Are you a romantic person? – I never thought I actually was one till I tried to pull up my old photo folders to create this post about romantic vacation ideas around the world. Suddenly I realized that over these last years of traveling as a couple with my husband, we subconsciously went for the most lovey-dovey couple’s vacations! With Valentine´s day around the corner, let´s talk about top romantic travel experiences around the world.
No matter whether you prefer an exotic escape to Thailand, a city getaway to the old-classy Paris or secretly dream of an adventure, like a helicopter flight over the big island of Hawaii – I got you covered here. Let´s fill our days on the road with love, shall we?
Do you dream of having a lifetime trip with your loved one? – Check this list of the most romantic vacation ideas around the world. No matter whether you´re looking for Valentine´s break, honeymoon dream trip, or just want to spend some time with a person you love.
In this post, I´ll try to cover the most popular places like Paris or Venice, alongside a few other alternatives that ended up being even more romantic vacation ideas for me.
The Most Romantic Vacation Ideas Around the World
1. Paris is always a good idea
The first thing that pops into my mind when someone says “Paris” is the word romantic. You can´t escape romance in Paris, it is called “The City of Love” for a reason.
How about having a glass of champagne or rosé with the Eiffel Tower views? strolling down the Champs Elysees? watching the sunset along the Seine river? walking the steps of Montmartre towards Basilique du Sacre-Coeur? having a romantic dinner with candles in one of the emblematic Parisian restaurants? – None of the above? This actually doesn´t matter as literally everything you do in Paris would have a romantic twist.
Our first trip to Paris together
Paris was the first place we, me and my husband, visited together as a couple. It was definitely one of the most romantic trips in my life. We just started dated back then and lived in different cities, when my future husband suddenly called me one day and popped the question: ” Do you have any plans for the weekend? How about a getaway to Paris?”. I was probably in a little shock, but the words “why not?” came out of my mouth before I even realized it.
I know many would say: “Paris is an obvious choice for a romantic trip. There´ll be hundreds of other couples celebrating their love.” – Yes. Paris is the most touristy city in Europe. Don´t expect to have it all for yourself.
Nevertheless, you still can find lots of charming little hotels, hidden alleys and streets, pretty cafes and unique fine dining locations. I mean it, you should share this Parisian vibe with your significant other, at least once in a lifetime.
We´ve always said that we´d love to visit Paris again in a few years. I bet there´ll be tons of new places to visit and lots of different things to do. It´s the perks that come with every big capital around the world: only in a few years, things are never the same as you´ve seen them first.
2. Visit an Opera Theatre in Vienna
Artsy couples – this one is for you! If you love opera, ballet, classical music, and royal architecture – set your eyes on the imperial charm of Vienna. The city of Vienna is known for its glorious building design, irresistible sweet delights, like Sacher and Strudel, fairytale castles, and of course, some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Back when we first visited Vienna in December, I was aiming to find some Christmas inspiration for the holiday season. Vienna didn´t disappoint me: let me put this straight – it is a magical place over the winter holidays and deserves every bit of its international fame.
However, Vienna ended up surprising me and making it to my list of the most romantic vacation ideas around the world. This was completely unexpected, as I´ve said, I traveled to Viena to experience the magic of Christmas. Nevertheless, one of the most unique romantic moments in my memory box is still our visit to Vienna State Opera House.
About Vienna State Opera House
The Opera House in Vienna is considered one of the most important operas in the world. It hosts lots of national and international opera and ballet showcases. Vienna´s Opera House was opened in 1869 with Mozart´s Don Juan with the attendance of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. After the bombings during the Second World War, the theater went through a 10 year-long reconstruction and was finally reopened in 1955.
By the way, it could be connected to another gorgeous opera and ballet theater I recently visited in Odesa, Ukraine. The same Austrian architecture studio Fellner & Helmer was behind many opera houses and apartment buildings across Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
With all the Renaissance architecture, worldwide fame, and not-quite-budget-friendly ticket price (60 -120 euros per person) my expectations were initially quite high. Not to mention that as a huge ballet fan, I´ve already been to the iconic Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow. Therefore, I used to think that every other performance I´d see in my life after that one would simply pale in comparison.
