Airbnb UK and Europe: The Top Markets for Hidden Holiday Lets in 2021

Brad Jamison | December 13, 2020

2020 has been a rather unpredictable year for Airbnb holiday lets in the UK and Europe. After markets experienced drastic declines in short-term vacation property bookings in late March, many began to see demand steadily climb as summer arrived — a welcomed reversal from what could’ve been a much bleaker season in terms of booking shortages and cancellations. The driving force behind some markets’ emergence? In the face of the pandemic, travelers revisited and revised their travel plans to explore hidden gems closer to home.

But the UK and Europe aren’t out of the woods yet; year-over-year growth has a ways to go before it reaches pre-pandemic levels, let alone eclipses them.

Although a staggering number of markets felt the full force of shutdowns and travel restrictions, we’ve seen just how resilient some markets — and travelers — can be. 

How We Determined the Top UK and European Markets for Short-term Holiday Lets in 2021

Despite substantial challenges this year, several markets emerged as vacation hotspots for 2021 and saw significant holiday rental demand, revenue growth, and reservation spikes — the three criteria we used to determine the UK’s and Europe’s hidden holiday gems:

  • Rental Demand: How often are rentals booked throughout the year? To answer this question, we combine annual occupancy and booked listing growth rates, revealing relative travel demand in each market. The higher the score, the higher the demand.
  • Revenue Growth: Did properties earn more this month than the same month of the previous year? We get the answer by calculating the change in year-over-year RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Rental) for properties that received bookings in the same time period. Higher scores reveal increasing Revenue Per Property.
  • Reservations: This metric is the number of bookings made in November 2019 and November 2020, comparing the percent change between these two months. For this list, we included only markets that had at least 100 reservations in 2019.

These three metrics, when combined, reveal how each of these European destinations outperformed others in their respective markets.

Why 2021’s Best Markets for European and UK Airbnb Properties Stand Out from Previous Years

Travel during the first few months of the pandemic revealed that some of the best places to buy vacation rental property in Europe are no longer just big cities. And while some markets felt travel’s decline more acutely than others, demand didn’t disappear — it shifted. Urbanites across the continent and the UK quickly realized that they could still travel safely by trading flights to other urban areas for more rural, “drive-to” destinations.

People didn’t stop traveling. They changed how and where they traveled.

Before 2020, travelers and vacation property owners and managers in population centers could count on relatively steady bookings throughout the year. Seasonality of course played a role, but not to the degree it has traditionally played in more rural destinations. The pandemic altered these previously predictable travel trends. 

Best Cities for Airbnb in Europe and the UK

Rural markets and mid-size metros gave travelers the freedom (and relative safety) to travel within their country or region in ways they may not have otherwise. These are the top markets they explored.

CityCountryListingsRental DemandRental GrowthYoY % Change New BookingsNew Bookings Nov. IndexTotal
SortavalaRussia18377100189%100277
LakhdenpokhskiyRussia1078294180%95271
District de la Broye-VullySwitzerland718588178%94267
MontrichardFrance647599150%80254
PolperroUnited Kingdom458988130%69246
BronckhorstNetherlands748782142%75245
EmmenNetherlands799589110%58242
Barrow-in-FurnessUnited Kingdom9381100107%57238
MiddlesbroughUnited Kingdom658184135%71236
SensFrance609878113%60235
ElburgNetherlands548510094%50234
VertouFrance589383110%58234
GaillardFrance798985111%59233
North LanarkshireUnited Kingdom1017582137%72230
NewquayUnited Kingdom556939183%44228
CoevordenNetherlands61889093%49228
PuttenNetherlands157948394%50226
SallanchesFrance1267879124%65223
CalstockUnited Kingdom64929666%35222
Landkreis Donau-RiesGermany85868497%51221
ChaumontFrance49967692%49221
LudgvanUnited Kingdom598410067%35219
St Columb MajorUnited Kingdom678282104%55219
CamborneUnited Kingdom45899957%30218
FenlandUnited Kingdom587582110%58216
OoststellingwerfNetherlands71878382%43213
PerranzabuloeUnited Kingdom171888280%42212
AgenFrance153918666%35212
JastarniaPoland988077105%55212
WarminsterUnited Kingdom409910025%13212
North East LincolnshireUnited Kingdom152927870%37208
St GennysUnited Kingdom54868864%34208
TarbesFrance154837687%46205
KonigsbergRussia1585758574%39200
DouaiFrance81967945%24198
LensFrance56948045%24198
HayleUnited Kingdom143938341%21198
South Hams DistrictUnited Kingdom1155808169%36197
HartUnited Kingdom66807775%40197
EpeNetherlands90967645%24196
St JuStUnited Kingdom100888544%23196
Landkreis TuttlingenGermany100827669%37195
LanderneauFrance43899323%12194
Saint-MauriceSwitzerland54788066%35194
North LincolnshireUnited Kingdom112797670%37192
CottbusGermany43918629%16192
Landkreis BautzenGermany197928133%18191
Château-GontierFrance36769929%15191
East LindseyUnited Kingdom651798058%31190

#1 Airbnb Destination: Sortavala, Russia

While Russian rentals across the country didn’t see significant shifts, the country claims the top two spots on our list. Hugging Lake Ladoga’s edges along the Finnish border, Sortavala drew droves of travelers, sparking an impressive increase in both rental demand and revenue growth.

#2 Airbnb Destination: Lakhdenpokhskiy, Russia

Sharing Lake Ladoga’s shores southwest of Sortavala, Lakhdenpokhskiy’s increased demand for holiday lettings solidified that urbanites took advantage of one of northwestern Russia’s more rural areas — a trend that is likely to continue into 2021.

