6 amazingly relaxing European homes with a story to tell

From castles and country ranches to hunting lodges and windmills, each vacation property has a very special history—offering you the chance to be part of their story for a short break or longer.

1. Your gorgeous getaway in Gozo


Nestled in a peaceful village on the western side of the Maltese island of Gozo, this 300-year-old farmhouse blends historical charm (wooden beams and vaulted stone ceilings) with colorful interiors that include Indian furnishings and plush leather sofas. Sleeping 11, it invites sociable gatherings around its lagoon-shaped outdoor pool with waterfall and fish pond, spacious sun terraces, and an outdoor dining area with barbecue.

See this 18th-century farmhouse >

2. A slice of Spanish history in Mallorca


With some walls dating back more than 800 years and pretty wooden shutters, this 3-bedroom finca, or ranch, takes you back in time while affording all the contemporary touches that make a vacation complete. These include a state-of-the-art kitchen, a gleaming modern fireplace, gym equipment, a sparkling outdoor pool, and a shaded patio with a gas grill.

See this finca with 800 years of history >

3. A picture-perfect Puglian trullo


A fine example of the round stone huts with conical roofs found only in this sun-blessed region of southeastern Italy, this 3-bedroom property offers a contemporary—and luxurious—take on local tradition. Chic, airy interiors include an open-plan living area; outdoors, you’ll find a sparkling pool surrounded by loungers, a barbecue and kitchen area, an olive-shaded dining area, and an alfresco lounge with views over countryside and coast.

See this beautifully restored trullo >

4. Stylish summer or ski base in Germany’s Sauerland


A surprise awaits guests at this half-timbered house built more than 200 years ago. Alongside original features such as ceiling beams and stone hearths, you’ll find chic modern decor, including plump knitted cushions and luxurious throws. With space for up to 26, the one-off property also boasts a sauna, a contemporary kitchen, an outdoor pool, and gardens with quirky touches, including an old carousel horse.

See this 1812 half-timbered home >

5. Canalside chic in Paris


Within a cobbled courtyard surrounded by artists’ studios, this one-of-a-kind loft-apartment puts you in the heart of one of the French capital’s most buzzing districts. Many features date from the building’s industrial past—among them, bare-brick walls, wooden beams, a high vaulted roof, and an open fire with metal chimney. Mixing both open-plan spaces for gatherings and intimate nooks and crannies, the loft sleeps 11.

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6. A riverbank retreat in Holland


It’s hard to believe you’re only 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam’s main station when you roll up at this thatched-roof windmill sleeping six. Mixing warm colors and plush fabrics with rustic elements, including old wooden beams and exposed brickwork, it has an outside dining area with views over archetypal flat Dutch meadows, bikes for exploring the area, and even a river to swim in.

See this windmill-turned-vacation-house >

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