5 Alternative Valentine’s Breaks That Aren’t Remotely Sickly
Fed up with soppy couples and florists stacked with over-priced roses? Celebrate being a couple with these off-beat adventures
3 February 2019
All Credits: PA
It’s one of those occasions that many people dread, and even if you’re in a couple, the idea of a forced romantic encounter can feel a bit too contrived. But that doesn’t mean we should ditch the day (and night) completely. If you’re keen on an alternative Valentine’s break, here are a few options to try…
1. Euphoria Retreat, Peloponnese, Greece
The hammam at Euphoria Retreat (Giorgos Sfakianakis/PA)
Even the most solid of relationships can have wobbly moments, but rarely do we set aside the time to invest effort into patching them up. Opened last summer, this wellbeing retreat in the Peloponnese has a three-day Mini Relationships Retreat designed to understand relationship blockages through group therapy sessions, forest meditation and energy movement programmes.
How to book: Available on various dates, the retreat costs €480pp/£420/AED 2019, including breakfast. Visit euphoriaretreat.com.
2. The Merry Harriers, Surrey Hills, UK
Take a romantic llama trek (The Merry Harriers/PA)
They say three’s a crowd, but not when there’s a llama involved. There are 12 of the South American camelids living in a paddock behind this 16th century inn in the pretty village of Hambledon. As part of a Valentine’s package, take part in a morning llama trek, followed by lunch at the pub, where the original landlords’ names are scrawled on the wall. Stay in one of the inn’s newly refurbished Garden rooms, or upgrade to sleep in a shepherd’s hut.
How to book: An overnight full-board stay costs from £395/AED 1,899 (for two); £495/AED 2,380 for the shepherd’s hut. Includes a bottle of Prosecco on arrival. Available from Feb 13-16. Visit merryharriers.com.
Challenges have a habit of bringing couples closer together, and once you’ve embarked on this adventure, your relationship will never be the same. Travelling through the remote Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park in north-west Lapland, this five-day husky safari requires participants to take charge of a team of four to six dogs, under the guidance of an expert. Accommodation in wilderness huts is simple – and shared in a dorm – but the experience of mushing through frozen lakes and snowy forests is intimate in many other ways. Plus, nights in a comfortable hotel (and private room) bookend the trip.
How to book: Departing February 10, this seven-night, full-board trip costs from £2,195pp (two sharing), including flights from London, transfers and cold weather clothing. Visit artisantravel.co.uk.
4. nHow Berlin, Germany
Serenading your nearest and dearest is, let’s face it, a bit vomit-inducing, but that doesn’t mean making sweet music together is strictly off limits. The sparky nHow Berlin hotel has just the solution; two in-house recording studios and a selection of instruments, available to order through room service. Set in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district on the banks of the River Spree, it’s also conveniently close to some of Berlin’s coolest bars.
How to book: Doubles from €104/£9/AED 437.56 1 per night with breakfast. Visit nh-hotels.com.
5. New Forest, Hampshire, UK
Who said bicycles were the only mode of transport made for two? Hire a sturdy Canadian-style canoe and paddle along the River Beaulieu, taking in views of the New Forest. Afterwards, head to the beach at Lepe Country Park for views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, and finish your day with a tour of Beaulieu Motor Museum. Avoid gooey-eyed couples by eating in at a rented cottage with its own log burner.
How to book: A seven-night stay at the one-bedroom Old Barn in Exbury costs £470 (AED 2,259) in February. Visit newforestcottages.co.uk. Canoe trips from £25 (AED 120.21). Visit newforestactivities.co.uk.