- Heart-stirring hideaways, passionate people
- Moonlit cobbles, white sandy beaches
As Ewan McGregor’s character declared in Moulin Rouge, ‘Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!’
Warning: these destinations and their loved-up lodgings can inspire similar spontaneous statements. Play desert-island castaway or book an edifying city break to some of these bewitching places and we can’t promise you won’t fall truly madly deeply for whoever you’re there with.
Italy’s La Serenissima is the ultimate watery maze in which to lose yourselves. One of the most beautiful cities on earth, drift along Venice’s canals by gondola and dart down deserted canalside alleyways; float back in time as you pass Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque architecture admired by so many lovers before. With so many palazzi and piazze to discover, Venezia is a place for early nights and misty mornings spent wandering charming, traffic-free alleys: many consider Venice the romance capital of the world.
Dart between Gothic alleyways and grand avenues living out your own love stories in France’s aphrodisiacal capital. Flirt with old and then new, taste privilege alongside punk, revel in cool as well as chic – Paris lets you move to your own groove. Perenially romantique, the Left Bank has long been the haunt of artists, poets and intellectuals, begging you to sidestep gift shops and hit galleries hand in hand. Be unashamedly touristique too, and climb to the top of Montmartre then hit the tip of the Eiffel Tower.
Having always embraced style, bold design and all things new, the Catalan capital is known for having its finger firmly on the pulse. Pockets of lively bars and restaurants around the Gothic Quarter and El Born ensure this sun-drenched Spanish city stays alive late into the night, as do most of her visitors: eating, drinking and partying. No wonder cava is the drink of choice – this is a Med-side mover and shaker with much to celebrate.
From Sugar Loaf mountain to the world-famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, this sprawling megacity-on-sea specialises in skip-a-beat views. Add to that a glamorous population whose blazing spirit and passion make for anything-but-dull times – dancing, flirting and posing are national pastimes. Caipirinhas, baile funk and bar hopping are all part of this electric ‘carpe diem’ culture, and never in more Technicolor glory than during Carnival, the tail-feathered, heart-racing, soul-uplifting celebration of life’s pleasures.
Floating palm fronds, kingfisher-coloured lagoons, vanilla beaches and cornflower-blue skies, this is escape-from-it-all fantasy-island stuff. The island drips with the sort of greenery you’d expect of somewhere lying just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and its white-sand beaches and azure waters, which swell over the coral reefs that completely encircle the island, have long attracted the newly wedded and husbands- and wives-to-be.
This exclusive Caribbean island may have a French accent and a jet-set fan club, but it’s still as laid-back as its counterparts. More brasseries than beach shacks? Bien sur. Croissants for breakfast? Mais oui… Blue skies, sugar-soft beaches and aquamarine seas? Yeah baby! This is sophisticated honeymoon heaven. Take your partner by the hand and dosey doe to one of the island’s 14 lovely beaches. Those at Marigot and Lorient are the quietest; Gouverneur very private; Saline as pretty as a picture.
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