They felt the rain before they saw it. In the frigid depths of January’s icy embrace. Where the world slumbered in a misty haze, rain drenching their clothes. They gazed forlonly at the stormy gray skies, the clouds swelling triumphantly. Frozen to the bone, as the water painted the canvas of the Earth’s verdant embrace. Despite the melancholy of the gray tones, they felt invigorated. For an idea came to them as if in a dream. 2014, the year of the soulmates. The year where the couple would travel, and expand their horizons. After all, in March they would be celebrating their five year anniversary. Wasn’t it time they went somewhere new? Carrying out the dreams that they had put off so long. Burrowing out of January’s cold spell, to warmer horizons. A balm for hearts wearied by winter’s bite. Washing away the grays, and replacing them with azure blues. Though she was grateful for the droplets that kissed the barren ground, she couldn’t help but wish for something more. Making their way through romantic winter getaways around the world. Where they would dance with ethereal grace, taking their bow on Earth’s majestic stage. Away from the pitter-patter that engulfed their windows hungrily. Away from the 9-5 where rhythm was found. It was time for something new. A travel revolution, from South America, to Asia, unveiling stories of love.
They spent hours compiling their travel wishlist, the scent of eucalyptus lingering in the air. Like a kiss from heaven the ideas came tumbling into their eager minds. Eyes wide open, talking in animated gestures. It was hard to believe they hadn’t been abroad together, but things would soon change. Sure, they had their fair share of staycations. The scent of sea salt and wet pebbles swallowed up by rain in Aldeburgh. Pink Cottages and rustic farms in Devon. Tangled hair mingled with chlorine, seagulls squawking in Margate. The memory flooded their consciousness, a whisper of bliss. Smiles that caressed their cheeks until it hurt. And yet, there was the missing piece. From Sri Lanka, to Tuscany, and Amsterdam, she had plenty of solo trips around the world. But A wanted to share the beauty of travel with the person she loved most. How it would open their minds, immersing them in new cultures. A dopamine rush, nourishing their weary souls. A burst of excitement, where they would find release. For 2024 would be the year where everything changed. Where travel would help them find peace and clarity. Awakening emotions that lay dormant. Hearing nature whisper their name, over and over. It would be a healing journey where they would not only find themselves, but reconnect with each other.
They would recalibrate, injecting spontaneity into their relationship. No routines, minimal planning. It was so against everything that A was. The person who was a self-professed imperfect perfectionist. Who was a planner, and a prepper. Him, who went with the flow, who lived in the moment. Here, they would find release. Letting go wasn’t easy, but in travel the stress would melt away. Lurking in the shadows watching, waiting. In South America they would explore Brazil and Peru. Brazil’s Trancoso, Bahia, where nature and history would interlace. Ancient red cliffs like guardians above golden sands. Where spirits of the past danced with the living. Through quaint squares, where old churches stood proudly. The echoes of prayers that once filled the air. In Peru, a glimpse of the divine in the Sacred Valley. Where time stood still, the magic seeping into their souls. As the sun-kissed mountain peaks met the emerald land. Fields of vibrant quinoa dancing in the gentle breeze. Romance wasn’t dead in South America, and she woild prove it. Dancing into the early hours, romantic winter getaways that caressed their hearts. Clutching their lifeblood in their hands, at the mercy of travel’s infectious bug.
From South America they would find idyllic couple’s retreats in the Carribean. St Lucia, and Puerto Rico, two countries that would taste like sunshine. St. Lucia’s enchanting Soufrière district. Where the steam would rise in its Sulphur Springs, swirling tendrils entwined. A Mars’ like landscape, a stark contrast to the verdant greens and blues of coastal living. Submerged in mud pools, a primal release. The air rich with nature’s secrets, setting the mind at peace. Slathering mud on each other’s heads choking out laughter. Watching it wash away under the vigorous embrace of a nearby waterfall. In Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, it would feel like home. Flip flops on cobblestone streets, marvelling at happy coloured houses. Limoncello yellows and duck egg blues. Sage greens and violet purples. But it would be the Paseo de la Princesa, that would steal their hearts. A 19th century promenade flanked by trees that stretched. Adorned lamposts keeping watch over statues. Raíces’ picture-perfect fountain gushing. It seemed like a fairytale wishlist but the couple couldn’t help but want this to be their reality. Finding romantic winter getaways around the world that would change their lives. Away from the bubble of everything that they knew. Head first into a new adventure, where time ceased to exist.
In Europe, they would travel closer to home. Madeira, her parent’s home country. Bulgaria, a true winter landscape that would have them begging for more. Madeira was one of those rare countries where it could feel like anywhere in the world. The Hawaii of Europe with dramatic coastlines, stunning beaches and sprawling forests. Like Peru with its rolling valleys, Macchu Piccu vs Pico do Arieiro. Funchal with its picturesque orange and white houses, watching tourists clamber into ferries. Here, she would introduce D to her family. Aunties, and Uncles, cousins and friends. Her Dad originally from Riberia Brava, overlooking black sand beaches. Her mum from Curral das Ferias, The Nun’s Valley. Moving to the UK aged 18, and 21 respectively, embracing rolling countryside hills. Bulgaria, blanketed in pristine white. She had never seen that much snow. Hiking boots at the ready at Pirin National Park, gazing at Popovo Lake. But it was Popina Luka Waterfall that would make their jaw drop. Frozen, almost suspended in time. Coming alive again in the warmer months. Where joy would flow in uninterrupted streams. As nature painted a vibrant, breathtaking space.
There would be one more continient that captivated their attention. Africa, home to vast deserts, tropical rain forests, rugged mountains and fertile grasslands. Abundant in mesmerizing flora and fauna, unsurpassed by any other continient. Kenya where romantic winter getaways were made. An animal lover’s fantasy come to life. Gazing at lions with majestic manes. Elephants that stood tall and proud. Wildebeest that traversed its plains during their annual migration. Cheetahs that sped like they were born with wings. Across rolling hills flanked by Mara and Talek Rivers, walking hand in hand. Their cheeks reddened from the sun. In Masai Mara National Park, bathed by a yawning sunset. Purples, and reds merging into golden yellows. Finishing in Morroco, Marrakech a travel lover’s paradise. Smiling as they weaved their way through narrow medieval lanes of the souk. Spilling into antique gardens that bloomed with colour, marvelling at preserved regal designs. But who could forget the street food vendors, Sfringe’s like round glorious doughnuts. Laced with sugar popped into ravenous mouths. A bowl of Harira that soothed the soul. Lentils swirling in tomatoes, chickpeas plunged.
