Looking for an affordable yet still incredibly luxurious villa-style getaway? Here are twenty-two of the world’s best places to treat yourself in style all without breaking the bank account in the process. Take a sneak peek.
Cheap Luxury Villa Rentals: Top 22 Places to Find Them Around the World
A quaint little port town in the northern part of the island of Fuerteventura in the Province of Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain, this municipality boasts powdery white sand beaches, spectacular imposing dunes, as well as lots of interesting artistic and historical heritage-- the village was the political center of Fuerteventura from the early 17th to mid-19th century, and had served as the historic seat of the island Colonel, who resided in the stately Casa de los Coroneles, a civil building with a splendid façade overlooked at the corners by crenellated towers. Today, it’s home to the local district town hall (Ayuntamiento) and is a hugely popular beach resort slash tourist enclave. Along with its many architectural attractions, the district also has valuable open spaces, a great eco-system, and was declared to be a Nature Reserve because of its valuable habitat, where indigenous species of flowers grow. It’s a fantastic place for any holiday getaway—small, quiet, relaxing, and full of endless sunshine.
Just less than 90 miles from Guatemala City, in the southwestern Guatemalan Highlands, is this tourist trade center town, which conveniently serves as a base for visitors crossing Lake Atitlan to visit other towns and villages. The town itself, however, offers interesting attractions and activities all on its own. It’s home to Casa Cakchiquel (one of the first hotels on the lake), which according to legend, was a frequent thinking spot for intellectuals such as Ernesto "Che" Guevara and artists like Ingrid Bergman. Built in 1948, the iconic house now serves as the region’s Cultural Center, featuring one of the oldest galleries in Central America, as well as the headquarters for local radio stations like Radio 5 and FM99.1 Panajachel also has plenty of beautiful garden space where visitors can choose to watch monkeys, visit butterfly farms, and go canopying or hiking within nature trails.
A gorgeous fishing village on the Caribbean coast, this historic old town has excellent beaches, beautiful colonial architecture, and is known as one of the safest places in the country— its endless cobblestone streets are always completely walkable and are lined with numerous outdoor cafes, perfect for travelers looking to take a quick break from exploring to enjoy some excellent pastries and to do some people-watching. The village is also a popular port of call for cruise ships.
A terrific spot for any beach vacation, the Alabama Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offers fantastic dining experiences, championship golf courses, fishing charters, dolphin siting cruises, and nature hikes, just to name a few. Plus, with a string of national hotel and motel chains as well as camping and beach houses options to choose from, planning a stress-free, no-hassle, and completely enjoyable vacation stay shouldn’t take anyone more than a quick second. There’s also a superb nightlife scene with everything from rocking roadhouses offering free samples of various musical stylings to entertaining playhouses and local dancing hot spots that are always buzzing with tons of fun things to try.
Snuggled against the Gulf of Mexico in northwest Florida, this popular vacation favorite is lined with stunning white sand beaches, clear green waters, challenging golf courses, and world-famous fishing ports that has earned it the nickname of the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village." The Emerald Coast city was founded in the 1830s as a sleepy fishing town, but today, harbors everything from world-class resorts and rentals to some of the best shopping and dining experiences in the Panhandle area, all while retaining an intimate, friendly atmosphere that makes it a perfect place for Midwestern and Southern families to flock to each summer. Adventure-seekers can also choose to snorkel and scuba dive off the coast or charter a boat to try their luck at some deep-sea fishing. It really is the ultimate peninsula paradise. Plus, the recently opened Northwest Florida Regional Airport makes it easy to reach by plane, train, or automobile. Double bonus.
With a warm subtropical climate and an array of extensive beaches, this coastal tourist favorite attracts an estimated 14 million visitors each year and is all at once a spring break destination, golfing destination, retirement community, and family vacation spot. Mingle with the fishermen of Springmaid Pier, or take in a foot-stomping show at the Carolina Opry. How about cheering on your favorite knight at Medieval Times, then stopping along the boardwalk for some tasty ice cream? There are also plenty of places to shop and dine at, as well as tons of natural and open spaces to explore along the beautiful Grand Strand. Simply said, this one’s got something for all sorts tastes and personalities.
Perfectly located in the San Bernardino National Forest, it’s known as “The Alps of Southern California,” offering numerous recreational activities every season of the entire year. Located nearby are a wide range of slopes that greet ski and snowboard aficionados at places such as Snow Valley, Snow Summit and Mountain High. There’s also the popular Ice Castle ice skating rink in the community of Blue Jay as well as miles and miles of hiking trails surrounding the crystal clear lake—which, by itself, is great to take a nice dip in! Take a tour on the Lake Arrowhead Queen Paddleboat or rent a bicycle for some rigorous but fun mountain biking. The community even boasts its very own private yacht club, 18-hole golf course at the Lake Arrowhead Country Club, and a four-screen movie theater.
