If you’re with someone you like or love, really anywhere you are can seem like the best place in the world.
On the couch, stuck in traffic, waiting in line, grabbing carryout at your local Chinese restaurant—these can all seem like hot spots if you’re in good company.
If you want to take that sense of the unknown to the next level, why not hop on a plane together and experience a change of scenery? Add a new destination to your list of “firsts” as a couple, be it somewhere close by or decidedly more exotic.
Here are some options, 39 as it happens, to bring to the table (or to surprise your new girlfriend/boyfriend with)—from cities with bustling night lives to remote islands, medieval towns with cobblestone streets, and really everything in between.
With 39 of the best vacation spots for couples from all over the world, we’ve got you pretty much covered.
So, here we go, in no particular order (drum roll)…
The Best Vacation Spots for Couples
Seoul is not only a perfect destination for the couple that’s all about city life—within city limits there are green spaces and mountains, offering hiking, outdoor sports (the couple that sweats together, stays together), and perfect picnic spots.
But back to the more urban aspects. Seoul is known for its nightlife. And what better way to bond than over late night karaoke or getting adventurous with some delicious street food?
Best of all, Seoul can be enjoyed on the cheap, though you might want to avoid the more upscale Cheongdam-dong and Gangnam if you’re trying to save your pennies.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague snags a spot on the list because of its dream-like surroundings. This is a city to walk hand-in-hand with someone you love and just soak it all in: the bridges, the old churches…it’s like being in a living, breathing fairy tale (for more storybook charm, see #29).
If classical music moves you, go take in some Mozart with your girl and cap off the evening with some local beer—Prague is thought to have some of the best brews in Europe.
Portland, Oregon (USA)
For couples looking for something a little bit more laid back and offbeat, I want to throw Portland into the mix.
The city has some great food—both high-end dining and incredible food truck options—with an emphasis on local ingredients. (And if you’re anything like me, the way to my heart is through my stomach.)
In addition to a burgeoning culinary scene, I’d recommend taking advantage of the amazing people-watching opportunities here. It’s built-in conversation all around you. Grab a cup of coffee (Portland has some of the best in the country) and browse through books and records with your new lady friend (or fellow), while keeping your eyes on the quirky folks in their natural habitat.
This is a more familiar entry for those of you feeling a little skeptical about the romantic potential of Portland or Prague.
I don’t think I really need to do much by way of explaining why Paris would make a great destination for romance, but in a nutshell: small, winding streets; sidewalk cafes; good wine; candlelight.
Paris sort of sells itself here.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Travel down South America way to Buenos Aires, home of the tango, the forbidden dance.
In appearance, the city is rather European, but the flavor is totally South American. Buenos Aires is a passionate place—it’s sexy, bright, and always going. This is a place to give in to pleasure. There is food from all over the world (in addition to the famous, juicy Argentinian grilled steaks) and the city never sleeps.
So, eat, dance, drink—really live it up—while you’re here.
New England, USA
Rent a car and drive around the northeastern part of the United States with your sweetie.
Save this excursion for the fall months: for whatever reason, leaves are really romantic. As can be hiking, some light antiquing, eating real maple syrup drizzled all over some freshly-made pancakes, and staying in a quaint bed & breakfast.
This is also a really good opportunity to wear flannel (see #7 on the list).
There is something so desperately romantic about a city fated to drown…
That, and the food, the masks, the fog; the grandeur. Venice is all about fantasy and opulence. Between the prosecco and the secret passageways dotting the Gothic palaces, this mysterious city is ripe with sex appeal.
Kyoto is a perfect place for a spring getaway. At this time of year, the cherry blossoms frame the classic Japanese architecture and distant mountains. There is a beautiful serenity and sense of tradition in this former capital city.
If you and your SO need to hit the reset button from the stresses of work and cramped city living, peace is only a plane ride away.
Bonus: Kyoto has become a foodie destination. Both haute cuisine and classical Japanese faire shine here.
San Sebastian, Spain
With the mountains of the Basque region in the background, this beach town in the Bay of Biscay sort of has everything. By day, you and bae can surf, play in the sand, or meander around the charming town.
When the sun goes down, things get sultry. The city has a very lively nightlife and also seems to be a magnet for Michelin stars. (Go to town on food here—from pinxtos (tapas) to fine dining, any extra pounds you two put on will be worth it.)
Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
Set on an island in the St. Lawrence River in Québec, Canada, Montréal has become a go-to North American destination for culture—be it art, food, architecture, music, or cinema.
While you’re there, go to a museum or simply take in the street art, and be sure to go to a concert. There are about a billion music festivals that take place in the city—there’s always some type of live music to see, whatever your taste. There is something really special about experiencing new music or art with someone you’re into.
Tip: This is another great place to get your eat on: from rich French food, traditional Canadian faire (think: poutine), to pretty much every other international cuisine you can imagine, Montréal is doing it, and doing it well (extra points if you picked up on that L.L. Cool J. reference).
Tulum is an eco-paradise on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, not far from its more famous sister city, Cancún. Unlike that perennial Spring Break party spot, Tulum is quieter, less crowded, less expensive, and is known for its commitment to holistic living and the environment.
Whether you choose to keep your feet planted in the white sand of the area’s beaches, enjoy a hammock nap together, dip into the water for some snorkeling, or venture into the jungle to check out ruins (or one of the late night jungle parties, complete with DJ), that’s up to you.
Whether the two of you prefer quiet and calm or something more active and social, or maybe a little bit of each, Tulum is flexible (just like the abundant yoga practitioners who flock to the area).
Loire Valley, France
Bike rides, picnics, fresh fruit and cheese, castles, rolling hills and plush fields…that’s what we’re working with here. This region in Central France offers abundance and splendor in, well, abundance.
This is also wine country, so you can spend every day pleasantly tipsy while you get fresh air and take in the incredible scenery around you. You can even row a boat together along the river, although I’d recommend doing this before hitting the vineyards heavy—best not to drink and row.
The Hebrides, Scotland
The general vibe of these islands off the west coast of Scotland is misty and romantic. Everything is rocky and green and full of history.
Cozy together in wool sweaters by night and, by day, pay a visit to some of the many distilleries all around these isles. The scotch, and of course the presence of your gal/beau, will help keep you warm.
Hamilton Island, Australia
Does the fact Taylor Swift went here last winter turn you on or off?
If the latter, don’t let the pop princess sour you on this idyllic destination in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. If the two of you live for aquatic experiences (or trying new things), Hamilton is located at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
So, there’s plenty of diving, snorkeling, sailing, and making out in the water to be done.
St. Lucia (Caribbean)
Decadence and geologic wonders collide in St. Lucia, located in the Eastern Caribbean.
Surrounding the luxurious resorts where you and your new girl/guy can get treated like royalty—room service, spa treatments, complimentary bathrobes—are some pretty delightful natural marvels.
St. Lucia boasts waterfalls, rainforests, volcanic spires, reefs, hot springs, and of course, pristine beaches and crystal-clear water.
If you’re like me and enjoy a little decadence punctuating your adventure, St. Lucia is a go. Nothing is better than a massage after tackling a mountain. Or volcano, for that matter.
You know how sometimes being around really attractive, stylish people can make you feel better looking yourself? Something about how “you are the company you keep”? That’s what happens here.
Being surrounded by cool people and design seems to raise your own cool factor. Especially in those early stages of dating, looking cool is all-important. If you’re feeling in a rut, eating on the couch while binging on Netflix, get back your edge with a week wandering the streets of Stockholm.
This is a city for couples interested in fashion, food, and art. Who love architecture. Couples who enjoy looking to the past, absorbing and learning about history, but also have an eye to the future; to the latest thing.
Joshua Tree, CA (USA)
Switching gears from the historic cobblestone walkways of Stockholm to some more rugged terrain, #12 on this list is Joshua Tree, about 2.5-3 hours outside of Los Angeles.
So named for the Dr. Seuss-esque Joshua trees that line its landscape, this desert town is home to some funky shops, but most importantly a National Park that feels like visiting another planet. It’s a really cool place to explore with someone you like (or love), all the unusual flora and fauna and the views for miles.
I have to admit I’m slightly biased here: Joshua Tree was a stop on my honeymoon. I’d recommend renting one of the artsy offerings on AirBnB, hiking all day, and then cooking at night, eating by the fire, with all the stars above.
*Need extra reason to make your way to Joshua Tree with your honey? Visiting a desert took the #5 spot on our 28 Places Every Man Should Visit in His Lifetime list. Check and check.
