A wanderluster’s summer of love – our top 9 romantic destinations for adventurous and passionate travelers
Travel brings people together. Doing what you love in exciting destinations is enriching and it brings out the best in you. Traveling together as a couple strengthens the bond of love, and allows you to see a side of each other that inspires passion and admiration. In other words, travel is a great recipe for romance and intimacy, to get to know yourselves and grow together as a couple.
Some couples favor the chic escape, a combination of nature and luxury in intimate settings that spark desire with the innocence and enthusiasm of rediscovered passion. Others love to get lost in charming cityscapes, mingle with interesting people and engage with exciting culture. Yet others like to push the boundaries of travel and head out on an adventure together. Whatever ignites your romantic imagination, I have scouted the ultimate destinations and properties for a romantic summer.
REINVENTING THE CHIC ESCAPE
THE MALDIVES, CROATIA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Let me start by stating that I believe beaches are far too often described as “Paradise”. That said…the Maldives is a paradise. I recently stayed at Velaa Private Island, located in the gorgeous Noonu Atoll, 187 kilometers north of Malé. Velaa Private Island is a luxury resort that enhances the beauty and serenity of the atoll. Private, overwater villas connected by long jetties, set the scene for the perfect romantic escape. With a rich selection of water sports (diving, windsurfing and Seabob sessions), and natural spectacles under and over the water, by the time you sit down for a romantic dinner at the beach, you will find yourself in quite a loving disposition.
In the last years, Croatia has positioned itself as a privileged travel destination. HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones featured several locations around Dubrovnik and Split. This has increased Croatia’s profile even more. Summer is the high season and it’s not uncommon to see hordes of fantasy fans signing up for a tour of King’s Landing. For that reason, I propose a different approach to a summer in Croatia, one that is full of romance and exclusivity.
A speedboat itinerary will allow you to explore hard-to-reach coves and hidden islands in the rugged Dalmatian Coast. The Pakleni islands are ripe for exploration and cannot be reached by larger vessels. Further south, the Elaphiti islands arguably feature the best waters in the Adriatic, perfect for snorkeling and relaxing in secluded coves. Now, that is a true romantic fantasy.
There is something magical about going as far away as possible together. French Polynesia offers the perfect setting for a romantic getaway. Tahiti and Bora Bora often make the “Top 10” for ultimate honeymoon destinations and it is hard to argue against that.
One of my favorite places in French Polynesia is Rangiroa, one of the world’s largest Atolls, where you will find yourselves delightfully pinned between the blue of the ocean and that of the lagoon. This sensation of remoteness and intimacy is unique to Rangiroa. To enjoy charming Polynesian architecture and the elegant luxury that goes so well with seduction, stay at Kia Ora, in the north shores of the atoll.
CULTURE WITH A ROMANTIC TWIST
NAPLES AND CAPRI, CULINARY JAPAN, CUBAN SALSA
Naples and Capri are all-time summer favorites of the Mediterranean, and for good reason. Capri is enshrined in travel lore as one of those gems that combine culture, nature and leisure to perfection. It has inspired poets, painters, and remains one of the most romantic destinations in Italy. To ease into your poetic mood, Naples, with its baroque architecture, art treasures, and mellow countryside around Vesuvius, is an obligatory stanza before you head to Capri.
Unfortunately, tourists flock to Capri during the summer, with a knack for spoiling even the most passionate of intentions. For unparalleled intimacy, exclusivity and privacy, even during the high season, J.K. Place is the best choice. An interesting approach is to sail around the island, and dock at times when the tourists are elsewhere. With this approach, you can get privileged access to Capri’s landmarks, and spend the night anchored under the romantic moon shadow of the Faraglioni.
Japan’s gastronomy is a truly enriching experience to elevate the senses and nurture your aesthetic sensibility. Tokyo and Kyoto are treasure troves of nature and culture. Through food, couples with a demanding palate can find a gateway to the heart of Japanese culture, from exciting street-food, all the way to delicate flavors in nature, and food that inspires tranquil contemplation and introspection.
Gora Kadan Ryokan in Hakone, near Tokyo, blends the subdued natural charm of the region with masterful Japanese architecture. It is a calming place for the mind, while at the same time offering intimacy and unforgettable culinary experiences.
Looking for excitement? Cuba is an ideal destination. Walk the streets of Havana, a city brimming with architectural heritage, music and color. Light up the nights on the dance floor to the rhythms of salsa and afro-jazz. You’ll find beautiful villages with old colonial architecture, and the echoes of Hemingway.
The best way to experience the culture of Cuba is to stay at private homes. Many Cubans are happy to lodge travelers and provide full board. However, for a romantic cherry-on-top experience, hotel Meliá Cayo Santa María provides a truly secluded Caribbean getaway, surrounded by beautiful beaches and intimate coves.
BOTSWANA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
For some couples, a beach escape or a romantic getaway in a charming city is just not enough. Adventurous couples can often struggle to find romance and pursue their travel ambitions, especially if they have to forego luxury and, even worse, privacy. This is not the case in Botswana. Nestled in a private reserve, the Skybeds are the ultimate wildlife experience for couples. The Skybeds are three-storeyed platforms, featuring luxurious accommodations with the star-studded Botswanan sky as a ceiling. Underneath, lions, elephants, and a wealth of wildlife roam free and unimpeded. You can feel and hear the majestic creatures as you cuddle together for a celestial safari.
Papua New Guinea is a veritable kaleidoscope of culture, with over 800 recognized languages, isolated tribes, and natural wonders without end. A stay at a luxury resort in the Tropical Fjords of Tufi could stand as a romantic getaway in its own right, but that is only scratching the surface. Head inland for a world of magic, sorcery and timeless traditions, where you will learn to make fire and forage the land, attend mesmerizing fire dances and partake in ancient rituals.
The height of the romantic adventure, we whisk you away to a desert and remote beach in the Bismarck Archipelago. There is hardly any place more intimate, or private.
There are many ways to visit the Galapagos Islands, but the most romantic is by far a luxury cruise. I particularly love the ambiance of Ocean Spray, a mega-catamaran. This is no touch-and-go tour of the islands, but a wholesome expedition that takes its time, approaches the magic isles with the playfulness of a seducer, and then caresses the shores gently, allowing for exploration and intimacy among some of the world’s most exciting wildlife. Melville called The Galapagos “Las Encantadas”, the Isles of Enchantment. He was not mistaken.