There are two things every couples’ vacation should have: romance and leisure. You travel with your partner ultimately to become closer, through seeing foreign places, meeting different people, and of course, a candlelit dinner or two over local cuisine.
It’s said that couples who are seriously committed to each other should travel to test their compatibility—stuck together in a new place where you might not speak the local language, spending a week or more in the company of just one person—it's enough to drive the closest couples crazy.
Those who do take couples’ vacations tend to play it safe and adhere to the classic destinations that have been cemented in our collective consciousness as “romantic” places. They take a cruise through the Caribbean or stay in a charming B&B in Paris, places you’d expect to be full of love by default. But are you really getting the full travel experience in these places or are you just trying to fit the mold? You know you’d discreetly roll your eyes at the couple who just returned from Venice and won’t stop raving about their sunset gondola rides.
Next time you and your significant other are planning a lovers’ getaway, skip these prepackaged vacations and try somewhere that will really help grow your relationship.
25 Hawaii- Leis and clichés
The Hawaiian Islands have the perfect setup for couples, and almost everything is traditionally or naturally rooted. Imagine relaxing on the beach with your partner (wearing leis, of course) surrounded by tiki torches and listening to the steady lapping of the waves and the strum of a ukulele in the distance. Sounds like the dream, right?
If this picture forms the basis of your Hawaiian vacation, you’re missing out on all the islands have to offer—from cliff diving to mountain climbing, and waterfall hiking to snorkeling. If Hawaii is where you’re bringing your partner next, take a break from the beach every now and then.
24 Santorini- Shoulder to shoulder sunsets
It's true that if you holiday in Santorini you and your partner will be guided to your hotel by a local while you sit atop donkeys, taking in all the stark white buildings and rocky Mediterranean land. You might feel like a Greek god or goddess, but if you look closely, the glamour fades quickly.
You’ll see more tourists than locals on Santorini, and the man leading you through the narrow streets is probably mumbling in Greek because he doesn’t want foreigners on his donkey. The gem of the Greek Isles has become overrun with tourists, and for a more authentic holiday, the Greek mainland is home to as many marble beaches and stone temples as the isles.
23 Bali- Not The Tropical Paradise You're Expecting
With a little Internet research, anyone searching for the ideal exotic getaway on a tight budget probably gets directed towards Bali. Indonesia’s tourism hub welcomes millions of foreigners each year, all of them able to have a luxurious vacation with very little cash. Pairs can indulge in massages and soak in the ancient Hindu culture for a tiny amount of money.
But Bali isn’t paradise, and faces urban problems like overcrowding and pollution. You’ll spend half your holiday trying to shake the solicitors, which alone is enough to ruin the mood.
22 Las Vegas- Ditch Your Partner And Head To Vegas With Your Pals
Don't go to Las Vegas with the intention of getting a drive through wedding license unless that’s the plan you’ve thoroughly discussed with your partner.
The Nevada Records Bureau reports that Vegas hosts 10,000 weddings a month (we don’t have data on how many of those marriages have lasted).
Sin City might not be the best place to bring your sweetheart, even if it’s with the best intentions and you only plan to see the Elvis impersonators. Maybe plan the elopement somewhere else and leave Las Vegas for the bachelor and bachelorette parties.
21 Miami Beach- You'll Be Disappointed If You Come Here For The Beach
Perhaps it’s the idea of a Miami vacation that entices people—lounging beside the rooftop pool, a tiny umbrella bobbing in the drink in your hand. Unfortunately, this is rarely the reality.
Miami Beach might be great for restaurants and nightlife, but daytime might be a little quiet. The ocean is warm and pleasant during summer, but expect murky water and cold waves on the off-season.
For those who do plan on visiting Miami, use it as your gateway to the Everglades and lounge around the city in the evenings.
20 Cancun- All Around Overrated
A Cancun-style vacation is what most people expect when they think of travelling to Mexico, and the country’s got its great resort towns, Cancun is a little exhausted. Whether you’re travelling for the classic spring break or as part of a committed relationship, everything has been seen and done in this beach town.
Why not try one of Mexico’s other resort areas, like the hidden town of Tulum? It’s perfect for couples of all ages, whether you want to lie on the beach or explore Mayan ruins, and the best part is that you won’t see any of the crowds or wild college students.
19 Iceland's Blue Lagoon- You'll Fall In Love Beyond The Lagoon
A spa vacation might be exactly what you and your lover need, and the most romantic might be Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, where you’ll soak in natural hot springs by day and watch the Northern Lights at night.
Many couples heading to Iceland make their main destination the Blue Lagoon, and as one of Iceland’s biggest attractions, it’s easy to see why. But this little island has so many other romantic activities that you might bond over and come home with a story to tell. Take your significant other riding on native Icelandic ponies, or take a dip in the hot river Reykjadalur.
18 Disneyland- No Fairy Tale Romances Here
If you’ve ever been to Disneyland, you know it’s not only for kids. Among the winding lines for rides and princess meet and greets you’ll find endless couples (not to mention all the proposals you’ll unwillingly witness). Sure, The Happiest Place on Earth can make for a vacation filled with magic, and plenty of activities made for adults.
Australian travel website, Traveller, ranks Disneyland among the worst romantic getaways, and if you consider the shortcomings of the popular theme park, you’ll plan your vacation outside the realm of Disney.
Aside from waiting hours in the line for a single ride, you and your love will be constantly surrounded by screaming children.
17 Tuscany- On Every Couple's Bucket List
The rolling hills and sun-kissed villages of Tuscany have seen every type of couple—the newly paired, the proposals, the retirees, that the region is almost synonymous with romance. Visitors hardly ever choose Tuscany for their family vacation, especially with its reputation.
But forget the wine tours and spa retreats, and you’ve got a region rich with history and art, suited to college students, solo travellers, and even families. There aren’t many Italian cities that are unknown to those in search of love, but if you fancy trying an underrated, yet equally beautiful Italian city, book your holiday for Siena, a medieval time capsule with everything a couple could ask for.
16 Paris- Everyone's there for the romance, which ruins the romance
It's impossible to not find Paris romantic, especially during an evening walk along the Seine with your partner. Paris has long been known as the city of love, and has inspired poets and artists from all around the world for hundreds of years.
Because Paris is the most romantic place on earth, couples flock to the city, in summer to the gardens and through winter for Christmas. You’re almost forced into Parisian romance, whether you’re part of a couple or a solo traveller. To experience all of France’s beauty, try one of its many villages outside the capital.
15 Alaska- Next Time Skip The Cruise
Alaska is one of the most underrated U.S. states, and should be attracting double its yearly tourists (which was at 1.96 million in 2013, a figure released by the Alaska Division of Economic Development). A huge number of those are couples, as Alaska gains popularity as a honeymoon and destination wedding hotspot.
Many only experience Alaska from the safety and comfort of a cruise ship, and while this is a great way to see the scenery, the tiny port towns ships stop at only offer a small taste of all the natural beauty Alaska has to offer.
14 The Bahamas- Beautiful, Yet Lacking In Creativity
The Bahamas are such a common vacation destination that almost every couple you know has been to the island chain. Their white sand beaches and tropical climate are inviting for couples and families, whether on a cruise or at a resort.
The downside is that the Bahamas have been so developed by resorts and massive hotels that you’ll be hard pressed to find anything authentic about your trip, unless drinking out of a coconut will do it for you. The good part is that most resorts will offer all-inclusive packages, so you won’t have to worry about anything on arrival.
13 Napa Valley- Wine Country Vacations Are Just Tailored For cookie-cutter Couples
California is home to many vacation stops, all along its rolling coast and stunning national parks, but none is more desirable for lovers than Napa Valley. Its wineries, complete with Gothic revival castles, are enough to make even the newest couples fall head over heels. However, unless you’re a pair of wine connoisseurs by profession, you probably don’t need to spend your entire vacation on the vineyard.
If you stay nearby, you still have all the access to the country, while getting another taste of California. San Francisco is only a two-hour drive from Napa, and you could easily spend time in both on your next vacation.
12 Rio de Janeiro- At Least Skip Carnival
Rio de Janeiro is the tourism capital of Brazil, but it also happens to be the biggest party city in South America. Rio is rich in culture and history, while offering couples a chance to relax after exploring the city and the surrounding rainforest—if you can get away from the all the action in the Copacabana neighbourhood (which is coincidentally where most tourists go).
If you’re thinking of taking your partner to Rio during Carnival, plan for little romance as the city goes into full-on party mode, and as lovely as the colourful costumes and parade floats may seem, you won’t have downtime to yourselves.
11 Punta Cana- This Resort Town Has Performed Its Fair Share Of Weddings
The Dominican Republic wouldn’t be the go-to for a vacation for many travellers, until you consider the figures for the Punta Cana area. Travel Weekly reported that 6.18 million international visitors travelled to the D.R. in 2017, a record number.
Most tourists head to the resort area Punta Cana, known for its clear beaches and all-inclusive resorts. Many couples to the area book beach weddings, and it’s not uncommon to see more than one per day along the long stretches of sand.
Tourism to the D.R. is expected to surge in the coming years, so if you’re planning your beach wedding here, do it before it’s entirely washed-out.
10 South Africa- Where There's More To Do Than A Safari Tour
South African holidays are both extremely underrated and overrated simultaneously. There are dozens of itineraries written out exclusively for couples, ranging from hunting retreats to food tours, but of course, being Africa, the most popular choices are safaris.
Vacationers have endless options for safaris, based on which national park is near, or the types of animals you want to see. Safaris are a staple activity for South African vacations, and have become such a symbol that you’re almost expected to partake.
That said, South Africa is an incredible country, and if you manage to find time after your safari, you may check out Johannesburg or Cape Town.
9 Fiji- Go For The Adventure, Skip The Courtship
Fiji is an island chain in the South Pacific of some 300 islands where everyone from the most laid-back of tourists to the adventure-seekers can find something suitable. It’s got gorgeous natural landscape combined with luxurious resorts and charming towns—seems like the dream vacation, right?
Except that everything has been done a million times over by couples every week.
The islanders have seen every type of couple who all do everything alike, from booking the same snorkeling excursion to carrying the same brand of luggage.
Try going to Fiji when you’re not planning on booking a preplanned itinerary.
8 New York City- Forget NYC At Christmas
New York City isn’t usually the first place you’d think to bring your significant other to woo them—until the holidays come around. There’s nothing like the Big Apple at Christmas, and the city really does know how to celebrate. With its powdery snow and massive tree, New York makes you want to get cosy with someone.
Unfortunately, the reality isn’t what all the photos make it out to be. The snow becomes dirty and there are massive crowds at the outdoor skating rink that the holiday spirit fades quickly, and you might want to try for your New Year’s kiss somewhere else.
7 Aruba- Just Another Beach Destination
Like the Bahamas, Aruba is a well-developed Caribbean island that owes much of its economy to tourists—namely young travellers in search of the next party. Still, many fly into Aruba for honeymoons, weddings, and vow renewals, and the island provides couples a beautiful blue backdrop for their photos, but if you’re in search of a quiet romantic getaway, you might try elsewhere.
Many honeymooners go straight into party mode, and there’s plenty to accommodate that in Aruba. You’ll fit right in with the spring breakers and summer backpackers, especially if you’re young. But couples who value privacy might not find the greatest quality here.
6 Florida Keys- If You Find Crowded Beaches Romantic
At first, the Florida Keys seem like an ideal escape—fresh seafood, endless islands to choose from, and a laid-back Caribbean attitude without having to leave the United States. The Keys are somewhat more eccentric than the rest of the state, playing host to a more youthful vibe with a number of hip activities like paddle boarding, yoga classes, and seaplane tours.
While you’ll find fewer tourists at the southern tip of Florida, it’s recently become a favoured destination for the adventurous, yet relaxed couples, all of whom will try to compete with you for the title of Florida’s best vacationers.