Combining creature comforts with a deeper connection to the land, these European farm stays offer the ultimate in rural relaxation.
This former convent is centered on a stone farmhouse in Tuscany’s Chianti hills, just outside the picturesque medieval hill town of San Gimignano. The private estate spans more than 100 hectares, producing extra-virgin olive oil as well as grapes for its own label of oak barrel–aged wines. Both can be enjoyed alongside traditional Tuscan fare at the poolside Il Fienile restaurant. Inside the farmhouse, 25 terra-cotta-floored rooms sport bespoke furnishings by local craftsmen, while a sauna, steam bath, and outdoor pool round out the offerings.
Doubles from US$235.
Natural beauty is found in spades at loch-side Monachyle Mhor, an estate in the Scottish Highlands that’s home to an 18th-century farmhouse where owner Tom Lewis grew up. Lodgings are rustic-contemporary, with two unusual options being a converted 1950s Pilot Panther showman’s wagon and an erstwhile waiting room reclaimed from a small ferry terminal. Expect to see sustainable Scottish seafood and land-based bounty on the menu, including the estate’s own poultry and livestock, vegetables from the kitchen garden, and foraged wood sorrel and chanterelles.
Doubles from US$251.
As early as the 1980s, Crete entrepreneurs Jacob Tsourounakis and George Makrakis sought to revive a ruined 15th-century mountain settlement in the island’s Chania region while reforesting the land and cultivating organic produce. The result is 14 cozy, solar-powered stone houses equipped with wood-burning stoves and decor that recalls a much simpler time. Almost all the ingredients used in Milia’s restaurant are sourced from its farm, where guests can help make the anise-flavored spirit raki in November or join the olive harvest between December and February.
Doubles from US$82.
Le Domaine D’ablon
Guests at this rural haven near the Norman coast bed down in a thatched, half-timbered cottage from the 14th century and two suites inside a converted barn. Aside from creature comforts like Bulgari bath products and king-sized beds, the property is a horticultural wonderland. Almost 80 types of vegetables are grown here, with 12 kinds of basil and six of rosemary in the herb garden, while the orchard yields 40 varieties of apples. Seasonal Normandy recipes are the specialty of resident chef Jérôme Billochon, who will gladly teach guests to cook with fruit and preserve them in lip-smacking confitures.
Suites from US$508.
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2017 print issue of Travel Enzine magazine (“Out to Pasture”).