Want to book something special? We asked award-winning travel writer, Annabelle Thorpe of 101 Holidays for advice

The 14th February is the Marmite day of the year – people either love Valentine’s Day and see it as a chance to celebrate that special person in your life, or loathe it as nothing more than a chance for card companies, florists and naff lingerie shops to ring in the cash.

But leave aside the teddy bears and the red roses, and what’s wrong with taking some time out to do something lovely with the person who means the most to you? The trick is to do Valentine’s your way – and make it as unconventional as you like. We asked award-winning travel writer Annabelle Thorpe of 101 Holidays for her advice.

Push the Boat Out

If money is no object – or you’re considering making February 14th the day you pop that question – then it’s hard to beat the Maldives for glorious, romantic isolation. Stay at the idyllic resort of Milaidhoo and you can sleep out under the stars and propose on your own private deck above the ocean.

Or head to the jaw-droppingly beautiful island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia, for a once-in-a-lifetime stay at the Brando, former home of the Godfather himself, Marlon Brando. Or make this Valentine’s Day the time you do the trip you’ve always promised yourselves – whether a cruise on the Nile to see Egypt’s iconic pyramids and temples, or to the fairytale landscapes and stunning rock formations of Cappadocia in Turkey.

Get Off Grid

For some couples, the ultimate luxury is having each other’s full attention – away from social media, laptops, phones and apps as well as people – and escaping to a rural bolthole can be a great way to recharge a relationship.

Book a weekend at the charming Bluebell Shepherd’s Hut near Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons, for spectacular walks, cosy pubs and a real sense of escape. Or head to the spectacular North Devon Coast, and explore the glorious beaches of Woolacombe and Putsborough, free of the summer crowds.

For a wildly romantic few days, book a lighthouse keeper’s cottage and curl up together with some champagne and stunning sea views. If you fancy escaping somewhere warmer, February can be a great time to be in Chianti – barely any tourists, crisp cold days, and traditional Carnival celebrations and processions throughout the month.

Learn Something New

Developing a new hobby or learning something together can make for a really memorable break, as well as bringing something new to a relationship. Head to Spain for a short-break around Rioja country, visiting wine houses and learning about the history and techniques of wine-making (with plenty of tastings, naturally).

Or shake off the post-Christmas winter slump with a yoga and surfing weekend, in sun-drenched Agadir. Golf is a great sport for couples – in February, the pristine greens in the Caribbean are drenched in sunshine, offering a perfect mix of active days and romantic, starlit nights.

Hit the Road

A road trip can be a great way to share an adventure together, and what better excuse than Valentine’s Day to splash out on a vintage motor? Explore Scotland’s spectacular landscapes in true James Bond style, in a vintage Aston Martin – there’s even time on the trip to learn how to mix the perfect martini.

Or head to Italy’s breathtaking Amalfi Coast, for a spin along one of the most spectacular roads in the world in an iconic Mini Cooper. For a truly unforgettable road trip, it’s hard to beat South Africa’s dramatic Western Cape – kick off with a few days in Cape Town before wine-tasting in Franshoek and whale-spotting in Hermanus Bay.

Traditional Treats

Of course there’s nothing wrong with a classic Valentine’s break - hearts, flowers and good-old fashioned romance. It’s hard to beat a weekend in Rome, but avoid the big, grand-dame hotels, and stay somewhere boutique and intimate – and take the chance to explore some of the city’s iconic sights free of summer crowds.

Venice in February is at its most mystical and atmospheric, with masked carnival parades taking place across the city, or splurge in style with a weekend in the Big Apple, with carriage rides through Central Park and all the cocktails you can drink.


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