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My 17 Favorite Romantic Travel Experiences (Celebrating Love All Month!)

As we celebrate love this month with Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite romantic travel destinations around this beautiful world of ours.

I’ve been collating information for this post for a while, and it wasn’t ready for Valentine’s Day- but we can continue to celebrate love and romance, can’t we?

Savannah, Georgia USA

Romantic travel

Romantic travel
Why it’s romantic:

Spanish moss draping from ancient oak trees, this historical southern city is known for its alluring architecture and for the aesthetic beauty of the city’s layout around garden squares. With beautiful, statue-laden cemeteries and parks filled with fountains, it’s hard not to imagine yourself transported to a bygone era.

Savannah was seemingly created as a walking town. Open squares connect residential blocks via brick sidewalks, perfect for romantic strolls under the oak canopy.

With a plethora of renowned restaurants serving savory southern cuisine, a couple could hardly run out of date options. John Berebdt’s setting for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah carries plenty of intrigue. It’s a city that exudes history, is a haven for artists, is heaven for foodies, and perfect for pedestrians.

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Arthur’s Pass National Park, New Zealand

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Why it’s romantic:

In the center of New Zealand’s south island lies one of the most spectacular alpine passes and national parks. Bealey Spur, a perfect day-hike, leads through alpine forests up to a mountain ridge.

The setting, very Lord of the Rings, is stunning. I don’t think there are many hotels without amazing views in the park. All you need is some excellent New Zealand cheese and Savignon Blanc, a porch and a fire- and your goo to go. Romance delivered.

romantic travel

Verbier, Switzerland

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Why it’s romantic:

Nestled in the Swiss Alps, Verbier is the more “chill” version of St. Moritz. It’s a luxurious, classy town without all of the pretension (and the price tag). The chalets are stunning but cozy. The place exudes casual elegance. Cozying up to a fire next to your beau après-ski with a glass of red wine, it doesn’t get much more romantic than that!

Oh, and the skiing is quite good here, as well. Unlike many American ski resorts, the runs are a bit more “wild,” with less signage, fencing and grooming. Expect plenty of powder.

There’s just something so sexy about skiing in the Swiss Alps. No?

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Here I come, down the mountain!

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Villa Petrolo, Tuscany, Italy

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Our villa in Tuscany: Villa Petrolo. Truly breathtaking

Why it’s romantic:

What isn’t romantic about Tuscany? Picturesque Tuscan towns like Sienna, Montalcino, and Montepulciano a day’s trip away. Hundreds of vineyards to explore. Decadent and fresh Italian food. A temperate climate to soak in the perfection all around you. Tuscany is at once both elegant and relaxed. It’s the essential vacation spot for the food and wine enthusiast couple who also appreciate history and the charm of old European towns.

If you can get a group of couples together, as we did, you can rent a lovely villa for a shockingly great rate. We rented Villa Pertolo for the week, and I think it worked out to about $400 per person, including all of our food and wine! Now, that’s a deal!

We utilized the fresh garden and local ingredients from a nearby market and had cooking competitions in the massive two kitchens. Nightly meals were five star-worthy. And the best thing? We never ran out of wine. We were living on a vineyard! So the staff kept the bottles flowing!

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Sorting through the Sangiovese Chianti grapes at Petrolo’s vineyard

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View of the Petrolo grounds from our bedroom.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

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Why it’s romantic:

Perhaps one of the most cliche romantic choices, it is frequently chosen as the ultimate honeymoon location for a reason. It’s quite possibly one of the most beautiful islands on the planet.

Insider tip: if you don’t want to fork over the cash to stay at the high-end, over the water bungalow type resorts like the Four Seasons, St. Regis or Novotel, look in to catching a water taxi to the resort for the day. You can lounge on the beach and swim out to where the bungalows are over the water. It’s just like you’re staying there, but not paying arm over limb for the privilege!

 

romantic travel

Maupiti, French Polynesia

romantic travel

Maupiti

Why it’s romantic:

Maupiti is special in that it is just as beautiful as Bora Bora, yet not many people travel here. A short two-hour ferry ride from Bora, you can rent a bike at the ferry dock and ride to a part of the island that is so remote, you will feel like you have your own private beach. Wade through the shallow lagoon out to the motu and do as you please with your day. Pack a picnic, skinny dip… it’s your own little slice of heaven. Enjoy it!

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Our own private beach

Intercontinental Hotel, Moorea, French Polynesia

Romantic travel

Why it’s romantic:

The stunning resort, peacefully set at the base of lush green mountains, is surrounded by a crystal clear lagoon filled with stunning coral and reef fish. Walk straight from your bungalow with your snorkel, mask and fins and jump in. You’re set for the day. The hotel is set up like a tropical village; quiet and unassuming, yet perfectly manicured, with romantic trails and bridges over the lagoons and around the gardens.

