February 10, 2011
As Valentine’s Day approaches we take a look at some of the world’s most love-friendly locales, from fairytale city breaks to secluded beaches and safaris…
With its walking-friendly walled centre and sparse desert surroundings, Jaisalmer stands in stark contrast to most hustle and bustle-fuelled Indian cities.
This is real ‘getaway’ India, perfect for the romantically inclined and also great to visit during the winter months when the temperature is comfortably warm but nowhere near the stifling 40+°C of summer.
The golden-hued Jaisalmer Fort and Jain Temples within are the main draws of the city itself, alongside the stillness of the Gadsisar Lake on the outskirts, where a variety of migratory birds are often spotted during the winter.
Perhaps the most romantic fun though lies outside the town. Take a camel safari and don’t miss at least one night camping out by the sand dunes of Sam or (the much quieter, more remote) Khuri for the most incredible sunset experience.
For many of us just the word Caribbean simply screams romantic getaway, and “˜the Spice Isle’ and its sister islands offer some of the finest unspoiled environs in the region.
The island’s forested interior, with more than a handful of amazing waterfalls, is every bit as invigorating as its pristine beaches and translucent waters.
As great as the hugely popular Grand Anse Beach is, there’s more than enough coast to go around and if you’re inclined to do so, it’s not hard to find a secluded spot.
If you’re after a real hideaway with all the beauty of the main island, get yourselves cut-off in Carriacou, its tiny neighbour: 13 stunning square miles of paradise.
Old world charm, chocolatiers, canals and cobbled streets give Bruges an almost fairytale ambience and make it Europe’s real City of Love.
Arrive via the canalised Minnewater (Lake of Love) and its picturesque park and spend some time idly uncovering the attractions beyond the busy main squares.
Stroll amongst some of Europe’s oldest architecture before dipping inside for some artisanal chocolate – and if for some reason that’s not your thing, there’s always the beer.
While there is traffic, Bruges is a city that values older modes of transport above the car. If you’re not up for a cycle, a tour of the town by horse-drawn carriage is the best, most romantic way to see the sights.
If you want to make things extra special and more than just a city break, take a scenic cycle (or river cruise) out to the peaceful, picturesque village of Damme.
If you like idyllic, rustic and rocky, many Greek islands can provide, but for all that easygoing allure with extra seclusion, Amorgos, at the Eastern tip of the Cyclades islands, is the one.
The location for Luc Besson’s film The Big Blue, Amorgos’ beaches and turquoise Aegean waters are more-or-less unrivalled, yet quieter than those of bigger, more well known Greek islands, making them ideal for couples.
The one main ‘tourist’ site and a must-see is the magnificent cliff-side Chosoviotissa Monastery, but on an island dotted with hiking trails and high vantage points, there are more than enough views to satisfy the starry-eyed.
Among the traditional whitewashed buildings are many chapels and if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can even get married in one. Unless you prefer the beach, that is.
If you and your partner are ready for the wild, the Maasai Mara National Reserve, as nature’s unparalleled playground, is just the ticket.
Big Five safaris are definitely an experience best shared and the best viewings are often to be had in the North-Western Mara Triangle. Handily, this part of the reserve is also the quietest, lending your adventure that exclusive edge.
Days in the Mara will always be active, so make night time as relaxing as possible in one of the reserve’s many luxury lodges. Tented exteriors offer that open-air feel while top-drawer comfort awaits you inside.
Be sure to get up extra early at least once though; the all-enveloping oranges of a Mara sunrise are not to be missed. If seen from a hot air balloon the view is so breathtaking that some might find themselves popping the question they didn’t think they were prepared for.