They shook their heads, and came back into the present. A dreary winter’s day, dark at 3.30. Travelling together couldn’t come soon enough. Longing for romantic winter getaways that would leave all their worries and strifes behind. Where happiness frolicked in verdant meadows. Sunshine enveloping them in a comforting hug. On the plane, their whispers would be like the petals kissed by Madeirian valleys. In the airport their laughter would be a chorus of joyous Brazillian tunes. In the taxi, their words would be like poetry. Like verses written in the cobblestoned streets of Puerto Rico. Finding solace in each other’s arms like the emotional embrace of Kenya. Creating their own world, a sanctuary within their travel bubble. Cradling each other with gentleness. But where would they go first? Brazil was calling, the land of vibrant dreams. A country that defined passion, in a mystical, wild embrace. Dancing to the hypnotic beat of Samba’s rhythm. Finally, coming alive. Shaking off the shackles of the 9-5 rat race. Saying goodbye to routine. Going with the flow, letting sunshine take their winter-cracked hands.
Romantic Couple’s Breaks In South America
They would find a verdant paradise in Brazil. From Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco to Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul, where laughter, dance and harmony would resound. Their joy would know no bounds, traversing through Campos do Jordão, São Paulo and Trancoso, Bahia. Feeling the pulse of Brazil’s core steal their soul. A tapestry of colours, where traditions would come alive. As the sun plunged into the skies above and bathed them in gold. Teal blue seas lapped by pristine golden sand beaches. Bustling cities, and quaint islets. When it came to romantic winter getaways, Brazil was the creme de le creme. They would smile from ear to ear, caressing each other’s hands. Hearing the winds whisper their names, underneath jagged cliffs. Watching majestic Dolphins swoop in and out of the water. Seeing the turtles traipse under the waves. Seeing the hikers set up camp, couples, solo travellers, families too. Cities with architecture that seemed too good to be true. Half-timbered buildings like a blast from the past. Flower gardens, breathe in, breathe out.
A had never been Scuba Diving before. She didn’t have the confidence to let go and delve into the underwater world. She loved the idea of it, being at one with a rainbow of sea creatures. An experience that she couldn’t find on land. And yet, imagining travelling to the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha made her rethink her hesitance. Envisioning the golden sunlight that would dapple Sancho Bay (Baía do Sancho). As the ocean breeze would caress their tangled hair. Slipping into scuba diving suits, a real mermaid at last. After all, Sancho was twice voted the best beach on the planet by TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards. Was it any wonder it was one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world? Sea turtles whispering sweet nothings to rays. Dolphins and reef sharks circling warm, clear waters. An aquatic reverie, in silent symphonies of colour and form. Like wisps in the blue, from coral gardens to vibrant fish. Painting a dreamscape beneath cerulean skies. But it wasn’t just Sancho that would steal their future heart. 21 islands and islets waiting to be discovered. Earning a place on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.
How To Get Here:
Guararapes International Airport | Recife: +55 (81) 3322-4188
Augusto Severo International Airport | Natal: +55 (84) 3343-6060
Fernando de Noronha Airport: +55 (81) 3619 0951 | (81) 3619 0950
The nearest international airports to the archipelago are Guararapes International Airport, in Recife, and Augusto Severo International Airport, in Natal. From these two cities, there are daily flights to Fernando de Noronha Airport.
Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul
They would leave the sea behind, stepping into Gramado’s charming city. Falling in love all over again with its flowery streets. Overwhelmed with the hospitality of its friendly and welcoming people. Walking past Bavarian style architecture, the half-timbered buildings glowing with allure. Alpine chalets, and artisan shops begging to be seen. Chocolatiers, the smell of fondue permeating the air. The rich cocoa coating their lips, as they dived in. Watching the tourists entranced by local cafes and restaurants along the streets. But the chocolate would captivate them, going on a special route. Caracol Chocolates, high in the Serra Gaúcha mountains. A chocolate factory, with a tour included, that was fun for adults and children. Marvelling at the history of chocolate stretching back centuries. Gasping at the toy workshop feel of Caracol. Mundo de Chocolate another immersive experience. Gasping at over 2oo pure chocolate confections from Mount Rushmore to Christ the Redeemer. But it was Planalto Chocolate that embodied the spirit of Gramado the most. Learning about the chocolate production process in all its stages. Tempted by the truffles and the coloured bonbons. A’s partner bemused by the chocolate salami with Italian pasta. Flanked by almonds, hazelnuts, and a dark chocolate topping. A never thought of Brazil being chocolatier experts, but her research had shown her she was wrong!
Campos do Jordão, São Paulo
Some would say that you shouldn’t compare. That each country, region, or town was unique, unlike anything else. And yet Campos Jordão was undoubtably Brazil’s answer to Switzerland. Infamous timber framed German and Swiss architecture, juxtaposed with old world ambience. Climate so different than the rest of Brazil, more akin to Europe. They would explore the green rolling hills, walking past Swiss style Chalets. Famed for its winter country houses, and an economy based on tourism. It was easy to see why. A mesmerizing location at the highest elevation in Mantiquwira Mountains. Outdoor sports activities for couples who loved to be active. They would climb mountains, braving the winds. Swapping flip flops for hiking boots, breathing in the pure mountain air. But it was the treetop cable swings that brought flashbacks. Feeling the rush of the wind wrapped up in their hair. In July and August, Brazil’s winter the temperatures would drop below freezing. But in January and February, it was cool, seeing everyone from horseback riders to mountain climbers. Breathing in the same air, feeling the romance enshroud them head to toe. When it came to romantic winter getaways, experiencing true winter in Brazil seemed like a fairytale. And yet in Campos do Jordão, anything was possible.
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport to Campos do Jordão is São Paulo (GRU), which is 118.9 km away. The average journey by bus from São Paulo to Campos do Jordão is about 3-hour long.
