So the mayhem of Valentine’s Day is over but why does romance only have to take place one month a year? Surely romance should happen all year round, especially as travelling can be one of the greatest joys to experience together. Eclectic cities like Paris and Rome are synonymous with love and romance and the beauty found in far flung destinations such as Mauritius and the Maldives are certainly a big attraction, but here are a few more interesting recommendations which might be equally charming to those looking for a romantic getaway in 2016:
Douro Valley, Portual
The Douro Valley is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Offering breath-taking landscapes with its vine covered rolling hillsides this area is certainly becoming an up and coming romantic destination in Portugal, so be sure to visit before it becomes more widely recognised.
Enjoy the fruits of the region with private wine tastings from one of the many local vineyards or join in the grape harvest when you visit the wine growing villages in the area. The historical region offers plenty of culture and history to discover, or simply admire the stunning landscape with a river cruise or bike ride around the wine lands.
To mark its growing popularity, the area has recently seen the opening of the new Six Senses property in the region. Its renovated 19th century manor house opened late summer 2015 offering couples a stunning hideaway from which to enjoy the region but also enjoy the hotel’s excellent gourmet cuisine using fresh locally sourced products, its wine library and organic garden. For a truly indulgent experience, the hotel’s expansive Six Senses spa blends the natural elements of water, stone and wood and Portuguese tradition, featuring locally inspired therapies – some of which are grape and wine based!
When it comes to romantic destinations Italy has to be one of the top choices, however aside from the beautiful cities of Rome or Venice, the charming and idyllic countryside of Tuscany will seduce any couple. One of the most romantic regions in Italy with its beautiful landscapes, medieval castles and of course the rustic cuisine, Tuscany has something for everyone.
Located is Tuscany is of my favourite hotels in Europe, Castiglion Del Bosco - set in the rolling Tuscan hills of the famous Val d’Orcia vineyards region, this beautiful centuries old estate practically oozes romance from every stone! The mesmerising property expertly blends ancient architecture with stylish, chic and contemporary Italian design and the main farmhouse is framed with exposed wooden beams whilst the suites combine warm natural Tuscan colours with uniquely handcrafted pieces by Florentine artists.
Couples can enjoy the estate’s working vineyard, enjoying a range of sports and outdoor activities or excursions, a round of golf or a deluxe spa experience. Aspiring chefs can book themselves onto a course on their world renowned La Canonica Cookery School in the old priest’s house situated in the heart of the Borgo using fresh ingredients from the local gardens before feasting on your creations.
Abu Dhabi, Middle East
The allure of the Middle East continues to appeal as a romantic getaway. With the highest level of luxury accommodation and exceptional service standards it is the ideal destination for the couple who enjoy the finest in travel. Watch the sunset from the country’s highest mountain at Jebel Hafeet, marvel at nature’s finest with its rolling dunes as one of the many activities as you enjoy year round sunshine, fascinating culture and excellent cuisine.
Zaya Nurai Island offers an exciting new concept in the Middle East to nourish the mind, body and soul. Its excellent spa provides a holistic approach to wellness of physical, mental and emotional health is ideal for the couple looking to truly get away from it all and be pampered at the highest levels with its specialised range of treatments. Combined with the beauty and splendour its Maldives-esque white sandy beaches just a convenient seven hour flight away, this is definitely one to watch for 2016!
Diana Cherry is Director of Operations at Oxford Private Travel.