The Eiffel Tower in Paris and gondola rides in Venice are undoubtedly romantic, but there’s more on offer for couples than the usual suspects. Surprise your loved one this year by taking them to one of these hidden gems.
The Isle of Skye is full of hidden wonders that are magical to experience if you and your partner don’t mind trekking.
The Fairy Pools, for instance, seem like something from Celtic folklore: an alcove filled with crystal-clear waters crashing down from the Black Cuillin mountains. If you can brave the cold, diving into these pools is an unforgettable experience, after which you can conquer the nearby Sgùrr nan Gillean mountain and Bruach na Frìthe summit.
Skye is also one of the few places left where you can spot the white-tailed sea eagle, Britain’s largest bird of prey and the fourth biggest eagle in the world. This majestic creature became extinct in Britain in the 1800s, however was gradually reintroduced to West Scotland in the 1980s. Now, boat tours in Skye can get you up close with the sea eagle, dolphins, seals and even whales.
With one-of-a-kind vistas and wildlife to discover, you’d be hard-pressed to find similar experiences elsewhere.
Iceland’s capital offers a number of intimate experiences from dog sledding to viewing the Northern Lights.
The latter are best seen between September and April from Reykjavik’s coast, where light pollution is minimal. While there’s no guarantee of seeing the emerald sky, the chances are greatly improved with a clear weather forecast. Tour companies also offer trips to ‘chase’ the Aurora Borealis and find where they’re best appearing in the region.
The Blue Lagoon is fortunately accessible in most types of weather. This geothermal spa is an hour’s drive from Reykjavik and is rich in salt, algae and silica, which gives the water its distinctive blue colour and white mud. Don’t hesitate to rub this over your skin to exfoliate.
Iceland is full of unique experiences – from whale watching to geysers – that will certainly give couples something to write home about.
As a popular filming location for romantic blockbusters such as Mamma Mia, it shouldn’t be surprising to find a Greek island on this list. From the more northerly islands of Skopelos and Skiathos, which served as the film’s locations, to Kefalonia, which was immortalised by the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, there are many to choose from. However, Santorini stands out from the crowd in more ways than one.
Among the island’s iconic blue domed buildings is the Three Bells of Fira, a Catholic church with a breath-taking view of the West coast and a history that dates back to the 1700s. This visit will give you a great perspective of the island before heading deeper into Firostefani and nearby Oia, Santorini’s two most stunning villages with plenty of rustic monasteries and vistas to discover.
With wine being a top export, Santorini also has many vineyards and wineries open for public tours and tasting sessions, offering rich insight into the island’s centuries-old traditions.
Santorini’s rural culture has truly been preserved through time and is one that you and your loved one can experience any time of year.
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