| Quality Villas

the most surprising destinations on offer | quality villas

If you’re struggling
to decide on a location for your summer holiday this year, fear not, for our
Owners Team Manager Sally is here to help. Sally has worked for Quality Villas
for 15 years and has a wealth of
experience in the travel sector. Her favourite thing about working for Quality
Villas is that the company is essentially selling happiness in the form of
family holidays. She loves that she can spend her time looking at beautiful
properties all over France, Italy and Morocco to determine whether they are a
good addition to our selection.

We asked Sally about her ten favourite places
that she has visited with Quality Villas and why
to help you make that all-important decision of where to spend your holiday
this year. Sally found it too difficult to pick favourites, so decided to list
her ‘top 10 surprises’; places she has visited that delivered so much more than
she was expecting:

1) Bay of Arcachon – I visited Pyla-sur-Mer on 1st April 2011. The temperature that day soared to 30 degrees, and I remember sitting in a restaurant
on the Corniche, gazing out over an azure
sea and golden sandbanks; here in the middle of the Atlantic West coast of
France, the Maldives sprang to mind!

2) St Jean de Luz – having visited wonderful Biarritz with
its imposing buildings and surfer culture, I’d guessed St Jean de Luz would
offer more of the same.  Instead, I found
a quaint town in a large sheltered bay, fringed by golden sands and traditional
Basque architecture, all set against the backdrop of the Pyrenees
mountains.  I’d recommend afternoon tea
in the Grand Hotel, right on the beach.

3) I’ve spent many a happy trip on the Cote d’Azur and the
seafront towns deliver on every promise. 
But head inland, and you will be amazed to find yourself in a beautiful
mountain setting (this is the Pre-Alps after all) with stunning views across to
the Mediterranean.  It still takes my
breath away every time I go.

4) St Tropez – why was I expecting another version of
Cannes?  St Tropez is a charming fishing
village at heart; it’s just that it also
delivers glitz, glamour and wall-to-wall celebs in the summer! If you can take
time in September, go for the Voiles de St Tropez which is a sailing
spectacular; the French equivalent of Cowes Week.

5) Puglia – When I heard I was visiting the Bay of Gallipoli
I was sceptical – a holiday destination? 
I was led along a boardwalk through pine forest, emerging onto a white
sandy beach with a huge bay of turquoise water, the fortifications of the town of
Gallipoli just visible in the distance. In fact, the whole of the Salento
peninsula, south of ‘Trulli land’, was a surprise. Don’t miss early evening tapas
with the locals in the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce.

6) The Amalfi Coast – 
I love a good Hollywood musical,
so I knew what to expect from the Amalfi Coast, and it did not disappoint!  The surprise came after a 2-hour train
journey south to Sapri and the Cilento
Coast. This is a well-kept secret among
Italian politicians and movie stars offering the same stunning scenery, but at
a more sedate pace. Brave the hair-raising drive up to the Jesus statue above
Maratea for a little taste of Rio!

7) Tuscany – how can one province have so many famous places
to see, and each one of them so different! 
Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, not to mention the countryside in between
and all the little wine-producing towns too.

8) Umbria – a colleague and I arrived late one foggy evening
at Castiglione del Lago on Lake Trasimeno where we had to stop overnight.  We found a last minute room in an unassuming hotel
within the fortified walls.  Throwing the
shutters open the next morning, I was quite stunned to see we’d got a front row
view of this beautiful, tranquil lake.  This summed up Umbria for me – tranquillity.

9) Languedoc – It’s the wine!  OK, so I’d heard of Corbieres, Minervois, Fitou, but there are no less than 17
appellations between Nimes and Collioure. 
That’s a lot of wine! 

10) Last but not least is Morocco – I’m sure the colours,
smells and sounds take everybody by surprise on the first visit.  No amount of reading up beforehand can
prepare you for the sheer exuberance of the Medinas and Souks. And the flavours
– nothing beats a fresh, home-made tagine! 
This is long-haul travel… without the long-haul!

If you’re planning a stay in one of our luxury villas in
, France or Italy this summer, bear in mind Sally’s tips for the less
obvious locations that could lead to a holiday of a lifetime! Her tips on each
location will allow you to pick the spot that’s right for you and your family
so that you can enjoy your time away stress-free, with your priorities safely
accounted for. Happy holidays! 

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