Forget candlelit dinners and long beach walks, this Valentine’s be inspired to take a romantic break with an active adventure twist. From horse-riding to hiking, there’s more than one way to get the heart-racing and blood-pumping on a romantic holiday:
Skiing, Lech, Austria
Active couples can make the most of winter with a heart-racing, yet romance-filled ski retreat in the village of Lech in Austria. Lech is chocolate-box picturesque, with charming chalets and delightful bars and restaurants and it’s no surprise that it’s a favourite destination for film locations (it featured in Bridget Jones’ Diary 2). The skiing is decent, with long blues and thrilling red runs. As well as skiing, Lech’s 1.2km floodlit toboggan run will test your wits and skills; starting in Oberlech and ending in Lech, the run takes you through some very pretty woodland.
- Get there: If you want to take your own ski gear, check out your airline’s ski allowance regulations before flying. Some more budget airlines have tight rules around what extra ski carriage entails, whereas others, like British Airways, are much more relaxed.
Water Skiing, Sivota, Greece
Whether you’ve had a go at water skiing already, or you’re a complete beginner who’s interested in giving it a try, a stay at the Retreat Beachclub right on the Ionian Sea is perfect for an active couples’ holiday. Light winds and calm seas make ideal conditions for beginners, and the resort has a wealth of other adventurous water sports to try including windsurfing, dinghy sailing and wake boarding.
- Get there: The Retreat Beachclub from Neilson is ideal for active couples, not only providing all-inclusive activities, but also boasting the Bay View Spa with treatment rooms and relaxation deck for when you want to relax and unwind.
Running, Bordeaux, France
If you and your partner are running-mad then the Medoc Marathon is an absolute must for your next holiday. The route takes you through the chateaus and vineyards of Bordeaux, but there’s no chance of trying to get a PB. Runners are encouraged to take regular pit stops to enjoy the area’s speciality foods which include oysters, cheese and plenty of wine! Oh, and fancy dress is mandatory…
- Get there: Find ticket info, accommodation options and more on the Medoc Marathon website; it’s a hugely popular event every September, early booking recommended!
Horse Riding, Corsica
With 1,900 kilometres of bridleways, horse riding and pony trekking is one of the best ways to explore the wild beauty of Corsica. Horse riding gives you unrivalled views of Corsica’s remote windswept beaches and vast stretches of unspoilt countryside. The Eden Estate is one of Corsica’s most remarkable regions with riding pathways winding around lush woods and hidden beaches; it’s a must for horse lovers.
- Get there: Stay in Bergerie Lila, one of the most romantic properties in the Eden Estate. Hidden away in woodland, the villa has a private pool and open fireplace perfect for a romantic holiday.
Surfing, Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon comes out top for a holiday that combines romance with adventure; the city offers fine dining, cultural sites and romantic walks as well as river delta that provides great conditions for both experienced and learning surfers. Praia Grande, Praia Pequena, Praia do Guincho and Costa da Caparica beaches are reliable all year around for good waves, as are the waves at Costa do Estoril, just a short train ride from Lisbon.
- Get there: After a hard day hitting the waves, recover and rest at the five star Olissippo Lapa Palace. Nestled on a hilltop overlooking the Tagus River, couples can unwind in the spa and wellness centre, complete with sauna, Turkish steam bath and massage service.
Cycling, Tuscany, Italy
Italy is world-renowned for its romance, so where better to enjoy an active holiday with your other half than by exploring the stunning countryside of Tuscany on two wheels? One particularly popular cycle route is from the historic city of Florence through the Chianti vineyards to the charming town of Siena. Enjoy soaking up the inspirational scenery whilst passing castles, farms, local markets and charming trattoria. You can also enjoy a post-ride wine tasting to raise a glass or two in celebration.
- Get there: Stay at a luxury villa in Chianti surrounded by vine clad fields and olive groves. Visit in September to join in the region’s grape harvest festival, the Rassegna del Chianti Classico in Greve.
Park fitness, Madrid, Spain
Combine a city break with an active holiday with a trip to Madrid. The Madrileños love physical fitness and the city’s huge choice of parks and sport facilities make it very easy to get the heart pumping. First up is the Circuito de la Casa de Campo where you can walk, run or bike the trails, stopping to use the outdoor gym equipment. Retiro Park is the Spanish capital’s favourite recreational space, with visitors boating on the lake, roller blading the wide boulevards and exploring the gardens.
- Get there: Madrid is just a two and a half hour flight from London City Airport, and offers lots of fun nightlife activities too, with flamenco shows, world-class tapas bars and glamorous hotels.
Canoeing Loch Long, Ardgartan, Scotland
Experience the dramatic landscapes of Scotland by water with a canoeing trip over Loch Long. Boat-lovers can voyage across “Torpedo Bay” to reach the distant pirate port of Arrochar, which is overlooked by the striking Arrochar Alps. As well as canoeing there’s plenty for couples to explore together by foot and bike in the historic Highlands.
- Get there: Soak up Loch Long and the surrounding mountains in all their wild glory with a stay in a luxury cabin from Forest Holidays. Their Golden Oak cabins come complete with a private hot tub where you can watch the stars together at night.