Few things are more appealing than a relaxing all inclusive holiday, especially with a loved one. Some might want a peaceful retreat with nothing else than a cocktail on the beach, while others want to experience new things and embark on new adventures. So here are eight destinations all with one thing in common – they’re absolutely perfect for couples.
CLOSE TO HOME
COSTA BRAVA, SPAIN
Costa Brava boasts one of the most romantic and unspoiled stretches of the coast in Europe. As an added bonus, it’s less than a two-hour flight from Ireland so within a relatively short period of time you can be walking alongside the pink rocks and teal coloured sea. Where else could you possibly want to visit as a couple?
With lovely independent hotels and great food, this stretch is a foodies’ paradise and Catalonia – the region in which the Costa Brava is located – has many Michelin-starred chefs, not to mention a superb selection of locally produced wine. Costa Brava also has some of the best blue flag beaches in Europe from broad expanses of golden sand to elegant horseshoe bays.
There are plenty of things for couples to do; with its roaring nightlife you can dance the night away in Costa Brava or hire a car and explore the area a little further. Make some time to admire the stunning sunsets for that extra bit of romance.
Beyond all of this, Costa Brava is full of art, culture, history and so many different outdoor activities. It’s home to three amazing museums including the one at Cadaqués, the village where the legendary painter Salvador Dali lived for 40 years, and also some of the most scenic Greco/Roman archeological sites. Alternatively, if you want to enjoy the surrounding location there’s some fantastic coastal walks as well as places you can go swimming, diving, snorkeling, and sailing.
GRAN CANARIA, THE CANARY ISLANDS
The third largest island in the Canaries, with 80 beaches, and one of the sunniest places on earth, Gran Canaria has appeared on the tourist radar since way back in the 19th century. Ever since it has just grown better and better and is always a favourite with those seeking an all inclusive holiday for couples.
The appeal of Gran Canaria starts with excellent beaches and a larger-than-life coastal resort that is Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas – two great places for sunbathing and nightlife. You have also got sleepier towns such as Puerto Mogan, Bahia Feliz, and Puerto Rico the perfect spots for a little more space on the beach and low key evening entertainment. Gran Canaria has lots of diversity if you want a mix of things to do (provided you can tear yourself away from the delicious hotel bar for long enough to explore the island).
If you are looking to catch sight of a traditional island life there are lots of hamlets here. Within only an hour’s drive from Playa del Ingles, you can find Fataga – car-free and cobbled streets lined with some whitewashed houses.
THE ALGARVE, PORTUGAL
This is a region of many hidden delights, golden beaches lined with limestone rocks and superb restaurants. The Algarve is all about the power of the Atlantic – surfing the sea, bird watching, dolphin watching or cliff top walking, the perfect place for someone who is at one with nature. Wherever it is that you choose to go in the Algarve you will find that it is friendly and welcoming, with some delicious and locally sourced fresh fish and great wines.
There are so many interesting places to explore when you are visiting the Algarve. These include the old-fashioned villages of Sagres and Monchique, while there is also the colourful town of Loulé where you can explore lots of authentic Portuguese character and lifestyle. There are also plenty of shops for those seeking a little retail therapy during their holiday – with quaint boutiques and popular markets, you will surely find many keepsakes to bring home with you.
A LITTLE FURTHER AWAY
Only a three-hour flight from Ireland, the Mediterranean island of Malta is a great location for a short break or a long holiday. With amazing historic sights, hours of sunshine, great nightlife and festivals throughout the year, you will certainly never be bored here. There are new boutique hotels opening all the time, most of which are historic buildings that have been converted by designers. Some are brand new buildings showcasing art that is a take on Gozitan life.
The beaches here range from golden sand to rocky with clear blue waters. Head down to the shores for some snorkeling or take a trip to the Blue Lagoon to explore some caves – any of the beaches here make for a great day-long boat trip. Diving is hugely popular in Malta too, with around 50,000 people coming each year to dive.
Visitors will be greeted by centuries-old palaces that have been turned into boutiques in the heart of Morocco. Visiting here is certainly a break from the norm as Morocco has added a new genre to the world of travel – short enough away to still qualify as a long weekend break but also worth a more extensive stay. If you’re considering a holiday to Morocco for the first time, here are two destinations to look at:
More than eight million people visit Agadir every year for a beach break with a little bit of a twist. The coast here stretches on for six glorious miles and enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year – you won’t be disappointed if the main priority is hot weather. The city offers loads of Moroccan culture with its mix of European-styled cafes and hotels complementing more traditional Moroccan restaurants.
Heading a little bit further north of the mountains you will find Marrakech, a brilliantly chaotic city. If you only do one thing when in Marrakech, you must visit Jemaa el-Fna square, which is teeming with stalls, goods and entertainment – even if you don’t intend to buy anything from here, it’s still worth a visit. Enjoy watching bejeweled belly dancers and snake charmers with cobras in wicker baskets.
Voted one of the most romantic places in the world and probably one of the most intriguing islands of Greece, Santorini has some of the most stunning sunsets and scenery that you will ever see. With white, red and black sandy beaches, traditional houses, views of the volcano and a lively nightlife you can certainly see why it is popular with couples.
Try to stay in Fira, Imerovigli or Oia – old towns on the cliffs that are full of little cafes, shops and places to explore the history and culture. There are buses here that go to beaches every day so you can get the best of both worlds, enjoying the nightlife of the towns in the evening and chilling by the sea throughout the day.
It is no secret that Santorini draws in the crowds for most of the year and handles tourism well. Accomplished artists, superb wineries and some of the finest dining experiences all add to its growing and glowing reputation.
FAR AWAY, BUT WORTH THE JOURNEY
The largest and possibly most intriguing of all the Caribbean islands, Cuba is simply unique as a destination, and the perfect place for an adventurer. Here you will discover plenty of cultural experiences and beaches each with their own Cuban charm. This is not the place for a relaxing experience as there is always something unexpected happening here.
Standards of services around Cuba can be up and down and journeys can be long but, this is all outweighed because of the tropical beaches, friendly people, and cultural experiences. Be sure to wear some sturdy shoes when visiting Cuba as the streets are lined with uneven cobbles.
How your spend your time in Cuba is up to you – days relaxing on a secluded beach, hiking through a rainforest or just simply soaking up the atmosphere.
RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO
A real honeymoon favourite with the warmest sun and natural wells on the Caribbean coast, Riviera Maya is the place to be. You will find world-class restaurants, a nightlife to keep you dancing until the early hours, shopping centers, exclusive spars and some of the world’s best golf courses. No wonder it’s one of the most popular all inclusive holidays for couples!
Renowned for diving and snorkeling, if you take a dip in the ocean you will probably find yourself joined by a variety of different marine species such as tropical fish, stingrays, and even whale sharks. If you are looking for an ecotourism trip away with natural environments and away from large crowds this is the place for you. Much of it is still not urbanized so it’s easy to find so many amazing spots to admire nature.