Lovebirds on honeymoons and couples' retreats flock to the island nation of Mauritius, dotted in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa. There's everything that starry-eyed lovers could dream of, from long empty stretches of beach to blankets of green forest providing the dreamiest of views.
Enjoy a romantic getaway in Mauritius
Perhaps Mark Twain summed up Mauritius' extraordinary beauty best when he wrote: "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius." Situated off the east coast of Africa, Mauritius is a honeymoon, romantic getaway and destination wedding paradise. While world-class beaches and incredible natural beauty are the perfect romantic backdrop to luxury hotels and resorts that many a movie stars and celebrity have checked into, Mauritius also boasts a wonderful melting pot of cultures and cuisines with four main ethnic groups having contributed to the island's unique culture: Creoles of African and European ancestry; Franco-Mauritians, the descendants of French settlers; Indo-Mauritians, many of whose ancestors came to work the cane fields or help build the nation with manual labour; and finally those of Chinese descent.
While there are plenty of untouched parts of the island to explore, rest assured Mauritius is well geared up to look after couples, with a number of luxury hotels and resorts known to attract the rich and the famous from around the world. It's also a destination wedding hub, with plenty of people choosing to tie the knot on the island itself. Fantastic service and enviable facilities abound on this island that really knows how to make its visitors feel extra special.
When you see Mauritius for yourself, you'll understand. Its natural beauty is absolutely breathtaking, a veritable tropical paradise that charms everybody who sees it.
Then there's the mix of cultures influencing the island, from its African and European Creole peoples to the island's former French colonisers, not to mention Chinese settlers and Indo-Mauritians. It's these traditions and ways of life that make Mauritius an interesting and sophisticated place to be.
Not only will those couples' getaways be treated to the sights of gorgeous beaches, forests and lavish resorts, old and grand plantation homes also frequently catch the eye.
Spend some time in the capital city of Port Louis and visit its historical centre, the Places D'Armes. Lined with palmed trees, this is where tropical paradise and city life meet and fuse. Browse the Central Market for some local trinkets, or head to the Caudan Waterfront to take in the beautiful ocean views.
Then make your way to some of the more far-reaching parts of the country, such as the Le Morne peninsula, home to a stunning three-mile beach beneath a fantastic towering rock formation, something that has to be seen to be believed.
If that's not enough, try the dreamy beaches of Mont Choisy, Pereybere Cove or perhaps Belle Mare and Trou d'Eau Douce. One thing's for sure, it's not hard to find a beautiful beach in Mauritius, and you can easily find yourselves alone on an empty shore for the afternoon.
When you feel like stretching your legs, there are plenty of beautiful walks and trails ranging from a gentle stroll to a strenuous hike. The SSR Botanical Gardens in the north are a great location for wandering away the afternoon, with giant water lillies and even the Talipot, which is known to flower rarely - only once between every 30 and 100 years!
Whatever your style, there's something in the Mauritius to enchant you and your loved one. You won't regret choosing this island destination for your honeymoon or couples' retreat.