountainous highlands of Scotland may well be the place for you. The sweeping yet haunting valleys of Glencoe are a particularly stunning backdrop, as are the peaks that tower over Fort William and Aviemore. The Ivy Cottage in Fort William offers spectacular views of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom, set as it is amongst verdant flora. Further north, you can find cottages near the wonderful Loch Ness, with the city of Inverness nearby - ideal for you to check out the brasseries, restaurants or the shops.
Cheap cottages in Ireland
There’s something distinctly Irish about the concept of a quaint, thatch-roofed cottage; it stands to reason, then, that the island is home to some incredible properties. This is where you’ll find some of the most traditional aspects of the cottage still in abundance, with stone fireplaces and minimalistic settings very much the order of the day. That said, if you require some more modern comforts, you might enjoy the North Kerry cottage, which contains WiFi and a hot tub mixed in among its more traditional touches. For the ultimate in isolation, the Waterfall Cottage in the mountains of County Mayo is a superb option, perched on the banks of a glistening river in the countryside.
Cheap cottages in England
To the outside world, few countries have a reputation as pastoral and rustic as England. Whilst this generalisation is a bit of a cliché, certain areas do fit the bill well. The Cotswolds is, of course, one of the most lauded areas in terms of rural charm, with rolling hills sweeping through the countryside. On the east of the country, the scenic county of Norfolk is another popular location, with cottages dotted along the coastline and throughout the famous Broads. If you do choose to head for the coast, don’t miss the opportunity to sample some much revered Norfolk seafood, found in virtually every restaurant in the region at agreeable prices.
Cheap cottages in France
You may wish to remain within the UK if you’re dead set on keeping the budget down, but you can still enjoy the pleasures of a cheap cottage holiday beyond these shores. A short skip and a jump across the Channel will open the door to a wealth of gorgeous properties around the countryside of France, a nation more than familiar with Arcadian enchantment. The Butterfly Cottage in the beautiful town of Sarlat is a particular favourite, voted amongst the top 10 most romantic properties in Europe for 3 years running, from 2010 to 2012. The medieval surroundings of Sarlat itself also make it a fascinating place to enjoy a break without splashing out too much.
Cheap cottages in Germany
From Brothers Grimm fairytales, and the rich patchwork of the country's local folklore, a magical image of Germany has endured throughout the centuries. You may not find any gingerbread houses in the woods, but the standards of the traditional cottages there are far superior to anything even the noted authors could have dreamt up. Perhaps it will be a timber-wood, 1-storey property on the Mosel, right in the heart of a blissfully tranquil wine region. Or, of course, you could jet off to the wooded wonderland that is Bavaria to enjoy the solitude of your cottage with the option to visit Munich should you desire.