Trying to figure out where to go on your next couples vacation?
Want to relax and go on romantic dates, while also making the most out of your time in a new part of the world?
With so many beautiful places and exciting possibilities, it can be difficult to narrow down your options. So we thought it might help to list our personal favorite destinations (in no particular order). Each location has left its imprint on John, Imani, or the both of us. We would visit them again in a heartbeat.
1. Patagonia (Chile and Argentina)
Patagonia is absolutely breathtaking and a great couples vacation destination if the two of you are seeking adventure. .
From heart-stopping rapids on the Chilean side to awe inspiring peaks on the Argentinian side, Patagonia has something for every outdoor-loving couple. It certainly has a romantic appeal too, with each turn in the road providing another striking view.
Pro tip: You can take it up a notch by renting a camper van and exploring road-trip style, navigating through at your own pace. Not only would you save money on transportation and lodging, but a camper van will also allow you to pull over at your leisure and gawk at the scenic views together.
2. Florence, Italy
Guess it only makes sense to include a city with Roman roots in an article about “romance”, huh?
But move over Paris, Florence takes our spot for the (more intimate, less expensive, and just as – if not more – aesthetically appealing) City of Romance. The narrow streets, Renaissance era architecture, and concentrated nature of the town will transport you back in time – all with much fewer tourists than other ‘Romance” cities. If you want your couples vacation to be more romance than adventure, this is the destination for you.
Pro tips: Walk across the Ponte Vecchio, and stop for gelato on your way to to the Piazzale Michelangelo. This is the best 1 km walk in Europe and you are rewarded with an outstanding view of Florence.
3. Banff/Jasper, Canada
It’s rare when we both agree on a travel superlative, but we do indeed both agree on this: Banff and Jasper are the most beautiful National Parks in North America.
They are a haven for the geographically inclined couple. You can look over the azure colored lakes for a lifetime and each valley has its own character and is flanked by unique peaks. Although often crowded, if you start hikes early and go farther pasts the “end” of the hikes, you can certainly find space all to yourselves. There are also cute little “tea houses” on some of the hikes, and you can visit the towns of Banff and Jasper for some chilled out time when you need a break from the trails.
Pro tip: Visit in the early fall to avoid the crowds. The weather is still good and you will not have to fight off a family of four to get the last camp site.
4. Crete, Greece
With its crystalline waters, hilltop towns with dazzling views, and super fresh Mediterranean cuisine, you may not be very surprised to see Greece in a list for couples vacations. That’s why it’s a top destination for honeymoons, anniversaries, or any type of romantic getaway.
What you may not be as familiar with is the opportunity for adventure in Greece as well! As Greece’s largest island, Crete has it all. Find beautiful beaches in Lasithi, archeological sites in Heraklion, and mountains in Chania.
Pro tip: If you only have time for one area and want a variety of activities, choose Chania. Even if you only had time for Chania, you could hike in the Lefka Ori National Park (White Mountains), visit museums and sites in the historic town, and get tipsy on Cretan wine with your partner during a candlelit evening dinner – what more could you ask for, really?
5. Galapagos, Ecuador
Romance is usually coupled with beauty, and the Galapagos Island will never win any awards for their physical beauty. But this rugged, volcanic landscape has its own charm, especially if the both of you are animal lovers. Ultimately, though, this destination is definitely for the more adventure>romance type of couples vacation.
Once you dip below the ocean surface you will be greeted by more aquatic life than you could ever imagine. The biodiversity in the Galapagos is without peer. The ability to retrace Darwin’s steps has a certain allure to it as well. Finally, the Ecuadorian government has taken precautions to protect the ecosystems of the islands and ensure tourism enriches the local population, so it’s a destination that you can visit with a clear conscious.
Pro tip: The Galapagos is a top destination for scuba diving, so if you’ve thought about getting PADI certified, this wouldn’t be a bad place to do so!
