Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time of year when travelers think about taking a romantic vacation (and pro tip: it shouldn’t be!). Nor does everyone picture a beach when they hear the word romance. To help all you dreamers out there plan for your next getaway, we’ve brainstormed some romantic destinations to explore with your loved ones.
The quintessential city getaway
Paris is a no-brainer and a wonderful city for l’amour. Share a private “wine tour” through the Louvre with a curator who’ll show you the most interesting wine-related works of art, followed by a tasting and dinner in the museum after hours, when it’s closed (see the “Bragging Rights” section of Paris with Perks). When you’re tipsy on romance, bundle back to your very own pied-a-terre for a nightcap overlooking the rooftops from your balcony (see Paris Apartment Rentals: Insider’s Guide to Getting It Right).
Your perfect beach
If you do love a beach getaway (and we’re not knocking it), the Caribbean is full of easy-to-get-to gems. The key to the whole thing, though, is the beach——so if you’re picturing a weekend spent lying on gorgeous stretches of sand, avoid Dominica, Saba, and Montserrat, which have plenty of charms of their own but are not known for their beaches. Here’s how to find your perfect Caribbean island resort.
The Maldives are a synonym for romance. Honeymooners flock here for stunning overwater villas, clear blue ocean, and private-island resorts, but the archipelago isn’t just for young couples. Whether you’re newlyweds or old hands at the whole marriage thing—heck, even if you want to bring the kids—you can find a magical way to spend a vacation in the Maldives. (See our Insider’s Guide to the Maldives.)
Exotic and unusual
If you need an excuse for “forgetting” to arrange a Valentine’s Day getaway for you and your honey, how’s this one: French Polynesia is better in the late spring. In February, the weather is still rainy there, but come June, the “Trade Wind” season arrives and the weather is mild and dry. Choose from an overwater bungalow or charter your own yacht, with a staff devoted entirely to you. That’s something to look forward to, right? (See our Insider’s Guide to Bora Bora, Tahiti, and French Polynesia and How to Island-Hop Around French Polynesia.)
Home away from home
One way to make a fantasy come true (we’re talking PG, people!) is to move into a mansion for the week. Sweep your spouse off to a villa on Lake Como, or a rambling stone farmhouse in a charming Italian village. Or maybe Spain’s mix of vibrant cities and lush countryside is calling to you. In France, choose among charming coastal towns. In England, you can even live like royalty and overnight at some castles and manor houses.
For adventure lovers
If an adrenaline rush gets your heart racing in more ways than one, pack your partner off on an active adventure. Hardcore junkies may find their thrill hiking in Patagonia, or on an Antarctic cruise; while more mild-mannered nature lovers can get their fix from Costa Rica’s natural wonders, a guest ranch out West, skiing the Rockies, or visiting one of America’s 400-plus national parks. After all, there’s no bond quite like the bond that happens when you’re trying something new (just ask Wendy, who learned this first-hand in British Columbia .)
What do you think are the most romantic vacations? Share ideas with your fellow travelers in the comments.