16 of the Best romantic holiday destination ideas for couples
Planning a holiday for one person is a task all its own, but planning a vacation for two people, can at times, be a test of wills. To help make the first step of vacation planning a little easier, we’ve complied a list of romantic holiday ideas for couples. These ideas cover four major points in travel -nature, culture, relaxation, and adventure. They also span the globe, meaning that if you like the idea of taking a romantic vacation every year to someplace new, there are plenty of choices to consider.
Below you’ll find a list of romantic holiday ideas that range from eco-resorts in Costa Rica to the famed and always popular Paris.
Glamping in the US
Camping has been a popular summer activity for families, hikers, and couples for as long as anyone can remember. But, it’s not for everyone. If the idea of sleeping in a sleeping bag in a tent is anything but appealing, yet you still rather not stay in a chain hotel, then glamping may be your answer. Glamping is still very much like camping, but with a posh attitude. Instead of sleeping in a tent, you’ll find yourself in a yurt, a dome, or even a trendy retro camper.
When you’re glamping, you’ll find running water, some sort of small living space, and a bed. Though glamping styles do vary, some styles, such as a retro camper, offer a greater defense against the elements, meaning that you can glamp during the winter more comfortably. Also, because the US is so vast, you’ll find lots of different climates to glamp in. These range from the mountains of the Northeast to the deserts of the Southwest.
Hawaii (the island of Maui)
Every single Hawaiian island is appealing for couples, yet Maui tends to attract the largest amount, year after year. In part, this is due to the large number of resorts that cater to honeymooners with honeymoon packages that often include spa treatments and drinks. But the resorts on Maui aren’t the only thing that this tropical island has to offer. The Road To Hana is a great day trip that offers exceptional views, waterfalls, and beaches in both directions.
Couples can also enjoy cocktail cruises and snorkeling adventures, making the island a great choice for adventure seekers as well. The key to planning a Maui vacation is to avoid the high season, which are the winter months. Not only do these months attract a lot of visitors who fly in, but also those enjoying a cruise.
Babymoons in the Caribbean
If you’re part of a couple who’s expecting a baby, you’ve most likely heard of the current babymoon trend. If you haven’t, babymoons are vacations that an expecting couple take as a sort of last hurrah before their first baby is born. But because these types of vacations have become very popular very quickly, couples who are expecting their 2nd or 3rd child are taking them as well. Thus far, the most popular destination has been the Caribbean. That’s because, no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find lots of sunny days and sandy beach to enjoy.
The Caribbean islands are home to a large number of all-inclusive resorts, and these are the types of resorts that expecting mothers gravitate towards. That’s because everything you could need and want is all in the same place, making the vacation itself easier. Instead of having to travel outside of the resort for dinner, all you have to do is order in or walk a short distance to the resort’s beachfront restaurant.
Cruises (Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska)
Taking a cruise has been a popular romantic option for decades because almost all of the choices are made for you in advance, leaving you more time to spend together without the stress of rushing to your next connection. With the new larger ships, couples are also getting more cabin choices, with balcony rooms now being abundant on newer ships. A large cabin with an outdoor area will be FAR more romantic than just a window or an inside cabin, so it’s a popular mini-splurge.
The Caribbean cruise season goes all year, but the best months are from December through April when the chance for storms is almost zero. The Mediterranean cruise season peaks between May and October, and value has increased in recent years as more large ships have joined the parade between Barcelona and Istanbul. The Alaska cruise season runs from May through September, with the largest crowds in July.
Costa Rica eco-resorts
It is without doubt that Costa Rica is a popular destination for honeymooners. Even though there are many different types of accommodation options to choose from, more and more couples are selecting eco-resorts to stay in, around the entire country. If you prefer spending your romantic holiday on the beach, there are eco-resorts on both the Caribbean side and the Pacific side to stay at. If you rather not spend your entire vacation at the beach and would like to spend part of it in the mountains, you’ll find eco-resorts set against a backdrop of misty, tropical jungles.