Though A lived in the city of London back home, it was the coast where she found the most peace. A part-time mermaid who thrived in nature. Seeking out coastal havens beyond the wildest of imaginations. Sniffing out centuries of secrets, in a meditative trance. Yearning for a safe space, where the lull of the sea coaxed her into tranquillity. Feeling the sand stick to her wriggling toes. D, A’s partner was no different. Born in Plymouth by the sea. No stranger to paddleboarding and cliff jumping. A strong swimmer, and an adventurer growing up. It was strange… in London that side of him stayed hidden. Stuck in the endless cycle of work and play. Comfortability in routine. If anywhere could challenge that way of living it was Trancoso Bahia. Where the sun’s warm embrace would make their cheeks glow with joy. Struck by the beauty of not just the sea, but its simplicity too. A district of Porto Seguro, one of the most charming and sought-after destinations on the Brazilian coast. Where rustic historic houses and clear beaches co-existed in perfect harmony. They were torn by the two. On one hand, there was no denying that the beaches had a mystical allure. What was once a sleepy fishing village, had the right amount of bohemian cool. Beaches like Praia do Espelho, that felt like another world.
They would look into the natural pools, their faces staring back at them. Mirrors of the water, the sea wallowing in turquoise hues. But it was the imposing cliffs like fortresses of the sea that would stand out. White and colourful cliffs flanked by imposing vegetation. Overlooking white sand that danced with coconut trees. She imagined them cracking a coconut together, the milk dribbling into their mouths. She smiled at the thought. Other beaches too that made the cut. Though there were other beaches like Itapororoca and Praia dos Coqueiros, Espelho lived up to its name. On the other hand, The Quadrado of Trancoso was as famous, if not more, than the beaches in the region. The Igreja de São João Batista the emblem of the town. A pristine white front with curved gables. A contrast to the colourful houses, in bright reds, greens and pinks. Quiet during the day, coming alive at night. People from all walks of life sharing food and drink. Chatting, no boundaries to be seen. When it came to romantic winter getways in Brazil, Trancoso wasn’t to be slept on!
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport to Trancoso is Porto Seguro, which is 86 kilometers away. The drive between Trancoso and Porto Seguro takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The couple jumped on a plane, where would they go to next? Peru, the land of legends. Where history, art and culture danced the Marinera, in flirtatious pursuit. The Sacred Valley, a verdant corridor in the Andes, a hidden gem. Gasping at well-preserved Incan ruins, stone terraces, and beautiful natural settings in a photogenic valley. Land of the maize, land of history. Land of the forgotten times, land of the happy. A gateway to Machu Picchu as whispers of the past would reverberate in morning’s golden light. The Colca Canyon watched over by Andean Condors, a sacred bird. A majestic vulture, 4ft. tall, sky guardians since ancient times. Trekking into one of the world’s deepest canyon’s, lost in its rugged beauty. They paused for a moment, took it all in. Peru was a masterpiece. A pilgrimage for the lover’s soul. Finding profound peace in the joyful silence of its eternal magic. Where the secrets of the past cradled you in its timeless folds.
She imagined them both, in their winter hiking finest. Her in the brightest of pink hiking boots, and a matching rain jacket. A long sleeved thermal fuschia top tucked into thick raspberry pink trousers. A knitted pom pom hat in Barbie pink, a stark contrast to his neutral blacks and greys. They would book to visit in November, away from the tourist crowds. Rainy, sure, but just as beautiful. Average temperatures ranging from 12°C (54°F) to 23°C (73°F). Though it might have seemed strange to swap one rainy country for another, in The Sacred Valley it would feel different. A natural wonderland that was once the heart of the Incan empire. Marvelling at farmlands that cascaded the slopes, terraces sloping across green hills. Where farmers even today followed ancient agricultural practices. They would take stock and breathe in the tranquillity. Letting the aura of peace wash over them. Stretching between Cusco and Machu Picchu, carved by Urumbamba River. A picture-perfect postcard splattered with rain. A pair of history enthusiasts, there was so much to see and do.
The Ollantaytambo Ruins were a majestic highlight. Whispering tales of an empire long gone. Ruins of grandeur, storytellers of old. A former Inca administrative centre, two hours’ drive from Cusco. The imagination ran wild. Envisioning themselves wandering around the agricultural terraces. Marvelling at the old storehouses that they could see from the ruins. The Temple of the Sun standing on the top. They could hardly believe that the large stones came from the quarry on the other side of the quarry. How did the Inca people move stones without the help of animals or a wheel? Pisaic Ruins another historic moment. Hiking up from town, seeing the icon fortress like stone warriors. A lookout post, that could be armed to defend the one road that led to the top, and the rest of the city. But the most striking building? The temple with smooth stonework that almost seemed modern. But it was Moray that would steal their breath. The sun slipping into sunset, colours oozing like an egg yolk. Framed in a purplish, yellow light that at first glance seemed like an amphitheatre. But could it be an agricultural laboratory? Each level of the terrace with a different microclimate, orientated towards the sun. Peru was spellbinding, home to romantic winter getaways that never ceased to surprise. Spiritual and cultural, immersed in an ancient world.
How to Get There:
The nearest airport is Cusco. Most people get here by way of an organized tour. However, you can grab one of PeruRail´s trains from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and then hire a taxi or collectivo to take you around the Valley. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi from Cusco.
The Colca Canyon
They watched the Condors soar, their wings almost touching the sun. Soaring across the rugged Colca Canyon, as though carved by hand. Gazing at walls of russet browns and reds, the second deepest canyon in the world. Imagining it bathed in silver moonlight, playing with light and shadows. A crimson deep ablaze in its celestial dance. The skies littered with constellations that twinkled conspiratorially. But the golden light would be the most magical. Guiding couple’s footsteps to unlock its hidden might. A and D, golden light illuminating their smiles. It was like a planetary odyssey that captured their enigmatic wonder. A tribute to the rugged, and rustic verdant landscape Peru was known for. A half-day journey would be taken from the city of Arequipa, the Misti Volcano in the background. Gallivanting across cobbled streets where history spoke sweet nothings. Through the Plaza de Armas, where time stood still. Waving goodbye to statuesque Cathedral spires, graceful and tall. There was no rain, despite it being rainy season. A warm sunny November day, past misty mountains that touched the desert sands.
