When it comes to romance and travel, the big hitters like New York City, Paris and Venice get a lot of attention, especially for anniversaries, special birthdays and Valentine’s Day. And while they’re all undoubtedly iconic and breathtaking, there’s still a whole world of love-infused destinations outside of these cities. If you’re looking for something a bit different, try these alternative romantic spots instead:
Iceland may be peppered with bleak volcanic landscapes, but there’s no arguing how beautiful it is. The capital, Reykjavik, is blessed by nature too – flanked by snow-dusted mountains, surrounded by bubbling hot springs, chilled by a crisp ocean breeze and danced around by the Northern Lights. Couples can take in the inspirational scenery from one of the city’s many five-star hotels too, adding an element of luxury to the romance.
HOW TO DO IT: Why not stop-off in Reykjavik en route to New York City?
Whoever came up with the phrase ‘I left my heart in San Francisco’ obviously never took the time to venture down the Big Sur to Monterey. With its incredible tangerine sunsets at Carmel Beach and countless opportunities for coastal horse riding and kayaking amid wildlife, it’s got plenty to offer romance-seeking travellers. After all, what could be more passionate than the region’s dramatic cliffs, crashed into by heart-pounding waves? It’s like something straight out of a (less wuthering) Bronte novel.
HOW TO DO IT: Cruise through Monterey on our Coastal California Journey between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City is a true UNESCO treasure. European in feel but Canadian in climate, this historic city exudes beauty from its centuries-old buildings, cobblestone streets and charming hotels – like the postcard-perfect Chateau Frontenac. You and your beloved can visit art galleries and museums, stroll along the St Lawrence River, or even snuggle up from the cold on a horse-drawn carriage tour. If you’re lucky, it might even snow.
HOW TO DO IT: See the best of this beautiful Francophile city on our Discover Summer in Quebec Journey.
Melbourne is perfect for those who love food as much as they love their partner. Of course it’s got shopping, theatres and art galleries aplenty, but the food in this cosmopolitan city is the highlight. To make the most of this culinary hotspot, try Spanish tapas at MoVinda, get stuffed on a 10-course tasting menu at Vue de Monde or opt for food crafted by celebrity chef Mark Best at Pei Modern.
HOW TO DO IT: Sample Melbourne’s best culinary offerings (as well as the most delicious food the whole country has to offer!) on our Gourmet Australia Journey.
With its fierce reds, oranges and browns in the autumn and the delicate pink of cherry blossom in the spring, Kyoto is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. You only need visit one of its temples to realise it. Each shrine is surrounded by scenic, beautifully-landscaped gardens – perfect for that intimate proposal moment, should the mood strike! There’s also the Sagano Scenic Railway, on which you can chug through the colourful scenery of western Kyoto in an old-fashioned steam train.
HOW TO DO IT: Discover Kyoto without breaking the budget on our Japan on a Shoestring tour.
A confection of ancient ramparts, terracotta-tiled houses and a pretty harbour, lapped by the turquoise Adriatic, it’s hard not to feel starry-eyed in Dubrovnik. This historic port town may not be a beach resort, but it does benefit from an abundance of charismatic cafés, all served by a blissful, Mediterranean sea breeze. Take time to walk the walls of the Old Town hand-in-hand, and also explore the clifftop Fort Lovrijenac (of Game of Thrones fame); these are just a couple of the romantic spots within this UNESCO World Heritage site.
HOW TO DO IT: Escape to Croatia with our fantastic range of beach holidays.
Ubud is simultaneously luxurious and authentic. It’s also a great place to celebrate your love – whether you’re taking a scenic helicopter ride above staircased rice paddies, opting for a couples’ massage amid the rainforest, or enjoying a candlelit dinner overlooking the valley. For adventurous couples, it’s got scuba diving, surfing, mountain hiking, canyoning and white water rafting too – all great activities to get your pulses racing even more.
HOW TO DO IT: Explore Bali – from beaches to interior – with one of our beach holidays called Escapes.
Waitomo Valley, New Zealand
Glowworms – need we say more? Visit the region’s world-famous caves and you’ll glide spellbound through a glittering blue wonderland, illuminated by these fascinating, bioluminescent creatures. Romance doesn’t get better than this. And if that’s not all, a short drive west from the caves you’ll find Marokopa Falls, a thundering 35-metre cascade, as well as the village’s dramatic west coastline – ripe for swimming and magnificent scenery.
HOW TO DO IT: Visit the Waitomo Caves, Auckland, Kaikoura, Milford Sound and Te Papa on our New Zealand Explorer Journey.
Ready to book your romantic getaway with your loved one? Speak to one of our Travel Experts about finding the right holiday for you and making it extra special.