Most of these resorts cater with fresh fruit, water, and basic amenities. They also help you plan tours around the area. Because most of these resorts are family owned, they are on the smaller side and house fewer rooms than a standard hotel, which is a big reason why honeymooners and romantic couples choose them. You’ll also find that most of these resorts are run by locals who speak both English and Spanish, which can be a big plus to those who haven’t brushed up on their Spanish in a long time.
Montreal and Old Quebec City
If you love the idea of a European vacation, but don’t want to fly from the US to Europe itself, then you’ll want to look up north. Though it’s easy to say that when most people think of Canada, the last thing they think of is narrow cobblestone streets, eateries offering macarons, and historic buildings, that’s exactly what you’ll find in Old Quebec City in the French-Canadian province of Quebec. There are also lots of great shops to browse through, and if you have the budget, lots of clothing and shoes to purchase. Because Old Quebec City is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, you’ll find that late spring and summer get pretty busy.
Being much larger, you’ll find a lot more activities and attractions in Montreal, which is a city just north of the Canada/Vermont border and south of Old Quebec City. Two of the most famous attractions are the Montreal Botanical Garden and the Notre-Dame Basilica. Because you’ll find both cultural and natural attractions, you should have no problem being able to completely fill up your itinerary.
Obviously you were expecting to see Paris on this list, and it’s here for a reason. Simply put, Paris is easily among the most beautiful and most romantic cities on earth, and you have to see it for yourself. Take the one-hour Seine cruise (leaving from near the Eiffel Tower) just after sunset and you’ll never forget why everyone raves about the City of Lights.
The food and drink scene also more than lives up to the hype, with excellent small restaurants scattered all over the city. It’s honestly hard to get anything other than a great meal. Another romantic highlight is an evening visit to the Sacre Coeur cathedral overlooking the colorful Montmartre neighborhood, and then a gentle stroll down the hill for dinner and drinks. Four days is enough to see the highlights so if you have more time you might also visit London by taking the Eurostar train in a bit over two hours.
Overwater bungalows and water villas (Bora Bora and the Maldives)
There may not be a more popular “dream honeymoon” idea than a stay in an overwater bungalow. Starting at around US$300 per night and going way up from there, this isn’t a cheap holiday idea, but it will be unforgettable. Those starting in North America will find it easiest to reach the 25 or so resorts in and near Bora Bora in the South Pacific. If you are starting in Europe or Asia you are better off planning on a visit to the 140-odd “water villa” resorts in the Maldives.
The aerial photos are enough to hypnotize you into booking, but in some ways these places are better than they look. The majority of these overwater suites are double or triple the size of a normal city hotel room, not even counting the generous balcony with steps into the water. And in case you were wondering, they are all built with privacy in mind, which isn’t obvious just by looking at the photos. The Maldives even has about 15 all-inclusive water villa resorts so those of us who like to have a few drinks can still keep costs in check.
Cherry blossom season in Kyoto, Japan
A short blooming season, but one that impresses and invites visitors from around the world, the Cherry blossom season in Kyoto, Japan is perfect for romantic couples who love the idea of sitting on a park bench while admiring nature’s show. In fact, the best place to view them in the city is at Maruyama-koen Park. Here, and around the rest of the city, cherry blossoms come in a few different colors, ranging from bright white to dark pink.
When planning a trip to Kyoto, Japan for the blossoms, you’ll want to shoot for April 1st, or at least the week before or after. You’ll also want to make sure to book your accommodation well in advance in order to secure a room before everyone else.
Exploring the seaside ruins in Tulum, Mexico
Known for its white sand beaches and Caribbean blue waters, Tulum, Mexico is also becoming more and more popular due to its well preserved Mayan ruins. These particular ruins are set on a cliff and directly face the ocean. When exploring these ruins, you’ll also have the ability to walk down the the beach below and snorkel just off shore.
Though there are plenty of great all-inclusive resorts to stay at nearby, if you’re looking for something a little more private, then you’ll want to look into the rustic beach cabanas available. These are situated right on the beach with an ocean view, making for an extremely romantic vacation. Also, if you’re worried about crowds, you’ll want to visit outside of the months of January through March/April.
