Sometimes the ultimate test of a relationship is how well you travel together. More often than not, the best way to really connect with someone is when you’re both out of your element.
“Taking a break from the daily routine, the hustle, and the kids is healthy to reconnect. Sleep in and take time to enjoy pure and simple activities with each other,” says Lillian Aviles, director of business development for luxury travel company Journey Mexico. “Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day that romance gets pushed to the side. Turn off your phone and take a look at the beauty that surrounds you.”
From international trips for couples to romantic vacations on a budget, these are 19 top romantic vacations for reconnecting with your partner and discovering new things about the world and each other.
Top Vacation Destinations for Storybook Romance
Storybook charm permeates Vienna from Schönbrunn Palace (the private residence of the imperial family) to the Spanish Riding School, where Lipizzan horses have been trained for more than 450 years. Walk the routes Mozart walked and marvel at the twinkling lights that bedeck the plazas around the holidays.
Stay at: Hotel Bristol (from $219/night)
“Hotel Bristol has stately, ornate rooms and a beautiful view of the opera house that makes you feel like you’re on a grand tour in the 19th century,” says Alexandra R. “The city is filled with old-world charm, and staying in a hotel that similarly reflects this helps keep you in the fairytale moment even after a long day (or night) of roaming the streets.”
Paris is called the City of Love for a reason. You won’t find a more romantic or iconic city for couples anywhere else in the world. Elegant architecture, romantic side streets, and sidewalk cafes barely scratch the surface of what Paris has to offer couples. Cap it all off with a kiss under the glittering Eiffel Tower by night, and you’ll soon see why Paris is always a good idea.
Stay at: Le Roch Hotel & Spa (from $385/night)
The boutique city hotel boasts a swanky address in Paris, in the 1st Arrondissement, between Place Vendôme and Place de l’Opéra. Its 37 rooms overlook Rue Saint-Roch, a charming side street dotted with iconic wrought-iron balconies.
3. Positano, Italy
“The romance in Positano is inherent,” says Alexia G. “It actually seems like a form of currency that keeps this bustling, coastal beach town alive with energy.”
Explore Italy’s idyllic summer coast for a new kind of storybook romance. Sunbathe and sip Peronis, or explore the local vendors that pop up through the town’s narrow corridors. Hire a private car service to drive down the Amalfi Coast for a day, and spend the entire time stopping in at restaurants and landmarks, such as Ravello, the highest point in Amalfi.
Stay at: Le Sirenuse (from $868/night)
Top Vacation Destinations for Couples Seeking Adventure
Iceland is an adventure-lovers’ paradise, full of white-water rafting, hiking, scenic drives, kayaking, snowmobiling on a glacier, and so much more. Each moment can be filled with adrenaline-pumping activities, but it would be a shame to miss the relaxing, meditative moments in Iceland’s many hot springs—which are often the perfect end to a day spent chasing thrills.
Stay at: Lambhús (from $87/night)
“Lambhús offers quaint little cabins in the countryside of southeast Iceland. It’s like you have your own tiny house, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and Icelandic horses,” says Joni S. “And you can get up early, whip up your own breakfast, and watch the sunrise before taking a kayaking adventure on a glacial lake filled with icebergs.”
5. Phuket, Thailand
“Thailand encompasses so many different categories and bottles them into one country. Once you’re on those incredibly turquoise-blue islands, surround by massive mountain rocks, it’s complete romance and adventure,” says Cessie C.
From elephant riding to hiking to the Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi to exploring Maya Bay (the famous spot where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach), the opportunities for adventure in Phuket are seemingly endless.
Stay at: Mandarava Resort (from $102/night)
Top Vacation Destinations for Foodie Couples
6. Napa Valley, California
Napa is an absolute must for foodie couples—especially those who appreciate good wine. The happy marriage between the two (food and wine, not you two lovebirds) is prevalent all throughout this region. Hire a private car or hop Ubers to check out some of the best off-the-radar wineries, including Artesa, Sterling, and Tank Garage. If you’re considering Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry—one of the country’s best restaurants—just do it. You only live once.
Stay at: Napa River Inn (from $168/night)
“Staying near the Napa Riverwalk means you can enjoy some of the city’s best dining, including La Toque and Morimoto,” says Alexia. “Make sure to stop by the Oxbow Public Market for some of the best casual dining in the region as well.”
