Top five places in the world to fall in love
Falling in love can be an exciting experience and wherever you find yourself when it happens, a romantic setting can definitely help point cupid’s arrow in the right direction.
When couples look back on their past history, it is always the places and experiences they shared together that shaped their relationships. Planning a holiday that you are hoping will be romantic can be enormous pressure. We at Escapist Traveller are here to help. Whether it is seclusion or adventure you are after, here are Escapist Traveller’s top five places to throw caution to the wind and fall in love.
Kefalonia was featured in the Hollywood take of Louis de Bernières’ romantic novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It was here that the young Italian officer, Captain Corelli, played by Nicholas Cage, fell in love with the beautiful Greek islander, Pelagia, played by Penelope Cruz, during the German and Italian occupation of Kefalonia in World War Two.
This breathtaking Greek Island of sparkling turquoise sea’s and picturesque villages has only around 32,000 inhabitants, so there are plenty of places for space and privacy to let love blossom.
The best beach on the Island is Myrtos Beach, spectacular, picturesque and enclosed by cliffs this beach has clear, blue water gently lapping against fine, white sand. It is the perfect suntrap and can get very hot but there is a beach bar, sun beds and umbrellas for hire. As Myrtos is in the north of Kefalonia it is set away from the more popular resorts, therefore it is more private and well worth a day trip.
Fiscardo is widely regarded as the most beautiful fishing village on the island. It was left untouched by the devastating Earthquake of 1953, which damaged many of the traditional and Venetian-style buildings of its neighbours. Beyond the rows of dainty fishing boats at Fiscardo Port, the early evening ambience is delightfully set by candle lit restaurants serving freshly caught seafood and local delicacies.
Stroll hand in hand around the many ancient monasteries and churches that pepper the island, or take a boat tour of the underground lakes and caves of Melissani and Drogarati to see incredible limestone formations. With its unique charm and magical vistas, Kefalonia is perfect for a romantic and relaxing escape.
Stay in Fiskardo Cottages a beautifully restored cottages for self-catering, set in terraced gardens with a pool, in a quiet hamlet of northern Kefalonia (sleeping 2-6)
On a west-facing hillside above Kefalonia’s rugged northern coast, the tiny hamlet of Markandonata gets stunning sunset views across fields and woodland onto the deep blue Ionian Sea. Set in pretty Mediterranean planted grounds with a pool, these charming whitewashed cottages have been lovingly to combine traditional local style with tasteful antique furniture and full modern comforts.
After spending the day at a nearby, unspoilt beach, return home for a G&T on your private terrace, then either cook a meal or eat out at one of the many local tavernas.
Fly from London Gatwick direct to Kefalonia with FlyThomasCook.com from £150 return.
Rome’s past inhabitants and alumni include Romeo and Juliet, Casanova and Sophia Loren. Nicknamed the ‘Eternal City’, it is probably the most romantic place on our list; if love doesn’t blossom here, then it likely never will. The city’s beauty, history and Italian cuisine, however, are an unbeatable combination and will ensure that if you don’t fall in love with each other, then at least you will fall in love with the place.
Many of the Italian capital’s sights are close together and can be discovered and enjoyed on foot, which leaves plenty of scope for kisses on moonlit bridges over the River Tiber, where Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck parted on a boat in the classic film ‘Roman Holiday’. Walk around arm-in-arm while admiring the glorious architecture that dominates each part of the city.
When The Coliseum, The Vatican and The Pantheon have all been seen, escape the crowds by wandering down one of the many Medieval lanes leading away from the busy squares around Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona.
It is said that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach and Rome offers some of the best local cuisine in Italy. Tuck into pasta dishes such as tagliatelli with truffle, porcini and pork or share a delicious classic Roman dessert, crostata di ricotta (cheesecake made with ricotta and seasonal fruits). In Rome you will find everything from excellent family-run trattorias and pizza places to hip, upmarket restaurants.
Situated within the exclusive Parioli district near Villa Borghese, Lord Byron, a luxurious five star hotel, is home to Sapori del Lord Byron – a restaurant which provides a wonderful romantic ambiance day or night. It has an elegant Art Deco design that transports guests to a bygone era where the focus is on traditional dishes as well as creative new ones. It has spectacular views and outside dinning where you can watch the sunset over a glass of prosecco.
For other ideas on where to dine under the sunset, try the website www.rooftoprestaurants.com which has excellent suggestions together with photos and addresses of places in Rome.
For the best gelato in Rome, head down to Giolitti via Uffici del Vicario 40, close to the Pantheon and Piazza Montecitorio. The established ice-cream parlour opened back in 1890’s and is still run by descendants of the original founders. It is continuously voted the best gelateria by the locals.
Be sure to visit The Trevi fountain, as throwing a coin into this magnificent stone structure is said to ensure a return visit with a true love.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and set up camp in a refined, private apartment. A grown-up boutique hotel, Crossing Condotti gives you privacy and freedom to do as you please – and it’s right next to the Spanish Steps.
Fly direct to Rome with British Airways from £181 return, www.britishairways.com
W Hotel, Courtyard
New Orleans, USA
A southern American city with balmy, sultry nights and atmospheric jazz, the slow pace of New Orleans will capture the hearts of the most reluctant lover. With a myriad of cultural influences from African to French, ‘let the good times roll’ and enjoy the vibrant, old-school panache of a music-loving city - an exuberating miss-match of flavours and styles.
Bourbon Street is the city’s most famous address in the 80 block French Quarter and is the oldest part of New Orleans. Enjoy the bars and nightlife early on in the evening, as it can get slightly rowdy late into the night.
During the day, walk around the French quarter for a true taste of city life and visit the French market. For something a bit unusual, visit the Voodoo Spiritual temple where offered services include consultations, rituals, potions, tours, and lectures; all under the direction of Priestess Miriam since 1990.