For The Colca Canyon was not the most obvious choice for romantic winter getaways around the world. And yet, its charm was clear. Marvelling at over 4,000 metres from top to bottom at its deepest part. Gasping at the scenery changes along the trek. Ancient, terraced farmlands in Yanque and Chivay, with friendly villagers. Sibayo, the stone village where you would step back in time. Intangible, indescribable Peruvian magic that lured couples into its lair. But it was the Condor Viewpoint that stole their heart. In the still of morning, a large family of Andean condors nesting by the rocky outcrop. Gliding on thermal air currents that rose from the canyon, a breathtaking sight. They would close their eyes, relishing the moment. Holding each other as they witnessed something beyond their imagination. The Mirador (lookout) de San Miguel another highlight. Taking in the majestic mountain range, with views over Cabanaconde. They smiled bemused at the villages resembling specks of white dust, that clung to its rustic terrain and the canyon below. The descent to the Colca Canyon beginning here, casting a spell.
How To Get Here:
Colca Canyon is approximately a four-hour drive outside of the city of Arequipa. The most common way to visit is via a tour as it includes transportation there and back. Most tours will be a single day whereas guided treks can last anything from 2 days to 4 depending on the type of tour you book with.
Idyllic Couple’s Retreats In The Caribbean
They would come alive in the Caribbean. Lost in the shores of golden sand, where azure skies met turquoise sea. As palm trees swayed, their silhouettes casting shadows. Bathing the couple in a tropical dopamine rush. Their limbs loosening, their mind coaxed into tranquillity. It seemed like people were happier here. Their smiles illuminating their glowing skin, laughter that reverberated. The energy would be infectious. The Saint Lucia Carnival in July, a riotous explosion of colour, culture, and creativity. Street parties, boat rides and concerts. A parade that brought joy. And yet in February, escaping the UK’s bitter cold never felt more poetic. In Castries, a market with local fruit and vegetables that made their hearts sing. Star Fruit and Pomegranate. Dasheen and Breadfruit. Bellies full, wandering into Sulphur Springs. Bathed in mud, in the famous black water pool. Puerto Rico another gorgeous Caribbean island. Snorkelling in the Tres Palmas Nature Reserve, with yellowtail fish. Whale watching at Punta Higuera Lighthouse, surfing at Domes Beach. Old San Juan a stark contrast. Cobblestone streets and colourful homes, interior courtyards that sparkled. One thing was for sure, romantic winter getaways were a ‘plenty in The Caribbean.
There was something provocative about rum. A spirit that sailed through the waves where legends were sown. Born of sugarcane’s fertile Earth, embraced by eager hands. With amber wings that danced on their tongues. Flaming sensuous desire, notes of caramel, vanilla and oak. Castries in St Lucia embodied the romantic spirit of rum. With each sip, liquid serotonin gliding through their veins. They would visit St.Lucia Distillers for a behind the scenes tour and tasting. Learning how sugarcane is turned into rum from the local tour guide. Tasting over 25 rums, white rum on their tongues. Flavoured banana and coconut rum creams, invigorating their senses. Hand in hand, in embroidered matching sandals, floppy straw hats on their heads. Shorts and a cami top, letting the sun wash over them, enjoying views of Marigot Bay.
But it was the Castries Market that would spark their imagination. As they raised their glass to the St.Lucia’s winter sun. Sweet nectar dribbling down their throats. Amidst the bustling streets, they felt the spirits of ancestors watching them. The aromas of spices filling the air, stalls brimming with vibrant treasures. Small green bananas and nutmeg still in its mace fruit. Rows of chocolate dark and milk. West Indian produce and Creole cooking techniques. A touch of French flair, some British imports. A pinch of African and Indian spice. From market to plate, they imagined recreating St Lucian classics. A veganized version of Saltfish and Green Figs with marinated Palm of Hearts. Callaloo Soup drenched in garlic, potato and okra floating. Fried breadfruit chips glistening with scotch bonnet pepper sauce. For St. Lucia’s Castries was a city where souls met from far and wide. A bustling market, a rum extraordinaire. A sunny retreat away from the cold dreary days. Warm even in February, a beacon of beauty, a poet’s sweet refrain. Sure, St. Lucia was known for its beaches like Vigie Beach and La Toc beach. But what better way to have romantic winter getaways in St.Lucia than in its kaleidoscopic city?
How To Get Here:
Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in Vieux Fort is located 40 miles south of Castries, the capital city. George F.L. Charles Airport is an inter-island airport just outside Castries.
There was no other way to soak up the winter sun than in Sulphur Springs. A drive-in volcano, with mud baths that attracted people from around the world. Last erupting in the 1700’s, now considered to be a dormant volcano. They wandered around the lunar-like landscape, the scent of sulphur oozing from the fumaroles. Gasping at the hot springs with giggling tourists, bubbling mud pools and steam vents. They sank into bubbling mud, channelling their Inner Shrek. At the famous Black Water Pool, known for its healing properties. An earthly elixir in hues of Earthen brown, inviting their weary bodies to drown. It was a far cry from the whites, blues, and greens that St Lucia was known for. And yet, for the couple, it was perfect. A hidden sanctuary where they surrendered to the power of the Volcano. Laughing as they threw mud at each other with reckless abandon. Feeling the minerals detoxify their senses, lapping up tranquillity. But it was the warm clear waters of the Pool of Love, that reminded them of their mission. Searching for the most romantic winter getaways in the world. That were quirky, colourful, and always unique. Their bath was over, but the experience still had some surprises up its sleeve! Taken to a 50ft tall waterfall, for a natural rainforest bath. Cascading into a pool in the centre of a landscaped garden. They floated, gravitating towards each other. The water like liquid silk caressing their tired bodies. Losing track of time, the enchantment washing away life’s endless chase.
How To Get Here:
Sulphur Springs Park is a 5-minute drive, or a 30-minute scenic uphill walk, from the centre of Soufrière on St. Lucia’s southwest coast.