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
NOLA has an intoxicating atmosphere that just makes you want to live life, bite by bite. Start with a sinfully good breakfast at the Cake Cafe. Stop in at Coop’s Place for an ice cold beverage and marinated crab claws. A visit to Erin Rose for a frozen Irish coffee and a poboy from Killer Poboys helps to round out this food tour on foot. For dinner, Pêche is a seafood favorite; you can’t go wrong with anything from the raw bar, and the whole grilled fish is an Instagram-worthy entree. Other classic recommendations (that don’t swing too touristy) include Cochon Butcher, Herbsaint, the Carousel Bar, Coquette, Commander’s Palace, and Bacchanal.
Stay at: Hilton New Orleans, St. Charles Avenue (from $114/night)
“We love staying here as it’s within walking distance to the French Quarter, but not so close that you’re on top of all the noise and chaos,” says Becca D. “It’s so centrally located, so you can walk off all the calories you’re bound to inhale.”
8. Mérida, Mexico
When people think of authentic Mexican cuisine, Yucatán is often overlooked. But the state, with Mérida as its capital, is teeming with a wide and unique offering of delights. Local specialties include pan de cazón (layers of tortilla with a tomato, onion, and Serrano chili sauce filled with local white fish), poc chuc (grilled pork marinated in sour orange), and sopa de lima (shredded chicken and strips of tortilla with a sweet and tangy lime broth).
Stay at: Rosas & Xocolate (from $238/night)
“Its rich colors, outdoor showers, and chic rooftop terrace—great for a cocktail—make for a wonderful choice for a younger, sexy, and trendier experience,” says Lillian A.
Top Vacation Destinations for Beach and Chill Couples
9. St. Lucia
St. Lucia is fairly small in comparison to other Caribbean islands, but it has something for everyone. Its beaches are stunning for lounging, offering views of the iconic Pitons. Sample fresh cocoa beans at a plantation, sip local rum, or simply sit back and relax. If couples should want a little action, the botanical gardens have hot springs and waterfalls as well as top sites for snorkeling.
Stay at: Anse Chastanet Resort (from $300/night)
“This resort, the sister property to world-famous Jade Mountain, is overall a bit quieter, with more dramatic cliffside rooms. I love this property for the views, and the staff’s attention to detail,” says Daniela H.
10. The Maldives
Couples know that they will spend a bit more on a splurge trip like the Maldives, but the memories are simply priceless. There is a world-class coral reef, so be sure to grab snorkel gear and spend time exploring the reef. Simply stunning ways to spend the day with your boo include stand-up paddleboarding or a sunset cruise on a dhoni, a traditional boat used in the Maldives to see the dolphins making their daily migrations.
Stay at: Six Senses Laamu (from $800/night)
“This is the perfect resort because you can spend all day doing nothing but luxuriating on their picture-perfect beaches or by their gorgeous pools, or just relax at your own luxury villa,” says Becca.
11. Rosemary Beach, Florida
The beach towns, restaurants, and laid-back living will make you feel as though you’ve stopped into a Ralph Lauren summer collection ad—and you don’t need a passport or a mega time commitment to do so. Pro tip: The best way to explore Rosemary Beach and the surrounding beaches is by bike.
Stay at: The Pearl Hotel (from $510/night)
“Surrounded by Spanish architecture and thriving locally driven restaurants, you can rent a bicycle and bike along 30A highway, where you’ll stop along various picturesque beach towns,” says Alexia.
Top Vacation Destinations for Nature-Loving Couples
Belize is a visually stunning country that’s packed with nature activities. It is covered in sinkholes and boasts the world’s second largest barrier reef—as well as the famous Blue Hole diving paradise.
Stay at: Hamanasi (from $170/night)
“This resort is an amazing way to experience unique activities in the jungle and on the water,” says Elena O. “They offer a wide variety of nature adventures—from cave tubing and waterfall rappelling to diving the Blue Hole—that will please any nature lover.”
13. Lost Coast, California
The 25-mile trek that is the Lost Coast is perfect for nature lovers, as this is as close to roughing it as it gets. The entire trail is a stretch of California coastline nearly 300 miles north of San Francisco; it’s so rugged, roads have not yet been able to conquer it. If it can be done in nature, you can do it on the Lost Coast, from hiking to backpacking, fly-fishing, biking, walking, or even just sitting outside together sipping a California craft brew.
Stay at: Various Campsites
“There are no designated campsites, mostly lightly suggested areas in which to pitch a tent,” says Mary Kate B. “The trail is astonishingly beautiful. You will pass through meadows, tide zones, and forests. If you’re looking for a challenging and secluded getaway for even the most experienced backpackers, this is it.”
In Alaska, nature is all around you, no matter where you go. Rent a car and drive the state, but be sure to take your time and research before you go so you can see the things that are important to you as a couple. Hiking is number one for nature lovers, especially those hikes that are surrounded by water and waterfalls.
