The countdown to Valentine’s Day has begun – and you’re still fresh out of ideas. You want to whisk your partner away on a romantic break, but think it’s too late to do so this year. Well, it isn’t! There are plenty of easy-to-reach romantic escapes for last-minute planners. Whether it’s a passionate hot air balloon ride across the pink city of Jaipur or a serene getaway to a villa in Sri Lanka, it’s all within your reach.
Wondering how that’s going to happen? We’ve sourced a mix of travel experts to give you their expert advice and guidance.
Go to: Goa
Why: For the party couple, I’d recommend booking a resort in Goa—Casa Vagator has two pools and a recreational area overlooking dramatic sunsets; a little further down the road is the glitzy new W resort, which has a beach club and buzzing restaurants – overall, the hotel has a very sexy vibe. Both places have a convivial vibe throughout the year, and are guaranteed to make your Valentine’s Day escape a truly memorable one.
How to get there: Fly to Goa’s Dabolim Airport from major Indian cities, then book a cab from the airport to your destination. Alternatively, check if your hotel organises airport pickups.
Go to: Mulshi Lake
Why: If you and your better half love health and fitness, then head to the serene Mulshi lake in the Western Ghats, which is almost reminiscent of New Zealand’s picturesque landscape. Kare Ayurveda is a simple and rustic retreat that is very popular with Europeans looking to detox and rejuvenate. The newly opened Atmantan also offers world-class luxuries, matched with a strict physical regime. And if nothing else works, book a staycation at the St Regis in Lower Parel, Mumbai, which feels like an oasis, yet has the city’s best at its doorstep.
How to get there: Mulshi is a 3.5-hour drive from Mumbai and a one-hour drive from Pune.
Go to: Jaipur
Why: Here’s your chance to get a bird’s eye view of the Pink City. Recreate romance with a hot air balloon ride atop the Rajasthani capital – the 60-minute balloon ride will take you through the city at sunrise. Conducted by Sky Waltz, each balloon ride is unique, as they genuinely don’t know where you land as your drift along with the wind. The pilot will vary the altitude during the flight, flying low so you can see the city and its hidden treasures. Once you’re done with the balloon ride, explore the city on foot with your partner and end the experience with a delicious meal at one of the city’s many open-air restaurants.
How to get there: Fly to Jaipur from major Indian cities.
Go to: Nashik
Why: Celebrate Valentine’s Day in a vineyard this year, with some delectable wine-tasting in lush surroundings. You can choose from Sula Vineyards, York Winery, Soma Vineyards, Chateau d’Ori, Chandon India, Grover Zampa, and Vallonne. If you decide to stay overnight, some vineyards such as Sula also offer comfortable accommodation. Uncork a bottle of wine and toast to your future.
How to get there: Nashik is a 3-hour drive from Mumbai.
Go to: A private villa in Sri Lanka
Why: This is Sri Lanka, but not as you know it. Step away from the crowded beaches and hotels to stay in your own private villa instead. Contrary to what you may think, these villas are easily available and not priced exorbitantly. There are probably far more than you realise dotted around this island, including some with forest-facing terraces that are perfect for that morning coffee together, and others with sea views to watch the sun go down from. After all, what says romance more than that?
How to get there: Fly to Colombo from major Indian cities, then book a cab to the villa you are visiting. Indian passport-holders can get a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka.
Go to: The Andaman Islands
Why: The Andaman Islands are well-known by Indian travellers as a romantic destination, thanks to their picture perfect beaches and sunsets. But, this year, I suggest spicing it up a little by stepping out of your comfort zone together – if you’ve never snorkelled or scuba-dived, then this is the place to do it—thanks to the clear waters and staggering array of underwater life. Or, for something even more adventurous, try jet-skiing, parasailing or a banana boat ride together. They say fear is the best way to build a bond, and I recommend testing out the theory.
How to get there: Fly to Port Blair from major Indian cities, then take local boats to the islands of your choice.
Like this article? Also read: 7 Underrated Honeymoon Destinations Across India
Cover Image Courtesy: Benjamin Balfour