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Rangiroa, French Polynessia

Romantic travel

Why it’s romantic:

“Rangi,” as the locals call it, is a little piece of paradise that attracts a certain niche of travelers: SCUBA enthusiasts. Famous for their high-octane drift dives, divers can ride the super-fast current that squeezes though the Tiputa Pass on what can only be described as a roller coaster under water. It’s so freaking cool(!!)- truly exhilarating! Grey and hammerhead sharks swarm in the deep below you.

Of course I think it’s extremely romantic to have these incredible diving experiences with your significant other (talking about how exciting it was afterwards with them is the best part.) But it’s the setting that really does it! Reliving the day’s adventures, laughing about hilarious characters and incidents, while eating fresh baguettes with wine and cheese on this porch (see below) at sunset. C’mon! Ridiculously romantic! And waking up to that view? Sometimes it was hard to get out of bed for the early morning dives!

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View from our BED

Our bure on Rangiroa

Our bure on Rangiroa

Glamping at Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat, Taveuni, Fiji

Romantic travel

Why it’s romantic:

Talk about getting away from it all, this beach retreat is accessible by boat only. The meals, served on long wooden tables set up directly on the beach (candle-lit at night) are divine. We rented a tent with an actual bed, which was a first. The breeze was the perfect temperature control. The rustic beach-camp ambiance was an ideal honeymoon escape. We felt secluded but wanted for nothing. Exclusive seclusion! Like being stranded- while pampered- on a tropical island!

Don’t get me started on the diving. Likely the best reef dives we’ve ever experienced, the Great White Wall, Rainbow Reef, in the infamous Somosomo Strait, was stuff of legends. The fluorescent colored and glowing white soft corals cover the wall like an extraterrestrial tunnel. Imagine floating along, weightless, feeling like you are on the planet from Avatar. Truly spectacular- and even more amazing to experience with your love!

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Papageno Resort, Kadavu, Fiji

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Why it’s romantic:

Papageno Resort was possibly the most romantic and best island resort that I’ve ever experienced. I dedicated an entire post to the place! Delivering a balanced combination of respectful privacy and hospitality, the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. The accommodations are perfectly picturesque and incredibly spacious. Meals are served straight from their farm and garden. Any type of dive experience you want can be arranged. And did I mention how stunning the scenery is??

Romantic travel

Island hopping around the Yasawas, Fiji

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Tiny island and resort in the Yasawas

Why it’s romantic:

The Yasawas need no introduction. Chosen as film locations for famous movies such as Castaway, The Blue Lagoon, and Contact, these little island jewels form a strand stretching from Viti Levu. The Yasawa Flyer, a hop on-hop off catamaran, distributes vacationers to various resorts sprinkled throughout the islands. Perfect for the couple that likes variety, you can stay on many different islands along the way. We stayed at Oarsman’s Bay and Octopus, both distinctly lovely, relaxing and romantic

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View from our porch at Oarsman’s Bay

Barbados

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Why it’s romantic:

Barbados has some of the sweetest, cleanest, quietest, and most serene beaches I’ve ever seen. Exploring Barbados’ west coast beaches, I noticed a unique characteristic. The trees seemed to grow in to the beach, creating these natural canopy sun shields that stretched almost to the water. It was like being in a park- on the beach. So peaceful and relaxing.

Large stretches of beach passed between upscale hotels and private mansions, so there were sections that we could claim for ourselves. Seriously- not a single person in site. Now THAT’s romantic!

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Such a secluded part of the beach, we felt like it was our own.

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Cheesy or sweet??

Dominica

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Why it’s romantic:

My two travel passions are SCUBA diving and meeting locals and learning about their cultures. When my husband partakes in these passions with me, it amplifies the experience exponentially.

Dominica has some of the most pristine reefs in the Caribbean, a place where coral bleaching is unfortunately rampant. It was also worth noting that the dive outfit we used was Al’s Dive and Water Sports. Hence the forced photo op with Alan under the sign.

Having drinks in local dive bars was a fun experience, as we got to hang out with some Dominicans.

romantic travel

romantic travel

Grenada

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360 degree view of Grenada and the Caribbean from the top of the volcano.

Why it’s romantic:

Grenada, known as the Isle of Spice, is a lush wonderland offering plenty of ecological activities. The diving is supposedly fantastic, although we didn’t partake.

Where else can you hike through a rainforest, up a volcano, walk around the crater lake, and return to flat land to hang out on a beautiful beach in the same day? Actually, quite a few places probably fit this description, and Granada is one of them.

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Volcano crater lake

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Alan swimming butterfly on Grand Anse Beach

British Virgin Islands

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Why they’re romantic:

It’s a pretty special thing to charter a boat and island hop around the BVIs. Granted, I did this with my family, so at the time, it wasn’t really a romantic vibe. But we have since discussed a couples trip with friends- plenty of times.

The freedom you have with your own boat is hard to beat. Mooring in a quiet cove overnight, sipping wine on the bow while stargazing- that’s magic. Frying fresh fish and conch in your own kitchen, listening to whatever tunes you fancy (for us, it was Jack Johnson. Don’t ask….) – that’s the way to do it.

