Where is the love?
Our top five alternative romantic holidays
Roses and chocolates not your thing? Over the love hearts, teddy bears and other grossly obvious connotations of romance? Well luckily for you, we’ve done a round-up of our favourite alternative ways to celebrate love in 2019. Think five incredible itineraries that you’re guaranteed to fall for, minus the ‘ick’ factor. Whatever you fancy this Valentine’s Day, we’ve got just the ticket.
Fancy falling in love with the pink city? Catching the ultimate feels in Udaipur, India’s most romantic spot? Or dropping hints about the Taj Mahal’s proposal backdrop potential in Agra? Taking you to Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ranthambore and Agra, this itinerary offers the best of India’s icons, culture and romance – we challenge you not to be infatuated.
Duration: 13 Nights: Delhi 2nts, Jaipur 2nts, Jodhpur 2nts, Udaipur 2nts, Ranthambore 2nts, Agra 2 nts, Delhi 1nt.
Transport: Airport transfers, car and driver and any additional connecting trains or flights.
Hotels: We’ve included Character Hotels in this package – just to give it a little extra something – but you can always change this back to Standard, or upgrade to Premium or Luxury Accommodation.
Experiences: We’ve included the Active Pack in this itinerary, because what could make you fall in love with Jaipur – the Pink City’s – storied beauty more than a meandering cycling tour?
Alternative add-ons: Amritsar, Shimla, Khajuraho, Bandhavgarh, Mumbai, Goa (includes additional experiences).
Inclusions: International flights from London (can be made regional), all transfers, Base and Active experiences, Character hotels (can be changed).
Guide Price: From £1,580pp
Who doesn’t feel a bit more loving after a few glasses of world-class vino? And if anywhere does wine well, it’s the Winelands. We mean, it’s quite literally in the name. From catching the sun rise from the top of Cape Town’s Lion’s Head, to watching it set over the Big Five populated bushveld in Kruger, South Africa is a country that seduces at every turn.
Duration: 10 Nights: Cape Town 4nts, Stellenbosch 3nts, Kruger 3nts.
Transport: Airport, city and experience transfers plus connecting flights.
Hotels: We’ve stuck with the included Standard Hotels in this package, because we think that they’re pretty bloody good – even if we do say so ourselves.
Experiences: We’ve included the Food & Wine Pack in this itinerary because who doesn't love food and wine?
Alternative add-ons: Hermanus, Mozambique, Victoria Falls.
Inclusions: International flights from London (can be made regional), all transfers, Base and Foodie experiences, Standard hotels (can be upgraded).
Guide Price: From £1,904pp
3. Sri Lanka, Cultural Highlights + Passikudah and Colombo + Once in a Lifetime Experiences + Luxury Accommodation
What’s sexier than a secluded beach? Nope, we can’t think of anything either. And Passikudah is the perfect place for a good Sex on the Beach – the kind that comes with equal measures of vodka, peach snaps, orange and cranberry juice, obviously – which is exactly why we’ve opted to add it on to our already pretty saucy Sri Lanka Cultural Highlights itinerary Taking in the ancient icons and elephant dotted plains of Habarana, the golden sands of Passikudah, the sweet, sweet scenery of Kandy and Colombo’s city thrills, this taster itinerary is enough to have you falling head over heels for Lonely Planet’s top destination to visit in 2019.
Duration: 9 Nights: Habarana 3nts, Passikudah 3nts, Kandy 2nts, Colombo 1nt.
Transport: All airport, city and experience transfers – car and driver.
Hotels: We’ve added Luxury Hotels onto this package, because life’s that little bit better with a spot of added indulgence, no?
Alternative add-ons: Nuwara Eliya, Galle, Yala and Udawalawe.
Experiences: We’ve gone for the Once in a Lifetime Pack in Sri Lanka – nothing’s more romantic than a hot air balloon ride over the elephant-ridden wilds of Dambulla, and that’s indisputable.
Inclusions: International flights from London (can be made regional), all transfers, Base and Once in a Lifetime experiences, Luxury hotels.
Guide Price: From £2,529pp
It may not be one that comes to mind automatically, but China is a destination that has got us lookin’ crazy in love. Pairing China’s big city hitters with dramatic karst scenery, our Classic plus Guilin itinerary will see you taking in the ancient icons of Beijing and Xian – think the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Army – before capturing China’s contrasts, as you explore the picturesque scenes of Guilin followed by Shanghai’s modern swagger.
Duration: 10 Nights: Beijing 3nts, Xian 2nts, Guilin 2nts, Shanghai 3nts.
Transport: All airport, city and experience transfers by car and driver, high-speed train and internal flights.
Hotels: In China, it’s go big or go home, so Premium hotels will make for the perfect sanctuary after days exploring frenetic cities, ancient sites and that headline-stealing Karst scenery.
Experiences: We’ve added the Active Pack onto this itinerary, because Shanghai’s French Concession District is nothing short of dreamy and it’s only made better by a cycling tour.
Alternative add-ons: Lijiang, Chengdu and Hong Kong.
Inclusions: International flights from London (can be made regional), all transfers, Base and Active experiences, Premium hotels (can be upgraded).
Guide Price: From £2,454pp
Wills and Kate may have got the press talking about romance of Kenya when it was revealed that they got engaged there, but for the alternative romantic it’s all about Tanzania. And love will most certainly be in the air on a flying safari of this incredible country. Tack on a few days of white sand relaxation in Zanzibar and you’ll be besotted, we can promise you that much. Starting amid the city buzz of Arusha, this Flying Safari itinerary takes you to the famous northern safari circuit for some prime wildlife spotting in Ngorongoro crater, Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara, before rounding off with some beach time in Zanzibar. And as if that wasn’t enough, a light aircraft will often be on hand to ferry you from safari to safari. Did someone say once in a lifetime?
Duration: 11 Nights: Arusha 1nt, Ngorongoro 2nts, Serengeti 2nts, Lake Manyara 1nt, Zanzibar 5nts.
Transport: City transfers, light aircrafts (strict 15kg baggage allowance in soft bags), safari vehicles with guide and any additional connecting flights.
Hotels: Our flying safari packages come with Premium Accommodation as a minimum, so we’ve put you down for this category with the option to upgrade to all out luxury if you so wish to.
Experiences: This package doesn't just show you love, it shows you super-duper love. With all of your base experiences being out of this world – think game drives galore, plenty of sun downers, boma visits and bushwalks – we've left it at that, but feel free to add on packages to your heart's content.
Alternative add-ons: Selous and Tarangire.
Inclusions: International flights from London (can be made regional), all transfers, Base experiences, Premium hotels (can be upgraded).
Guide Price: From £6,848pp