Europe’s golden time is late summer. Temperatures have settled down, the crowds have dissipated. If it’s true privacy you want though, a private island is the way to go.
The main bedroom at Spitbank Fort near Portsmouth
Tagomago Island, Ibiza: From the part of the Mediterranean that brought the world the Balearic Beat, a beautifully chilled island, just off Ibiza’s east coast. Ronaldo has rented it. So has Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones. This 85-acre outcrop offers a perfect party/privacy solution to a stay on the White Isle; a fully-staffed, modernist villa sleeping 10, with its own lighthouse, swimming pool and helipad.
Ibiza’s clubs are a five minute boat ride away, the idyllic island of Formentera is just half an hour; a yacht can also be added to the mix.
Seven nights from £111,950.00 including staff and catering, flights from the UK and private transfers with Elegant Resorts.
Island Lodge, Sweden: For when you want to get close to nature but not rough it. Guests are given a choice on how they can arrive. Sea kayaking (with a guide) takes about 4 hours but there’s also a speedboat or helicopter option. In the Swedish archipelago, there are just seven tents on this island – but they’re tricked out with every Scandinavian luxury from bed linens to sculptural wood-burning stoves.
The hot tub at Island Lodge in Sweden
Best of all, a floating sauna is set up in the harbour, after which you can plunge into the Baltic while another tent houses a restaurant and chef.
From £4,700pp with Scott Dunn.
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Isola Santa Cristina, Italy: In the Venetian lagoon, 30 minutes from Marco Polo airport by speedboat. Close to Burano, this 9 bedroom villa shares the island with apricot orchards and a vineyard as well as finding room for a yoga studio and swimming pool. Impeccably furnished with little to distract you from the views (go to the oh-so-Venetian altana to spy the spires of neighbouring islands).
Isola Santa Cristina near Venice
Staff include two yoga instructors; this is zen with a sense of Italian abundance; the island aims to be self-sufficient with food; the chef has been known to cook for guests from his own boat.
A week’s rental starts from 25,000 euros with Bellini Travel.
Eilean Shona, Scotland: Richard Branson may own Necker Island but his sister Vanessa has her own private island in Scotland. Eilean Shona lies on Loch Moidart and a former occupant was JM Barrie, writer of Peter Pan. Covering 1,300 acres, there’s a Victorian lodge at its heart but also a collection of cottages. Sleeping over 30 in total, nature takes supremacy here.
The dining room at Eilean Shona
Reached by small boat, there are no cars on Eilean Shona and it doesn’t overflow with mod cons. Instead there’s fishing, swimming and walking on offer. “We have mountains and lochs and boats and tennis and billiards and most of the Western islands of Scotland lying at our feet,” wrote Barrie of Eilean Shona and it’s not that different today.
From £15,000 a week. Eileanshona.com
Spitbank Fort, England: In the 18th century, Martello Towers were built to repel any invasion Napoleon might consider making on Britain’s south coast. Thanks to the granite walls and armour-plating, none of the towers were completed until after the French leader had been dispatched to St Helena.
Arriving at Spitbank Fort
Spitbank Fort, near Portsmouth, has been brought into the 21st century with eight bedrooms, a Laurent Perrier champagne bar, hot tub and fire pit.
From £6,000 a night including boat transfers, all meals with Solent Forts.