The 12 most romantic holiday destinations in the world for couples

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.

Best romantic holidays

Kyoto, Japan

Photograph: Shutterstock

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!

St Lucia

Photograph: Courtesy Jade Mountain Club

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.

Rocky Mountains, Canada

Photograph: Shutterstock/Tomas Kulaja

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.

Provence, France

Photograph: Shutterstock/prochasson frederic

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.

Prague, Czech Republic

Photograph: Shutterstock

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.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Photograph: Shutterstock/findelmundo

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.

Marrakech & Essaouira, Morocco

Photograph: Max Libertine on Unsplash

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.

Santorini, Greece

Photograph: Shutterstock/Maridav

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.


Photograph: iacomino FRiMAGES /

9. Iceland

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.

Palawan, Philippines

Photograph: Shutterstock/R.M. Nunes

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.

South Island, New Zealand

Photograph: Shutterstock/Blue Planet Studio

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.

Rajasthan, India

Photograph: Shutterstock/Olena Tur

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.

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