6. Porto, Portugal
There are not as many typical tourist things “to do” in Porto compared to some of the other city destinations on this list, but with port wine (need we say more?), delightful orange scenery, various parks and gardens, and an internationally-influenced history, cuisine, and overall energy, we just had to put Porto on this list of couples vacation destinations.
If you like all different kinds of foods, love fancy dinner dates, appreciate rooftop cocktails, etc. – but don’t want to spend major-city prices for that level of romance – Porto has your
wallet back. For the adventure, you may opt to get a little bit outside of Porto, such as visiting the Peneda-Gerês National Park.
Pro Tip: Don’t just drink the port wine; learn about it. You can visit a port winery and take a guided tour to learn about the history of the industry, how port is made, the various types and flavors, etc. We chose to do the tour at Croft and did not regret it!
7. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Seeing the animals of the African bush is on many people’s bucket lists. Unfortunately, many safaris pack their customers into crowded tour buses or jeeps that convoy to see the animals. South Luangwa National Park offers a much more intimate way of interacting with the wild life – perfect for both couples and the animals.
They take small groups of four out into the preserve in open top jeeps! It is 100% safe but you will feel far more connected with the animals.
Pro tip: If you are feeling extra adventurous, you can rent a cabin in the preserve and go on walking tours of the park as well!
8. Munich, Germany
Munich has a wonderful, laid back vibe. One of the best activities to do on your couples vacation in Munich is to simply hang out and spend time with your partner is the English Garden. There is no better way to spend an afternoon than sipping beer in an a biergarten, listening to all the laughter from locals, and taking in the dynamic and welcoming environment.
You won’t be having much of a nature adventure here, but you can certainly have a city adventure in Munich, with a wide variety of museums, bars, restaurants, and interesting architecture. If you do want a more natural, scenic experience, Munich is a relatively short train ride from the Bavarian Alps.
Pro tip: Check out the Die Neue Sammlung. It is the oldest design museum in the world and after visiting, you will have a new appreciation for the style and creation of the items that fill your home.
9. Ring Road, Iceland
Iceland has been on the rise as a tourist destination, but the average visitor stays just three days in Iceland. Many people never leave the immediate vicinity around Reykjavik. The best way to experience Iceland in all its splendor is to drive the Ring Road.
Driving the Ring Road is the ideal couples vacation for those seeking privacy and intimacy. Most of the Ring Road is devoid of tourists; and, as we’ve implied, beautiful natural scenery plus nobody else around is the perfect combination when you’re looking for both romance and adventure! Make sure to stop in the west fjordlands (less than 10% of tourists do). You won’t be disappointed.
Pro tip: Iceland is an expensive place to visit. If you are traveling on a budget, bring your own dry food and snacks with you. It will save you hundreds of dollars.
10. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a well-know, well-publicized destination that we, admittedly, had no real interest traveling to until the pandemic had us making a 24-hour decision to come here and stay for months. Oh 2020, you crazy!
So, you likely already know how you can have a romantic time in Bali – with gorgeous private villas, floating breakfasts, personalized cooking classes, couples massages, beach dates, flowery swings, so on and so forth.
But, what you may not know is that most of the Instagram pictures you see are taken in Ubud, Canggu, and Seminyak; the most touristy areas of the island. There is so much more greenery, nature, space, and opportunity for adventure outside of these areas as well. Drive north or northeast of Ubud and discover what may seem like a whole new country, really.
Pro Tip: Although many aspects of Bali are super affordable, transportation long distances can add up. Plan your activities area-by-area, staying in each area for longer periods of time. That way you’re not spending extra time and money on back-and-forth trips.
What are your favorite romantic and/or adventurous travel destinations? Comment them below (because we’d love to know then go)!
Looking to go on a romantic getaway, a relaxing retreat, or a wild adventure with your special person? Learn more about our Couples Travel Planning service here.
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Loving the old; exploring the new,
John and Imani