For many of us cruelly denied access to what is commonly known as ‘the high-life’ a holiday villa can provide an annual taste of how the other half live.

Hotels, of course, have their charm, but they are an expensive way to holiday and even the best can feel stilted and impersonal. Not so the holiday villa.

The best of these can offer not just a glimpse of a life that is sexier, prettier and more privileged than yours but direct access to it. For two weeks the space, the views, the style, the pool, and the sheer luxury is all yours.

At Metro Travel we’re huge fans, and we’ve trawled the length and breadth of Europe to pick out our favorites.

1. Beyaz Galeri Ev, Dalyan delta
Sumptuous villa decorated with breath-taking taste, bordering on artistry. Stunning cliffs and massive windows and terraces front and rear to take advantage of the dramatic views.

Cost: From $6,100

2. The Poets House, Dubrovnik

Fabulously well-restored 15th century townhouse plonked right in the middle of a Unesco World Heritage site. Exposed stone, wooden floors, AC and the Adriatic is just 400 yards away. Sleeps five comfortably.

Cost: From 2,900

3. Villa Aurora, Mellieha Malta

Jaw-droppingly gorgeous villa (actually four) kitted-out to the very highest standards. Set at the top of the valley of Santa Maria Estate Aurora has a heated pool and good access to some of the loveliest parts if Malta.

Cost: From $3,075

4. Casa Querce Pula, Southern Sardinia
Close to some of the most tranquil beaches on the island this villa has its own lush grounds set against a gorgeous mountain backdrop. Stunning inside and out and a pool to die for. Sleeps four in two bedrooms.

Cost: From $1,010

5. Villa Colina, Carvoeiro Algarve, Portugal

This gorgeous villa stands in the grounds of the Sesmerias Country Club just outside the family resort of Carvoeiro, about an hour’s drive from Faro airport. It fits up to eight, is handy for shops and bars, and has a great pool.

Cost: From $1,620

Best of the cheapest

Pleneuf Val André la Jeannette, Côtes d'Armor, France

Recently renovated stone and slate cottages in a beautifully peaceful corner of northern France. Close to shops and facilties of the Val-andre resort including riding center, tennis courts and golf course. Sleeps five, beach 1.5km.

Cost: $680

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