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Love's great adventure

Words by Marianne Dick

From fairytale first holidays to enchanting anniversaries, these places set the scene for your own epic love story.

Balcony view
Stories for... The Heart

One of the greatest effects of being in love is that the everyday can suddenly feel wonderful. Grey clouds shimmer with silver linings and simple tasks seem full of adventure. Travelling beyond one’s own corner of the world is made even more remarkable when experienced with a loved one.

First holidays together feel like movie montages: the ecstasy of passion is intensified by fine food and exquisite wine, foreign climates, and divine hotels where every need is catered for. Italy – the setting for Romeo and Juliet no less – is undoubtedly one of the most romantic destinations in the world.

One minute you might be staying in a converted castello nestled among the rolling emerald hills of Tuscany, and the next, you’re surprising your partner with a private helicopter to Andrea Bocelli’s annual concert in his hometown of Lajatico. The feeling of awe, as you perch on the front row of the spectacular open-air amphitheatre, the Theatre of Silence, is hard to beat.

From first date to proposal, no detail should be overlooked. Cut yourself off from the rest of the world in a private Lagoon Suite, nestled on the edge of the ethereal Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Popping the question here would be truly magical. A diamond ring that is inspired by the beautiful glaciers and stunning crystal ice caves of the Nordic island will hold so much more meaning. Particularly when it’s delivered on bended knee next to your own personal sapphire-coloured lagoon.

Cliff top view
Train interior
Sunset landscape
Seize the moment and celebrate your own, inimitable love story — no matter which chapter you’re up to

And then the honeymoon. The start of the most extraordinary journey of your lives – and it begins on The Orient Express to Venice. One of the most illustrious ways to travel, it seems the apt way to mark your send-off together in a private cabin with a personalised bottle of Tattinger and a custom-made honeymoon cake. Polished wood, gleaming brass and sumptuous soft furnishings will whisk you away to the golden era of railways, with black-tie dinners and decadent breakfasts. From Paris to the painterly landscapes of the Swiss Alps whizzing past the window, a train ride gives you ample time to slow down and appreciate time with your partner after the fanfare of the big day.

Through sickness and health, couples who mark milestone anniversaries have much to celebrate, but it’s hard to find an experience that truly matches how grateful you are. A Kenyan safari is a good place to start. Reimagine another great love story, with an ‘Out of Africa’ picnic at Angama Mara - a lavish spread set atop a hill overlooking the setting of the classic Hollywood film starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

Take this time to renew vows with a blessing from Maasai elders as the sun sets behind majestic baobab trees. Rejoice as maidens and warriors dance and sing, and decorate you in traditional beaded jewellery, full of the colours and zest of African life.