Even though I still haven´t seen a ballet performance in Vienna, but as to the opera, the one in Vienna currently leads on my European bucket list of experiences.
Our visit to the Vienna Opera
The opera performance we attended was called L´elisir d´amore. The 1700-seat theatre was completely full. Around half-time of the performance, one of the leading actors performed his solo song. Yes, it was amazing, but you know what happened next? Every single person in the concert hall stood up and kept applauding for 5 min. A thundering ovation lasted until the director stopped the show and the same leading actor performed this song for the public all over again.
I´m still having goosebumps as I´m writing about it: don´t know whether we were were that lucky with the show, with the cast, with the day, or it was simply a common thing for Vienna´s opera. It really was one of its kind experience.
So, yes – sharing such a unique moment with your loved one is definitely one of the romantic vacation ideas around the world. We honestly plan to visit the Vienna State Opera House again once I get a chance.
3.Gourmet tour and wine tasting in Tuscany
Tuscany is for sure one of the most beautiful and romantic regions in Italy. Just think of those idyllic romantic panoramas with endless fields and hilltop hamlets, charming little towns with cobbled streets, and the most exquisite flavors of the local food&wines. How not to fall in love with Italy and your partner all over again?!
Foodies you know where to head to for an epic gourmet adventure together – Toscana is your ultimate romantic travel choice.
Besides, there’s one gourmet experience in Toscana that constantly attracts couples. You might have heard that the area is one of the world’s popular wine regions, home to the Sangiovese grape. How about a glass of Brunello di Montalcino or Chianti Classico under the Tuscan sun?!
The Toscana romantic feel
But even if you decide to skip the wine tasting, just driving through the Toscana region feels romantic enough. If I could have replayed my big-fat-Spanish wedding now, I´d choose to have a small romantic ceremony in Tuscany. No wonder, Toscana is a popular wedding and honeymoon destination.
Unlike my trip to Cinque Terre, Tuscany lived up to my expectations and felt quite romantic. Maybe, it was the effect of the spacy landscapes, but I haven´t felt that Tuscany was packed with tourists. Despite being a popular destination worldwide, it still preserves its romantic feel from the Bernardo Bertolucci movie.
4.Have a Gondola Ride in Venice
Venice is another very commercial choice for a romantic getaway. So again, some might say having a Gondola Ride in Venice and bumping into other gondolas every few minutes or so simply doesn´t belong on the list of the most romantic vacation ideas around the world.
Yes, Venice is also very touristy, and unlike Paris, here we are talking about 159 sq miles of territory. But my story is living proof that you really should give Venice a chance.
My two visits to Venice
Personally, I´ve visited Venice two times. The first time – as a day trip back when I traveled to Italy for work (in October). The second time – with my husband( in August) as we embarked on our Mediterranean cruise from Venice towards Greece and the Greek Islands.
October is supposed to be the offseason, so it would be logical to assume I´d prefer my first visit, but I honestly liked nothing about it. It was one of the most disappointing travel experiences in my life – the city had recently experienced a flood, everything was dirty, yet still full of people and tourist traps… It had nothing to do with this picture-perfect Venice I´ve seen on postcards or was dreaming to visit after watching one of my favorite romantic travel movies ( “The Tourist” with Angelina Jolie and Jonnie Depp).
When your first impression is often wrong
To be honest, when we planned our first Mediterranean Cruise in August, I was so sad it was actually departing from Venice. Additionally, we were supposed to spend a whole night after our flight from Valencia in the city center of Venice.
Yet, once the water-taxi pulled over, I´ve started to look around and noticing a certain charm in those half-ruined waterfront facades. Our hotel was also really lovely, but once we left our suitcases and started to walk our way through the tiny streets of Venice in search of a nice restaurant, my past negative impression started to fade away.
I don´t know whether they literally polish and burnish Venice for the peak season, but it definitely looked more appealing in August, even though it was packed with tourists.