Like Stockholm, Berlin has an abundance of “It” factor. The city has become a mecca for art and design and is undeniably, and achingly, cool. I think Lonely Planet captures Berlin best, describing its combination of “glamor and grit.”
While Berlin is perhaps a little intimidating in its spot on the cutting edge of basically everything, it’s also exceedingly laid back and unfussy. Though highly stylized, nothing is too precious—things are a little rough around the edges.
There is no judgment here. It’s equal parts welcoming and unpredictable, which is totally sexy.
If late nights invigorate you and your love, and being a part of the art-world inspires you, this is the place to visit.
One word best captures this Moroccan city: vibrant.
Being in Fez will have all of your senses mesmerized: from the smells of the teas, foods, and spices in the markets, to the mosaic tiles, textiles, and brightly colored everything, and all the different textures of the metalwork and rich leather.
There is something so sensual about it all—distant prayers sung out into the sky, the setting sun, dim lights, rich aromas, warm nights, ancient fortress walls…
While the Croatian coastline is populated by its fair share of yachts, this small European jewel is a mostly affordable option for couples looking for the bright blue waters and rocky coastlines typical of the Mediterranean.
Not only is it a natural wonder—waterfalls, peaks, and canyons abound—but so rich in history. Traveling through Croatia is like a history lesson on a vast variety of past empires, an intermingling of various architecture, art, and traditions.
There is an abundance to see here, and to talk about.
Featured in the quintessential ‘90s romance Before Sunrise, starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, it is hard not to equate this city with falling in love.
So make like these movies stars, and spend all day and all night exploring the city on foot, with some occasional stops to quiet cafes and maybe a boisterous bar or two. Get to really know each other as you pass along the cobblestone streets.
These beautiful surroundings, modern architecture juxtaposed against historic opera houses, make a perfect backdrop for intimate conversation.
While touring the markets and historic structures that line this city should make their way on to your Istanbul to-do list, make sure not to overlook the water.
Cruise on the Bosphorous at night (or walk along it by day), sip some Turkish coffee on the riverbank, and take in the incredible views of Hagia Sophia from the water.
There is something really special and mystical about this place, how it straddles two cultures and two continents. It is a very unique experience and definitely one to share with someone you love.
Santa Fe, NM (USA)
Santa Fe is somewhere I’ve been visiting since I was little. So, it hasn’t always been a romantic destination for me, but it’s been a much-loved one for as long as I can remember.
The New Mexican landscape is so strange and beautiful. There are pine trees and cacti, red clay rock, snow, desert…it’s so diverse and unusual in that respect, which makes it an incredible place to be outdoors.
In addition to exploring the terrain together, it is the particular smells and particular lighting that make this a romantic city. After dark, particularly in the winter, luminarias (paper lanterns) cast a warm glow across town and the smell of piñon in the air is just completely enchanting.
Take in as much of this country as time permits. It’s affordable, scenic, and totally charming.
Fly into Lisbon first—the city is all quaint shops, cobblestone streets, vibrant neighborhoods, and gorgeous architecture. There are even vintage trams to help get you up the city’s sometimes-steep walkways. These afford incredible views and allow you take in many historic sites and other attractions.
Outside of Lisbon, check out Sintra, Évora, and Óbidos—all three are ancient and picturesque (and a little bit more off the beaten path when it comes to tourism). Everything is lush, green, and packed with interesting culture (and stories to tell).
Extra credit: Visit Madeira and/or the Azores (both islands) off the coast. Madeira is known for its great weather and sense of fun and the Azores, for its wildlife (whale watching!) and verdant grounds (pineapple plantations!). Both areas are remote and make for really enchanting, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Maybe it was reading A Room With a View many years ago, but Florence is somewhere I always associate with love, adventure, and beauty.
Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance and renowned for its art and architecture, one of the most breathtaking and romantic aspects of the city is how sunlight dances across its rooftops. There is something so special and so gorgeous about the light here. (You’re going to look great in all your pictures together.)
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Situated near Tahiti in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is basically paradise (some have joked “it’s so nice, they named it twice”).
The water is perfect and clear, the beaches a pristine white. You can stay in deceptively luxurious thatched roof bungalows perched over that aforementioned crystal water. You can swim with turtles and exotic, brightly colored fish.
This tropical island is secluded and idyllic—it’s no coincidence it’s one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. But don’t feel like you need to pop the question before booking accommodations—unwed pairs are equally welcome.
