There is nothing more exciting than counting down the days before you dust off your suitcases, pack your bags and set off for a summer holiday with your other half, hopefully somewhere as far flung as possible from the everyday routine. I am sure for many, an ideal summer getaway consists of sun, sand and sea and a whole lot of relaxation. Whilst for others, like my adrenaline fuelled husband, they prefer a little more adventure and this is where the conundrum lies, how to combine the two into one perfectly packaged holiday for couples who have varying interpretations of the term relaxation. After putting it to the test (yep it was hard work), we have managed to find that happy medium, and after digging out some photos while reminiscing on how different we both looked pre-baby, I’ve listed six beautiful destinations that do just that.
Croatia’s Coastline and Islands
The Adriatic water is blue, the sun is warm and the people are welcoming, what isn’t there to love about Croatia’s coastline and surrounding islands. If you are after a relaxing and historic getaway close to home, then this country is it. Croatia has so many beautiful islands like Hvar, Korčula, Brač and Mljet. From my experience the best way to see them is on a boat. We booked Katarina Lines from Dubrovnik to Split and joined other couples on a small ship cruise. The daily banter, group activities and Captain’s dinner in Mljet were a highlight. Croatian cuisine is amazing, and if you get a chance; try Kasa Bar & Grill in Spilt for traditional dishes or Zori in Hvar for a more contemporary menu, one of their specialties is this relish called avjar which is my favourite (a little obsessed, as I have it on everything when I’m there and they might as well bring out the whole jar). In the historic town of Split we listened to an underground classical recital at Diocletians Palace which is predominately made out of beautiful marble and local limestone. While in Dubrovnik, we booked in a kayak tour, leaving from beneath fort Lovrjenac where we paddled out and explored the coastline of rugged cliffs and caves for the day. The following morning, we then walked the ancient city walls, which meant plenty steps over a two kilometre journey however the views were completely worth it.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas is located on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula and is the perfect place to detour past if you are also in LA. There is an abundance of unspoiled natural beauty and wildlife particularly the rays, sharks and exotic birds. The diving is phenomenal as their are apparently over 300 different species of fish to see and the region is situated on a tectonic plate which means that there is a dramatic shift in depth when you swim out to sea. We also attempted to learn Spanish at our hotel which had free classes for guests i.e. Hola una margarita por favor (my priorities!). There are plenty of small traditional shops like hand blown glass factories and Mexican potteries to check out if you get bored sitting next the pool. We visited a traditional Mexican ranch which included a scenic couples horse ride along Migrino Beach that led us to the top of a small mountain that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The food and nightlife is also amazing, just avoid the spring break crowd period (unless you are into that of course) and if you love tequila, well this is your city.
Koh Samui, Thailand
This little island is just off the coast of the mainland and is Thailand’s second largest island. The beauty of this island is that it is not as busy as the main attractions of Phuket or Phi Phi and in turn is more idyllic and less crowded. We stayed in the Bophut Fisherman’s Village precinct at two resorts, Zazen Boutique Resort which is smaller with a colonial feel and more homely as there are fewer rooms, and then at a larger resort style hotel, Hansar Samui Resort. The latter resort organised dinner on the beach for us under a straw hut surrounded by lanterns, very romantic. Take a boat tour to Angthong National Marine Park and then explore the myriad of trails resulting in hidden waterfalls which are magical. We also took Thai cooking classes which were fantastic as you get to pick your own ingredients from the local markets, we then hired a motorbike and explored the island, although this is not for the faint hearted as there are really lax (if any) road rules! The second time I visited this beautiful island, was for my hen’s getaway with the girls and we rented a beach side villa in Lamai further south on the island. This side was more geared towards having fun, which included endless lanes of night markets and trendy bars.
I was eight months pregnant when we visited this popular island. We stayed at the newly opened One Ibiza Suites which are spacious, very modern, great beach views in a nice quiet part of town. The infinity pool on the rooftop was amazing. We explored the island by renting a car, wandered around and shopped in the Old Town. If you are into well being, trying to be healthy (think raw dishes), and don’t mind predominantly vegetarian then lunch at Atzaro is great, we then watched the famed San Antonio Sunset at Cafe Mambo while throwing back a couple of sangria’s and sharing tapas. The locals on this island are friendly and always happy to give advice on what we should do and see. We stayed in the part of town away from the hustle and bustle of the nightlife, and this is a merit to the island as it allows you to have different types of holidays, from calm to crazy.
Maui is a smaller island off the coast of Hawaii and is absolutely tranquil and tropical. The water is clear so you can see the gentle sea turtles that live in its waters. We started the week by making leis flower garlands, the fresh orchids were beautiful. The kayaking tours are the best way to discover the island and there are certain popular spots to stop and snorkel. A fun activity is the pineapple tour, the home of the golden pineapple and you get to take a box of pineapples back to your hotel. We also went to the organic vodka distillery which is excellent so they don’t use any pesticides, and the vodka tastes so crisp, you even get to see how they convert sugar cane into vodka at their factory. There is also a great wine tasting tour and the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center which has interesting exhibitions. For those who want to get a little more physical try stand up paddle boarding, the water is calm in some areas and the teachers are patient with first timers!
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
If you haven’t seen the sights of Rio, particularly Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, then you are in for a treat. The beach is the most social beach I have ever been too, as you can drink cocktails, eat food, listen to DJs, and shop all from the comfort of your beach towel. We hired bikes and rode along the shoreline of both beaches. We were lucky to visit during the FIFA World Cup as we had tickets to a couple of games at Maracanã Stadium. We went on a hiking and trekking tour and explored Tijuca Rainforest National Park and also walked through a favela which was really eye opening. We hired a tour guide for the day to avoid the queues and attempting to be less gringo-ish (basically tourists), he took us to see Christ the Redeemer and to the top of Sugar Loaf mountain via the tramline, although you can choose to hike up instead and the views are just incredible. And definitely sample the unique local cuisine, Tapioca is amazing!
Kerstin // Lux Mumma