Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Europe’s best seaside houses to rent

Shore leave

Our pick of the best remote seaside houses to rent in Europe 

Our pick of the best remote seaside houses to rent in Europe 

August/September 2016

IRELAND

In 2003, Roland Purcell and his wife, Zoe, upped sticks from Tanzania, where they had created Greystoke Mahale, the remotest of safari lodges, to return to Port Donegal. Their white-washed eco-cottage is a six-hour drive from Dublin. Run on solar power that, thankfully, isn’t up to firing a hairdryer, the house is warmed by wood-burning stoves. It is a place to get away from everyone and everything – walking in the Atlantic spume, swimming in warm rain and searching for migrating basking sharks on cliff-top walks. port-donegal.com; from £65 ($95) per night, with a minimum two-night stay, sleeping six to eight. 

PORTUGAL

Cabanas no Rio feels more lonesome than it is. Located in the Herdade da Comporta, a protected coastal nature reserve in the Alentejo, among umbrella pines, cork trees and beach, it is only an hour from Lisbon. Designed by Manuel Aires Mateus, a Portuguese architect, the property is made up of two fishermen’s cabins with a sparsely modern aesthetic. One houses the bedroom and inside-outside shower, the other the kitchen(ette) and living room. There is electricity, but not much else beyond the kayak moored alongside the private pontoon on the Sado Estuary. cabanasnorio.com; from €200 ($223) per night for two people with a minimum three-night stay. 

ITALY

It takes 25 minutes to walk along a narrow cliff-side path to the ghost village of Zucco Grande on the island of Filicudi, where Belquis Zahir, an architect and granddaughter of the last king of Afghanistan, has painstakingly restored a once-abandoned house. Showers are fed by collected rainwater and electricity powered by the sun and wind. From the terrace, you can lie on a hammock and gaze across the Aeolian Sea towards Stromboli, Salina and Lipari – or scramble through wild herbs to a secret bay below. The design of the house is in tune with the nature around it: bleached wood furniture and curved plaster walls. sopranovillas.com; from €1,600 ($1,780) per week for four.

SCOTLAND

Eilean Shona, a 2.5-mile-long private island a 40-minute boat ride off Scotland’s west coast, provided the inspiration for Neverland in J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”. Here, an abandoned schoolhouse with views of a pewter North Atlantic has been turned into a two-bedroomed celebration of splendid isolation: no electricity or mobile-phone reception, but tongue-and-groove panelling, wood-burning stoves, colourful rugs and pottery put together by Vanessa Branson (sister to Richard). The boat for Eilean Shona leaves from Dorlinn Pier, a three-hour drive from Glasgow. eileanshona.com; from £1,250 ($1,825) a week, sleeping four. 

Readers' comment

Sign in or Create your account to join the discussion.

Srikanth112178 - October 2nd 2016

1250GBP a week for a house with no electricity! What a load of nonsense. Imagine how many homes you could light up in the slums of Dhaka, Mumbai or Lagos with that money instead. People lead impoverished lives and yearn for the luxury of stable electricity and yet somewhere people have enough stupidity and money to pay the annual salary of a slum family to go 'find themselves' on some Caledonian hell hole with no electricity or mobile reception. Here's an idea - forget your dad and miserable life and go buy a Porsche