By Annie Shustrin
It might not seem like a problem that there are so many amazing destinations to choose from when planning a romantic getaway. Depending on whether you are looking for city excitement, outdoor adventure, or beachfront relaxation, the sheer number of choices can still feel overwhelming. Throughout my travels, I’ve found that some places just feel more romantic when you visit. Local culture, natural beauty, and the energy of locals all contribute to creating a place meant for romance and personal connection. Here is a list my top 10 favorite romantic destinations across the globe.
Santorini , Greece
This is one of the most recognizable and iconic places in Greece. Known for its stellar sunsets over the island’s rugged cliffs and sweeping views of the sunken volcanic caldera, Santorini is the perfect place for romance. Stroll through the streets Thira and Oia, whose white and blue buildings are a stark contrast to the black and red sand beaches. Stay in a modern cave hotel, built into the cliffs overlooking the sea, and enjoy dining at one of the many open-air tavernas serving local Greek specialties.
Paris is without a doubt the most quintessentially romantic city in the world. Perhaps it’s the quaint restaurants and cafes, or Paris’ elegant museums, gardens, and bridges. Perhaps it’s Parisians themselves who create the romantic energy of their city. Whatever the reason may be, Paris is enchanting and awe-inspiring choice for city excitement and indulgence.
Balinese hospitality and style has long been a benchmark for luxury and romance, so a visit to this exotic and spiritual island will not disappoint. Resorts and small hotel options are available both beside the ocean and amongst the inland rice paddies. Head to Amed, a village on the northeast coast, for breathtaking ocean-views and unique volcanic black sand beaches. If you are in the mood for island serenity, Ubud offers the best of Balinese spa treatments and spiritual retreats.
It’s no surprise that the Hawaiian Islands are one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the United States. From golden beaches to volcanic vistas, Maui is a perfect place for tropical romance. The island’s wide selection of oceanfront resorts, guesthouses, and ocean-view apartment rentals help make this an easy place to travel. Aside from enjoying Hawaiian hospitality, local cuisines, and the majestic Haleakala volcano, don’t forget to photograph the vibrant colors of the astonishing Maui sunsets.
Cape Town, South Africa
Resting at the foot of Table Mountain, Cape Town has come into its own in the last few years as a premiere romantic destination. After years of tumultuous history, a unique culture has emerged from this environmentally diverse country. Enjoy sandy beaches, hiking, and South African penguins all within spitting distance of the city. Travel further on to Kruger National Park for a romance-filled safari or on to Stellenbosch to sample South Africa’s famous Chenin Blanc, Cabernet, and Pinotage wines.
Recently, Costa Rica has made it onto most travelers’ must-see lists. With this popularity have come fabulous resorts and distinctive hotels that offer both relaxation and adventure. For an action-packed romantic trip, Costa Rica has world-class surfing, rainforest hiking, as well as zip lining, rafting, and canyoning. For those wanting to relax, small hotels and eco-resorts offer quiet luxury in both the rainforest and along the coast.
Napa Valley and Sonoma, California
In Northern California, The Napa Valley and Sonoma region are home to the United States’ premiere vineyards and wineries. Rolling hills, highly revered restaurants, and countless tasting rooms are the makings for a romance filled getaway. The towns of St Helena and Yountville offer many beautiful hotels and resorts that allow you to enjoy the valley’s outdoors, while some vineyards have on-property guesthouses if you’d like to wake up amongst the vines. Head to Sonomato visit historic missions as well as the best Pinot Noir wineries in the state.
Railay Beach, Thailand
Thailand’s unique karst rock formations are what make Railay Beach such an unforgettable place. Only a short flight from Bangkok, the beaches and stunning marine landscapes of Railay create an exotic atmosphere for a romantic vacation. In addition to exploring the Railay peninsula, Thai long tail boats can take you out to the many karst islands and white sand beaches in the area for a small fee. At sunset, grab a table at a swanky beachfront restaurant on Railay west for the start to a romantic evening.
Cinque Terre, Italy
This coastal area along the northern Italian Riviera has managed to keep its old world Italian charm and historic features since having been named a UNESCO world heritage site. As there are no cars here, each of Cinque Terre’s five villages is quiet and has not been built up by modern corporations. Spend your days walking the cobblestone streets, enjoying sweeping ocean views and countless cafes and restaurants.
This remote tropical country made up of 26 atolls is often a dream destination for anyone, in addition to honeymooners. These islands sit in the middle of the Indian Ocean and offer beautiful white sand beaches, neon blue warm waters, and coral reefs with world class snorkeling and diving. Stay in one of the famed private over-the-water bungalows to experience ultimate desert island privacy without skimping on luxury.
Annie Shustrin is a travel addict. When she’s not on the road, she’s either thinking about past trips, planning future ones, or fantasizing about where she’d like to be right now. She has visited over 30 countries on both long and short term travels, and is now based in New York City. She writes for her blog TravelShus.com, as well contributing articles to other online travel publications. Though Indonesia and New Zealand are amongst her favorite destinations, her favorite travel memory was in China, where she got to hold a baby panda on her very own lap.