Tres Palmas Marine Reserve
It was no secret that A and D wanted to open their own animal rescue sanctuary. Guiding stray cats on the beaches into their home. Scooping up chickens from abandoned farms. Dogs that frequented supermarkets. Rabbits begging for their own outdoor home. Their love for animals was a combined passion. Ana, a long-term vegetarian, animal rights advocate and rescuer of three cat babies. D, a fellow cat parent and part-time vegetarian. So, it should come as no surprise that nature, wildlife and animals featured highly on their romantic winter getaways itinerary. Tres Palmas Marine Reserve high on their list. As the sun kissed the horizon’s edge, caressing shadows in twilight’s embrace. They would take a long sunset walk, watching the sky deepen into a purplish orange. The in-between, where the ethereal glow spread its celestial wings. Staving off darkness, stealing kisses in the shadows of night. They watched the sun go down. The last snorkellers slipping into the waves. Imagining what they would be seeing. Knowing this would be them the next day. Dawn broke, and the sun spilt like a freshly cracked yolk. It didn’t feel like winter, the 30-degree sun embalming them in redness. But in Puerto Rico, January was the ‘best month’. 21 to 28 degrees of pure bliss, wondering what marine life they would see.
It would be her first-time snorkelling, the waves surprisingly calm. Combing the coral reefs, yellowtail fish playing peekaboo. Hawksbill turtles munching on sponges from the reefs surface. Spiny Lobsters crawling on the sea floor. If they were here in May, they would witness the hatching of sea turtle eggs. Watching the babies hurtle towards the seas in a race against time. But even in January, a couple’s romantic journey was poetic. Watching Humpback whales at Punta Higuera Lighthouse, migrating through the Mona passage. Surfing at the world-renowned Domes Beach. Mountain Biking on a gentle trail across Tres Palmas Marine Reserve/Steps Beach. One thing was for certain, Tres Palmas Nature Reserve encapsulated the free spiritedness of Puerto Rico. Colourful and exuberant yet tranquil and meditative. A place to think, to connect with your loved ones. Seamlessly blending luxurious experiences with exotic landscapes and plenty of culture.
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport to Palmas del Mar is Roosevelts Roads (NRR). However, you could catch a taxi from San Juan to Palmas del Mar with Puerto Rico Taxi.
Old San Juan
They felt time stand still. As the sun cast a golden shadow over their reddened faces. The trees rustling in the evening breeze. In every corner, a piece of history unfolding, a poet’s refuge, where inspiration knew no bounds. The oldest settlement in Puerto Rico, a National Historic Landmark District. But it was the historical 15th and 16th century buildings that caught their attention. The duck egg blue La Fortaleza, serving as the governor’s residence since 1544. The City Walls built between the 16th and 20th centuries to protect the city and the Bay of San Juan, a highly strategic point in the Caribbean. The Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) defending San Juan from seaborne enemies. Was it any wonder that so many San Juan buildings had made it into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list? For the sentinels of the past lent a certain kind of romance. Where history buffs came to feast upon the majestic forts that guarded the city’s heart. Yet modern touches were just as sentimental. They would stroll along the colourful Calle del Cristo, drenched in vintage sepia tones. Sipping coffee at Botello Gallery, gasping at Angel Botello’s indescribable talent. Etching out representations of the human figure, placed on eggshell painted walls. But even the building had charm. A 350-year-old structure in rust mauve and forest green.
For romantic winter getaways had a special place in Old San Juan. A couple at the Pigeon Park, channelling their inner parent. Feeding grey iridescent birds in the palm of their sun-warmed hands. Cloaked in the shade of ancient trees. They walked in the step of poets and dreamers that had got lost and stayed. Into Plaza de Armas, a fountain with four marble statues. Representing ‘The Four Seasons’, Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Through the Paseo de la Princesa, one of the most scenic city walkways in the world. Watching the cruise ships on a small wooden dock, gasping at San Juan Bay. It seemed like there was no such thing as winter in Puerto Rico. The sunshine state, a gateway to happiness divine. The last stop on their whistle top imaginary tour. A sunset picnic on Escambrón Beach, champagne flutes at the ready. Pouring fizz into glasses, bubbles gurgling in their throats. A hamper filled with Puerto Rican delicacies. Tostones (green plantains) dipped in sea salt and garlic sauce. Vegetarian Empanadillas oozing with cheese. Papas Rellenas veganized with mashed potatoes. But the crowning glory? Slurping on fresh coconut water and Quenepas, nestling toes in silky white sand.
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport is San Juan Isla Grande (SIG) Airport which is 2.2 km away. Other nearby airports include San Juan (SJU) (12.2 km), Roosevelt Roads (NRR) (56.3 km) and Vieques (VQS) (75.9 km).
Romantic Getaways In Europe
She held his hands with undisguised glee. Squirming, as she waited for the plane to take off. At last, after five years of dating, he would visit her biological family’s homeland. Embracing her Portuguese heritage, veiled in the azure folds of the sea. Through Madeira Airport, the symphony of suitcases on squeaky marble floors. Waiting for the sign that her Aunty L would hold up, welcoming them. Driving through Santa Cruz until they reached Riberia Brava, so changed since she had last been. Grandparents lost, and family friends too. So many things different, so many things the same. But there was one constant. The pitter-patter of unspoken tales, lingering hopes and long-waited exhales. It felt like she was coming home at last. Marvelling at the splashes of crimson, the Birds of Paradise, the towering palms. Falling asleep to the sounds of the Brinquinho, hand in hand. Dreaming of sunrises in Pico Ruivo, where heaven and Earth intertwined. A rugged beauty, embracing the kiss of a gentle breeze. Cloaked in mist and mystery, only broken by the sun that threatened to spill. And who could forget the swirling clouds like ethereal pearls. Tropical rain showers cleansing tired souls. Madeira was the jewel of the North Atlantic Ocean. Porto Moniz, a couple’s delight. Natural rock pools, cradled by azure waters. Between the imposing mountains and the deceptively calm ocean.
