#1 Venice, Italy
This beautiful city, built on a series of islands in the center of a huge lagoon, is a classic destination for lovers. Famed for its network of canals which make up the main thoroughfares of the town, and for it’s distinctive and often crumbling buildings, Venice, Italy is a city full of social surprises where you could quite happily wander for hours, hopelessly lost, only to find yourself back where you started.
My advice would be to abandon all hope of knowing where you are and simply get lost in the winding streets, marveling at the little treasures of architecture, shopping and food that Venice holds.
A slight word of warning – Venice is not a city for party social animals; wander the streets after about 9 pm and you’ll be hard pushed to find anything to do.
One for getting up early, making the most of the day and then retiring to a hotel room for the evening!
#2 Alghero, Sardinia
This marvelous little walled town on Sardinia’s North Eastern coast was until recently one of the Mediterranean’s best kept secrets, but has started to build up an impressive tourist industry in recent years.
The old town is beautiful, evoking the perfect laid back Italian spirit, although more recently developed areas of the city leave a little to be desired aesthetically.
We found, however, that it was quite possible to spend four days wandering the old town, sitting drinking and nibbling at snacks in one of the many piazzas scattered about, eating fine seafood and drinking the local wine.
‘Il Grotto de Nettune’ or Neptune’s Cave, a short boat ride away, is also well worth a visit for it’s stunning display of stalagmites and stalactites.
Alghero is quite the opposite of Venice in that the piazza bars in the old town will stay open seemingly indefinitely into the night, so it can be ideal for those looking for a little more excitement.
Go earlier in the year to avoid the crowds, as Alghero is sure only to continue growing in popularity as word spreads.
#3 Channel Islands, UK
Golden sand, crystal clear blue ocean and a summer climate that rivals the South of France and it’s all on our doorstep! A forty minute flight out of Stansted or Gatwick or two hours by ferry from Weymouth will get you to Guernsey or Jersey, the two largest islands, and from there you can take hourly ferries to Herm or Sark or a local flight to Alderney.
The stunning natural beauty of these islands is complemented by the local pace of life, which some visitors have likened to stepping thirty years into the past.
The Channel Islands offer a real variety of experiences for lovers of all ages, with Jersey and Guersey offering surfing, dolphin watching trips, shopping and nightclubs. While the smaller islands are pure relaxation centers, Sark’s Seigneurial Gardens are stunning and rich and Herm.
The smallest of the islands to be open to the public, is only a mile by a mile and a half (about the size of Hyde Park) and surrounded on three sides by fine golden sand.
The variety and laid back attitudes of the islands make them a perfect destination for lovers young and old and are also ideal for those travelling with children, who can rest assured that the kids will find plenty to amuse themselves with, leaving the parents free to enjoy some quality romantic time in the social destinations.