I always say that a destination itself is only a part of our travel experience. While small things like our current mood, where we stay, whom we are traveling with, and all the people we meet along the way, – all these end up making our trip hit or miss. I´ve seen two different sides of Venice, and I´m definitely going to stick to the second one.
5. Enjoy the views of a lifetime in Santorini
One of the Top Experiences to Fall in Love with Greece is definitely visiting Oia in Santorini and enjoying views of a lifetime. Santorini was one of my top bucket list destinations since I was a child. No wonder it was also one of the first places we, me and my husband, visited as a couple.
Not to mention, it was Santorini, where my husband (boyfriend back then) decided to propose to me. We have been dating for six months by then, and he even didn´t have a ring. Do you get it now: how romantic must be this place to actually push men towards spontaneous lifetime decisions!
Not to mention that sunset on Santorini is considered to be one of the most beautiful sunsets around the world.
Disappointing destination or not?
Even though this Greek island often appears on the lists of disappointing travel destinations, due to its overcrowdedness and high prices, your experience in Santorini really depends on many factors.
Despite being so touristy (privacy is often a luxury) and getting quite pricy, when it comes to unique views, epic sunsets, and obvious charm – Santorini is hard to beat. This island was just meant to be on the list of the most romantic vacation ideas around the world. Especially, if you crave for a romantic getaway and can afford one of the beautiful luxury hotels with views and a private hot tube.
But even if that’s not the case – you should go to see Santorini at least once in a lifetime, just avoid the main touristic locations or go in the off-season. Rent a 4-wheeler and explore the island, hike together to Skaros Rock, or find a quiet cove framed by rocky cliffs and enjoy the peaceful environment, azure sea, and smooth sands. You could even check Perissa Black Sand Beach: something I´d rather expect to experience in Hawaii or on one of the Canary Islands, but Santorini is surprisingly beautiful in every sense of the word.
Santorini´s romantic feel is contagious, there’s no way you can escape it.
6.Explore the ancient magic of the Mayan Ruins in Mexico
Mexican Riviera/ Riviera Maya is a great choice for all those who´d like to combine lazy beach time with adventures and historical sightseeing. No need to say: the Mayan cultural heritage is impressive. You could read all about it and watch thousands of documentaries – but only at the Mayan Riviera, you get the feeling you´ve really stepped into the history. And in the meantime, white sands and blue waters remind you of your actual location – the magical Caribbean.
So what makes visiting Riviera Maya one of the most romantic vacation ideas around the world? – It´s all about this perfect combination of a comfortable stay, beautiful nature, and occasional adventures enshrouded with an ancient charm of the Mayan Civilization.
Only at the Mexican Riviera
Only in Mexico, you can get a laid-back time at the beach in the morning and in the afternoon feel yourself an Indiana Jones in search of hidden treasures while climbing abandoned pyramids in the middle of the jungle.
Also read: A weekend in Malta – What not to miss?
I´ve already caught a magical-mysterious vibe of Mexico while reading Carlos Castaneda´s “The Teachings of Don Juan” on the plane. But visiting actual locations that could be traced back to the ancient Mayan civilization was definitely a peak of our Mexican vacation.
Mexican Riviera is a perfect choice for couples. You could focus on love, strengthen a bond with your partner, and yet get into the shoes of an adventurer for a few hours while hitting together as many Maya historical sites as you possibly can.
7.Helicopter flight over the Big Island of Hawaii
Do you know where I went on a Honeymoon? – To Hawaii. Initially, I was aiming for Kaui (as it is considered the most romantic island in the Pacific). Although my husband was obsessed with seeing lava eruption in action. And there´s only one place for it – The Big Island of Hawaii. Therefore, we gave up the blue see-through waters and seaside houses of Maldives or Bora Bara to jump on a plane to the States, ready to have an adventure of a lifetime.
So that you understand – Hawaii has a 12h time difference with Spain and it´s the farthest I´ve ever traveled. I guess, during the whole trip I had adrenaline rushing through my veins and there was no time to sleep with so many beautiful places to see around. But once back home – the famous jet lag caught up with me. I really couldn’t get myself together for several weeks.
