Forget Chocolates or Roses. Say it with a Holiday
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are nine of the most exciting, off-beat and far-flung places to hold hands, peck your loved one on the cheek, pop the question or say ‘Happy Anniversary’…
1. British Columbia
Love is: Escaping to a wilderness lodge and glimpsing your first ever grizzly bear or humpback whale.
Love it: Whales and Bears at Farewell Harbour Tucked away on a thickly forested Pacific Coast island, this idyllic lodge is perfectly located for tracking down the grizzly bears of Knight Inlet and the orcas and humpback whales of Johnstone Strait.
Perfect partner: Ultimate Pacific Coast Experience – a 10-night self-drive combining mainland BC and Vancouver Island.
Love is: Standing on top of a giant sand dune gazing across the apricot-meringue-whip of the Namib Desert.
Love it: Essential Namibia Combine desert landscapes with the spectacular wildlife of Namibia’s famed national park.
3. Swedish Lapland
Love is: Snuggled up in a cosy double sleeping bag in the Icehotel, surrounded by exquisite ice sculptures.
Love it: Icehotel Break Experience the magic of one of the world’s iconic hotels high above the Arctic Circle.
4. New Zealand
Love is: Stepping out of a helicopter onto a glacier in the Southern Alps or hiking to a stunning viewpoint to find ‘Middle Earth’ spread below you.
Love it: Discover Aotearoa With three weeks to roam, this self-drive is packed with highlights and includes experiences such a cruise on Doubtful Sound.
Love is: Setting eyes on flamingos, pretty in pink on the salt pans of the Atacama Desert, or being star-struck by the dazzling night skies.
Love it: Best of Chile Encompassed From the surreal Atacama Desert in the north to sublime Patagonia in the south, this independent tour showcases Chile in all its diverse glory.
Love is: Hopping in your hire car, driving through the heart-racing scenery of the Lofoten Islands and cosying up in a rorbuer (a traditional fisherman’s hut) for the night.
Love it: Around Lofoten With limited availability this summer, now is the time to book this fabulous self-drive to Norway’s spectacular Lofoten Islands, driving one of Europe’s finest coastal routes.
Love is: Slipping into a geothermal pool and gently poaching yourself at 38-40°C.
Love it: Reykjanes Explorer & Spa Break Home to the world-famous Blue Lagoon, the Reykjanes Peninsula (an otherworldly landscape of black lava, geothermal fields and sea cliffs) is the dramatic setting for this self-drive holiday based at the cosy Northern Light Inn. Includes access to the brand new spa and wellness centre at Northern Light Inn.
Love is: Floating away into a pristine wilderness of lakes and forests in Central Finland.
Love it: Finland Houseboat Break On this gentle, self-guided cruise, you can enjoy midsummer light throughout the night, anchor off an island for a swim, try a spot of fishing and explore local villages.
Love is: Snorkelling, goggle-eyed, above the coral-kaleidoscope of the Great Barrier Reef.
Love it: Great Barrier Reef Cruise Join an expedition voyage in the company of a marine biologist, setting out from Cairns, cruising to the Ribbon Reefs for amazing snorkelling and diving and visiting Cooktown.