Now that the kids have flown the nest, it’s time to head off on your first trip without them. We’ve found some of the top destinations for couples travelling without their kids, so that you can enjoy an itinerary that’s wide open to do what you please.*
Watch the sunrise over sunburnt-orange sandstone arches
Moab is the closest city to the Arches National Parks and Canyonlands National Park in Utah, making it an ideal destination for the nature-loving adventure-seeker. Get up early to catch the sunrise over the 2,000 sunburnt-orange sandstone formations and arches, shaped by decades of weather and erosion. To get a closer look at the sandstone valley, you can spend the day exploring the park on one of many short hikes – don’t forget to pack a picnic (and a bottle of wine) for an afternoon rest with incredible views of the valley reaching towards the horizon. After a day out in nature, unwind at Aarchway Inn, which is just five minutes’ drive away.
Suzdal is home to a wealth of churches, bell towers, monasteries and convents
Suzdal is one of the oldest towns in Russia, boasting pristine architecture built between the 13th and 19th centuries. It’s home to a wealth of beautiful churches, bell towers, monasteries and convents and is considered the spiritual centre of Old Russia. During your stay, visit the Cathedral of the Nativity, whose white-stone walls nurse five piercing-blue domes that are decorated with gold stars and a cross-shaped spire. Inside, you can admire glorious 13th-century frescoes depicting the Virgin Mary. Finish your adventure at the guest house Svetliy Terem Hotel, just 500 metres away.
The streets of this remote fishing village are paved with golden sand and fruit trees
The remote fishing village of Jericoacoara is located 300km west of Fortaleza, so getting there is half the adventure. You can either arrive by helicopter or hop in a 4x4 for an adrenaline-fuelled drive through the dunes. The atmosphere is slow and relaxed, and the streets paved with golden sand and fruit trees, while restaurants and bars pepper the shore. The village has a distinctly slow pace of life, since it’s only in the last two centuries that electricity, phones, TVs and newspapers were introduced here. Stay at the guest house Pousada Senzala dos Amigos and enjoy balmy evenings spent relaxing in the hammock.
The streets of Sibiu are lined with trees and pastel-painted homes
The small city of Sibiu in Transylvania is famous for its Germanic architecture; a legacy of the Saxons who settled here in the 12th century. When you arrive, nibble on a covrigi (a Romanian version of a pretzel) as you wander down central thoroughfare Strada Nicolae Balcescu. In the city centre, the cobbled streets are lined with trees and pastel-painted homes, many with blooming flower boxes perched on window sills and balconies. Continue strolling through Sibiu until you find the ‘Bridge of Lies’ – legend has it that this bridge was once used as a lie detector, as it supposedly creaks and makes noises if the person crossing it is being dishonest. Come home to Vila Sibiu, which is just 800 metres away.
Visit the birthplace and burial place of St. Francis
Assisi, a small town in the Umbria region of central Italy, is best known for being both the birthplace and burial place of St. Francis. It’s one of the most significant sites for Christian pilgrimage in Italy, attracting close to five million people to the area. While on your travels, be sure to visit the Basilica di San Francesco and don’t be fooled by its relatively austere facade – stepping inside you’ll discover marvellously detailed, faded golden mosaics, Giotto frescoes and decorated cross-vaulted ceilings. Once you’ve admired the Basilica sufficiently, it’s time to wander around some of the town’s fantastically well-preserved medieval architecture, including several ornate churches. There is a lot to see but you can take your time and stop for gelato or a glass of locally produced Cabernet Sauvignon along the way. Stay in a 16th-century building at Hotel Il Palazzo for views of undulating Umbria from your bedroom.
*The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the top-rated destinations (having a minimum of 100 recommendations) for travellers that identified themselves as being a ‘mature couple’.