Top Romantic Getaways – Our Picks

There has never been a better to reconnect with your other half. So, escape Covid-19 fatigue and your overused Netflix profile and head off on one of these romantic getaways.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

If you’re into romantic walks, art deco architecture and a melting pot of history, then Budapest is a must. The city is divided into two by the Danube; Buda and Pest each have their own culture and identity. Pest combines the old-world glamour of Andr√°ssy¬†Avenue with contemporary museums, nightclubs and the elegant Opera House. In Buda you will find cobbled streets and Turkish baths and more.

See the city via various modes of transport. On foot allows for surprising discoveries around every corner, while a nighttime cruise up the Danube, admiring the city lights is an obvious recipe to romance. If you do choose to walk though, take note: Buda is hilly and Pest is flat, so choose your footwear wisely.

Official language: Hungarian; English and German are also widely spoken

Best times to visit: From March to May and September to November as the weather is mild and, under normal circumstances, there aren’t too many tourists.

Plockton and surrounds, the Scottish Highlands

Plockton, in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands hold a wealth of beauty. From quaint villages, to breathtaking architecture, evocative ruined castles, and dramatic landscapes – it’s no wonder it’s on many a dream travel list. Start as you mean to go on and visit the ‘Jewel of the Highlands’, the delightful village of Plockton.

Although small, there are over 50 accommodation options to choose from, whether you prefer B&B, self catering, or a charming hotel. Plockton is a National Trust for Scotland conservation village so the heritage of the village is well preserved. With spectacular landscapes, overlooking Loch Carron, spend your mornings sailing and your afternoons browsing the many galleries or enjoying local live music. Plockton’s ideal location at the heart of the highlands give the visitor easy access to explore further. Head north and explore the fascinating Isle of Sky – the largest in the Inner Hebrides – home to fossils, castles, and a Fairy Glen.

Official Language: English

Best times to Visit: All year round if you don’t mind the weather, although it gets more crowded in the Summer months.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

A far-cry from blustery Scottish mountains, are the grasslands of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. One of the most important preserved areas of wildlife in the world, the lies to the southwest in Kenya, not far from the Tanzanian border. The reserve’s landscapes, offer visitors views of rolling hills, grassy savannahs, and it’s world renown for its large wildlife populations, including lions, cheetahs, elephants, and hippos. Perhaps most famous, is the annual Wildebeest migration which takes place between July and October. One of the most breathtaking natural events in the world, it is one of the few remaining mass wildlife movements on the planet.

After a day admiring nature, watch the African sunset light the sky red at one of the many tented camps throughout the reserve. These range in style, from family friendly and basic, to luxury lodges with a swimming pool. Either way, returning to nature is a great way to escape Covid fatigue.

Official Language: Swahili and English

Best Times to Visit: All year round, although the migration is between July and October

Anguilla, the British Caribbean

The island of Anguilla, British Caribbean

Forget your phone charger at home, Anguilla is the ultimate place to unwind and reconnect. The island is home to 33 beaches, giving you plenty of choice for some peace and quiet. As turquoise water gently laps the sand, lay back and enjoy the sun, dappled by swaying palm leaves – few rival it for relaxation. If you want to look into the cultural side of the island, Anguilla’s history is fascinating – find out more about it and the island’s culture in the local galleries and at live music shows.

Stay active, and enjoy golf, sailing, tennis, and, as you’re surrounded by seas rich in marine life, snorkeling. Lay your head in a charming boutique hotel, larger all-inclusive resorts, or an apartment – Anguilla has something for every taste.

Official Language: English

Best Times to Visit: February to April if you want to miss the rain. Hurricane season tends to run from June to September.

See Also: Outdoor Travel, Our Top Picks

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Vaccinated South Africans can Visit These 5 EU Countries

South Africa has faced stringent travel restrictions from a large part of the rest of the world for a number of months. Now, restrictions are easing for fully vaccinated South Africans. We take a look at where South Africans can travel to if they’ve had the jab.

Austria

Recently, Austria removed South Africa from it’s virus variant list. Subsequently, South Africans who have been fully vaccinated can enter the country for any reason, and don’t need to quarantine.

Non-vaccinated travellers are required to obtain pre-travel clearance, submit negative tests, and self isolate on arrival.

Read more about travelling to Austria here.

France

France has dropped travel restrictions for all vaccinated visitors. Non-vaccinated minors travelling with vaccinated adults also don’t face restrictions. Non-vaccinated children over the age of 12 will need a negative PCR test result taken less than 72 hours before arrival. Travellers who have been in South Africa in the last 14 days and are not vaccinated, can only travel to France for pressing reasons, undergo two tests, and will need to quarantine under supervision for 14 days.

Restaurants, bars, and attractions are open, although a health pass is needed in order to access these public spaces. Internal travel through France is allowed, and also requires a health pass for long-distance trips. The health pass contains either, proof of vaccination, recovery, or a PCR test taken within the previous 48 hours.

Masks must be worn on public transport, and indoor public spaces, but aren’t needed where a health pass is required. If you are outside, masks are only required if social distancing isn’t possible.

Children under 12 do not need a health pass.

>> Vaccinations for Travel: Who Accepts What?

Germany

Travellers from South Africa who have received their full dose more than 14 days prior to travel are now allowed to visit Germany. This form must be completed before you travel to the country. On arrival you must present proof of your vaccination. Non-vaccinated travellers must have an urgent need to travel to Germany, and need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Restaurants, bars, cafes, and attractions are open in Germany, although, like France, they can only be access with a health pass. This applies to everyone over the age of 6. Masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces, public transport, and busy outdoor spaces. Masks must fulfill the requirements of FFP2 or KN95/N95.

Vaccinated South Africans can now walk the cobbled streets of Ibiza without facing quarantine
Vaccinated South Africans can soak up the sun in Spain without facing quarantine

Spain

In order to enter Spain, travellers must present a vaccination certificate, which demonstrates that the full dose was not received less than 14 days prior to arrival. Non-vaccinated travellers need to quarantine for 10 days, and meet specific criteria such as EU residency, long term visa holders, or diplomats. Children under 12 are exempt.

All establishments and businesses have re-opened in Spain, and follow safety protocols. Masks are required in indoor public spaces and in public transport. Masks don’t need to be worn outdoors provided the 1.5 metre social distancing rule is followed. Visitors are advised to book tickets to attractions, and tables in bars and restaurants in advance as venues venues have capacity limits.

Switzerland

Travellers to Switzerland from South Africa can enter the country with a recognized vaccination certificate. Non-vaccinated travellers must provide a negative PCR test result and quarantine for 10 days, a negative test result can be submitted on day 7 for release. Please note, some cantons (regions) in Switzerland have different quarantine requirements so it is advised to check your final destination’s rules.

Masks are mandatory in public spaces, except outdoors. Bars, restaurants, dance halls, and water parks are open – access to larger venues requires a Covid certificate.

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