June 15, 2024

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25 Best Vacation Spots for Couples

12 min read

One of the best parts of being in a relationship is having a built-in travel buddy — and enjoying uninterrupted one-on-one time as you visit new places together. A trip with your significant other, whether domestic or international, almost always guarantees you’ll learn something new about one another — perhaps your girlfriend gets a rush from cliff diving, or your boyfriend can make friends with anyone despite only being able to say one phrase in the local language.

When you’re deciding where you want to go, consider which components of a romantic getaway matter most to you. Are you up for sightseeing and doing outdoorsy activities together or do you lean more toward enjoying quiet moments in intimate settings with a view?

For instance, couples looking for a chance to fully unwind might opt for a beach vacation or spa weekend in a beautiful destination, while those searching for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure may want to book an African safari. Foodie couples might want to eat their way through Paris’s fine restaurants, while more active travelers may prefer to hit the slopes or go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Whatever your travel style, here are 25 of the best vacation spots for couples.

Bali, Indonesia

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If your version of romance is hiking through monkey forests and rolling rice paddies — or dancing to DJ sets and light shows until the wee hours of the morning — head to Bali, a beautiful Indonesian isle known for its vibrant nightlife scene. Stroll hand-in-hand on white-sanded shores in the southern part of the island or by the volcanic black sand beaches of its northern and eastern coasts. In addition to historic temples and shrines, Bali is also home to heaps of high-end resorts, yoga classes, spas, and Australian-influenced cafes worth checking out during your trip.

Santorini, Greece

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Visiting Santorini is like traveling to a cloud-like oasis that envelops you in an ethereal fantasy. In other words, there’s no surprise as to why it’s a popular choice among newlyweds looking for a picture-perfect honeymoon destination. The romance of the island pretty much sells itself; wandering the hilly, weathered streets, you’ll be surrounded by bright white walls and blue roofs, while in the evenings, you’ll have front-row seats to incredible sunsets. Once the sun is down, the island really lights up, with its houses, churches, and restaurants glowing like stars.

Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Aside from traveling to Tanzania to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, many make the trip to see the country’s incredible wildlife conservation sites and national parks. Going on a safari allows you and your significant other to share some unique firsts: the first time you see a lion, the first time you drive across the African plains, dotted with baobab trees, or the first time you meet someone from the local Indigenous community, to name a few.

You’ll want to visit Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive and intact volcanic caldera. Its bowl-like shape makes a natural border for the animals, boosting the chances safari goers will be able to spot all of the Big Five — lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo — during a tour. Serengeti National Park is another popular safari destination because of the area’s mass seasonal migrations of wildebeest and zebra, its large lion population, and the sheer diversity of habitats and animals you’ll find here.

Tulum, Mexico

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Two core pillars of many romantic vacations are relaxing in intimate settings and enjoying exciting experiences, and Tulum has plenty of chances for you to do both. Rotate between lounging out on tropical beaches, snorkeling at nearby Xel-Ha Park, swimming in a natural sinkhole (or cenote), and touring ancient Mayan ruins, many of which are still intact. After a perfect day in Tulum, packed with leisure, adventure, or both, the cherry on top will be grabbing a drink at Gitano and relishing in its funky jungle atmosphere.

Whistler, Canada

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A great way to bond as a couple is by getting active, and skiing on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains is great for both veteran and beginner skiers alike. Take on the mountains, offering numerous trails of varying intensity, enjoy an overhead view of the snow-capped trees from sprawling gondolas, break for lunch at the mid-mountain lodge, and top off your day with an après ski special at one of the slope-side bars. If one day of skiing leaves you with wobbly legs and your fill of downhill action, there’s a lot more going on at the base of the peaks. Whistler Village is a lively, pedestrian-only hub of bars, shops, and restaurants. The little winter wonderland is as charming as the inside of a snow globe, and what’s better for a romantic getaway than that?

Cappadocia, Turkey

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For a fairytale vacation, there’s nothing more fitting than a landscape dotted with “fairy chimneys,” the tall, thin cones topping the many rock sites of Cappadocia. Cave churches, underground cities, and homes carved into the rocks work to create a whimsical aura usually reserved for the fictional realm. Floating high above the rocky terrain in a brightly-designed hot air balloon, you’ll feel like characters wandering the pages of a Dr. Seuss book (or like astronauts discovering a civilization on the moon). Either way, the otherworldly experience will have you recapturing your sense of childlike wonder and awe together.

Paris, France

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Most clichés became clichés for a reason, and so is the case with Paris’ romantic reputation. Looking at pictures of couples in the City of Light, you can practically see the cartoon hearts in their eyes as they embrace in front of the Eiffel Tower. Paris and romance go together like Valentine’s Day and chocolate, anniversary dinners and candlelit bistros, marriage proposals and world-famous landmarks… all of which Paris is not-so-coincidentally known for having.

Hakone, Japan

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While not as romanticized for cherry-blossomed strolls as its neighbor, Kyoto, Hakone is a worthy day trip from Tokyo, offering an intimate escape from city travel in the most relaxing way possible: hot springs resorts. Aside from relaxing in onsen (hot springs) at a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn), you can take advantage of the natural sites, like Lake Ashi and the volcano Mount Fuji, or tour the fire-engine red Hakone Shrine and open-air sculpture museum. The many transportation options, ranging from boats and cable cars to rolling train routes through the mountains, also seem like mini adventures, making yours all the more memorable.

Northern Norway

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If you’ve ever considered stargazing a romantic experience, northern Norway really ups the ante with its naturally occuring cosmic activity. The region covers about one-third of the country and is considered one of the best places to see the northern lights in Norway. They usually make an appearance from autumn to mid-April, while from late April to mid-August, the sun is still visible late at night thanks to a natural phenomenon known as the “midnight sun.”

Feeling adventurous? Venture even farther north to Svalbard, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, to experience 24-hour daylight between April and August. On the opposite end of the light spectrum, Svalbard’s January and February months have “polar nights,” when night lasts for around 24 hours, making the aurora borealis particularly visible.

If you do decide to take this kind of trip together, be warned: Looking up at the stars in your own backyard might not be quite as impressive anymore.

Porto, Portugal

Paula Galindo Valle / Travel + Leisure


Porto is a waterfront merchant city that seemingly transports visitors to an earlier time with its cobblestoned streets, baroque churches, and prevalence of port factories and family-owned businesses. