Planning a getaway with your partner? No, It's not uncommon! Romantic packages are incredibly popular for many destinations, which is obviously no surprise since many couples choose to use some of their free time to take a romantic vacation (and why wouldn't they?). Some even have a bucket list of spots they want to visit at some point. While so many of the typical romantic destinations are thought of like that for a reason, some places are supposed to be "love spots" and are instead known to be nothing but tourist traps.
With so many gorgeous destinations around the world, it can be really hard for couples to figure out where they would actually enjoy their well-earned vacation. You have to dig deep to figure out which spots are worth the hype and which are overrated. Count yourself lucky because we did all the digging for you. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), there are many beautiful cities and countries around the world for every type of couple out there; whether you're the adventurous type, a nature loving pair, or are the luxury focused duo type, this list has it all. Enjoy, and don't forget to start planning your next romantic getaway!
20 Napa Valley, California (Best)
One of the most well-known destinations for romance, Napa Valley is something couples must do together at least once. Sunny skies, rolling hills of vineyards, and fine wine help to create the perfect destination for love.
Napa Valley is known for its intimate, gorgeous hotels that give you the full experience, 24/7. The majority of the activities offered are both relaxing and luxurious - the perfect combination for a couple's getaway.
Of course, the front and center focus is usually wine tasting. Hendry Winery is typically the most popular, but there are many vineyards/wineries off the beaten path that attract far less crowds and have amazing, unique wines. Beyond just tastings, Napa Valley offers almost too many romantic activities to fit into one trip. Couples cooking classes, scenic tours (some self-guided), outdoor live music, multi-course food tastings, and even hot air balloon rides are all part of typical itineraries for a few days of romance. Spas are also extremely popular in the area, and most couples opt for at least one day of pampering. Whatever you choose to include, there's sure to be a ton of food, drink, and incredibly romantic scenery that will make for a stunning vacation.
19 Santorini, Greece (Best)
Known for its picturesque architecture, insanely blue water, and ancient charm, Santorini Greece is another coveted spot for couples to vacation. Oia is typically the most photographed area and is the largest town, with gorgeous whitewashed buildings and the well-known sunset of Oia. What's more romantic than watching a sunset over the water in Greece? Because the sunset is so gorgeous, it tends to be incredibly crowded. Your best bet is to head to the outskirts of Oia to enjoy a more private, romantic view. Santorini also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the area, especially Red Beach. Spending a day in the sun is never a bad option for couples.
For hikers, the trail between Fira and Oia is well-known and has some amazing views of the city and the ocean. It's much quieter and more private, which can be a nice change.
There are a few volcanos in the area that are famous for their beauty, which is a perfect activity for adventurous couples. If you're looking for a more relaxed trip, Santorini has an overload of Greek food and drink. The Mediterranean diet is heavily embraced, and tomatoes are the most popular food at almost every restaurant or cafe. Santorini is also famous for its wine varieties (it even has a few museums all about wine), and of course, you have to get at least one gyro. This is a destination that's not to be missed with something for almost every type of couple!
18 Aspen, Colorado (Best)
If only for the amazing natural landscapes in this mountainous region, Aspen is consistently considered an incredibly romantic spot. There's a constant vibe of activity that's somehow very different from the hustle and bustle of main cities. The town is actually small, making this a less crowded destination, but there's always a large number of tourists who contribute to the exciting adventure feel. For skiers, there's obviously a lot to do. Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Aspen Buttermilk are the four slopes skiers typically hit during the day. For less snow-sport inclined couples, there's literally tons of other things to do.
Paragliding, cooking classes, white water rafting, yoga, upscale shopping, and spa days are all very popular in and around Aspen. The entire destination is incredibly upscale yet natural. Your hotel will most likely be over the top luxurious, while still having a homey, mountainous feel. Hiking is of course scenically amazing, especially in the fall or the spring, when you can see the snow at the peaks of the mountains but be hiking in mild air. While Aspen offers tons of activities, many couples choose to cozy up by the fire and drink hot cocoa. Whatever your itinerary, there's no denying that Aspen is an incredibly romantic destination for nature lovers.
17 Kyoto, Japan (Best)
If you're looking for a cultural romantic experience in Asia, Kyoto Japan is the best spot. Traditional Japanese Inns are all the rave and include Japanese luxury such as private multi-course in room dining, private gardens just outside your door, and hot springs for your enjoyment.
The "love shrine" is especially famous. It's a temple dedicated to traditional Asian matchmaking. The love stones can help with this process; the legend says that if you can close your eyes and walk across them, your love will stand the test of time.
Kyoto's nature is also breathtaking. The Kamo river is especially famous for sightseeing, with plenty of restaurants right next to it so that you can enjoy the view. The Moon Crossing bridge over the Katsura River is also famous for not only general romance but proposals, due to its architectural and natural beauty. The Bamboo Forest, the Sagano Railway, and the private boat tours on the Hozu River are all popular as well to experience Kyoto's natural beauty. While this isn't a destination that typically springs to couples' minds when planning a romantic vacation, it actually offers far more authentically beautiful scenery than many other typical choices.
16 Newport, Rhode Island (Best)
Although Newport is typically known as one of the top summer destinations in New England, this coastal spot is gorgeous any time of year. Newport is most famous for its mansions on Bellevue Avenue, where USA elites summered in the early 1900s. Mansion tours, especially of The Breakers and Rosecliff, are breathtaking experiences for tourists. The Wharf, towards downtown Newport, has a huge variety of restaurants and bars, most with outdoor seating in the summer. In the winter, the romance of the snow falling on the mansions by the water is unmistakable.
Newport is both dreamy and fun, making it a perfect place for all types of couples. Whether the agenda includes sailing, trying some fresh New England seafood, touring the mansions and the grounds, or just shopping at Newport's many high end boutiques, there's plenty of things to do that are couple-friendly. Vineyards are scattered throughout the area, and wine tasting is extremely popular in the summer. The 3.5 mile cliff walk is especially known for its romantic qualities. If you can time it right, reaching the end of the walk (the final cliff) as the sun is setting makes for possibly the most romantic scene imaginable.
15 Bora Bora, French Polynesia (Best)
Bora Bora is a typical honeymoon destination, for good reason! The overwater bungalows call to couples for privacy and luxury. Many of them offer their own pools or hot tubs, and of course immediate access to your own private section of ocean. You can sometimes choose the option of having areas of glass floors so you can view the tropical fish all day.
Bora Bora is the ultimate tropical destination for relaxation. Couples can literally spend all day sun tanning, swimming, and enjoying the incredible views.
If you're looking to explore, Bora Bora offers an almost unlimited number of turquoise lagoons, nature walks (including waterfalls), snorkling and scuba diving, and expert surf. Activities like speed boat rides, shark feeding, and fishing can be contrasted with a day at The Four Season Spa, one of the best in the world. You can visit the enormous sea turtles, swim with colorful fish, check out the indigenous flowers and trees, try the island's fruit, or enjoy a private candlelight dinner on the beach complete with champagne and fireworks. Most of Bora Bora's resorts are famous for luxury and privacy. After all, Bora Bora is known for being the best honeymoon destination in the world.
14 Reykjavík, Iceland (Best)
Primarily known for its natural energy and awe-inspiring sights, Iceland is romantic in a way that connects a couple with both the earth and each other. One main attraction is (of course) the hot springs. While there's many that are popular, the Blue Lagoon is the most famous, offering a hotel adjacent to the springs that caters to guests' every need. Just outside of Reykjavík, the Blue Lagoon is comprised of mineral rich seawater that have anti-aging benefits. You can even visit the hot springs during winter and feel the snow falling on your face while swimming in 38°C water.
Other than the hot springs, Iceland offers too many natural sites to count. The mountainsides are enormous with gorgeous green fields and snow at the peaks. Experiencing contact with Iceland's many wild animals can be a lot of fun for couples as well, but the other main attraction is of course the Northern Lights.
If you can time your trip correctly (from September to March), then you'll have a chance to see one of the world's greatest natural phenomenons. Iceland's romantic attributes are comprised of far more wilderness than other destinations, and it is the mix of nature, adventure, and beauty that often calls to couples planning a once in a lifetime experience to make memories together.
13 Florence, Italy (Best)
While Florence isn't the most popular city to visit in Italy, it is definitely the most romantic. Modern and historical art and architecture are blended together to create a monumental experience. Many of the hotels offer rooftop terraces with incredible views and luxurious rooms with fluffy, extremely comfortable bedding. Site-seeing can include buildings designed by Michelangelo himself (which includes an outdoor Lover's Corner), the Boboli Gardens which are part of the famous Medici Family (this spot includes an indoor artwork tour as well), and checking out the Arno River which flows right through the center of Florence. The cobblestone streets create an ancient, old-world feel that is accented by the traditional Italian food, wine, and customs.
The best time to visit Florence, especially for romantic sightseeing, is in either fall or spring. The temperatures are warm but mild, which is definitely not the case in the summer (air conditioning is not found everywhere in Italy) or in winter, which can be so cold that it's hard to venture out. Florence is even a top destination for weddings, especially since Kim Kardashian and Kanye West chose a venue close to the Boboli Gardens for their ceremony. Even if you're planning a tour of Italy, Florence is a must-see if for nothing other than its romantic atmosphere.
12 Kauai, Hawaii (Best)
Hawaii is perfect for romance because not only is it incredibly beautiful, unique, and relaxing, but it offers all sort of activities for every couple. The Kauai lookout is famous for its panoramic views of lush greenery, cliffs and gorges, and the ocean. It's exactly the view you're thinking of when you think of Hawaii. Tunnels beach is widely considered the best beach on the island due to its views of the island's biggest mountain and incredibly clear water (oftentimes filled with colorful fish!), but can have rough surf during some seasons. Luckily, Kauai has no shortage of gorgeous sandy beaches.
Sightseeing itself can take weeks in Kauai. The Kilauea Lighthouse is often considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, and the overload of lookouts over Hawaii's gorgeous greenery and ocean are awe inspiring alone. Adventurous couples can scuba or snorkle, swim with sharks, take a helicopter tour around the island, dive off one of Hawaii's many cliffs, or tour the island in a Jeep Wrangler. The relaxation element is also strong on Kauai. The island offers countless spas (even outdoor ones) and relaxing retreats that have a heavy emphasis on nature. Every couple should visit Hawaii at least once, and Kauai is a destination that can't be missed for romance.
11 Paris, France (Best)
Oh, Paris. How could it not be included on this list? Known for almost too many years as the most romantic destination in the world, Paris continues to hold the #1 spot on that list. It's a perfect blend of city life, architecture, history, French food, luxurious settings, and wine. The French language itself is known as one of the most romantic Languages in the world, so you're even surrounded by love inspiring dialogue.
Everything in the city has a "royal" feel, from the hotel you're staying in to the Eiffel Tower itself. Art tours and theater are huge, and set the scene for a very cultured romantic getaway.
Despite the grand nature of the city, Paris is actually easy to explore on foot. During the day, you can sight-see the many historical areas, stroll through an outdoor market and grab a piece of French bread and cheese, pop into a whimsical shop, or invest in some extremely current fashion at one of Paris' many high end boutiques. Food is a huge attraction, and the waiters in restaurants will actually leave couples alone to enjoy time together unless signaled for. There's also a plethora of private photographers for hire if couples want to document their trip. In general, Paris will continue to be the most romantic destination in the world if not only for the incredibly romantic backdrop it provides.
10 Casablanca, Morocco (Worst)
Tourists are often attracted to Casablanca Morocco because of the movie, which portrays the city as incredibly romantic, only to find that it's one of the dirtiest, noisiest, most crowded and crime-ridden cities possible. Pollution, traffic, crime, and bad smells seem to be the highlights of many trips. Not only is Casablanca a terrible destination for any type of travel, but it's especially depressing when you're trying to have a trip centered around romance. Couples without prior knowledge may book a trip in an attempt to recreate the movie Casablanca, only to find that the city is in reality the complete opposite of what they thought it was.
While there are a few extremely wealthy areas, they're generally private. The masses are underpaid and overworked, leading to a survival mentality that generally doesn't equal romance. While the city does have plans in the works to revamp certain areas, currently you'll most likely experience an off-taste breakfast at a "5 star hotel," facing the ocean but across from a run-down Mcdonald's. Casablanca is especially known for its illegal activities related to nightlife, something that doesn't exactly scream romance. While things may look up in the future, at the moment, couples would be wise to book a romantic trip elsewhere.
9 Miami, Florida (Worst)
Miami is a city that's a ton of fun for groups and bachelor parties, but not really a top choice for romance. South Beach is overly crowded and touristy, with sky high prices, seedy clubs, and crime. The city has put in a lot of effort to clean up the area within the past 10 years, but it remains a destination more suited for fun than romance. The beach itself is beautiful (the light turquoise water is actually warmer than bathwater most of the year), but couples would be better off looking to a more peaceful tropical environment.
Outside of South Beach, Brickell and Wynwood are popular areas, but both come with similar problems. Brickell is more upscale (being the business district) but is again over the top expensive and doesn't offer a beach. It has more of a city feel. Most hotels are skyscrapers with rooftop pools, and many of the travelers are business people, making it not ideal for quiet romance. Wynwood is more eclectic and artsy (the Wynwood Walls are world famous) but comes with its own set of problems, which mainly include a huge amount of crime (you'll most likely turn a corner and be incredibly unsafe) and has few typically romanic areas.
8 Dubai (Worst)
Dubai is often thought of as upscale, expensive, and therefore romantic, but this couldn't be further from the truth. While crime isn't known to be a problem here, the strict laws of the United Arab Emirates are (and this could be a problem for couples from other parts of the World). Western tourists are often arrested or detained for harmless, minute public displays of affection. Even holding hands can be enough cause for an arrest. So while Dubai is a great destination if you're looking for luxury, any display of romance has to be kept 100% private within the confines of your hotel room (so no, this doesn't make for a romantic trip...).
If you are planning a vacation in Dubai, it's incredibly important to do your research and avoid anything that could cause arrest.
Tourists have been known to be imprisoned for life due to minor infractions, like possessing prescription drugs that are legal in the USA or Australia. Certain hand gestures are also illegal, and women have to be very careful about the way they dress and the clothing options they bring. All in all, Dubai is best suited as a business, solo, or group trip. Why take the risk when there are so many other romantic destinations in the world?
7 Saigon, Vietnam (Worst)
Ho Chi Minh City is the official name of the city, but is known to almost everyone as Saigon. While Saigon was romanticized in the theater (Miss Saigon), the reality is very different. The perks that draw people to the city are the many historical periods available for sightseeing, the food, the museums, and the coffeeshop culture. Unfortunately, there are a few key elements that make it a highly stressful destination. Firstly, the traffic is simply atrocious. It's not only awful to drive in, but crossing the road is practically impossible because there are almost no stoplights or crosswalks. Instead, those on foot have to run across and hope that they don't get hit (not very romantic...).
In addition, the food is generally thought to be bad and there is almost no customer service. Scams are overly present and you have to be very careful to be charged the correct amount at every single place you go to. If you're looking to visit Vietnam, there's many other destinations that offer more history, easier transportation, better hotels, and even prettier sightseeing. Vietnamese food is loved by many but doesn't rank highly in Saigon, so other locations will offer far better eats. Generally, Saigon is appealing because of its media portrayal, but the reality certainly won't meet the expectation of many tourists.
6 Cancún, Mexico (Worst)
Known for its over the top Spring Break, Cancun is far from romantic. Almost all the activities available center around crowds of people and late night parties. Even the most luxurious hotels cater to urbane tourists, and tend to be more coldly upscale than romantic. The pool/beach scene is insane and not at all relaxing. While Cancun may be great for couples who want more of a party atmosphere, it's not exactly a romantic paradise for those looking to relax.
The focuses of Cancun are the pool and the beach during the day and clubbing at night. Certainly a couple could plan activities like snorkling, scuba diving, chartering a boat, swimming with dolphins, etc., but the all-inclusive resorts tend to push louder, party related activities at the hotel instead of reveling in the scenery.
Some hotels cater to the quieter tourists, but with all of the resorts located so close to each other down the beach, it's hard to escape the loud vibe. The city of Cancun can be slightly dangerous and gives good cause to be very cautious venturing outside of the hotel. Prices can also be exorbitantly expensive due to the huge tourism market in Cancun. It's a great spot for a certain type of trip, but you should know what you're getting into before you book.
5 Cairo, Egypt (Worst)
It can be exciting to picture visiting the Pyramids in Egypt. After all, the point of most romantic vacations is to create amazing memories that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, many of the major sites in Egypt have been degraded by tourism and commercialism. Visiting the Pyramids is almost always overpriced and overcrowded. You can easily spend over $100 just to view the inside of a Pyramid for about 5 minutes, packed in between hundreds of other tourists. This unfortunately does not inspire historical awe.
Even the Sphinx has been tainted by commercialism. Just across the street, there's a string of fast food restaurants that significantly change the view. Crime is also a huge problem in Cairo. Far too many tourists get their money, jewelry, electronic devices, and even their luggage stolen. A "luxury" hotel is usually barely passable, and are often not secure. The city itself is large, messy, and crowded. While Cairo appears to be the trip of a lifetime, it's anything but. A couple could spend a large amount of money to travel across the world, only to be incredibly disappointed by everything about Cairo. With so many other romantic destinations surrounding Egypt, it would be a shame to waste a trip on Cairo in hopes of creating memories.
4 The Poconos, Pennsylvania (Worst)
What was once thought of as the "most romantic spot in the US" is not one of the most cheesy and overdone couples getaways you could possibly go on. Sure, the surrounding scenery and countryside can be beautiful, especially in the fall. But to go to The Poconos specifically for the "romance" that is supposedly present (instead of the intent of visiting the Pennsylvania countryside) would be a mistake.
What was once popular in the 1980s - oversized heart beds, romantic music playing, and an overload of flower petals - is now seen as cheesy and overdone for most couples.
Romantic vacations in the current day are usually lavish but somewhat understated. Romance isn't forced, it just happens in a beautiful setting. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that romance in The Poconos is definitely forced. Couples used to flock here for honeymoons, anniversaries, and even to repair damaged marriages, but instead of focusing on the natural beauty and advertising activities such as hikes, swimming, zip lining, and rock climbing, hotels and travel guides look to increase profit through oversold spa days, cheesy romantic dinners, and unnecessary room upgrades. If you have to pick one tourist trap in the U.S., The Poconos is definitely the place.
3 Machu Picchu, Peru (Worst)
While Machu Picchu is an incredible experience that you should do at least once in your life, choosing to head there for a romantic vacation may not be the best choice. Many of the tours are centered around the brutality of the Incas and cover more than a few disturbing facts that don't incite romance in most tourists. As you can see, these tours also include climbing up (and down) dangerously steep mountainsides that are known for injuring more than a few tourists. Your idyllic trip most likely doesn't include your parter falling hundreds of feet during a tour (at least we hope it doesn't).
Peru itself is not the most scenic country you could choose to visit for an ideal romantic vacation. Widely known for poverty and crime, Peru has now become a destination where you'd have to take lots of care to avoid danger. That isn't to say that Peru is not visitable, but it's most likely not the best choice for honeymooners. With so many other beautiful destinations located in South America, it's probably best to look elsewhere and avoid a country that brings danger and crime to your mind (and to the news stands).
2 Dublin, Ireland (Worst)
Ireland is a beautiful country with plenty of spots that can be considered romantic, but Dublin doesn't rank high on the list for a couples weekend. If you're looking for an overcrowded, badly laid out city to navigate, then Dublin is your spot, but otherwise it's best to choose a different destination. At its best, Dublin feels overcrowded and polluted. At its worst, it's completely impossible to cut through the crowds just to find a simple place to have dinner. You may think you're heading on a romantic vacation to Ireland, but a trip to Dublin will in fact be the exact opposite.
Dublin is notorious for a lack of things to do and sightseeing attractions. It lacks the quintessential beauty that you picture when you think of Ireland. Nevertheless, Dublin is ranked as one of the most expensive cities located in the UK. According to The Irish Times, few Irish natives feel any emotional connection to the city and would actually prefer to live in the more traditional Irish country. If you do want the romance that accompanies Ireland, cities like Galway, Waterford, and Tipperary are all far more scenic locations with a variety of activities for couples to do and generally a more romantic vibe.
1 Las Vegas, Nevada (Worst)
Las Vegas is broadly known as one of the worst destinations in the world for a week of romance. As you probably already know (has anyone seen The Hangover movies?), the main themes of the city include gambling, partying, and general overindulgence. It's true that many of the Las Vegas hotels are luxurious, but in an urban sense with a vibe that is anything but romantic and ideal for couples. Couples will be hard pressed to find activities that are focused around genuine bonding and spending some quality time together.
Gambling, late night Cirque du Soleil shows, and overpriced everything is basically what you will find in Las Vegas. It's an ideal spot for high rolling couples, but for the typical romantic getaway, it's most likely not what you had in mind. Rated one of the most expensive destinations in the world (most likely due to the amount of money spent on food, drink, gambling, hotels, etc.), you'd be better off looking elsewhere. Don't get us wrong, this isn't to say that Las Vegas isn't perfect for bachelor/bachelorette parties, Spring Break, and friend trips, though, just maybe not to celebrate your love and to reconnect with your partner.
References: Huffingtonpost.com, Theblondabroad.com, Theirishtimes.com, Tripadvisor.com, Nationalgeographic.com, Nytimes.com, Lonelyplanet.com, Reddit.com