Valentine’s day, popping the question, honeymoon. Whatever the romantic occasion, here we’ve selected 10 of the world’s most romantic idylls, perfect for loved-up couples.
A speck on the map off the southern African coast, the Seychelles are an escapist fantasy, with all the luscious coastline and classic paradise features you could want, and then some.
You could spend a day exploring one of the globe’s smallest capital cities, Victoria, try some deep-sea fishing or go mountain biking, but you’ll probably be more tempted to relax on the beach, in front of some astonishing cliff faces, in the mostly brilliant sunshine. However you spend your time, you’ll have one of the world’s most romantic destinations as your backdrop.
Book with Beachcomber (+44 1483 445621, beachcombertours.co.uk)
If you’re looking for a romantic setting where it’s just you, your loved one, and the great outdoors, the secluded islands of the Maldives is it. With fabulous weather almost the whole year round and all the palm trees you could wish for, the tiny coral reef islands are a magical place to kick back and relax with your loved one.
There’s little to see and do, beyond snorkelling to see the exotic underworld of the Indian Ocean, or a trip to one of the many spa resorts, but with evocative sunsets, dazzling waters and sparkling golden sands in such ample supply, you’ll likely never want to leave. For that undisturbed romantic stay, head to one of the thatched roof bungalows of Makunudu (+44 1548 831550, makunudu.com
Greek Island hopping
If you don’t fancy a long haul flight on the back of all that champagne, Greece might just be the answer. The weather is nice all year round but not normally stifling, the coastline is as delightful as any more exotic destination, and there are plenty of sumptuous hotels and idyllic self-catering villas to choose from.
Your best bet is an island stay, but why stop at just the one? Short distances and easy interchanges make an island-hopping honeymoon an attractive and, of course, romantic prospect. Move from the mountains of Crete to the clear seas of Paxos, or go on the trail of Odysseus on Ithaca then wander the wooded greenery of Zakynthos. There are destinations to suit every type of couple, a rich cultural heritage and fantastic scenery to see, not forgetting all the lively tavernas serving copious amounts of Ouzo.
Book with Islands of Greece (+44 845 675 2600, islands-of-greece.co.uk)
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Mexico’s Riviera Maya is home to the country’s most paradisiacal beaches. For boutique pleasures by the sand just a short drive from Playa del Carmen – and light years away from brash Cancún in terms of ambience – is Esencia, probably Mexico’s best hotel. Originally the coastal retreat of an Italian duchess, the 50-acre estate comprises two swimming pools, an organic spa with Mayan-style domed steam rooms and a gourmet restaurant, and looks out on to an empty, two-mile-long beach.
Both guest rooms and cottages are plain and elegant, with native hardwood furnishings, high ceilings, mahogany doors and tall windows with views of tropical vegetation and the sea. The romantic Sal Y Fuego Restaurant serves superlative seafood dishes in a relaxed, but refined, setting.
Stay at Hotel Esencia (+52 984 873 4835, hotelesencia.com)
The Lake District, UK
Head to one of the sleepy villages of the Lake District, check into the Swinside Lodge Hotel – a sweet and stylish lakeside resort in the Newlands Valley – and you’ll be staying amid some of England’s richest natural terrain; moody lakes and lush greenery.
While they might not be as exotic as the Caribbean or the Seychelles, British sunsets are no less magical, and you’ll find it much easier to secure a private viewing spot. Of course, the weather on our fair isle is tenacious, but nestled away in a picturesque country inn with your loved one, there’ll be no need to go outside.
Stay at Swinside Lodge Hotel (+44 17687 72948, swinsidelodge-hotel.co.uk)
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