5 romantic retreats for couples

European getaways where design meets nature

Where better to spend Valentine’s Day than in a secluded cabin or cottage, cuddled up in front of a warm fire? These romantic hideaways offer all the comforts of home, with well-conceived interiors spaces as well as access to some of the best landscapes in northern Europe.

From the wild, windswept islands of a Norwegian archipelago to a Cornish wagon home and Irish country cottage, here are five romantic retreats to hole up in during the year ahead (Just remember to pack your waterproofs and walking boots – and leave the laptop at home.)

Limehouse Cottage in Glenbeigh, County Kerry, Ireland

Photography: Unique Homestays

Up to 2 guests; from £1,295 per week; £995 per short break via Unique Homestays
Set between sea and rolling hills, Limehouse Cottage is a relatively new building inspired by the rustic dwellings that dot the Kerry countryside. It replaces an earlier farmhouse (razed after a rehabilitating fire) and was constructed with local stone, hemp and lime-render in a style that bridges old and new.

Interiors of the cottage have more of a Mediterranean feel, however, thanks to the white-washed plaster walls and wooden tie beams. Floor-to-ceiling window boxes offer space to pause and enjoy the view beyond while benefitting from the cosy wood stove.

Limehouse Cottage, Kerry, Ireland. Photography: Unique Homestays
Photography: Unique Homestays

The cottage is located off the Ring of Kerry, at the top of a long and lush valley on the Iveragh Peninsula. It’s ideal for a long weekend spent disconnected from the digital world, and exploring nature with loved ones. Rossbeigh beach is close by, and the jagged peaks of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks offer refreshing walks with tantalising views over the rural Irish landscape.

Triangle Cabin at Thy National Park in Vangsaa, Denmark

Photography: Urlaubsarchitektur

Sleeps 2; POA via Urlaubsarchitektur/Holiday Architecture

Architecture celebrates the landscape at this Danish cabin home in the Thy National Park – but don’t expect to find rustic interiors. Unflinchingly modern, the house is designed with transparent volumes, clean lines and stone-coloured concrete surfaces that juxtapose the rugged woodland beyond the house, allowing guests to feel as though they’re hovering in a liminal space between past and present, urban and idyll.

The area boasts hiking trails, forest and cycle paths, and a beach which is a stone’s throw from the property and popular with cold water surf enthusiasts. Klitmøller is known as ‘Cold Hawaii’ and boasts some of the best waves in northern Europe. After a day in the water, throw a log on the stove and curl up on the sofa under a blanket.

Inkwell Cottage in Burford, Oxfordshire, UK

Photography: Unique Homestays

Up to 2 guests; from £995 per week, £750 per short break via Unique Homestays
Inkwell Cottage is a cosy corner of the Cotswolds that feels timeless thanks to its historic bones and textural furnishing that are rustic without becoming twee. The honey-coloured stone cottage is surrounded by pretty gardens, and even prettier country views, beyond the village of Burford where its located. Guests can sink into the puffy, green velvet sofa with a good book, or take a long ramble through the fields, followed by a hearty pub lunch.

Sundance cabin in Cornwall, UK

Photography: Unique Homestays

Up to 2 guests; from £995 per week, £750 per short break via Unique Homestays
Located off the beaten track between Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay in Cornwall, Sundance is part greenhouse, part hut. The handbuilt wagon home flirts with outdoor living: a vaulted cabin houses the bedroom and kitchen/living room, flowing onto a glass-enclosed veranda overlooking the gardens. Timber walls are daubed in pea green paint, with a wood stove and king size bedroom opening onto a stepped patio.

The Lodge At Dun Aluinn in Perthshire, Scotland

Photography: BoutiqueHomes

Sleeps up to 8; from £1000 per night via BoutiqueHomes
Scandi-Scottish interiors are on offer at The Lodge in Perthshire, which overlooks the Highland town of Aberfeldy and is part of the Estate of Dun Aluinn. Like the award-winning main house, the lodge has been meticulously refurbished and reimagined as a design lover’s haven that opened to fanfare in July 2021. The cedar-clad cabin has four bedrooms and is a minimalist repost to the baronial architecture of the highlands, with white walls, a striking fireplace and monochrome furniture to be found inside. Guests can follow the footsteps of Scottish poet Robert Burns along the Birks of Aberfeldy waterfall walk, or indulge in a dram of whisky with a trip to local distillery Dewars.

The Vega Island hideaway, Norway

Photography by Åke E:son Lindman

Sleeps 2-7; from €550 per night via Offgrid Hideaways
Stockholm studio Kolman Boye Architects designed this tawny timber cabin on the Norwegian island of Vega as a remote hideaway for connecting with nature. The Vega archipelago is south of the Arctic Circle and is a protected UNESCO site known for its wild eider ducks and dramatic scenery. The cottage recently featured on the Netflix series, The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes, and its gabled silhouette draws on boathouses found along Norway’s coast. Interiors meanwhile are a simple but contemporary update of the classic nordic cabin. There’s no internet or tv at the cabin, so remember to bring a good book. Guest can also enjoy the walking trails from Eidem to Sundsvall, go kayaking or boating.

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