7 one-of-a-kind Airbnbs to add to your European travel list
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Editor’s note: At TPG, we paused travelling to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Local and national governments around the globe are now debating the appropriate levels of isolation and distancing. Before booking that next trip, we recommend you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions. TPG is continuing to publish deals, reviews and general travel news to inform and prepare you for that trip, whether it is next month or next year.
When the world of travel starts to open up again, chances are we’ll be taking our passports to places a little closer to home to start with, rather than on long-haul journeys. So staycations and supporting more local tourism could be the new normal for a while.
The restrictions in place in cities and countries are in constant flux, and crowded city breaks and hotels might not be the most relaxing first choice for when we can freely travel again.
So with that in mind, here are some fun accommodation alternatives that will get you back to nature and introduce you to some smaller, less touristy destinations.
1. Aircraft fuselage in France
This is a must for any AvGeek‘s trip to France. You can hire out an entire plane to yourself. It’s not exactly clear from the pictures what the aircraft is, but according to our keen-eyed Director of Content Nicky Kelvin, it’s a Grumman G-159 Gulfstream 1.
The fuselage of this retired jet can sleep up to four people comfortably and includes some of the original features, such as retro-style airline seating at the dining table. The controls of the aircraft are also in the bathroom, which is situated in the cockpit. Go figure!
Related reading: I spent 3 nights in a vintage 727 in Costa Rica
The kitchen area is even reminiscent of a galley that you’d find on a commercial jet.
It’s worth noting that the plane is actually located in a campsite, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
2. Luxury cave in Santorini
Located on the Greek island of Santorini, which is perhaps one of the most stunning islands in all of the Med, you’ll find Hector Cave House — a former wine cellar turned cave house built into the Caldera Cliff around 250 years ago.
The property is separated into three different dwellings: The Hector Cave House, The Hector Luxury Cave and The Hector Caldera Nest.
Despite being in a cave, the inside still feels light and airy.
Related reading: 11 things I wish I knew before visiting Greece
But with views like this, you will more than likely spend most of your time outside.
Related reading: The best ways to get from London to the Greek Islands
How to get there: Several airlines fly to Santorini (JTR) from all over the U.K. Charter airline TUI flies from various regional airports around the U.K. during the summer months and there are also options with EasyJet and Ryanair. For those with some Avios to burn, British Airways operates a seasonal flight from Heathrow (LHR) until around mid-August. Flights can often be rather expensive at several hundred pounds for a return ticket, so if you can find an award seat snap it up as soon as you can. The best value is 8,500 Avios plus £17.50 as part of BA’s Reward Flight Savers.
3. Igloo in Finland
Staying here is definitely not for the faint-hearted, as temperatures in the igloo stay well below freezing. Guests are provided with sleeping bags but are advised to bring their own thermal wear to prevent waking up missing a couple of toes.
The igloos are large enough to sleep up to four guests. There’s a warm house close by with all the essential facilities like toilets, a shower, a living room and a small kitchen which all guests are free to use.
How to get there: The closest airport is Rovaniemi (RVN), which acts as the gateway to Lapland. There are direct flights from Gatwick (LGW) with Norwegian and EasyJet and also from Manchester (MAN) with EasyJet in the run-up to Christmas.
4. A private island in Norway
Right in the heart of it is this stunning island hideaway where you and your friends and family would be the only inhabitants. It also comes with its own boat to get you to and from the mainland without getting your feet wet.
Guests can enjoy a whole host of activities in the stunning surroundings with one of the most popular being fishing.
Oh, and the sunsets are said to be unforgettable.
How to get there: There are flights to Oslo with Ryanair from cities across the U.K. including Edinburgh (EDI), London (STN) and Manchester (MAN). British Airways also operates a scheduled service from Heathrow (LHR).
5. Futuristic airship in Scotland
A little closer to home, but also in a galaxy far, far away, is this airship-like Airbnb near Drimnin, Scotland — around a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Glasgow (GLA). Once there, you’ll be treated to stunning views across the Sound of Mull.
The inside of the ship is just as spectacular.
The chances of wanting to stray far from this beautifully crafted lodging and its idyllic surrounds are probably quite slim, but for those who do, the towns of Fort William and Glencoe are close by to the north as well as multi-coloured Tobermory across the water on the Isle of Mull.
How to get there: Driving from Glasgow takes around three hours. If you decide to fly, there are scheduled flights from cities up and down the U.K. to Glasgow.
6. Famous cube house in Rotterdam
The owners advise that the Cube can sleep up to six guests, but that it’s probably not suitable for young children or those with mobility issues due to the number of stairs. As an extra little treat, the owners provide famous Dutch stroopwafels — perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
How to get there: Its location close to the heart of Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second-most populous city, means that guests are never short of something to do. Trains run frequently to Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport (AMS) from the nearby Rotterdam Centraal station, making it easy for guests to get to and from the Cube.
Related reading: Coming soon: Direct Eurostar service from Amsterdam to London
7. Hobbit hideaway in Scotland
Step into the mystical realms of Middle Earth and shut out the real world in this award-winning Hobbit Hideaway in Scotland.
Located high up in Scotland a stone’s throw from the Cairngorms National Park, this handcrafted home is really worth a visit. Guests will have the entire home and surrounding space to themselves and are encouraged to make the most of everything it has to offer including a fire pit and BBQ. There’s even a kitchen garden where you can pick your very own fresh fruit and vegetables.
How to get there: Driving from Aberdeen takes around 90 minutes. There are flights from airports all across the U.K. to Aberdeen (ABZ) including scheduled flights from Heathrow (LHR) with British Airways and then from other airports such as Bristol (BRS), Norwich (NWI) and Newcastle with Loganair.
Airbnbs are a great alternative to staying in hotels, especially if you want to relax in a space that feels like home. Sometimes, like these seven, they can be so great that you might not even want to leave at all during your stay!
Note: Due to COVID-19, getting 100% accurate routes is difficult. The routes listed in this article are based on those available at the time of writing.
Featured photo courtesy of Airbnb.