The vibe in this southern part of Spain is so relaxed and friendly and the weather is totally perfect—rent a car and cruise around for days.
I’d make sure to stop in Granada to see the spectacular Alhambra palace, in all its Moorish splendor. There is something really romantic about climbing up there to that fortress on high and walking around underneath the vaulted ceilings, patterned in stars, weaving in and out of the delicate columns, listening to the soothing sounds of the trickling of water from the fountains.
When in Andalucía, Seville should also be a top priority. Seville is warm and bright, both in terms of the sun’s rays shining down on you, and the vibrancy of its culture and people.
Drink lots of sangria, dine on tapas, and take in some flamenco. This spirited city will put you both in a great mood. And nothing is sexier than happiness.
The Greek Isles
Ever since a good friend of mine selected the Cyclades for her honeymoon, visions of dining out on a whitewashed terrace on the Greek Isles with my own spouse have cycled through my head.
The setting of this island is postcard-perfect. The bright white, sun-soaked buildings contrast in such a wildly perfect way with the surrounding deep blue waters and rocky mountains.
Santorini is probably the most famous and sophisticated option. It’s also the most romantic. Don’t read too much into that descriptor of sophistication, however—Santorini is made for lazy days of soaking in the sun, slow strolls, and long meals. The vibe is 100 percent pleasure and relaxation.
Switching gears completely from sun-drenched island life, we have Bruges, nestled in northwest Belgium.
With an old medieval city like this, you get all the canals, old churches, and small, winding streets out of your childhood storybooks. It’s like a fairy tale, Hans Christian Anderson-style, come to life (but fast-forwarded through the sad bits, straight to the happy ending).
It’s all so dreamy. This is a city that calls for a lot of hand-holding, kissing on old stone bridges, and long, conversation-filled dinners.
Tip: This is a really popular tourist spot in the summer. We’d recommend planning your visit for the spring (daffodil season) or the winter (when it is all chilly and cozy holiday charm) instead.
Santa Barbara, CA (USA)
I’m going to be up front again about my bias with this one. Just like Joshua Tree (#17), Santa Barbara was a stop on my honeymoon trail (which was a road trip along America’s West Coast, with me, my husband, and our dog packed into a black Mustang).
But I’m not the only one who thinks Santa Barbara is one of the most romantic places on earth. JFK and Jackie handpicked this as their own honeymoon destination, a pair famous for their great taste (if not the best marriage).
Why Santa Barbara? In addition to the ocean, palm trees, mountains, and Spanish-style architecture, there is something really serene and special about this place. Hummingbirds flitter around and bright flowers bloom almost on cue.
It’s all really luxurious, but somehow in a really welcoming, low-key way. And can be done on whatever budget you need to adhere to—from celebrity-level spending to more modest accommodations, either will afford you a really lovely stay.
Seychelles, East Africa
The Seychelles are just off East Africa, right in the Indian Ocean. For me, I would go just to see the rare giant tortoises, but maybe you might need more convincing? Or a sexier reason for your stay than some old reptiles?
So, let me start by describing how incredible the soft, powdery sand feels in between your toes and how the water is so clear and bright it almost looks like a swimming pool. The rocks and lushness of the flora and fauna are so incredible, they seem like something painted by a Surrealist.
Pretty much everything you eat has been grown on the island or caught in the water that surrounds it. It’s all fresh and delicious. Eating with your hands, with cool, fruit juices covering your fingers, all under the warm sun…it doesn’t get much more sensual than that.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Ah, the Italian Riveria. Without me even writing anything else, your mind has probably already wandered to thoughts of glamorous people, delicious food, plentiful wine, bright colors, sunshine, and salty sea air.
This is romance, Italian-style, perched cliffside along the Mediterranean. Fill up on freshly caught seafood, local olives, cheese, and pesto, and toast your limoncello to love.
Hunter Valley, NSW (Australia)
About two hours away from Sydney, is a gorgeous stretch of Australian wine country. Everything is lush and green, all rolling hills dappled in sunlight.
In addition to developing some of arguably the best red wines in the country, Hunter Valley has garnered a reputation for some high-quality eats. And you can be sure that all of those culinary delights will pair quite perfectly with all that delicious wine.
One of the best things about this area, though, besides its good food and vino, is how secluded it is. Everything feels really private and intimate, like you’re an escaping real life, which is an important thing for me if I’m looking for a romantic vacation.