They stood still taking in the sunrise. Watching the darkness recede. A gentle murmur as the world took its first morning breath. Watching the brushstrokes of gold and crimson in a celestial ballet. Their mouths in a locked embrace, time slowing down. They broke apart, stunned at the beauty of Pico Ruivo. Having hiked here from Pico do Areeiro, beads of sweat dripping down their foreheads. But the hard work was worth it, sat together in contemplation. Looking out for the spectacular sights that they could see. She pointed out the picturesque parish of Curral das Freiras, where her mum’s family was from. Imagining the sun’s glow softly kissing the rugged mountaintops. Stealing momentum from night’s shroud. But it was the birds like Firecrest, the Chaffinch and the Linnet that stole the show. The Firecrest dainty, speckled with apple green, dusky blue, and muted greys. The Chaffinch brightly coloured with a blue-grey cap and rust-red underparts. The Linnet small too, pillarbox red on its chest, brown wings, grey head. Located in the picturesque municipality of Câmara de Lobos, its views defined romantic winter getaways. Chasing the January sun overlooking the ‘achadas of Santana. Smiling at the never ending stretches of Riberia Grande and São Jorge valleys. But wait, what was this. As sunset broke into a clear blue day, glimpses of Porto Santo and the Desertas Islands Group. D could hardly believe his eyes. He had never experienced anything quite like it. But for A, it felt like she could share whispers of the past with him. Revisiting past nostalgia. Replacing old memories with new.
How To Get Here:
The nearest (and only) airport is Madeira Airport International Cristiano Ronaldo. You can hike from Pico do Areeiro to get to Pico Ruivo. Alternatively, you could follow the PR 1.2 Vereda do Pico Ruivo hiking route. You can drive all the way up to the mountain until you reach Achada do Teixeira.
The memories came flooding back. 12 years ago in Porto Moniz, 18 years old. In the North of the island, a blustery winter day. The skies grey, laced with storm clouds that threatened to spill. Where ribbons of light streaked the crystalline pools. She sank into the natural lava pools, where the sea water rose. Marvelling as the salt-laden breeze caressed the skin. She glanced at the traffic light system. Green, but the wind was picking up. Amber, but the waves were getting higher. Red, everyone out of the pool, waves engulfing the landscape. Shivering, drying off the water. Watching the pools infuse with murky grey splotches. Remembering walking through Porto Moniz after, stroking a large black Newfoundland Dog. But the real highlight? A hidden gem on their walk. Rugged volcanic rocks that you could peek through into turquoise waters tinged with blue. Like a coastal maze, seeing surfers ride the waves. A couldn’t wait to bring D here, knowing how he would fall in love. Hoping it would be a sun-kissed day, where nature could weave its intricate enchantment. The seagulls soaring above their heads, their cries a joyful din.
Like poetry, their movements were fluid. A balmy, mild winter’s day. The sun engulfing them in a joyful embrace. The black basalt pools were glinting today, beginning their romantic day in the Picinas Naturais do Porto Moniz. Safer than the pools that overlooked the Ilheu Mole island and Western Pools, yet just as magnetic. A glorified Lido D called it, with reverence for it was beautiful still. Later, they would hang up their swimming costumes and explore the Ilheu Mole pools. Cameras at the ready, capturing its rustic beauty. But there was more to Porto Moniz than its natural swimming pools. The botanical diversity of the Laurissilva Forest, confronting the Northen Sea. Fanal, with its centenary laurel forest, lost in the mystic fog. Crooked-windblown trees, a couple captured in its haunting shadows. But the highlight? Watching dolphins and whales traverse the open seas. In a boat, careful not to disturb. Passing by the Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse. Majestic sea creatures to be worshipped from afar. Though it wasn’t as many as she had seen in Sri Lanka, it was just as spectacular.
How To Get Here:
From Madeira Airport you can book a cab to Porto Moniz. You can also get the shuttle, or bus, though the latter takes longer.
Was it strange to have a special connection to a country without ever having visited? But it was somewhere that had been on her wish list for some time. A Bulgarian photographer from her past who used to share the joys of his home country. Nestled among mountains gentle and grand. A land of snow, a land of beaches. A land of bustling towns and cities. Stepping back into time, tracing the stories of Thracian tribe warriors. An outsider looking into Byzantine empires. A resilient nation founded in the 7th century. But it was one of her good friends who fuelled her imagination. Weaving narratives of vibrant Plovdiv, built on seven hills. With sweeping pastel houses, sunshine yellows, and duck egg blues. Sofia, retracing almost 2,000 years of history. Imposing cathedrals that reached the skies, domes, and minarets celestial. Was it any wonder that Bulgaria was on her list of romantic winter getaways? But two places stood out to the couple. Veliko Tarnovo, with tight houses clinging to the hill. A slice of Portugal in Bulgaria, home to one of the most beautiful castles. The other, a winter paradise. Pirin National Park, blanketed in powdery white snow. Glacial lakes snaking through deep river valleys.
The icy wind nipped them with a curious kiss, their hair thrust into reckless abandon. Reddened cheeks and hands that had turned numb. Bemused by the howling gusts of wind. And yet Veliko Tarnovo was beautiful in winter. Tsaravets Fortress, surrounded by a magical carpet of snow. Snowflakes dancing on their tongue. Hail threatening to spill from swollen grey clouds. The skies scattered with black, thunder was coming. But for some reason the stormy weather was breathtaking. A dark and wild canvas, cementing their love in rain and snow. Frozen, but they didn’t care. Gasping at fortress walls that stood tall, guarding long-lost secrets. They imagined themselves as 12th and 13th century Bulgarian royalty. Wandering around the castle walls, nodding commands to the armed guards. Tracing hallways that the ancestors once walked. Winter clinging to every crack and crevice, preserving the fortress in shards of ice. Yet there was more to Veliko Tarnovo than its infamous fortress. The historic town of Arbanasi, where romantic winter getaways were made. They weren’t religious by any means but there was something striking about the Church of Saints Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The mundane exterior hiding a magical world within. Spellbound by the imposing iconostasis and Bishop’s throne, gazing at the gilded woodcarving. But the most romantic view? The juxtaposition between the architectural and decorative forms that harmonized with other paintings. The narthex, the chapel “St. Paraskeva” and the entrance covered with massive semicylindrical vaults, fortified with a succession of arches. A contrast to the wall frescoes that stood the test of time. Holy women ingrained in Orthodox art. Sf. Thecla, Sf. Sunday, Sf. Theodora of Solun, Sf. Lucian, Sf. Paraskeva. Basking in the serenity of their angelic faces.
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport is Gorna Oryahovitsa Airport (IATA: GOZ, ICAO: LBGO). You can take a bus to Veliko Tarnovo which takes 30 minutes.
Pirin National Park
They traversed the diverse limestone mountain landscape through alpine meadows. Marvelling at the deciduous and coniferous forests and deep river valleys in Pirin National Park. In summer, the sun would embalm them in fifty shades of gold. Hearing the howl of wolves hunting their kill. The deep rumble of the Brown Bear. The squawk of a Levant Sparrowhawk making friends with a Pallid Swift bird. Starting in the picturesque village of Melnik that melted into the town of Bankso. Immersed in the natural world. Gasping at the Little Tiger Blue butterflies that swarmed the verdant meadows. A seven-day old Dragonfly engorged on droplets of dew. And yet in winter the Pirin Mountain Range of Southwest Bulgaria hit different. Watching the rare Eurasian Black Vulture swoop over the majestic Vihren Peak. The highest point on the Peninsula, dusted in crisp snow. But it was Popina Luka that cemented their love. Part of the water along the waterfall suspended in time. Cascading ribbons of crystalline delight. Icy tendrils engulfing rugged boulders. They continued wandering, pausing at Tevno Lake. Soon, it would become inaccessible due to avalanches. But now, it was perfection. The heart of the mountains, rewarded by crystal brooks.
They laced up their mountain boots, shaking snow off their jackets. Drinking in the surroundings, transfixed by its serenity. Their ears pricked, hearing creatures of the wild with their footsteps light. Jackals with their high-pitched howls, large wild Boars hiding in dense woodland. Past the glaciers they went, echoes of the Ice Age. Glancing at the avid rock climbers traipsing the rocks in Peshterite near Bansko. The air crisp and cold, invigorating their souls. As they danced upon the frozen canvas, a vision of delight. For neither one of them were snow enthusiasts. And yet here it felt like something out of a fairytale. The biggest surprise? A back-in-time trip from Bankso to Rhodope Mountains. Seeing the traditions of the local people that spanned centuries. A jaunty snowshoeing hike who couples who wanted something different. Soaking up the local atmosphere, spectacular views over the jagged Pirin Mountains. Past the skiers and the sledders. Bemused by the snowmobiles that gallivanted in the snow. Embarking on romantic winter getaways that unleashed their inner child. Their eyes sparkling, curious once more. Unshackled from the reality of their everyday life. A chorus of laughter that reverberated everywhere they went.
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport to Pirin National Park is Sofia (SOF) Airport which is 114 km away. Other nearby airports include Thessaloniki (SKG) (134.3 km) and Skopje (SKP) (158.4 km). You can take the underground to Sofia Central Bus Station and then take a bus to the town of Bankso.
Romantic Destinations In Africa
They dreamed of travelling to Africa. Immersing themselves in a continent rich in culture, wildlife, food and nature. Somewhere that was colourful, bold and different. That encapsulated joy. That brought a smile to everyone’s faces. In Kenya, they would get lost in the fiery red of the desert’s sands. Twirling through rugged green mountains. Whispering secrets to the rivers buried in sepia-soaked dawns. Watching flighty gazelles dance on the well-travelled plains. In Masai Mara National Park, they would hear the roar of a lion for the first time. His mane a crown of sun-kissed gold. Regal, fierce and proud, amber eyes that told a thousand stories. A change of scenery in Watumu Beach. White powdered sand lapping at turquoise waters. The sound of children nearby squealing that made them feel broody. Their romantic winter giveaways around the world were coming to an end. So seemed only fitting that Morocco would be their last stop. Visiting the ‘Blue City’ of Chefchaoeun, the air fragrant with wind. Into the cobbled square of Place Uta el-Hammam, sipping mint tea. Jardin Majorelle, a couple’s paradise. A tapestry of cobalt blue that enveloped the Morrocan sky. A kaleidoscope of blooms swaying in the breeze.
Masai Mara National Park
They would go in February, the warmest month. Astonished by the way the savannah stretched, as the sun painted gold. For they fell in love with Masai Mara National Park as soon as the saw it. Where gentle grazing gazelles roamed, as they mingled with imposing giraffes. Elephants leaving footprints of wisdom far behind. Guardians of the land, with hearts pure and kind. But it was the pride of lions that stole their hearts. Their roars echoing in the mid-afternoon, nature’s primal law. Regal and majestic, with a stride that spoke volumes. An apex predator, the embodiment of a painted golden masterpiece. Feral beauty that was wild and rugged. Young and old in the pride. The Lioness keeping guard. In Southwest Kenya, all their dreams came true. Unable to come up with a scene more romantic than this. Escaping the blustering winds and the rainfall from back home. Immersed in the kingdom of the wild, playing spot the animal. Was it any wonder that Masai Mara National Park had been voted one of the new Seven Wonders of The World? They would embark on their first African Safari, eagled eyed. Jumping into a 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser Safari Jeep, in the early hours of morning.
The lions were majestic, but the Zebras were equally as hypnotic. Monochromatic in black and white, flashes between the shadows. Hoping they would come back and say hello, but they sank into camouflage, one of the best. Still, the big nine were all mesmerizing. Leopards like four-legged polka dots sat down in hidden trees. Rhinos so underrated, grey creatures trampling across the dried plains. Buffalos like the ones she saw in Sri Lanka. Cheetahs in shades of gold and black sprinting after prey. Hippos funny to look at, but fierce in pride. Had they died and gone to heaven? Lost in the magic of a game drive where the wildlife was unlike nothing they had ever seen. Happy tears leaking from their eyes, a memory that would stay with them forever. But there was something more. A Masai Village, immersed in the local culture. Cracking jokes with The Masai, the most iconic tribal group in all of Africa. Seeing how they retained so many of their traditions, untouched by modern day. Their crimson shuka billowing in the gentle breeze. Colourful beaded necklaces and an iron rod as a weapon. For the combination of meeting animals and the tribe made their hearts full. Romantic winter getaways in Kenya that would change their lives.