When an adventure is worth it all
But you know what? – The first chance I get, I´m going back to Hawaii again. Even if I´d be jetlagged for the rest of my life. Along with Iceland, The Big Island of Hawaii is officially the most beautiful place I´ve ever been to. Even my husband admits it was one of these “once in a lifetime” experiences. Although, as I already told you in my post about the Canary Islands, he constantly tries his best to criticize and compare every place we visit with his homeland Spain. But even he couldn´t deny the obvious here.
If you get only one shot to create an epic moment you´ll remember for the rest of your life and want to share it with someone special – The Big Island of Hawaii is your best bet here. Flying over the lava fiends is definitely something more on the adventurous side. But, hey, life is a daring adventure or nothing at all, isn´t it?! Moreover, there´s nothing like having an adventure of a lifetime with someone you truly love.
8.An exotic escape to Thailand
When it comes to having a relaxing vacation, many people consider Thailand as their destination of choice. Krabi is one of Thailand’s most popular provinces that offers so much more than just a blissful relaxation! Besides having perfect white sand beaches, it also has outdoor adventures, cultural sights, and spicy cuisine. One of the coolest couple experiences and top things to do in Krabi is definitely kayaking through the mangrove forest.
However, if you want something less active – how about a couples massage?! paradise beaches?! island-hopping?! street food markets?! romantic dinner at the beach?!
Having some laid-back beach time with your significant other is always a must. But discovering a new culture and a country together is the best way to rediscover your passion for each other. Thailand just fits the bill here.
9.Road trip to the French Riviera
If you love being on the road and looking for some romantic road trip ideas in Europe – French Riviera could be your perfect romantic escape. There are so many magical hilltop villages and historic towns on the way, plus you have stunning coastlines, dazzling villas, lavish yachts, 14 natural parks, and even Roman ruins – at Cote D´Azur you´ll be spoilt for choice.
Let´s face it, you can find lavender fields even in Spain, but in Provence, all these beautiful countryside views have a particular charm. That´s why French Riviera is a great match when it comes to a romantic road trip. My personal highlights at the French Riviera last time were Cannes, Saint Paul de Vence, Annecy, Eze, and Villa Ethrussi Rothshield. But I honestly think that if I am to visit Cote D´Azur now – this list will grow in a few instants.
Roadtripping the French Riviera: pros and cons
Although I should warn you that it might be not a match if you´re on a tight budget – not only because of the food&stay cost, driving around the French Riviera is quite an expensive pleasure itself. There are toll booths set up at each exit from the main highway A8. My husband often jokes that if we are to pull up all of the road bills from French Riviera that would be worth a separate trip somewhere else.
This summer we visited a small village of Bandol during our Mediterranean cruise stop in Toulon, and it reminded me of our first French Riviera road trip years ago. It was definitely one of the most romantic vacation ideas around for us. Therefore, it just made me think it might be time to re-visit the South of France.
Also read: Best beaches in Spain Off The Beaten Path
French Riviera is one of those destinations that make you gravitate back all the time. You just can’t get enough of the beautiful coastlines, medieval towns, and local cuisine. Besides, visiting Porquerolles has been on my European travel bucket list forever. I must eventually find a way to get there!
10. Tropical Wonderland of Maldives
When it comes to paradise beach vacations it´s hard to overrun the Maldives. Endless white sands shaded by lofty palms, peachy sunsets, and the magical underwater world – the Maldives was created by Mother Nature for couples. It is a win for an unforgettable honeymoon, idyllic wedding or any other romantic occasion you might want to celebrate.
When I think of a sunny laid-back vacation on a paradise island – Maldives is the first location that pops into my mind. You can swim, float and snorkel for hours. Then you can indulge yourself into lying in the sun all day long, while enjoying a nice book, a relaxing podcast, or simply a company of someone you love. Plus there are so many options for overwater bungalows and camouflaged with palms cottages to hide from the rest of the world for a while.
