Alternative Valentine’s breaks
Plan a trip that's out of the ordinary
Paris, Venice, Rome – they’re all very romantic destinations but seem a little predictable for a Valentine’s holiday (14 February). Why not plan a trip with your loved one that’s out of the ordinary. We’ve found some exciting – and very unpredictable ideas for an unforgettable holiday.
The first trip takes you on a driving tour of Andalusia where you’ll drive from Cordoba to Granada, exploring castles and canyons along the way. Or if you prefer a more active trip, then biking through Tuscany while stopping to sample wine and learning to cook in an authentic cucina is perfecto. So read on for other whimsical ideas that’ll have you daydreaming for days...
Andalusia – just saying the word conjures up images of the Moors, flamenco dancers, and warm summer nights. Its three medieval cities – Cordoba, Seville and Granada are among the most romantic places in the world. Start your trip in Cordoba, a Unesco site, and visit the Mezquita. Then head to Seville where the locals’ contagious alegria (joy) will put you in a state of euphoria in no time. Wander its cobbled streets, watch a flamenco show or visit the Alcázar palace. The final stop is Granada, probably the most visually dramatic of the three with a backdrop of Sierra Nevada’s snowcapped peaks and a skyline dominated by the famous Alhambra Palace, once home to the Nasrid princes and their harems.
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Next stop Italy - the rolling hills of Tuscany to be precise. Pick up your bicycle in Siena and pedal along to the heart of Chianti, take a tour of the vineyards and sample some delicious red wine (not too many, remember you have to cycle back). From there you can get on the Val di Chiana to Cortona and spend a day at a cooking school perfecting your Tiramisu or learning a few Tuscan dishes to impress your friends back home. The last town on the circuit is the ancient village of Pitigliano, in the heart of Maremma, which known for its exceptional white wine.
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Hiking might not sound like a good idea for a romantic trip, but when it involves watching the sunset from atop a canyon and exploring the river valleys while walking through alpine forests, it’s definitely enchanting. This trip takes you to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the mystical state that has left many renowned artists captivated. The Ghost Ranch in the village of Abiquiu was portrayed in many of Georgia O'Keeffe’s landscape paintings. You can hike its 17,000 acres of trails and even go fishing in the Santa Cruz and Trout lakes. At night the city’s lively town plazas are filled with music and people sitting in outdoor cafes.
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If you’d rather be close to the sea, then why not plan a trip on a sailboat? Croatia Dalmatian Coast is one of the most picturesque coastlines in the world. Fly into Dubrovnik, spend a day exploring the ancient city’s Old Town before heading off to sea. Your epic journey will take you to the magical villages of Hvar, Vis, Korčula, and Brač where can take long walks through the lavender fields or swim in clear blue waters of the Adriatic.
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Updated February 2013