Monday 21 October 2019

Wild Atlantic Way one of world’s 12 most romantic places, travel experts say

The 2,500km touring route ranks alongside the Amalfi Coast for a dance with romance, according to Travel + Leisure

Dunquin pier (Dún Chaoin), Dingle, Co.Kerry. Photo: Getty
Dunquin pier (Dún Chaoin), Dingle, Co.Kerry. Photo: Getty
Black Head, The Burren. Photo: Chris Hill/Fáilte Ireland
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The Wild Atlantic Way is five years old this year, and it’s gotten a surprise birthday present from Travel + Leisure magazine.

The influential US travel publication has named the 2,500km touring route as one of 12 “most romantic spots on earth” – setting it alongside dreamy destinations like the Serengeti, Prague and Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

“I think Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way is one of the world's most romantic locations,” says Jonathan Epstein of Celebrated Experiences, one of the ‘A-List’ of travel experts consulted by Travel + Leisure in compiling the feature.

“While most couples will not drive the entire 1,600-mile coastal route in one vacation, each region of the Way has its own share of welcoming Irish personalities; jaw-dropping views; charming villages; atmospheric pubs; photogenic sheep precariously close to cliffs; restaurants with the freshest seafood and organic produce; and award-winning country houses, castles, manors and boutique hotels with warm fires to set the mood.”

Also included on the list are France’s Cote d’Azur, The Maldives and a Cliffside Japanese ryokan overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

“Spending a night in a tented camp in the Serengeti is one of the most romantic things you can do,” one of the travel experts says, while another hails a remote, architect-designed retreat on New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula.

The Wild Atlantic Way was first launched as a marketing concept and touring route in 2014, and has been hugely successful since. It was named Ireland’s Top Tourist Attraction in our 2018 Reader Travel Awards.

Meanwhile, another Irish coastal gem received a nod of approval from the similarly influential Condé Nast Traveller this month.

Cobh, Co. Cork
Cobh, Co. Cork

Cobh was named one of the magazine’s 25 most beautiful small towns in Europe, with praise heaped on its charms and “rows of candy-coloured homes along the water and towering cathedral standing sentry over the harbour”.

Condé Nast’s write-up also references Cobh’s connections with Titanic, and the ongoing popularity of the town as a port of call for cruise ships.

“We are always championing Cobh as a visitor destination, so to see our beautiful small town featured in a prestigious publication like Condé Nast Traveler Magazine is a fantastic endorsement,” said Chairman of Cobh Tourism Jack Walsh.

Other small towns making the cut were Ronda and Albarracín in Spain, Hvar in Croatia, Bled in Slovenia and Vernazza in Italy.

Read more:

10 most romantic places in Ireland - starting with a heart-shaped lake

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