Bid adieu to plain-jane escapades this year and embrace one of these 10 handpicked couple destinations, and let sparks fly! By Vikas Plakkot
1. Embrace The Slow Life In El Nido Philippines
With 7,000 dreamy islands, the Philippines is made-to-measure for couples looking to soak up the sun, dive deep in crystal clear waters, and simply slow down the pace of their life. El Nido, a municipality in the Palawan region, is the gateway to the sublime Bacuit archipelago, replete with limestone karsts and long empty strips of sand. Check in to Cauayan Island Resort, a private property on an unassuming island, and detox with unlimited diving expeditions, swimming sessions, secret beaches, and tricycles. INR 40,000.
2. Enjoy A Seaside Retreat In Baja California Sur, Mexico
“The aquarium of the world”, crooned Jacques Cousteau about the Sea of Cortez off the shores of Baja California Sur. Be it the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, 20,000-year-old coral reefs, frequent sightings of the largest fish in the ocean, kitesurfing expeditions, or raucous beach parties, water babies are guaranteed to have the time of their life in this northwestern state of Mexico. While tequila-infused parties are the talk of town, couples seeking the quietude of the sea are spoilt for choice as well. Rent a kayak, go whale-watching, feast at a local taqueria, or soak up the setting sun. Stay at Viceroy Los Cabos for a private beach and relaxing massages. From INR 40,000.
3. Sail The Danube To Medieval Europe
Snaking through the centre of medieval Europe, the River Danube plays the perfect host to fairy tales on its waters and banks. Starting in the Art Noveau city of Budapest, sail all the way to Nuremberg in Germany on an eight-day cruise. When you’re not being spoilt by the comfort of the stately rooms or the exuberant service of the cruise staff, you can go on romantic shore excurions to wander, hand in hand, the grandiose streets of Budapest, share an apfelstrudel or sachertorte in Vienna, or hike up the Wachau Valley in Austria. INR 1,75,000 per person.
4. Go Road-Tripping On The Basque Circuit
If you’re the kind of couple who love to get behind the wheel, crank up the stereo, and
whizz through landscapes on silky tarmac, then look no further than the Basque circuit—starting in Spain’s Bilbao and culminating in the French coastal town of Biarritz. The 500-kilometre route from North of Spain to South of France is an amalgam of experiences ranging from Michelinstar dining in San Sebastian, to the famous bullrun at the San Fermín festival in the historic city of Pamplona, to the gorgeous panoramas of the Pyrenees, and the surffriendly beaches of Biarritz. It’s the perfect plan for couples who love to be out and about.
5. Stargaze In The Namib Desert
A country off the tourism radar, a desertscape of intense wilderness, a luxury camp in the middle of nowhere, and a glowing band of Milky Way in the night sky—the Namib Desert in southern Africa is a romantic getaway like no other. The NamibRand private reserve claims to have a ratio of one bed to 1,000 hectares of land, with free borders for wildlife and a dedicated international sky reserve to improve your chances of spotting rarely visible
constellations. Feel at home at the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, a collection of luxury camps with ample comforts and faultless hospitality. From INR 70,000.
6. Kick Back On A Zanzibar Beach
Palm-fringed islands, powdery white sand, and water that glistens like glass, juxtaposed with rich heritage and culture, make the Tanzanian islands of Zanzibar apt for everything from an adventurous honeymoon to a week-long relaxed escapade. Peppered with a stupendous collection of luxury resorts, Zanzibar offers couples many options. You
can spend your days lying on a hammock in the sun, set off on a dhow, try scuba-diving in the clear water, or explore the spice markets of its old town. Villas from INR 30,000 at Zuri Zanzibar, the island’s first design eco-resort.
7. Go Wine-Tasting In Argentina
A backdrop of the Andes, some of the world’s finest grilled meat restaurants that showcase the Argentinian spirit of asado, cosmopolitan cafes, and shaded avenues define the
Mendoza province of Argentina. But the perfect couple’s holiday here is a tour of the unending vineyards of the region. Famous for Malbec wine, each of the wineries in the area has its unique asado delicacies. The best time for a rendezvous is during the harvest season, when the Vendimia Festival takes place—between mid-February and mid-March. Rent a car and hop between bodegas, from the eco-friendly Matervini to the legendary Carmello Patti.
8. Take An Unforgettable Train Journey In New Zealand
Chugging across the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, from Christchurch to Greymouth, the TranzAlpine train journey has everything from stunning gorges, to alpine villages, river valleys, rainforests, and glaciers. Its modern carriages are fitted with big windows, and transparent roofs at places, so you can soak up the views through the five-hour journey. Expand the train journey into an adventure by alighting for a trek at Arthur’s Pass, heli-skiing at the Franz Josef Glacier, and forest-bathing in Greymouth.
9. Live In The Mountains In Uttarakhand
Wake up every morning under cosy quilts in a plush heritage home in Uttarakhand’s Almora, with a hot cup of steaming chai in hand and the window framing a surreal view of
the mighty Nanda Devi. The cantonment town’s pre-British heritage, coupled with natural
bounty, rhododendron trees, soothing weather, and oak forests belongs in a Bollywood
love song. It’s tailor-made for couples seeking quality time with each other. Find your perfect home with Plush Escapes, be it a design-centric eco-home or a 19th-century
10. Escape To Remote Islands Of Fiji
Whisk your partner away from the hustlebustle of metropolitan living to the remote
archipelago of Fiji in Southern Pacific, where all-inclusive tropical holidays are the norm. On its 333 postcard-like islands, there are secret coves to be discovered, gushing waterfalls to bathe in, colourful coral reefs to dive for, and the bula (happiness) spirit of Fijian life to
absorb. At Namale Resort & Spa, follow in the footsteps of Hollywood stars like Edward Norton and Russell Crowe for a private getaway that includes a 900-square-metre spa, secluded luxury villas, farm-to-table dining, and bespoke service. From INR 95,000 per night for a couple.