Seychelles, Maldives and more of the world's best spots for lovers
Time Out Bahrain staff
Flight time from Bahrain: 6 hrs A speck on the map off the southern African coast, the Seychelles are an escapist fantasy for travellers, with all the luscious coastline and classic paradise features you could want, and then some. You could spend a day exploring one of the globe’s smallest capital cities, Victoria, try some deep-sea fishing or go mountain biking, but you’ll probably be more tempted to relax on the beach, in front of some astonishing cliff faces. However you ultimately decide to spend your time, you’ll have one of the world’s most romantic destinations as your backdrop. Via Dubai Emirates flies direct to The Seychelles; a return ticket costs from BD364 (www.emirates.com). Book with Beachcomber, www.beachcombertours.co.uk (+44 1483 445621).
Flight time from Bahrain: 6.5 hrs including stopover If you’re looking for a romantic setting where it’s just you, your loved one and the great outdoors, the secluded islands of the Maldives is it. With fabulous weather almost the whole year round and all the palm trees you could ever wish for, the tiny coral reef islands are a magical place to relax. There’s little to see and do, beyond snorkelling or a trip to one of the many spa resorts, but with evocative sunsets, dazzling waters and sparkling golden sands in such ample supply, you’ll never want to leave. For that undisturbed romantic stay, head to one of the thatched roof bungalows of Makunudu. Qatar Airways flies to the Maldives via Doha; a return ticket costs BD345 (www.qatarairways.com). Stay at Makunudu, www.makunudu.com (+44 1548 831550).
Greek island hopping
Flight time from Bahrain: 4.45 hrs The weather in Greece is nice all year round but not normally stifling, the coastline is as delightful as any more exotic destination, and there are plenty of sumptuous hotels and idyllic self-catering villas to choose from. Your best bet is an island stay, but why stop at just the one? Short distances and easy interchanges make an island-hopping honeymoon an attractive and, of course, romantic prospect. Move from the mountains of Crete to the clear seas of Paxos, or follow the trail of Odysseus on Ithaca, then wander the wooded greenery of Zakynthos. There are destinations to suit every type of couple, a rich cultural heritage and fantastic scenery to see, not forgetting all the lively tavernas. Gulf Air flies direct to Athens; a return ticket costs from BD231 (www.emirates.com). Book with Islands of Greece, www.islands-of-greece.co.uk (+44 845 675 2600).
The Lake District, UK
Flight time from Bahrain: 7 hrs Head to one of the sleepy villages of the Lake District, check into the Swinside Lodge Hotel – a sweet and stylish lakeside resort in the Newlands Valley – and you’ll be staying amid some of England’s richest natural terrain: think moody lakes and lush greenery. While they might not be as exotic as the Caribbean, British sunsets are no less magical, and you’ll find it much easier to secure a private viewing spot. Of course, the weather is tenacious, but nestled away in a picturesque country inn, there’ll be no need to go outside. Gulf Air flies to Manchester via Heathrow; a return ticket costs from BD506 (www.emirates.com). Stay at Swinside Lodge Hotel, www.swinsidelodge-hotel.co.uk (+44 1768 772948).
Eden Rock, St Barts, Caribbean
Flight time from Bahrain: 17.5 hrs Of all the Caribbean islands, St Barths has accrued a name for itself as the showiest and starriest. Like the rest of the region, the island is heavy on the romance, all tropical landscapes and achingly perfect panoramas. With a small local population and visits from only the most exclusive of tourists, couples can appreciate the place undisturbed, while at the same time enjoying food that pays homage to the island’s French heritage. Originally the home of a Dutch adventurer, the exquisite Eden Rock resort was once frequented by Greta Garbo, and remains to this day a top glitterati haunt. It’s certainly opulent, but falls just the right side of gaudy, and is made more impressive by snatches of the owner’s well-cultivated art collection. Of course, you’ll be too busy staring into each other’s eyes to notice. Fly Gulf Air to Dubai BD78.5 and Virgin Atlantic flies to St Lucia from BD700 (www.virgin-atlantic.com). Stay at Eden Rock Hotel, www.eden rockhotel.com (+590 590 297 999).
