Anniversary ideas: travel edition

Anniversary ideas: travel edition

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Coupled up and eagerly awaiting the chance to celebrate another year of marital bliss? Should you be celebrating your anniversary in autumn, congratulations! You’re a trendy pair. According to weddingwire.com, couples adore fall weddings. October, not June, has been the most popular month for nuptials over the past few years, followed by September. In fact, 36% of all pairs choose to tie the knot during the autumn months of the year.

When an anniversary looms, so too does the dilemma of finding one’s mate the perfect gift. While steering away from material objects in favor of experiences is nothing new, the trend seems to lean toward presenting one’s mate with an indulgent or bucket-list activity. But this year, why not do something you both enjoy? Here are just a few ideas, easily tailored to be as simple or indulgent as your imagination and the year’s circumstances allow.

Pack up a blanket and basket filled with bread, wine, cheese, dried sausages and chocolate and enjoy a picnic in the park or at a scenic overlook. The official website of Paris Convention and Visitors bureau suggests the Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Champ-de-Mars and other settings, complemented by a picnic hamper from Jean Imbert, the Hotel Molitor or the hotel Walfdorf Astoria de Versailles or other caterers. https://en.parisinfo.com/what-to-see-in-paris/paris-outdoors/an-alfresco-ice-cream-drink-lunch/picnicking-in-paris

Add romance and a scenic backdrop to your hike by choosing a route that’s littered with castles and ruins. The Rhine Castles Trail is a 130-mile hiking trail passing by some of the most breathtaking castles the Rhine has to offer. The German-French Castle Route is a 20-mile loop through the Sauer Valley and the Dahn sandstone rock formations.  

Take on the challenge of completing a half- or full marathon together. While most marathons have been cancelled in 2021, the French Riviera Marathon in Nice-Cannes, France, one of the world’s biggest marathons and known for its fantastic seaside course, is still scheduled for Nov. 28 at the time of this writing.

Indulge in coffee and cake in a charming cafe. Make it a long weekend of relaxing in as many coffee houses as you can fit into the day. Great cities for cafe hopping include Trieste, Italy; Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic.

Visit a city with a charming Old Town, search out fountains and toss coins into them. With over 2000 fountains, it would be hard to top Rome, and who couldn’t resist tossing a few silvers into the Trevi Fountain, perhaps the most iconic fountain of all? According to AtlasObscura, Frankfurt, Germany can also boast of a handful of fountains suitable for wish-making.   

Go to the cinema and watch a film in a foreign language. There’s no need to travel far to do this.  Wiesbaden’s Caligari, Stuttgart’s Delphi Arthaus Kino and Kaiserslautern’s Union Studio für Filmkunst all regularly screen foreign films. 

Take a river cruise. The KD shipping line operates regularly scheduled cruises through Germany’s Middle Rhine Valley daily from April to October. The boat stops at more than 30 landing stages between Cologne and Mainz, allowing travelers to individualize outings.

Tour a castle or palace. Not a big fan of the guided tour experience? Due to COVID-19 regulations currently in place, group tours are not currently offered at Hohenzollern Castle in Germany’s Black Forest region; instead, visitors can opt for the Royal Castle Stroll, in which they take in the rooms and exhibitions at their own pace.

Attend a wine and food pairing course. The Schloss Johannisberg Winery in the Rheingau, to the west of Wiesbaden, offers a variety of tasting experiences throughout the year. A Riesling and cheese evening is offered Sept. 25.    

Hike and spend the night at a rustic mountain lodge that can only be reached on foot. Combine the beauty of a visit to King Ludwig’s hunting lodge, Schachen, which can only be reached by foot, with an overnight stay at the nearby Schachenhaus, a simple mountain hut. The hike begins in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Elmau or Mittenwald, Germany.

Take a cooking class together. While you could go to Paris to learn to cook, courtesy of lessons from Le Cordon Bleu, L’Atelier des Chefs or countless other providers, courses are also offered much closer to home. Kochstudio Darmstadt, for example, offers courses in how to prepare Thai, Italian, Indian, Spanish or and other dishes from throughout the world.

Take turns arranging surprise overnight or weekend getaways for one another, aiming for cities not usually associated with tourism. In Belgium, skip Brugges in favor of Antwerp; in Switzerland, opt for Bern over Zurich; and in Poland, seek out Wroclaw instead of making way to Krakow.

Plan an overnight stay in a quirky property, from wine barrel to tree house to igloo. The Rifugio Bella Vista in Senales, in the heart of Italy’s stunning Dolomites range, offers igloo stays, weather permitting, from December through April. Packages include use of a Finnish sauna, hot tub, candlelight four-course dinner and more. 

Visit a spa town and spend the day in a wellness facility. Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic is a charming spa town whose luxurious hotels and wellness facilities generally cost far less than those in Western Europe.   

Enjoy a sunrise or sunset walk along a sandy beach. The England Coast Path, once finalized, will link up nearly 3000 miles of coastal trails. Already close to completion, some of its most outstanding stretches are to be found in Norfolk, Kent, South Devon, Cornwall and Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.    

Dine in the clouds or take part in other unusual dining experiences. Dinner in the Sky is an experience in which a dining table is hoisted by crane over an iconic view and participants indulge in a multi-course meal. “Dark dining” refers to the experience of eating a meal in total darkness, often by blind or visually impaired servers; for cities and dates in Germany, see essenimdunkeln.de/event-liste/staedte.html

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