Napa Valley, California
America’s premiere wine-growing region has been another popular romantic destination for decades, and for good reason. This beautiful area has amazing and lush views from dozens of small hotels and B&Bs, and it’s also home to many of the country’s finest restaurants. The town of Yountville is where you’ll find some of the most famous eateries, and Calistoga in the north is known for hot springs and spas.
The weather is pleasant almost all year round, but Napa Valley gets so crowded on summer weekends that it’s probably better to avoid those days. The harvest season in autumn is justifiably popular. Many people combine a few days in Napa Valley with a few days in nearby San Francisco, which could also have been included on this list of romantic destination ideas.
If your favorite color is blue, then you’ll quickly fall in love with the beautiful and striking city of Chefchaouen. That’s because this city is primary blue, not just a few streets, but the entire city. This means that you’ll have plenty of options for stunning couples pictures. You’ll also find that the streets are lined with cobblestones, creating an even more romantic vibe. And because the city is surrounded by mountains, you’ll find that shopping and dining aren’t the only activities offered here. There’s also a hike up to a set of waterfalls.
Because the city is so small, you’ll most likely only need to spend a few days here to explore it all, which makes it so that you’ll also have time to explore other locations in Northern Morocco. Also, a quick word of caution to those allergic to cats, you’ll find them everywhere here.
Key West and the Florida Keys
Though the last island in the chain, Key West, is arguably the most popular, you’ll find lots to do on the other islands as well. At the very top of the chain, right below the mainland, you’ll find Key Largo. This island is one of the largest ones and is home to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. As you move down the island chain, you’ll find lots of great little eateries, shops, and places to sit down on the sand and watch the sunset.
But perhaps one of the best places for a romantic couple to truly enjoy the FL Keys is on Little Torch Key. Here you’ll find yourself transported by boat to a private island resort and spa that also offers wedding packages. On Key West, you’ll find the famous Duval Street, home to lots of fun little shops, restaurants, and live music. You’ll also find a few great resorts within walking distance, meaning you won’t have to rent a car if you decide to fly into Key West. One thing to keep in mind when planning your romantic Florida Keys escape is to avoid Fantasy Fest. Not only can this festival get a little out of hand, but you’ll find that the hotels and resorts in the area can get pretty pricey and fill up quickly.
Special note: Currently, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is in the process of a large renovation that should be completed in late 2019.
New York City
While New York City might not seem as romantic as Paris, it’s still got more than enough going for it to include. Romantic couples are drawn to an evening visit to the observation deck at the Empire State Building, although the Top of the Rock is arguably better after dark as the view includes most of Central Park and the gorgeous buildings that face it.
Broadway shows are a great option if your partner has a particular show that they want to see, and buying tickets way in advance is critical. Otherwise you’ll have plenty of small restaurants to choose from, including many with rooftop views in the warmer months. Hotel rooms in New York City are famously expensive so this will be a splurge. Avoid the Times Square area and look for smaller hotels rather than large chains for better value and service.
If Switzerland has the best scenery in Europe then Norway is a close second, and Norway’s isolation can make it feel far more romantic. A map of Norway’s western coast reveals an endless series of jagged edges, and those are the famous fjords, which are steep canyons formed by glaciers. Start in the gorgeous city of Bergen rather than in Oslo, and you can take in stunning fjord views on day trips by boat or better yet on a cruise up the coast on the Hurtigruten line.
It’s true that normal cruises on large ships can be overwhelming, but the calm and quiet cruises up Norway’s fjords are anything but. The focus is on the scenery and on frequent visits each day to postcard-perfect towns and villages as the ship drops off the mail. It’s perfect for a mature crowd that wants to focus on their partner instead of water slides and karaoke contests.
Pictures from Flickr users dconvertini, POTIER Jean-Louis, Jimmy Baikovicius, ZM Yi, nursevl, and rurinoshima.