Santorini, Venice or Hawaii as the ‘perfect romantic’ holiday or honeymoon destination? Think again! These places are quickly becoming too crowded, overly popular and featured way too frequently in travel magazines and television shows. There are so many amazing places out there to experience with your partner. For five months straight last year I travelled throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Oceania. We had 151 days of holidays together. Yes we visited Santorini, yes we saw the famous sunset and yes we were frustrated with the swarms of people not to mention the waiting time to catch buses, dine in restaurants and walk around at a reasonable pace. So I have come up with a comprehensive list of my top 12 romantic holiday destination picks that you may not have thought of.
1. Hvar Croatia
Hvar, fast becoming one of Europe’s most sought after and popular travel destinations, it’s not just a haven for the holidaying rich and famous. Multi-level super yachts and catamarans dock systematically alongside the marble stone footpaths of the beautiful port, each equipped with private helicopters and jetskis. This place is a hub for pure indulgence. From romantic dinners, drinking cocktails overlooking the Adriatic at sunset, beautiful accommodation, endless bars and swimming amongst cobalt blue waters that look onwards to grey rigid mountains, Hvar has it all.
2. Korcula, Croatia
Korula, once home to Maco Polo, is truly a hidden gem. Life here is a little more relaxed, reflected by the slow-paced lifestyle of the Croatian locals. Totally different to Hvar, yet Korcula too has an abundance of potential for romance. Explore the old town and towers of the 14thC, wander the side streets eating yummy gelati, view Maco Polo’s house, buy a souvenir, swim in the calm temperate waters, drink cocktails at the top of the fortress and watch the sun fade into the distant horizon. Croatia is surely a place not to be missed by modern lovers.
3. Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
Think picture perfect sunsets, think white sand and clear water, think yummy food, think tropical and postcard perfect. This is Nusa Lembongan. Rent motorbikes and cruise around this peaceful island, cross the iconic chancy yellow wooden bridge, check out Nusa Ciniginan, enjoy dining at waterfront restaurants, swimming in cliff top infinity pools overlooking reefed bottom surf breaks, snorkel in balmy waters, hand feed tropical fish, float over beautiful coloured coral, paddleboard out to floating pontoons, explore the seaweed farms, surf until sunset and immerse yourself in local Indonesian culture. Nusa Lembongan offers the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure or it can be as much of either as you and your partner desire.
4. Luuterbrunnen, Switzerland
Brace yourself for breath-taking scenery like no other. Lauterbrunnen paints a picture of the greenest grass imaginable, red poppies dotted across the landscape, seventy plus waterfalls cascading down cliff faces, snowy white mountains protruding over 4000m into blue cloudless skies not to forget the amazing aquamarine coloured water and white pebbly river beds. If there is such a place as Heaven, this is as close as you will encounter it from Earth. It’s truly spectacular. Stay in chalet style accommodation, camp or book a hotel. This is really a special place that offers a retreat from busy city life and is certainly a place to get back in touch with nature. Enjoy hiking, biking, cable car riding, viewing the top of Junfrau Mountain, exploring the famous setting of a James Bond movie or simply relax and spend time with your lover in one of the most incredible places on earth.
5.Cinque Terre, Italy
The Cinque Terre is located on the north-western coastline of Italy and is made up of five small village towns. Known as a famous wine region, for its magnificent coastal walking trails, cliff side accommodation and beautiful beaches, this is surely a place to spend quality time relaxing, dining and enjoying a fine drop of Italian wine. Spend a few days wandering through these little towns and discover the stunning coastlines that Italy has to offer.
6. San Sebastian, Spain
Tapas. Sangria. Paella. Spain is a food and wine lovers sanctuary. Walk the winding streets of the old town on a pilgrimage for food flavours that are bound to dazzle your palate. Bask in the sun on the beautiful beaches, ride bikes to explore the town, visit the Jesus statue at the top of Monte Urgull and enjoy the beautiful views over the city and beaches, play on the pontoons, surf the Spanish waves and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable. San Sebastian is definitely a favourite holiday hotspot for couples.
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
It may come as a surprise to you but Amsterdam isn’t all herbal cookies, brownies and red light specialities. In fact, Amsterdam is one of the most pretty and romantic European cities. Take a boat ride through the canals, observe the narrow crooked houses, enjoy a picnic in the park, sample a number of the museums including the Anne Frank house and be sure to try fries with mayonnaise. Walking, biking or riding the tram around this city is bound to make you fall in love with Amsterdam.
8. Budva, Montenegro
If there is one hidden gem on this list, Montenegro is unquestionably it. Known as a European celebrity holiday hot spot, Montenegro is ironically an inexpensive destination where value for money is definitely guaranteed. The most ascetically pleasing old town, port and astounding natural back drop, Montenegro has unbelievable natural beauty. Swimming in the Adriatic right next to Budva’s old town is just astonishing. On the white sandy shores, look out to the mountains and small islands or venture out to dive and snorkel off the jetty. Budva’s beaches are perfect for a coastal romantic holiday. Enjoy waterfront dining, watching the sunset or wandering the beachside market stalls. There are also great day trips on offer around Budva to see more of the amazing sites that Montenegro has to offer.
9. Manhattan, New York, USA
Who though that the city that never sleeps could possible make a romantic holiday destination? New York will certainly please travellers that like exploring, adventuring and sight-seeing. Spend even weeks exploring Manhattan and there will still be places to go to and more things to see. The New York Pass offers great savings and priority lines for those who hope to see all of the big New York attractions. It’s a good way to save money and skip the queue if you plan on staying for more than a few days.
10. Gilli T, Indonesia
Another great tropical holiday destination that is bound to be a winner, plus it’s close to Australia meaning no jet lag side-effects. Kick back and relax in the slow pace of life that the Gilli Islands have to offer. Enjoy an outdoor sunset movie, swing on the above water swings, feast on the freshest of fresh seafood and of course swim and snorkel in paradise. There’s no cars so bicycle, horse and cart or walking are the means to get around. Lombok is only a short ferry ride across the water and offers a whole extra realm of Indonesian life, culture and beautiful beaches.
11. Prague, Czech Republic
A romantic European city within itself, Prague has plentiful opportunities for couples to explore this old inexpensive medieval stomping ground. Spared by Hilter during the war, it’s easy to see why this charming town was ordered to be a place of salvage during the Nazi Regime. Cross the famous Charles Bridge, wander the beautiful Old Town and historical Square, spot the astronomical clock, view the John Lennon Peace Wall, pay tribute to the Jewish killed in World War Two at the Jewish Museum and cemetery, witness the beautiful glass articles on show and experience great value for money when dining out. If you enjoy clubbing, party all night and indulge in a beverage served in an ice-cube from the underground ice bar in Prague’s well renowned five storey club.
12. Biaritz, France
Without doubt one of the most beautiful coastlines in France and a summer holiday destination enjoyed mostly by the French. Biaritz has a number of surf beaches on offer and a world-class wave, Hossegor, only a half an hours drive north. Stroll the little shops, wander the night markets, indulge in the French cuisine and highly reputed wine or make the most of the daylight until around 10pm during the summer time.
Have you got a less popular holiday destination that you and your partner loved? I would love to hear about it.