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Curacao

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Why it’s romantic:

Curacao is a bit of an anomaly. It’s a Caribbean-Venezuelan-Dutch cultural smorgasbord, which is why I think we liked it so much. It’s definitely an interesting place. Brightly painted buildings exuding Dutch architectural style give a sophisticated but fun European-island feel. The cafes lining the canals add to the effect.

Then there’s the crew of Venezuelan fisherman. They’re the all-business, no nonsense Latin men, a bit rough around the edges, covered in fish grime. We were fascinated with the cultural subsets, especially the fishermen (Alan was especially fascinated). I think it’s really fun and romantic to explore an interesting place with a significant other.

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St. Lucia

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Heading to Jalousie Beach

Why it’s romantic:

Because everyone says it is. Just kidding (not really). St. Lucia is famous for it’s two distinctive pointy, green mountains, known as the pitons. Beautiful and popular Jalousie Beach yields a perfect view of these peaks. Beyond this main attraction, there are lovely, lush forests and stunning waterfalls.

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Jalousie Beach

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Walking the city wall at night

Why it’s romantic:

The city of Old San Juan is one of the most picturesque and historic cities in the Caribbean. The vibrantly colorful buildings demonstrate both Spanish and French architectural style. Parts actually reminded me of New Orleans (which would make sense, considering the French and Spanish influence there). The most romantic thing you can do is walk along the old town’s fortified wall at dusk, softly lit by antique lanterns.

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Romantic travel

Our romantic hotel in Old San Juan

You may or may not have noticed the conspicuous absence of some of my favorite places in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and North America in this post. In other words, it’s a bit Caribbean and Pacific Island heavy. I think there are two reasons for this.

One, I haven’t really written about many of the places listed in this post, yet, and I wanted to. Secondly, Most of these places were actually stops on our honeymoons (Parts 1 and 2), so they are inherently romantic to me. I threw in Savannah, Verbier and Tuscany to mix it up 🙂

It doesn’t mean that I don’t find other places like the Andaman Sea in Thailand or Cape Town and surrounding vineyards in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Frankshoek unromantic. On the contrary, they are very much so! You could ultimately write a post about all of the romantic places in the world, and it could be a 100-500 item list!

At the end of the day, you can find romance almost anywhere- except maybe these places. It’s all a state of mind!

I hope you had a happy Valentines Day and continue to celebrate love this month!

Have you been to any of these romantic destinations? If you could choose one, right now, which would it be? Just curious!

Happy President’s Day to you fellow Americans! 

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8 Responses to My 17 Favorite Romantic Travel Experiences (Celebrating Love All Month!)

  1. Penny February 17, 2014 at 9:03 PM #

    Wow you’ve been to some really beautiful and I agree, romantic places! A couple I’ve been to but many I’ve not. Great article!

    • Lindsay February 18, 2014 at 11:34 AM #

      Thanks, Penny! Always looking to add to the list, too!

  2. NZ Muse February 17, 2014 at 10:56 PM #

    Stunning photos! I haven’t actually been to Arthurs’ Pass, but the South Island is pretty romantic in many spots.

    I think the most romantic places we’ve been to are Paris, New York, Santorini.

    • Lindsay February 18, 2014 at 11:40 AM #

      Thanks! Yes, the south island is very romantic! The landscape is just so striking! We did a road trip, starting in Queenstown, down to Milford and Doubtful Sounds, through Wanaka, Fox Glacier then across through Arthur’s Pass before finally reaching Christchurch. Arthur’s Pass was a pleasant surprise! We were worried about the roads being iced, since we were there in the winter. All was good though! I agree that Paris, New York and Santorini are romantic. Especially the High Line in NYC.

  3. Trips By Lance February 18, 2014 at 2:02 PM #

    You started off with Savannah, where we spent our five-year wedding anniversary, and I was thinking this would be a list I could relate to. But then you hit all these spots that we haven’t been to but have dreamed of. Honeymoon or not, I’d think these destinations would be awesome for any kind of romantic trip.

  4. Julie K. March 31, 2014 at 3:03 AM #

    For me, Europe is a synonym of romance (and not because of Paris!).. it has this amazing beguiling old world feel to it that I don´t think you can find anywhere else in the world. I´ve got a soft spot for the Balkans, in particular. I think It has a charm of the most popular European destinations, but without the crowds — Rovinj, Croatia, for example, certainly is the most romantic city you´ve never heard of.. 🙂

    • Lindsay March 31, 2014 at 5:02 PM #

      I agree, Julie! Europe is so romantic! Now I just need to convince my husband to go with me sometime! I’ve never been to Rovinj, but I’ve heard great things about it. I would definitely like to see more of the Balkans, as I love Croatia. I’m itching to explore the Baltics as well, and other Eastern European countries. I think the history and architecture around Europe is the draw for me. I wish it was as cheap to travel there as it is in Asia or Latin America!!

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