Stay at: The Ma Johnson’s Hotel (from $110/night)
“One of our favorite memories was in a small town called McCarthy. We drove 60 miles of dirt road to get there. The only hotel in town is called Ma Johnson’s. You are in the middle of nowhere with beautiful mountains surrounding you,” says Steph M.
Top Vacation Resorts for Couples to Get Busy
True, you can get down with your partner anywhere—we don’t need to tell you that. But if you’re looking for something a bit more on-the-nose, try one of these resorts specifically meant for sexy time. Get it, girl.
15. Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica (from $352/night)
With a name like Hedonism, this resort leaves little to the imagination. The experience in person is no different. Hedonism is a nudist resort designed for couples who live “The Lifestyle”—a not-so-secret code for people who enjoy swinging. But don’t let that scare you off. It’s actually an incredibly curated, fun, provocative, safe, and clean experience—at a luxury all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, to boot.
Hedonism II hosts sexy theme nights, erotic-inspired shows, pool parties, and more. But the culmination of any visit to Hedonism is a trip to the Romping Shop Playroom, where couples (and singles) are invited to explore whatever comes naturally to them. From voyeurism and monogamous fun to swapping and sharing, anything goes in the Playroom— provided you ask permission first.
But rest assured, if you don’t feel comfortable going quite that far, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy. Only one half of the resort is nudist, and clothing is required in all dining areas and the gym. And sex is not a requirement; it’s simply easily accessible for those who want to explore.
16. Breathless Riviera Cancun (from $303/night)
“Breathless is a high-end all-inclusive resort with a sexy twist, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint, nor does it cross the line for those who might not be so comfortable with some of the clothing-optional hotels out there,” says Elena. “Everything from the room design to colors and music to the topless pools and late night parties makes you feel excited and open to possibilities.”
Breathless puts on nightly themed shows that get your mind racing about possibilities. One of the pools is always topless optional and holds foam parties with dancers every afternoon. And should you need time away from the resort, Riviera Maya is packed with activities, including snorkeling cenotes, visiting local parks, zip lining, and exploring local markets.
Top Vacation Destinations for Couples on a Budget
“Montenegro is an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful country that has gone largely undiscovered,” says Elena. “Food entrees run about 3 to 4 euros, beer is 2 euros, and an average, no-frills hotels price is 40 euros a night. Still, you’re experiencing the same type of beauty as you would in Italy but for half the price.”
Some wonderful ways to experience Montenegro on a budget are to taste the local food, hike (which is always free), or raft down the Tara River.
Stay at: Hotel Conte (from $115/night)
Hawaii might not have the reputation of being a destination for romantic vacations on a budget, but through a few hacks, couples can experience the magic of the islands without breaking the bank. Snorkeling and hiking are two Hawaii musts that are always free. Visit Two Steps on the Big Island, or Kee Beach on Kauai, which has a beautiful, free hiking trail that is about two hours each way. The Road to Hana on Maui is also packed with hidden pools and waterfalls.
Stay at: An Airbnb!
“Even cheap hotels in Hawaii are not cheap, so why not get an experience out of your stay?” asks Noa H. “One Airbnb was almost like a treehouse in the middle of the jungle. Another was a converted garage. The family that lived in the main house caught a 28-pound fish one day and invited us and the entire neighborhood for a cookout. That doesn’t happen in hotels.”
19. Medellín, Colombia
Medellín is doing a wonderful job showcasing its transformation from cartel stronghold to travelers’ paradise. Though it doesn’t shy away from shedding light on its once treacherous past, the city is focusing on its urban socialism, art, and growing culinary scene.
“In a city that is now just getting used to being in the travel spotlight and experiencing a sudden rush of tourism, Medellín still proves to be extremely affordable,” says Prin B. “The local fare is cheap, with stands offering delicious arepas, empanadas, and other goods at every corner.”
Take the Inside Medellín Tour of Comuna 13. The free tour is conducted by locals who grew up in Comuna 13—one of the most violent neighborhoods in the ’90s and early 2000s. Today it is filled with street art and the famed Escaleras Electricas. Then take a cable car for just $1 to take in panoramic views from Santo Domingo and Parque Arví.
Stay at: The Charlee Hotel (from $156/night)
Trendy luxury and boutique style come together at The Charlee Hotel, which sits across from Medellín’s Lleras Park. The hotel has its own rooftop swimming pool and a retro style that is whimsical and fun. A full tropical breakfast is served each morning, and at night couples can dine on homemade Italian cuisine.