While the white beaches and sun-bleached water huts of the Maldives are many a honeymooning couple’s paradise, where do you go if you’ve set your heart on discovering somewhere a little bit different for your next escape-for-two?
We’ve scoured the planet for some of the most romantic, untouched, exotic and unusual romantic destinations in the world.
The fairytale ‘chimneys’ of Cappadocia really need to be seen to be believed, and life doesn’t get more romantic than a balloon ride over the region’s jagged landscape – but make sure you take off at sunrise to see the prettiest skies. True romantics will also enjoy climbing up to Uchisar Castle, where you can watch the sun set over the mountains from the top of the area’s tallest fairy chimney. While you’re there, check out Argos, a former monastery that’s been turned into a pretty cave hotel.
Brazil looks set to be one of this year’s hottest destinations as 2014 World Cup fever sweeps the nation. For a breathtaking coastline, hammocks and iced cocktails on tap, head to Paraty, midway between Rio and Sao Paolo and get to know the very sleepy fishing village where the only tourists are hotel guests.
With its colourful spice pyramids, exotic scents, bustling souks, magical lanterns and glorious rose perfumes, Marrakech is one of the most romantic cities on the planet. Get lost and dream away as you explore the medina, but be sure to stop for mint tea or strong coffee, and watch snake charmers in Jemaa al Fna, the central square.
Turn up the romance and relaxation factor and book a week at Swiss-run timeshare resort Hapimag Residence in La Palmeraie. Away from the bustling medina, it boasts a stunning palm-dotted pool. If you can un-superglue yourself from the sunlounger, Hapimag organises a variety of excursions such as visits to the argan co-operatives near Essaouira, as well as the charming seaside medina town itself which is just over two hours away. And you can’t beat the shopping in Marrakech – don’t miss the leather bags, accessories and hand made Moroccan jewellery.
With rum, snowy white sands, azure seas and lush landscapes on tap, it’s little wonder that the magic of St Lucia brings tourists back year after year and this destination always shows up in the Top 10 Romantic Escapes lists!
Thanks to its green forests and the pretty silhouette of the Piton mountains, the island has a real “eco” feel. If you’re an adventurer and want to burn up a lot of calories, climb the 786m Gros Piton, dive, snorkel, zipline and try the island’s unique scuba-snorkel hybrid called Snuba.
Welcome to the perfect place for a kick back and relax escape, with lots of lazy alfresco lunches shaded from clear blue skies in the olive groves. The rugged mountains of this area are perfect for enjoying the company of your better half in peace, although what better way to spice up an evening than a taste of flamenco, the dance of love and passion?
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but adrenaline junkies will love honeymooning in New Zealand’s Queenstown, the birthplace of bungee jumping. But the adventure doesn’t stop there – take your pick from jet boating, Zorbing, paragliding and epic hiking and skiing. When all the activity becomes too much, take a break by enjoying a relaxed meal or a helicopter ride over the Southern Alps. It’s worth visiting the Matakauri Lodge (www.matakauri.co.nz) for a day beautiful views of the Remarkables range and Lake Wakatipu.
Colchagua Valley, Chile
Wine not? Well off the beaten track, but with a buzzing food and wine scene, Chile’s main grape-producing region is two hours south of Santiago. It also happens to be impossibly gorgeous, thanks to the Andes’ jagged and vine-covered hills. Stop to taste world-class wines such as Carménères, Malbecs, Cabernets and Syrahs, or hike, bike and ride horses as you explore colonial towns.