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sep 30

European Lodging: 3 Cool Options for Fall

Hilltop view of the Sierras Subbéticas (Courtesy Casa Olea)



Planning a trip to Europe? There are countless fantastic places to stay. Here are three places that caught our eye for this fall.

Stylish Spanish Seclusion

A rustic farmhouse has travelers running for the hills.

Córdoba and Granada are less than 60 miles away, but try not to dwell on Casa Olea’s high-profile neighbors. In this pocket of Andalucía, it’s all about the blissful isolation of the Sierra Subbéticas, an untouristed swath of rugged limestone hills and dusty olive groves. British owners Tim and Claire Murray-Walker visited over 50 farmhouses before stumbling on the ruins of this 150-year-old olive farm. Inspired by area villages, the duo turned to local carpenters to restore the six-room guesthouse’s whitewashed walls, exposed beams, and cobblestone floors. They’ve spruced the place up with “green” additions, such as solar panels and a boiler that uses leftovers from a local olive mill to heat the property. But they never let these elements intrude on traditional design: tinajas (earthenware jugs), colored-glass Granadino lights, and a dining-room table made from a trillo, a donkey-drawn threshing board once used to separate wheat from chaff. — Nicholas DeRenzo

Casa Olea

On Carretera CO-7204

Priego de Córdoba

casaolea.com

From $139 for a double, including breakfast


A Room of One’s Own

A legendary British estate opens its doors—and gardens. Virginia Woolf fans, take note.

It’s hard to believe that Priest’s House once served as a simple eat-in kitchen. The 500-year-old house in southern Kent, England, has long been something of a satellite to its glamorous neighbor: Sissinghurst Castle, home to flamboyant novelist (and Virginia Woolf paramour) Vita Sackville-West. In 1967, Sackville-West’s family passed the entire estate to Britain’s National Trust, but it wasn’t until last year that Priest’s House was opened to the public as a holiday cottage. The building is a wonderful example of Elizabethan architecture: original wood beams, glorious windows, a huge central fireplace. Its three bedrooms are designed to reflect the pastoral surroundings, with walls in soft blues, greens, and lavenders, while the Victorian antiques from Lincolnshire and the occasional touch of whimsy (a pear green claw-foot bathtub) keep it all from feeling as stodgy as the Queen’s handbag collection. And then there’s what’s outside. The surrounding landscaped grounds, among the most visited gardens in all of the U.K., close to the public each day at 5 p.m. But renters can take in the yew hedges and rose bushes for as long as they fancy. — Rachel Mosely

Priest’s House

Biddenden Rd., near Cranbrook, Kent

nationaltrustcottages.co.uk

From $1,790 for four nights, sleeps six

Luxury Across the Lagoon

A vineyard inn brings a dose of calm to Venice visitors.

Venice is always beautiful, but with all the art shows, the churches, the crowds, the gondolas, the Carnevale craziness, and the pigeons, it can be as restful as a triple espresso. At the Venissa Ristorante Ostello, you can still absorb the city’s energy—then unplug. The inn is actually located 45 minutes by vaporetto (water taxi) from the bustle of St. Mark’s Square, amid the artichoke fields and pastel villages of Mazzorbo, one of Venice’s 100-plus outlying islands. Opened last year by the prosecco-producing Bisol family in a converted 19th-century walled vineyard, the inn’s six rooms pair antique, hand-painted Venetian armoires with fanciful modern touches like jewel-tone paisley rugs and bathroom mirrors cut in the shape of songbirds. The on-site restaurant keeps it local, too, with seafood from the Adriatic, rare Alpago lamb from Veneto, and organically farmed produce such as sweet peas and wild garlic straight from the hotel’s gardens. — Nicholas DeRenzo

Venissa Ristorante Ostello

Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 3

Mazzorbo

venissa.it

From $85 per double with shared bath


MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL:

Affordable Europe: In Italy, Bargain Lodging

Top Budget Travel Destinations for 2011

World's Best New Boutique Hotels Under $150

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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