Chocolate-box towns with half-timbered houses; rolling green hills, fabulous spas and a galaxy of Michelin-starred restaurants. Whether you’re after the great outdoors or a spot of pampering, the Black Forest in Germany delivers. With so much to see and do, flexibility is key and that’s where an airbnb-style holiday cottage comes in. You’ll have the freedom to cater for yourself and come and go as you please. Here’s our pick of the best Black Forest bases, bookable on Culture Trip.

Unavailable for the next 3 months
One of the deepest and largest vales, Murg Valley is a hiker’s and biker’s paradise with trails through dense forest and along the meandering river. This cosy one-bedroom apartment, sleeping two, offers a garden, barbecue, terrace and deckchairs. It’s a natural pick for summer, though skiers visiting in winter won’t be disappointed either as the nearest lift to the slopes is just 2km away.

Architect Thomas Kröger was tasked with designing a ‘glass box in the meadows’ by the owners of Ferienhaus Pool Ostsee Black House in Uckermark.

The area – known as the ‘Tuscany of the north’ – is packed with hills, lakes and woodland and this property sits on the edge of Prenzlauer Forest, with views of the surrounding hills.

Black House Germany

Echoing the silhouette of a barn, Black House makes the most of its natural vistas, with floor-to-ceiling windows across two-thirds of its ground floor, which holds an open-plan living room and kitchen.

The property takes its name from colour palette – a moody contrast to the surrounding greenery. Dark wood finishes combine with concrete floors and black units in the kitchen.

Black House living room
Black House
Meanwhile, colour is injected into the 4-bedroom home via the furniture, such as the purple sofa in front of the large wood-burning stove in the living room.

Black House – sleeping up to eight people – is available to rent via Boutique Homes.

Iconic Fire Island architect Harry Bates designed this 1967 East Hamptons home which has undergone a renovation and expansion that raises the bar on coastal living. It’s being offered for rent as a rustic retreat with a mezzanine office for those looking for a change of scene while working from home.

A converted warehouse in Sydney

3 bedrooms; AUD $1.7m via BresicWhitney
Concrete and steel combine at this Sydney warehouse conversion in the city’s Camperdown neighbourhood. The three-bedroom home was designed by local practice Archer Office and hones an industrial vibe.
A nature lover’s entertainment pad in Illinois
Illinois architect Harry Weese designed this Dekalb woodland hideaway, which has the ultimate 1970s design features – a huge conversation pit.
Photography: Andrew Miller
4 bedrooms; $899,000 via Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty
This 1977 entertainment pad was designed by architect Harry Weese and features a giant conversation pit, two open fireplaces and suspended walkways. It’s located close to cross-country ski trails and has a relatively large plot set with native trees, a swimming pool and access to the nearby golf course and tennis courts.