There’s a theory that couples who travel well together, stay together – and it’s a theory that we are more than happy to subscribe to. And while, sure, pretty much anywhere can be romantic if you want it to be, the world is also full of classically romantic places.
East, west, north and south, we’ve scoured the globe for the most romantic holidays in the world. Of course, it isn’t as simple as just rocking up to these places and expecting magic – romance requires work, after all. Let each other know what you want (and don’t want) out of your trip, set the budget, leave room for spontaneous adventures and then, only then, will the warm, fuzzy feelings kick in. Enjoy.
💞 The most romantic places in the world
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Best romantic holidays
1. Kyoto, Japan
Tokyo gets all the noise, but Kyoto is for lovers. Known as Japan’s most romantic city, the historic and cultural capital of this most fascinating nation is a picture-postcard city of classical Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, traditional wooden houses and imperial gardens. The food is incredible, the people are magnificent, the atmosphere is spellbinding. What more could you want from a couples getaway? The city has become something of a hotspot for proposals, and it isn’t hard to understand why. Prep the knee!
🏯 Discover our ultimate guide to Kyoto
2. St Lucia
If chocolate is an aphrodisiac, romance is guaranteed to blossom in St Lucia. Cacao is so abundant here that it grows by the roadside. The island is home to Hotel Chocolat’s cocoa plantations, and its hotel, Boucan, has a chocolate-themed spa and bean-to-bar experiences. It helps that St Lucia is gorgeous, with two distinctive peaks—the Pitons—crowning one of the lushest landscapes in the Caribbean. Hotels like Jade Mountain set the bar for views and romance, but couples will equally love St Lucia’s legendary rum-fuelled street parties.
🏖 Discover the best things to do in St Lucia
3. Rocky Mountains, Canada
Find the right train and all our old-fashioned, romantic notions of rail travel become justified. The route we’d pick carves through Canada’s Rocky Mountains around Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, on the Rocky Mountaineer. This is no ordinary train: viewing carriages have windows that span from the ceiling to seats so that it truly feels like you’re among the wilderness. There are four different routes taking a minimum of one to four days. Expect frothy rivers, towering spruce, glacial lakes and perhaps the occasional bear.
🗻 Discover the best things to do in Jasper
4. Provence, France
Artistic luminaries of the 19th and 20th centuries were clear on the romantic appeal of Provence. Cézanne was a native of the region, but it also lured Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh with its lavender fields, pavement cafes and attractive light. From the sweeping bridge of Avignon to the glamour of Nice and cobbled squares of Aix-en-Provence – there’s enough eye-candy in this southern swathe of France to make even the most hardened realist swoon.
5. Prague, Czech Republic
The City of a Hundred Spires seems to have been built with love in mind. That can be the only takeaway for couples looking over the Czech capital from the viewpoint at Letna Hill, a beer in one hand and beloved in the other. Prague is a postcard city of stories, a famous old wonder that has long been a favourite of couples looking for a romantic getaway and for good reason. The Old Town gets most of the attention, but don’t be afraid to explore further afield either; each district has its own unique take on romance, from the modern stylings of Karlin to the grandeur of Vinohrady and beyond. Prague lives up to the hype, and then some.
🕰 Discover the best things to do in Prague
6. Buenos Aires, Argentina
The country that invented tango is guaranteed to get every couple’s pulse racing. Dance aficionados head for the milongas (dance halls) of San Telmo in Buenos Aires for steamy nights pressed close together. After a few days soaking in the bohemian vibe and late-night bars of BA’s oldest neighbourhood, we recommend allocating time for wine tours in Mendoza and a posh eco-lodge in the remote heart of Patagonia, Argentina.
🏢 Discover the best things to do in Buenos Aires
7. Marrakech & Essaouira, Morocco
Despite its unfortunate reputation for hassle, Marrakech remains the stuff of Arabian Nights fantasies. Its sand-coloured streets are a gloriously intoxicating whirlwind, and there’s nothing quite as arresting as the call to prayer in this city of a thousand rooftops. We recommend splurging on a sumptuous palace hotel or medina riad with a decadent spa (many of which are still remarkably good value). Afterwards, retreat to the whitewashed coastal town of Essaouira for a peaceful wind-down by crashing waves.
🌇 Discover the best things to do in Marrakech
8. Santorini, Greece
The calling card of this popular island in Greece is its famous sunsets. Blue-and-white villages trickle-down stark mountains saluting the sea, with dozens of hotel and bar terraces positioned for the chink of champagne glasses as the sun sinks. Many accommodation options are designed for maximum privacy, some have private plunge pools, and several are adults-only. Santorini gets crazy busy in summer, but that’s no biggie if you can afford your own little slice of the horizon.
🏝 Discover the best things to do in Santorini
Iceland can feel like another world, a world filled with all the best bits of nature, from thrilling geysers to moon-like craters and more. A bit like love, right? Okay, there might not be geysers and craters in love, but you get the point. A romantic holiday to Iceland is something of a bucket list item for couples who visit in search of that very unique atmosphere. It doesn’t get more special than the staggering light show of the Aurora Borealis, an achingly gorgeous experience that everyone should seek out at least once in their lives. The eccentric side of capital Reykjavik is plenty romantic in its own right.
🌋 Discover the best things to do in Iceland
10. Palawan, Philippines
Beach bums and lovers of the life aquatic can satisfy all their desert-island fantasies in Palawan. It’s a large archipelagic province of the Philippines (the easiest way to get here is to fly from Manila) characterised by virgin rainforest, limestone karst cliffs and unrivalled sands. Below water, there’s WWII shipwreck diving and cities of coral. Forget Thailand: rumour has it that Palawan’s Bacuit Archipelago was the real inspiration for Alex Garland’s The Beach. The author lived in El Nido for six months.
🦚 Discover the best things to do in the Philippines
11. South Island, New Zealand
There’s something undeniably dreamy about the prospect of waking up somewhere different every day. If you and your partner are adventurers at heart, you’ll love campervanning through New Zealand’s dramatic southern island. Just the two of you and the open road, with mountains, fjords and lakes to gawp at. There are hundreds of camping grounds to choose from, many in remote, beautiful locations.
⛰ Discover the best things to do in New Zealand
12. Rajasthan, India
Ok, so India isn’t everyone’s idea of romance. But Rajasthan is something special, and it’s still a destination where unique experiences and luxury are a relative bargain. You can roam abandoned forts and decorated palaces with their sumptuous harems, take desert camel rides, track tigers at dawn, and bed down in magical old maharaja digs with a G&T poured by a butler. Hire a car with a driver to make it stress-free; it’s surprisingly affordable.