Known for its casinos, Junkanoo festival, duty-free shopping, and exotic adventures, this coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean features an endless amount of crystal clear turquoise waters that can not only beguile the senses, but draw visitors in to explore its stunningly vibrant coral reefs. It’s home to the infamous Atlantis vacation resort and also offers loads of options for those seeking outdoor pursuits such as boating, sport fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling-- at sites like the massive Andros Barrier Reef, Thunder ball Grotto (of James Bond fame), and the black-coral gardens off Bimini. It’s the quintessential island paradise, further proving that everything really is “Better in the Bahamas."
As Maryland's only coastal community, the beach serves as this city’s main attraction. Sample some salt water taffy while strolling along the three-mile Boardwalk overlooking the seafront. Attend special concerts, beach bonfires, and kids' activities that occur all throughout the summer season. Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with nearby Assateague Island, a tiny fishing village that’s home to deer and wild ponies-- it's known as the White Marlin Capital of the World.
With gorgeous beaches, a lively boardwalk, plenty of restaurants and nightspots, as well as a boatload of amusement rides that are sure appeal to kids, this one’s got all the elements of a classic seaside resort. Sports enthusiasts will find celebrated golf courses in the surrounding area, as well as sea kayaking and miles of hiking trail options that make this often uncrowded and mild-weathered town a favorite spot for anyone looking to getaway in the off-season.
It serves as the gateway to the Southwest Florida region and is a major tourist destination that’s famous for its deep-sea fishing, golf courses, and the famous white sand beaches and islands that line its Gulf Coast. The city's newly renovated downtown waterfront districts offers a bunch of new restaurants, clubs, shops and galleries that are sure to excite vacationers of all kinds. Attractions such as the winter estates of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, as well as nearby Naples, and the islands of Sanibel and Captiva have also helped boost is popularity amongst travelers.
A sleepy but attractive historic town just north of Maputo in the Jangamo District, the area houses some great low-key colonial architecture and is considered by many to be one of the prettiest towns in Mozambique. It’s situated on a peninsula overlooking a bay-- surrounded by coconut palms and magnificent beaches-- and serves as a springboard to coastal resorts around the Tofo and Barra beaches. It’s great for honeymooners and families alike, offering stunning coastlines on one side and an estuary on the other. Superb diving, snorkeling, watersport and fishing options can also be found, along with PADI centers supplying regular dive trips. The dry winter months, which last each year from April to October, are good times to visit when the temperatures are milder.
A peninsula surrounded by pretty white sand beaches and a smattering array of very attractive islands, this premier Cambodian beach location is part 'beach town' part 'port community' part 'fledgling resort destination' -- all in one. It’s much newer, more urban and cosmopolitan than most provincial cities in the area, often catering to beach-going weekenders from Phnom Penh as well as a steadily increasing number of foreign visitors.
The always warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand provide a laid back, beachy atmosphere that make it the ultimate tropical getaway—the perfect place to unwind by the shoreline, to enjoy some fresh from-the-ocean seafood, and to take in some snorkeling or scuba-diving trips. It’s also got an ample supply of accommodations, including a 5-star resort complex on Sokha Beach, several mid-range places downtown and at the beaches, a few 'upscale' three-star hotels, and dozens of budget guesthouses. And considering the moderate number of annual visitors, the town offers a surprising number and variety of restaurants, bars, and nightlife options. If you’re looking to just slow-down, lay back, and chill-out, this one’s the place for you.
14. Lamu, Kenya
The town boasts an unique quality of immediately standing out when approached from the water—its shopfronts and mosques, faded under the relentless kiss of the salt wind, seem to creep out from behind a forest of dhow masts. There are also a labyrinth of streets within city center paved with donkey-wide alleyways and full of East African natives. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and is arguably the most complete Swahili town in existence today. Residents call it Kiwa Ndeo – the Vain Island – and, to be absolutely fair, the white sandy beaches at Shela give it plenty to be vain about! Lamu Museum (with its prized siwa horns), the two-centuries-old Lamu Fort, and the restored Swahili House Museum are also small but interesting attractions to take notice of.
15. Goa, India
Swaying palms, white sands, and sparkling waters make this town the ultimate favorite for two million annual visitors who all love this tiny but glorious slice of India hugging the country’s western coastline and bounded by the Arabian Sea. It’s a sandy coast perfect for reclining by the sea, where you can watch the sun slip lazily below the horizon all while nestled into a comfy chair at a beach shack and taking in some spicy curry and Kingfisher beer.
In Old Goa, there’s also the beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fine example of baroque architecture, especially during Christmastime when fantastic religious and cultural mash-ups of East and West always occur. Pep up your stay by wandering around vanilla-scented spice plantations, strolling along the bird-filled banks of the state's gentle rivers, poking around centuries-old cathedrals, or venturing out to white-water waterfalls. Nowhere else in India will you find this sort of laid-back languor and irresistibly serene charm. A true paradise for sure.