How To Get Here:
The nearest international airport is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), in Nairobi.
In another lifetime, they would live at the beach. The foamy waves lapping at their feet. The scent of salt mingling with soft white sand. They would step into the warm sea, in the sweltering heat. Him red under the afternoon sun. Her olive skin developing a tan. In Watumu Beach that vision was flanked by coconut palm trees. Swaying in the breeze, some small, some large. Reaching out for coconuts and sinking into its creamy flesh. Water dribbling down their chin. This was about taking it easy. Unwinding after a safari adventure, an untouched coastal paradise. They watched the seagulls soar above, like poets in the sky. The sun a mirage, a tropical painting in nature. But the most beautiful surprise of all? The Watamu Marine National Park, a breathtaking invasion of fish. Watching divers disappear into the clear waters, like shadows. Large green sea turtles waving hello to Octopuses. Drummer fish whispering sweet nothings to the Batfish. Past the coral reefs awash with sea grass. It wasn’t just fish that Watumu had a plenty. The most beautiful birds the couple had seen. The Lilac Breasted Roller, tinged with teal, aqua blue and magenta. The Golden Palm Weaver, a bird who embodied sunshine. Their trip to Watumu Beach and its Marine National Park was peaceful. Sat in a serene repose, watching the world around them. Where silence spoke a language so revered, lost in its calm. For romantic winter getaways around the world should have balance. The calm and the chaotic.
How To Get Here:
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi is a major hub for international airlines and from there it is an easy 45-minute flight to Malindi airport on coast. There are daily flights available with Kenya Airways, Jambojet, AirKenya and Fly 540.
They felt the wanderlust surge through them, the excitement course through their veins. Their first time in Morocco, transcending time, expanding their minds. Their spirits enriched like morning dew, Entering the ‘Blue City’ of Chefchouen, instantly iconic. Pale blue, a labyrinth of azure hues. Whispering secrets from long ago, an artisan’s paradise. It was cold being winter, but somehow it felt even more magical. Cold fingers, numb feet, but the view was all worth it. They would check into their luxurious Riad in Quartier Andalouse, weary limbed. Past a small alleyway in the medina, trailing plants casting a spell. Through the keyhole archway that led them into Casa Hassan. At first glance they were spellbound. Rustic Moroccan decor, that was colourful and warm. An ornately inscribed four-poster bed, teal blue chairs in the background. An orange striped rug, next to an orange brick fireplace. Just metres away from the main square, romance was screaming their name. But nothing could have prepared them for Chefchaouen. Where the streets wound like rivers, a medley of shadows dancing. Each door like a secret, adorned with its signature blue. The mosaics though? Breathtaking. A thousand stories of tile art popping up in water fountains, open air shops and interior walls. Zellij’s terracotta tile work a highlight. Geometric star-like patterns in squares.
But there was more to Chefchouen than just an instagrammable blue facade. The Souk (market), one of their highlights. Setting out on a Thursday, seeing what wares the locals had to offer. Moroccan Azilal rugs with bold, asymmetrical prints. Irregular shapes dancing with diamonds. Hand woven straw picnic baskets, and bags, a hat or two. But the real highlight? The teas, rows, and rows of stalls with its infamous mint herbal concoction. D might not have been a tea drinker, but A was in her element. Drinking caffeine free herbal teas every day. Ginger and lemon infused with honey. Turmeric and apple, a splash of cinnamon. Clove, and star anise. They navigated the teashops, filled with loose-leaf tea, oils and spices. A staple in Moroccan culture, time to take a break. Another highlight, the food. The scent of spices mingling in their clothes. Saffron twirling with aromatic cumin. Fenugreek telling stories to flighty Paprika. But who could forget the street food vendors? Sfenji’s like doughnuts, crispy and chewy. Generously sprinkled with sugar, sandwiched in hungry mouths. Caramelised pumpkins from Cafe Restaurant Sofia, drenched in crunchy nuts. Washed down with mint lemonade, that tingled down the throat. Vegetable pastilla oozing with garlicky pistou. A bowl of Harira that soothed the soul. Lentils swirling in tomatoes, chickpeas plunged. Even as a vegetarian, Morocco’s blue city brought the romance alive.
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport to Chefchaouen is Tetouan (TTU) Airport which is 46.3 km away. Other nearby airports include Tangier (TNG) (85.6 km), Fes (FEZ) (140.1 km), Malaga (AGP) (181.5 km) and Rabat-Salé (RBA) (185.3 km.
Their romantic winter getaways around the world was coming to an end. But there was one last gem that aimed to capture their heart. Jardin Majorelle, in the heart of Marrakech’s warm embrace. Where nature sang in gardens of emerald. A poet’s muse beneath a sky tinged with stormy clouds. Yet, despite the rain that threatened to spill, they were entranced. A fusion of French and Moroccan architecture, splashes of cobalt blue like whispers of the sea. Both a sanctuary and a botanical laboratory, hours lost in its hypnotizing maze. The garden, a safe haven. Through a labyrinth of intersecting alleys, and Moorish Art Deco buildings in bold and vibrant colours. Gigantic and opulent exotic plants and trees from the most distant lands. A fever dream conjured up by the legendary French Painter Jacques Majorelle from 1922. Brought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1966, saving it from destruction. They walked through the gardens, the scent of jasmine lingering in the air. Large cacti burrowing out of the earth. Bougainvillea in shocking shades of fuchsia. Water lilies home to frogs that danced. But the shop was equally as romantic. Bold jewellery in a rainbow of colours. T-shirts embroidered with plants and flowers. Wallets in cobalt blues that seemed to be the hue of Morocco. They browsed without concept of time drifting into its dream world. Where they would find their inspiration, in an oasis where poetry was alive. Wandering with open hearts and open minds. Finding colours like verses, ingrained in time.
How To Get Here:
The nearest airport is Marrakech Airport (RAK). You can get a taxi from here to Jardin Majorelle or take the bus.
What Romantic Winter Getaways Would You Like To Go On?
Please note this is a collaborative post, but I was not gifted or paid. I would love to know whether I have missed iconic romantic winter getaways around the world.