Romantic getaways for Christmas 2014Christmas 2014CultureTravel & Leisure
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and that means that while many people are starting to make gift lists, buy decorations, and plan trips to visit family, there are also many folks looking to head right out of town. Think about it: while everyone else is flocking home, you and your special someone could be enjoying the peace and quiet left behind in some of the most romantic destinations on the planet. Here are our top spots to consider if you’re thinking of snuggling up a bit further from home this holiday season.
Italy’s southern city has a reputation for being proud, independent and doing things its own way; these days, visitors are also discovering the romance of its impressive artistic heritage, and digging into its rich culinary history. There is no better way to spend the holiday season than noshing on the world’s best pizza or flaky sfogliatelle pastry, and sipping vino at a street-side trattoria – especially when you follow it up with a trip to the Teatro San Carlo for an opera or an evening of relaxation in the central Piazza Bellini. Naples has long captured imaginations for its family-oriented style and gritty sense of identity, but it’s about time it got recognition for its rich history and art, as well.
This multi-island nation is perched right above Venezuela, making it one of the furthest Caribbean islands for American tourists – thus one of the most easily overlooked. December is actually the best time of year to visit, as you’ll have missed the end of the rainy season, but the tourism boom of January onwards won’t yet have hit. This friendly, laid-back country is the perfect place to let all your harried holiday stress melt away, and focus on spending quality time with your partner.
You’ll have plenty of romantic backdrops to your Caribbean adventures, with bustling markets, spice plantations, and of course, the clear azure sea everywhere you turn. You’ll fall in love all over again as you sip rum from the River Antoine Distillery, as savour a traditional stew nicknamed an “oil down,” composed of meat and veggies with local spices and coconut milk.
Austria’s capital city is the grand dame of elegant European destinations, known for its opera, waltzes, and cathedrals. At Christmas, a traditional Germanic festivity can be felt in the air, as markets pop up in squares all over town and carols can be heard wafting from concert halls as locals and visitors alike wrap their hands around warming glühwein. There’s no city like Vienna for absorbing Old World elegance around every corner, and snuggling up in glittering Café Sacher for its world-famous sachertorte. Maybe you’ll even enjoy true classic style with a ride in a horse-drawn Fiaker (hackney) carriage down the cobblestones of the Old Town, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this magical city as people have done for generations.
If you want the atmosphere of traditional Eastern Europe combined with stunning coastline scenery Montenegro is definitely worth a look. Whether you’re gazing on the serene Bay of Kotor, sampling delicious local vranac or krstač wines, or strolling along the cobblestone lanes of ancient walled cities, every day in Montenegro brings a new opportunity for romance. You can soak up not only picturesque coastal scenery, but also feel the magic of wintry traditions such as the badnjak, an oak log similar to a Yule log that is lit ever Christmas to commemorate the season. The family-oriented nature of a Montenegrin Christmas means that you and your love will have the run of this beautiful country: a true holiday escape.
The Maldives are always a popular place for romance, luxury, and sunshine in the middle of a sometimes-bleak European winter. Known for its iconic hotels and resorts on stilts, poking up out of the crystal-clear aqua sea, this is a piece of paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean. An unrivalled honeymoon destination, the island chain has plenty of amenities and activities for a romantic holiday – and if you want to do nothing at all, there is nowhere better for it than a hammock looking out to the horizon.
As much as we all love the cheer and goodwill of the holiday season, there’s something to be said for getting away from it all, especially if you get to travel with the one you love. What other fabulous, romantic destinations do you recommend? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
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Photos: Profirio (1), Muppetspanker (2), Ahmed Sinan (3)