Summer’s fast approaching but if the idea of crowded beaches, tourist-attractions and sticky heat has you breaking out in hives, we’ve got the solution. This crop of quiet Northern Europe retreats is off the beaten track and offers peaceful coves, scenic views and that rarest of luxuries – complete privacy.
VIPP Shelter at Lake Immeln, Sweden
Sleeps 2; POA via VIPP Hotel
Not content with designing kitchen and bathroom modules, manufacturer VIPP has taken its design credentials and applied them to an off-grid shelter in the heart of the Swedish wilderness.
The simple black volume has sliding glass walls that open the dwelling up to its peaceful woodland setting next to Lake Immeln, where you can take to the water – or watch the seasons change.
It’s only available via limited bookings, and guests can stargaze from the comfort of their bed thanks to a large skylight overhead. And of course, you can and enjoy the comforts of home from its specially conceived VIPP kitchen and bathroom.
Black h on the Isle of Skye, Scotland
Sleeps 2; via Holiday Architecture from £975 for a long weekend
Scotland’s known for its unpredictable weather but one thing is certain – the landscape is beautiful. Nowhere is this truer than on the Isle of Skye, and a small cache of architect-designed holiday homes have sprung up in some of the most remarkable of locations along its Jurassic coastline.
The monochrome Black h was designed by Sleat-based practice Dualchas and its boxy, almost undulating form riffs on the landscape. Interiors meanwhile have white walls and concrete floor and were designed by Jason and Sarah Bold. Furnishings and fixtures inside the cabin are made using light oak, echoing the pale hues of the surrounding moors and hillsides.
During summer months, visitors can spy the island’s rich wildlife, including breeding sea eagles, dolphins and deer.
Panorama Glass Lodge in Hvalfjörður, Iceland
Sleeps 2; from €430 per night direct
The Northern Lights may have gone dark but there are still plenty of reasons to explore Iceland’s rugged landscape this summer when the days are marked by endless sunshine. This glass and timber cabin is located in Hvalfjörður, Iceland, just a 30-minute drive from Reykjavík in the west of the country.
Surrounded by fjords and mountains, Panorama Glass Lodge frames views of the dramatic landscape which is especially quiet and off the tourist trail. Glymur, the highest waterfall in Iceland, is a hike away.
Snøhetta’s 7th Room, Swedish Lapland
Sleeps 4; from 15,000 SEK
A charred pine contrasts blonde Nordic timber interiors at Snøhetta’s 7th Room treehouse, part of Lapland’s Tree Hotel. The structure is suspended between towering trees some 10-metres above the ground and has a mirrored base which blends it with the forest.
Up to five guests can stay at the cabin, which has a large living room and two double bedrooms. Beds have been sunk into the floor beneath skylights to frame views of the night sky.
The Black House in Borgarnes, Iceland
Sleeps 4; from $300 per night via BoutiqueHomes
The Black House is named for its moody interiors and the 19th-century-style timber house sits at the base of mount Hafnarfjall on Iceland’s western Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It’s driving distance from Reykjavik and nestles within the silent landscape of fjords and volcanic peaks that mark this stretch of the island’s coastline.
Icelandic designer Rut Káradóttir crafted the A-frame property’s blue-hued interiors, mixing and matching contemporary design pieces with antiques and rustic furnishings.
Arctic Hideaway in Fordypningsrommet, Norway
Sleeps up to 12; from 30,000 NOK per week
The arctic circle probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind for your summer holiday, but hear us out. Fordypningsrommet was designed by TYIN Tegnestue Architects and their mentor Sami Rintala, and its cluster of cabins are embedded in the rocky landscape of the Fleinvær archipelago.
Recharge your creative batteries with a stay at the isolated retreat, which is open to artists and creatives – and those in search of a lightbulb moment. Amenities include a sauna, kitchen house, studio, bathhouse, sleeping houses and a ‘tower for big thoughts’.