A great place to grab dinner is on a balmy evening cruise on the top deck of the Steamboat Natchez – currently the only operating steamboat in New Orleans. The steamboat will take you on a two-hour tour down the Mississippi River and your evening will include vibrant jazz performances from some of the best local musicians. You can purchase lunch/dinner or simply do the cruise by itself (http://www.steamboatnatchez.com).
Take a cooking class together and learn the basics of Louisiana cooking by trying out The New Orleans School of Cooking (www.neworleansschoolofcooking.com). Located in a renovated molasses warehouse, it was built in the early 1800s and is in the heart of the French Quarter. Creole/Cajun experts teach New Orleans specialities such as Gumbo, Jambalaya and Pralines, seasoning them with history, trivia and tall tales.
New Orleans is universally considered to be the birthplace of Jazz, which is why the city has to be the only place for a Jazz National Historical Park. Drop by the French Market Visitor Centre to inquire about musical events around town. The park provides a setting to share the cultural history of people and places that helped to shape the development and progression of jazz in the musical city. Jazz National Historical Park - http://www.nps.gov/jazz/index.htm
Stay at the W Hotel. The W Hotel’s main selling point, apart from its design a hip beach club in the middle of a city, is the location - you are right in the centre of all the action of The French Quarter. As you stroll down the romantic historic alleyways you will find the entrance to the W hotel in the centre in the Vieux Carre. Refresh with one of the W hotels signature cocktails by the pool or relax in your room people watching from your balcony.
Flights: Fly with Delta Airlines by booking through Expedia.co.uk. Flights from £553 return.
W Hotel www.whotelsneworleans.com, French market, 2 French Market Place - www.frenchmarket.org, Voodoo Spiritual Temple (828 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70116 www.voodoospiritualtemple.org, www.expedia.co.uk
French Polynesia - Bora Bora, Four Seasons Resort
This is a collection of jaw-droopingly beautiful islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. The islands, which include Tahiti, are scattered over an area larger than Europe. One of the area’s claims to fame is that Marlon Brando fell for his Polynesian female lead when making Mutiny on the Bounty here.
For some luxury and self-indulgent pampering, head to the island of Bora Bora or for simple unadulterated seclusion slope off to enjoy the remoteness of the Austral Islands, where you can soak up the sun under a palm tree at the end of the earth and bask in your very own Robinson Crusoe romance.
Bora Bora has some very high standard luxury hotels. Four Seasons Bora Bora is one of the best. Blessed with superb views and based on an outer coral reef that encloses a turquoise lagoon, the hotel has private over-water bungalow with their own plunge pools and a ladder into the lagoon. If you can bear to tear yourself away from the privacy and beauty of your bungalow the hotel has an onsite holistic spa. In particular, it has a treatment specially designed for couples called ‘Kahaia Heaven’ - for sharing with a loved one in one of the double treatment rooms. A skin-smoothing body treatment begins with cleansing, using naturally exfoliating kahaia body scrub, legendary Tahitian black pearl powder and native fragrant vanilla. Once the skin is prepared, an exquisite massage of your choice is given. This experience concludes with a holistic and de-stressing Water and Light express facial.
You can have meals served in your bungalow or you can eat in any of the four on-site gourmet restaurants. Or as special treat, sip champagne and enjoy canapés on a private palm-lined area of the beach as you marvel at the romantic sunset. You will then be escorted down the beach to your private table for two as the candlelight shimmers on the waters of the lagoon. Surrounded by Polynesian flowers, your table is set for a three-course meal specially prepared by the hotel’s executive chef. Your personal server will provide the ultimate dining service, ensuring that this is an once-in-a-lifetime experience, which can be further enhanced with traditional Polynesian music and dancing.
If, after all that, your blissful love-in needs spicing up then arrange a organised close encounter with some of the other island inhabitants, sharks, rays and turtles. Tour guides can take you both out in a motorised canoe for a snorkel trip and picnic.
Flights: book with cheapflights.co.uk for flights from London to Papeeté (capital of the Polynesian islands). Prices from £1,100 return.
The Plitvice Lakes - Croatia
This UNESCO World Heritage site of outstanding natural beauty, just a two hour drive from Zagreb in Croatia, is so beautiful that its seems other-worldly with its 16 crystalline turquoise lakes and myriad luminous waterfalls that will take your breath away. It is surrounded by mountains and forms part of the Dinaric Alps.
In a place so splendid and in touch with nature it’s hard not to find the beauty in each other and let love grow or rekindle. The area is teeming with wild life such as brown bears, wolves, eagles, boars and thousands of wild butterflies - this really is paradise!
The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green or grey. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
There are wooden walkways across the lakes: you walk across the natural pools (created, over thousands of years, by water flowing over chalk and limestone and forming small dams. This creates stunning pools of water which in turn create waterfalls.
The park is stunning at any time of year, be it during winter when it becomes a frozen winter wonderland resembling a scene from Narnia, or in summer when the whole park comes alive in technicolor.
Go off of peak, which is June, July and August, for a quieter time at the lakes and also accommodation is cheaper then as well.
Our suggestion for accommodation is a pine lodge/ranch only 15 minutes drive from the lakes. Here you will have time after sightseeing at the lakes to explore the countryside, whether on foot or on the back of one of the ranch’s horses. Take the opportunity to try different leisure activities including cycling, fishing, canoeing, and exploring the lakes.
The website www.visit-croatia.co.uk/plitvicelakes/ has a lot more information on getting around the lakes, entrance fees and accommodation.
Fly with Easy Jet to Zagreb (capital of Croatia), from £104 return. From Zagreb bus station take one of numerous buses to the lakes.www.easyjet.com
Written by Carly Brook and Frances Leate
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