Long a traditional summer getaway for families, this popular Delaware resort is the perfect place to enjoy that old-fashioned beach vacation you’ve long been dreaming about. Complete with several scenic golf clubs, such as Kings Creek Country Club or Old Landing Golf Course, as well as a nearby amusement park called Funland, it’s one of Delaware's most popular resort towns and has, in recent years, also become favorite amongst gay and lesbian travelers. With tons to see and even more to do, it really is a boardwalk empire.
With over thirty miles of beaches plus a wealth of cultural and historic institutions (14 museums, 20 art galleries, and several famous homes and mansions to be exact!), this totally walkable island is a Gulf of Mexico vacation hot spot. Families can enjoy the plethora of child-friendly attractions, including Moody Gardens. Armchair pilots will love the Lone Star Flight Museum while those with more nautical interests can check out the Texas Seaport Museum. It's super easy to get caught up in all the activities available, but remember: Don't forget to spend some downtime in the sun and on the beach. Trust us, it’s definitely worth it here.
Full of both Bahamian and British flavors, the capital city of the Bahamas boasts miles of spectacular beaches and stretches of vivid coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and diving. Shopping, dining, and sightseeing-- particularly along busy Bay Street—are also a must, Plus, the famed Junkanoo Festival allows vacationers to experience a high-energy parade of spectacularly costumed dancers. James Bond fans can also visit the British Colonial Hotel, which was used as a filming location for two of the Sean Connery-era movies.
This beautiful fishing village is a Nicaraguan gem, a magnet for surfers and sunbathers, and during the nighttime, a beachfront party spot pulsating with endless activities—all thanks to a few popular bars and nightclubs. There are also surf clubs galore, perfect for those hoping to catch a wave, as well as endless opportunities for exploration along the array of toned-and-tanned southern Pacific beaches that always provide splendid sunset views.
The town itself boasts clapboard Victorian houses, a steady influx of young and beautiful international travelers and scenesters, as well as a towering statue of Christ on a neighboring hillside. It’s got all the workings to kick off an amazing adventure in paradise.
20. Ubud, Indonesia
This village cluster is the ideal place to soak up all the ambiance of one of Asia’s top spa destinations, offering everything from distinctly firm massage treatments and acupressure to star reflexology, stretching, and aromatherapy techniques. The island, made famous thanks to the hoopla created by the bestselling “Eat, Pray, Love,” is also the vivacious center of Bali’s arts scene—it’s home to a small treasure trove of museums and galleries and offers a beautiful haven of nearby nature reserves such as Monkey Forest Park, where hundreds of mischievous long-tailed macaques dwell. Don’t miss the valley of tomb cloisters at Gunung Kawi and the array of fine restaurants and cafes lining the shop-filled streets. Plus, there's somewhere to stay for every budget-- no matter what the price, anyone is able to enjoy lodgings that reflect the local Zeitgeist: artful, creative, and totally serene.
21. Denver, CO, US
Get major-city sophistication in an all-American location that also happens to be one of the world’s most natural wonders. It’s already widely known as a hub for snow ski fanatics, thanks to those stunning Rocky Mountains. However, the Colorado capital is also home to four major sports teams, various museums, and a wide array of upscale and hip, boutique hotels, all providing sleek accommodations with attention-to-detail service and luxurious amenities.
Its arts and cultural world has thrived in recent decades and is home to the second largest performing arts structure in the U.S.-- downtown’s Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC)-- which regularly hosts blockbuster Broadway musicals, classical music, dance, drama and so much more. Crowd-pleasing shopping experiences are also available to those looking to splurge a little, while more than 850 miles of paved hiking trails weaving in and around colorful rocks provide nature loves with chances to further explore the area’s various connecting hidden-gem neighborhoods, each with their own dining scene, diverse shopping, and stimulating cultural attractions.
A coastal resort city in southern Vietnam best known for its beautiful sandy beaches, necklace of scenic hills, stunning turquoise bays, and stellar scuba diving areas, the tropical island is a long, curving stretch backed by a cosmopolitan array of promenades, hotels, and seafood restaurants. Plenty of golf courses, water parks, sculpture gardens, fairgrounds, mud baths, and the historic Po Ngar temple complex provide visitors with numerous of interesting things to keep busy with. Adventurous foodies can also sample various local dishes like bun cha ca, a soup made from sailfish and jellyfish.
All in all, it’s a high-rise, high-energy beach resort with a surprisingly cranked up nightlife scene, a series of exciting entertainment complexes such as Vinpearl Land, Tri Nguyen Aquarium, and Hon Tam Resort, as well its very own microclimate: the rains tend to come from October until December so make sure to visit in the right season! Plus, it’s a unique place for Zen tourism, perfect for those wanting to just travel, relax, and find some inner peace of mind.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.