Flight time from Dubai: 10.5 hrs The beaches of Bali are well trodden by all kinds of tourists, from backpackers to the well-heeled, and they also make for a sensational romantic destination. In the balmy waters of southern Asia, the Indonesian island, complete with verdant landscape, volcanic lakes and cultural gems, is as close to paradise as they come. Head to the Karma Kandara resort on Bali’s secluded southernmost tip, a stunning architectural feat merging classic Balinese design with pure luxury. Snuggle up undisturbed in one of the beautifully furnished individual villas, which come with their own tropical courtyard, private pool and personal access to the beach. Enjoy candlelit cuisine at the cliff-face restaurant and sip champagne under the stars at the hotel’s rooftop bar. One tip to note: it’s wise to avoid monsoon season between December and March. Malaysia Airlines flies from Dubain via Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar, Bali; a return ticket costs from BD346 (www.malaysiaairlines.com). Stay at Karma Kandar, www.karmakandara.com (+62 361 848 2200).
Flight time from Bahrain: 10.5 hrs including stopover Paris is well known as one of the most romantic places on earth. Wander the charming streets, indulge in the delicious food and take in all the sights of the French capital. Take a moonlit cruise down the Seine, head to the Museé Rodin to see the sculptor’s famous work The Kiss, and choose from the many lavish hotels. The honeymoon suite at the intimate Hôtel Duc de Saint Simon, with resplendent four-poster bed, is one winner. It’s a gem of a place with adorably classic decor and antique furnishings. For more modern tastes, head to the edgy Five Hotel in the Latin Quarter, where your bed will lie under a starry ceiling. Air France flies to Paris via Dubai from BD502 return (www.airfrance.ae). Hôtel Duc de Saint Simon, www.hotelducdesaintsimon.com (+33 1 44 49 20 20), or Five Hotel, www.thefivehotel.com (+33 1 43 31 74 21).
Flight time from Bahrain: 10 hrs Create your fairytale atmosphere with a trip to a castle; specifically, the Royal Palace of Seville – just one of the many historic treasures in the Andalucian capital. Spain isn’t immediately thought of as a lovers’ paradise, but this quiet city, an hour or so from Spain’s southern Atlantic coast, should not be dismissed. The Moorish history of the region is visible in the stunning architecture, while restaurants offer delectable tapas from a variety of influences. Within easy reach is the Costa de la Luz, with golden sands and trendy but relaxed resorts. Of course, that’s assuming you want to leave your hotel – if you stay at the gorgeous Haçienda Belaluza, that’s even less likely. Converted from an old Moorish household in a dreamy village just outside Seville, it also has a lavish terrace and pool and a Michelin-starred eatery. Gulf Air to Dubai and Iberia to Seville; a return ticket costs from BD600 (www.iberia.com). Stay at Haçienda Belaluza, www.elbullihotel.com (+34 955 703 344).
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Flight time from Bahrain: 14.5 hrs When all you want is be left alone with a loved one, it pays to head to a group of pristine islands with almost no local population and a limit of 400-odd tourists at a time. The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, a former penal colony, is about as far away from any city lights as you can ask. Located a few hundred miles off the north-eastern Brazilian coast, expect all the typical paradise trimmings of stupendous sunsets and sensational coastline, some great diving and some astonishing flora and fauna. A favourite of Naomi Campbell and Mario Testino, in recent years it has also become known as a honeymoon hotspot. The stunning beach-facing villas of the Pousada Maravilha resort are a good bet. Emirates flies direct to Rio de Janeiro from Dubai from BD600 return (www.emirates.com). Stay at Pousada Maravilha, www.pousadamaravilha.com.br (+55 81 3619 0028).