#3 Airbnb Destination: District de la Broye-Vully, Switzerland

Lakeside towns were a major draw for travelers in the past year, with Switzerland’s District de la Broye-Vully rounding out the top three markets. Despite lying only 50km from Bern, its relative rurality was a major attraction.

#4 Airbnb Destination: Montrichard, France

With a population of just more than 3,000, Montrichard is a short drive from urban centers like Paris, Lyon, and Nantes, offering relative remoteness and many accommodation options for its size.

#5 Airbnb Destination: Polperro, UK

Southwest England’s Polperro provided an attractive seaside destination for those looking to escape more populated areas during the pandemic.

Discover your UK or European property’s revenue potential with MarketMinder

The Best Airbnb Destinations in the UK

The data makes one thing clear: the UK’s top markets weren’t concentrated within one region. While many of the top towns could hardly be considered small, several cling to coastlines, and are a stark departure from London, Glasgow, and other urban areas.

What the data may reveal, too, is that those with the ability to work remotely took advantage of shuttered offices, and took their laptops with them to smaller spaces and mid-size metros, blurring the line between holiday and workday.

CityCountryListingsRental DemandRental GrowthYoY % Change New BookingsNew Bookings Nov. IndexTotal
PolperroUnited Kingdom458988130%69246
Barrow-in-FurnessUnited Kingdom9381100107%57238
MiddlesbroughUnited Kingdom658184135%71236
North LanarkshireUnited Kingdom1017582137%72230
NewquayUnited Kingdom556939183%44228
CalstockUnited Kingdom64929666%35222
LudgvanUnited Kingdom598410067%35219
St Columb MajorUnited Kingdom678282104%55219
CamborneUnited Kingdom45899957%30218
FenlandUnited Kingdom587582110%58216

The Best Airbnb Destinations in the Netherlands

The Netherlands’ top destinations each enjoyed year-over-year revenue growth. Much like the UK’s top towns, these Dutch destinations aren’t exactly rural, though they have significantly smaller populations than the largest cities. Bronckhorst, the top Dutch destination, sits roughly equidistant from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Düsseldorf, Germany, making it easily accessible for urbanites craving some space.

CityCountryListingsRental DemandRental GrowthYoY % Change New BookingsNew Bookings Nov. IndexTotal
BronckhorstNetherlands748782142%75245
EmmenNetherlands799589110%58242
ElburgNetherlands548510094%50234
CoevordenNetherlands61889093%49228
PuttenNetherlands157948394%50226
OoststellingwerfNetherlands71878382%43213
EpeNetherlands90967645%24196
SimpelveldNetherlands4197844%2183
NoordenveldNetherlands67908116%9179
BrummenNetherlands479393-15%-8178

The Best Airbnb Destinations in France

Paris may be one of the most-visited cities in the world, but travel trended from Paris to smaller towns within driving distance of the French capital. Each of its top destinations has populations under 40,000 — most of which are significantly under that figure and offer rural escapes surrounded by mountains, winding rivers, and pandemic-friendly socially distancing.

CityCountryListingsRental DemandRental GrowthYoY % Change New BookingsNew Bookings Nov. IndexTotal
MontrichardFrance647599150%80254
SensFrance609878113%60235
VertouFrance589383110%58234
GaillardFrance798985111%59233
SallanchesFrance1267879124%65223
ChaumontFrance49967692%49221
AgenFrance153918666%35212
TarbesFrance154837687%46205
DouaiFrance81967945%24198
LensFrance56948045%24198

The Best Airbnb Destinations in Germany

Unlike the other countries on the list, most of Germany’s top destinations were fairly large urban areas with populations at or above 100,000. Still, these areas can’t be compared to Berlin, Hamburg, or Munich. Many of Germany’s leading markets sit rather close to some of the country’s most-populated cities, aligning with trends in other markets that travelers looked for an escape from huge cities, even if they weren’t all that far.

CityCountryListingsRental DemandRental GrowthYoY % Change New BookingsNew Bookings Nov. IndexTotal
Landkreis Donau-RiesGermany85868497%51221
Landkreis TuttlingenGermany100827669%37195
CottbusGermany43918629%16192
Landkreis BautzenGermany197928133%18191
Landkreis ZwickauGermany98849026%14188
Landkreis OldenburgGermany79808531%16182
Landkreis Mayen-KoblenzGermany286837936%19181
EmdenGermany6090885%3181
DonnersbergkreisGermany50788035%19177
Landkreis Oberspreewald-LausitzGermany112777638%20173

2021’s Top European and UK Airbnb Destinations Will Likely See Continued Growth — and Investment

One thing is clear: travelers and vacation property owners alike have enjoyed the rise in rentals within the UK’s and Europe’s hidden holiday lettings. Property owners and managers have especially welcomed the revenue and reservation reversal from the spring’s plummet.

Those looking to capitalize on this shift in travel trends need clear data to determine if their property has significant revenue-generating potential in 2021 and beyond. MarketMinder’s Market Comparison tool enables users to compare up to four markets side-by-side — perfect for determining which markets offer the most profit potential. Explore bedroom counts, amenities, accommodations, and other must-know metrics to pinpoint earning potential.

To explore specific vacation properties, use Rentalizer, the leading Airbnb calculator, to get lucid data on how much you could be earning. Just enter an address and discover how much revenue that property could bring, and find out if your property is the next hidden gem for travelers across the UK or Europe.

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