When a box of chocolates just won’t do, try one of our top 5 intimate couple’s retreats, filled with breath-taking experiences and landscapes that beg for a little hand holding.
Ringed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the island nation of Mauritius offers long, white stretches of beach and sparkling lagoons perfect for a lovers’ retreat. With fewer than 150,000 British visitors in 2016, the chances of secluded beaches, intimate dining options and tranquil days in the sun are high. For even more privacy, take a day trip to Ile aux Cerfs, an idyllic private island off the east coast, where you can enjoy private dinners on the beach, fantastic snorkelling and powder-soft sand. The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden offers a peaceful setting for a romantic stroll through its lush, scented gardens, while those looking for a more active natural retreat can take a horse or quad bike ride through the forests and valleys of the sprawling former sugar plantation of Le Domaine de l’Etoile. Enjoy a candlelit Franco-Mauritian feast as you dine under the stars on the terrace of Le Chateau de Bel Ombre, one of the finest restaurants on the island.
This stunning string of atolls in the Indian Ocean tops the list as a honeymoon favourite, and deservedly so with a multitude of luxury resorts and activities catering to romantic escapes. With resorts occupying their own islands, couples can enjoy a private slice of paradise. The Adaaran Select Meedhuparu offers a full-day trip on a traditional ‘dhoni’ boat to a private island for a picnic lunch and sunset, complete with champagne, naturally. Embark on a dolphin safari with the Sun Island Resort, dine on sand banks or deserted beaches under the stars or lay back with a private outdoor beach cinema at the Moofushi Resort. The country’s famed stilted water bungalows and villas promise unforgettable accommodation, allowing you to step out of your living room into the surrounding azure waters.
Venice retains its reputation as a city for lovers and its winding network of canals set the scene for a romantic getaway. While a gondola ride is an experience not to be missed, the city offers much more away from its waterways. Wander the quiet streets and piazzas as dawn breaks or take in the pink-streaked skies at sunset. For the best sunset viewings, make your way to the lagoon shore at the Giardini Pubblici in Castello or the park at Sant’Elena and, once the stars come out, dine outdoors on a terrace above the water at Linea d’Ombra in Dorsoduro. Sip on a glass of wine as you take in the Musica a Palazzo, an operatic experience by candlelight that performs to less than 100 people, then hop between backstreet ‘bucari’, intimate eateries serving up standout Italian wine and small eating plates for a culinary experience away from the tourist hordes.
While Santorini often steals the spotlight as Greece’s premier romantic destination, those seeking something equally romantic without the crowds should head to atmospheric Corfu. Find a seat at an outdoor eatery at the Marina Gouvia for spectacular sunsets and harbour-side dining under the stars. Take an evening walk through the historic centre of Corfu’s old town then watch the moon rise from the Old Fortress. Hire a motor boat from St Stephanos Sinion and find your own private cove for the chance to bathe in the warm Mediterranean waters or opt for a secluded hotel nestled among the island’s olive groves for a truly romantic retreat.
This iconic island has long topped the list when thinking of a destination for a romantic getaway. No matter where on Barbados you choose to stay, the palm-fringed beaches which surround the island are consistently voted some of the best in the world. For couples looking for a peaceful retreat, the resort of St James on the platinum coast boasts some of the most spectacular beaches on Barbados.
Treat a loved one to a Romantic Escape
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