Whenever we are asked to recommend the perfect destination for a European romantic break I always surprise my team and my clients by steering them away from the typical city breaks in Paris and Venice. To my mind an equally sophisticated and luxurious romantic holiday can be experienced in some less obvious locations. A few of my particular favourites can be found in Mallorca, Puglia and Paphos.
Deià, Mallorca and Belmond La Residencia
Deià represents the ‘other’ and lesser known Mallorca, a place to which Robert Graves brought his mistress Laura Riding and later his second wife. The idyllic village has carved itself a romantic reputation among artists, and many flock there to indulge their creative side and to seek inspiration.
In my opinion you couldn’t find a better backdrop for a European romantic break. With stunning views to soak up from the sunny terraces and a picturesque shingle beach tucked away in a beach cove…
The foundations of true romance on holiday is the accommodation, and we always recommend Belmond La Residencia to couples who want to enjoy a sense of intimacy and privacy. This boutique property is nestled in an olive and citrus grove on the border of the village and is renowned as Mallorca’s most intimate hotel.
If you take us up on the idea to offer your loved one a trip to Deià then there are a few options here that will really put the romance into your stay.
- Vespa Tour: Picture yourself on an iconic vespa with your partner hugging you around your waist as you tour the charming, winding roads in the mountains around Deia. The hotel can organise this for when you arrive.
- Evening Swim: Belmond La Residencia features an outdoor pool that overlooks the dramatic Tramuntana mountain range. It makes for a picture perfect way to spend a romantic evening splashing in the pool as the sun sets.
- Picnicking in the Mountains: Surprise your partner with a very unique experience – an excursion into the mountains with your own picnic and a donkey to carry all your kit. The hotel provides an excellent lunch and a well tempered companion with long ears for just such an outing.
Matera and Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita
If history ignites your passions then Matera is a truly unsurpassable destination for a European romantic break that neither of you will ever forget. I have sent several couples to explore the Sassi, an area of cave districts carved out of the dramatic cliffs.
This is one of those rare gems – an Italian tourist attraction that is still relatively off the beaten track. You can expect a degree of privacy and a sense of sharing a truly novel experience together.
Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is a hotel that gives you the opportunity to experience luxury cave dwelling first hand. You and your partner will be offered one of their 18 caves which have been carefully restored to create rooms that preserve the original shape and materials.
We would recommend Basilicata and the Matera to those couples who are looking for something with a more gothic flavour from their European romantic break.
- Candlelit Dinner in a Deconsecrated Church: If you stay in the Sextantio Le Grotte then you absolutely must treat your partner to a dinner in the thirteenth-century chapel hewn from the rocks. You’ll dine by the light of dozens of candles before an open fire, and their chef will serve you both a meal fit for such an enchanting place.
- Atmospheric Spa Treatments: The hotel is really all about atmosphere, and we have sent couples off to relax in tandem at the hands of expert masseurs who will come to your own cave laden with heady perfumes and oils.
- Cooking Together: Many people bond in the kitchen, and this hotel offers guests a fantastic opportunity to enjoy time together learning to cook traditional Lucanian recipes.
Paphos and Asimina Suites
Not all my clients who are looking for a European romantic break want a secluded retreat, so for those who seek more access to a party atmosphere and want to treat their partners to the height of luxury and decadence, we recommend Paphos and, in particular, the adult-only Asimina Suites.
This is the place to go to show your partner a great time: brimming with sun and sea during the daylight hours and music and dancing at night.