Oh and did I mention you can take a champagne hot-air balloon ride? I mean, come on (insert mic drop here).
Puerto Rico (Caribbean)
I love the bright colors and sunny disposition of this Caribbean island. And that it is equal parts tropical rain forest and sandy beaches as it is full of architecture and interesting history.
Walk around Old San Juan together, learning about the city (and island’s) past, visiting the old churches and stopping to enjoy a couple of beers with the locals, all to the beat of music from the streets and storefronts.
Take things up a notch by exploring caves and spotting rainforest wildlife. Try out surfing or investigating the coral reefs. Or just be beach bums together and catch up on reading (or sleep) on the sand. Choose your own adventure here, be it stirring or sleepy.
The Cotswolds, England
I’m a lifelong Anglophile. My dream real estate purchase is a house on the English countryside and I am pretty much a sucker for everything the BBC exports our way. I could go on. But instead, let’s focus on you and your romance.
Take your love to the Cotswolds. This area sits northwest of London, and is an expanse of charming thatched roof cottages, rolling green hills, old stone manses and churches, small shops (shoppes?), and grazing animals.
It’s quiet, peaceful, and a perfect spot for time outside—hiking, horseback riding, rambling, and cycling—and evenings indoors in front of glowing fireplaces. Sip some tea and just take it easy.
South African Winelands
Let’s talk a little bit more about wine. On this list, we’ve visited Australian wine country, and just about every other destination I’ve recommended drinking lots of it. I sure hope you like wine.
While there is nothing sexy about red wine mouth, this region in South Africa most definitely is. The cuisine and the area’s beverages are fantastic and the scenery is totally spectacular. Everywhere you look there are fields of green dotted by grand mountains. It’s just so vast and endless and amazing.
Rent a car and drive around from winery to winery, or you can choose to cycle. There are even some lovely old trams that take you through the vineyards. If you get wined out, so to speak, there is also mountain-biking, horseback riding, golf, fly-fishing, and chocolate-eating (South Africa is doing some great things with cocoa).
Get tipsy, get active. Though maybe not in that order.
Some of you might be throwing a surprised glance my way upon seeing this city of ill repute here. But isn’t a hint of danger titillating?
In all seriousness, the walled city is actually totally safe for travelers today. Long gone are the days of Escobar (though, please feel free to relive them on Netflix with Narcos).
This city is another on the list that straddles two cultures—the European influence is apparent (more of those cobbled streets I love), but the colors and sensuality of the Caribbean and South America are also there in full force. Even the humidity is sensual there.
This city is equal parts alive/boisterous/active and quiet. So enjoy some sleepy strolls and get your taste of Cartagena’s lively social life, too.
Andaman Islands, India
Located in the Bay of Bengal, these islands—popular honeymoon picks in India—are covered in beaches and rainforests, and surrounded by reefs packed with marine life.
The Andamans are extremely remote: if privacy is what you two want, you got it. These islands are so secluded and so precious, only about a dozen of the total 300 are open to tourists. So, this is a really special destination.
While you’re there, traverse through the jungles, give diving a try, eat exotic things, look for rare wildlife, weave in and out of the mangroves…really make the most out of your time together in paradise.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Last, but not least (again, there’s neither order nor hierarchy on this list) is Chiang Mai, Thailand.
First off, let me mention we’re ending on a really affordable note. Bangkok can get crowded and pricey—Chiang Mai is a refreshing alternative.
The city is calm and unpolluted (speaking equally about the traffic and the air) and easily walkable. There is some incredible classic cuisine available from street vendors that sit alongside newer restaurants and art galleries. Old meets new here in a fantastically uncomplicated, easy way.
While you’re here, take some classes together, check out new and different foods in the markets, and then be sure to explore the countryside. Just a few beats away from city life, you’ll find pulsing green jungles, waterfalls cascading down mountains, hot springs, ancient villages, temples, shrines, monks, and elephant sanctuaries.
There is so much to see, do, and try, minus the overwhelming sounds and crowds of similarly active and exciting locales.
I hope this list sparks some ideas and maybe adds a little adventure to your romance.
If you’re single or otherwise want more travel inspiration, check out our companion piece 39 Best Vacation Spots for Single Guys: The Travel Guide For The Solo Warrior.