How do I find my fantasy European village rental flat?
July 25, 2022 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I am taking a last-minute month-long sabbatical. In my mind, I spend the month in a flat in a little village where I can walk to a bookshop that sells wine, and take a bike ride to a pasture where there are goats. For practical purposes, it needs to be reachable by train from Poland and not somewhere I will die from the heat wave. How do I find this place?

I know about Airbnb and Booking, of course, but it's a needle in a haystack situation -- especially because so many of those rentals have that awful Ikea lobotomy decor, and as you can tell I am going more for vibes than practicality. Are there any particularly active websites where eccentric art professors sublet their holiday apartments? Do you perhaps personally know of a village that you can recommend? I thought of the approach of cross-referencing names from "10 Cute Tiny European Villages" type articles with google maps searches of goat farms and airbnb availability, but the results are still very haystacky. I would appreciate any help brainstorming!
posted by Pwoink to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I don’t have a specific village, but Denmark consistently has much cooler summer weather than the rest of Europe, even at the same latitude.
posted by gryphonlover at 8:57 AM on July 25, 2022

I got a fairly eccentric room in Paris on Craigslist.
posted by amtho at 9:03 AM on July 25, 2022

... which country do you want to be in?
Last summer we were in the area around Wismar, Germany and that whole corner of the world was pretty lovely - touristy as all get-out but charming. Having a car was useful, though. Similarly Swinoujscie - and parts north are lovely and, I believe train-accessible.
Also yes, Denmark - on the Oresund (north of Copenhagen), basically to be near the Louisiana.
posted by From Bklyn at 9:06 AM on July 25, 2022

Not goats but cows — Zug in Switzerland meets this criteria! Lots of pasture and instant wilderness.

Not quite what you're looking for but; in central London, Stepney Green farm has a cafe with wine and a little herd of goats that I visit every weekend. They just had babies (and lambs!), it's all super sweet.
posted by socky_puppy at 9:08 AM on July 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Not sure about the goats but there are certainly farms, horses and cow pastures around Oberammergau in Bavaria. Famous for the Passion Play they put on every decade. Great little village, with a touch of fantasy in the decor. Plenty of shops and restaurants.

Touristy? Sure, but not crowded, very picturesque. The Alps are nearby but the village lives in a valley that is easily bikeable/walkable. If the town is too big (5,000) then nearby Unterammergau at 1500 people may be for you. Rail access via Munich with a train change at Murnau.
posted by Zedcaster at 9:30 AM on July 25, 2022

For Denmark: Tønder is really lovely, and cheap. Ribe is more established (read: pricier), and more likely to have the bookstore, but both small towns have very good museums and that is a good thing for books (in the museum shops) and meeting people. If you want to be near Louisiana (the amazing museum), it is in Humlebæk, which may formally be a village but has a lot of small town amenities. Another option could be Marstal on Ærø, but I haven't been there for ages, so I don't know about the cultural scene there.
I can't imagine anywhere in Denmark where you won't be able to find wine ;-) But food can be a challenge, which is why I'm not recommending tiny villages.
Heck, I could rent you a little apartment in the very north of Denmark, but I'm worried about the electricity there, and you'd have to go 20 km by bus or train to find (several) bookstores.
posted by mumimor at 9:43 AM on July 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

The Holidays ads in the back of the London Review of Books seem to be aimed at art professors on sabbatical -but I can’t find the ad section on the web.

Just noticed the ad for Sabbatical Homes there, though.
posted by clew at 10:20 AM on July 25, 2022 [6 favorites]

I'm in Willich, Germany right now on a spontaneous Airbnb month-long trip, and it's been fantastic. It's not fairytale-in-the-woods hospitality, but there are absolutely no other tourists right here and the scenery is idyllic as it comes. Also Germany is running a 9€/month all-inclusive transit pass special right now which is been fantastic for jaunts to neighboring towns.
The weather's been averaging 68-72 F here with the exception of the 100° day last week (which we planned for and spent in AC in Amsterdam).
posted by erattacorrige at 10:31 AM on July 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

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