Nevertheless, if you get bored at some point you can always go scuba diving near the coral reefs, practice water-skiing or windsurfing, charter a boat and go fishing or island hopping. I feel like only a tropical paradise like the Maldives can make me resist my saturated with sightseeing regular travel plans. We all need a recharge every once in a while and there´s simply no better place for it than the Maldives.
11. Follow the steps of the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, in Cyprus
Did you know that according to Greek Mythology, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus was the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty. No wonder Cyprus is one of the most popular wedding & honeymoon destinations in Europe. The love in the air has already been captured on the pages of the eternal Greek Myths, the only thing left to us is to take our partner to Cyprus and to live it all together.
There are so many amazing sites, charming villages, paradise beaches, and restaurants on the island. I´ve already visited Cyprus 3 times, and still willing to travel back. Check this Cyprus travel guide for more tips and ideas.
But let´s focus on the romantic side of Cyprus. There are a few Aphrodite sites you can´t miss on the island if you´re a romantic soul.
The island of Aphrodite and Greek Love
The first place is The Baths of Aphrodite. It is a small cool pond where according to the legend the Greek goddess used to bath, and also where she met her lover Adonis. Nowadays you can´t swim in the pond, but you can take your significant other to the nearest Blue Lagoon instead and bath together like the Greek Goddess once did!
Also read: Top Experiences to Fall in Love with Greece
Another Aphrodite site in Cyprus rich in legends is Petra tou Romiou or Aphrodite’s rock. This stone is the birthplace of the beautiful goddess who had emerged from the sea foam. Aphrodite is associated with youth, beauty, love and new life. According to an ancient legend, the Aphrodite Rock and its surroundings possess magical properties. Rumor has it that those who swim around the boulder three times anti-clockwise would be blessed with eternal beauty. Another belief claims that if you swim in the area at midnight or find a heart-shaped stone on the shore you´ll find your epic love.
12.Natural wonders and whale watching in Iceland
We all know that Iceland is one of the top bucket list places for nature lovers and adventurous souls. However, in my case, the dramatic landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland have stollen my heart to the extent that it ended up on my personal list of the most romantic vacation ideas around the world!
Chasing the blue Icelandic waterfalls, soaking in the warm waters of Blue Lagoon, exploring Reykjavik’s Old Town, driving around Snaefelsness Peninsula (also called Iceland in Miniature), The Northern Lights glamping – there are so many unique romantic vacation ideas you can live only in Iceland. Nevertheless, it was whale watching in the rain that ended up in my memory box as the most special moment.
Our whale-watching story
Actually, it all started not so well. We had our whale watching tour all booked in advance. The weather was supposed to be fine and then out of a sudden, it started to rain. I honestly thought our trip would be canceled. But it´s Iceland. No one cares. Life goes on as usual with almost any weather.
We were told the company would give us something to put on, but never have I ever thought it would be that serious. Aside from the special water-resistant suit, I got a very decent raincoat, and you put it all on your regular clothes (including your own winter jacket). It´s better to have waterproof boots, cause this is the only area you might feel the cold. As a result: no instagrammable photos – I looked like a giant red snowman with a little head. I might actually share this picture one day, it´s far out of my comfort zone for now!
Nevertheless, despite all the precautions and clothes, it still felt quite chilly by the end of the tour. Taking pictures was hard due to the rain. I tried hiding my Canon inside my multiple jackets and it took time to fish it out. And with whale watching – a good capture is a matter of seconds. I´ve missed all of the best shots with whales.
When pictures fail anyway
One way or another, there is something that pictures fail to show anyway. Especially when it comes to experiences like a whale watching in Iceland. This inner peace you feel after sailing in the middle of an ocean, despite the rain, wind, and cold.
A small boat, that almost lost the sight of the shore, surrounded by the marine giants – this is when you feel the power of nature and realize what a tiny place you occupy in this huge wonderful world. I´m so happy I had my husband by my side and we got to live this unique moment together.
By and large, if you love nature, backpacking, camping or rolling under the stars in a camp caravan – Iceland is the place to be. Grab your partner´s hand and take him/her to the Land of Ice and Fire.