Villa holidays are now an affordable alternative for friends and families

Whatever else they may be cutting back on these days, British families certainly aren’t willing to give up their holidays abroad. The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index for 2011 recorded the highest average spend in the holiday sector in over two years.

A new trend among UK holidaymakers is the growing popularity of villa holidays, and it’s not hard to see why. The relaxed friendly atmosphere, total privacy and freedom to do whatever you like can be irresistible for more independent travellers. A self catering villa holiday often works out cheaper than a hotel catered package of comparable standard, too.

Once the preserve of the rich and famous who sought relaxation in complete privacy, villa holidays are now much more affordable, thanks to travel firms like Villas4You. They offer over great value holidays in 500 villas across 18 destinations, including Spain and Portugal.

Undisturbed relaxation

For many families and groups of friends, staying in a villa affords the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind away from the crowds found in popular resorts.

Many villas also come with their own private pool, allowing you to sunbathe or swim in peace undisturbed by other people’s noisy kids. This also means no more squabbles with fellow hotel guests over reserving poolside deckchairs either.

Wealth of holiday experiences

Mainland Spain is probably the leading villa holiday destination and deservedly so, as Spain villas offer an unrivalled choice of holiday experiences. Whether you prefer a beach holiday in a glitzy resort, an activity holiday set in an idyllic countryside location or a relaxing break in an old fishing village, Spain villa rentals cater for everyone.

With long hot summers and mild winters, southern Spain is a popular year-round villa rental destination for UK holidaymakers. The Costa del Sol boasts the longest sun-soaked coastline in Spain, with glamorous resorts like Marbella and Puerto Banus and a number of excellent golf courses which earned it the nickname of Costa del Golf.

Remote countryside villas in nearby Andalucia offer the ultimate ‘awayfromitall’ break, while those after a more traditional stay may opt for a villa in the beautifully unspoilt scenery of Estepona. With such a great range of locations, a villa holiday in Spain is an unforgettable experience for everyone.

Unrivalled choice of activities

With golden sandy beaches backed by red sandstone cliffs, the Algarve remains a favourite villa holiday destination, and not only for sun-seekers. It is a haven for shoppers, offering everything from large modern shopping malls to more traditional weekly markets.

Those who prefer a more active holidaywill find that villas in Portugal offer access to a variety of leisure activities, from watersports and fishing to world-class golf courses and wine tasting in local vineyards.

With traditional sleepy villages next to bustling towns, an Algarve villa holiday offers the best of both worlds. It’s easy to combine a stay in a quaint hillside village with a visit to the restaurants, bars and clubs on the Albufeira strip, known for its lively entertainment. This makes Portugal an ideal destination for families and groups of different ages and interests.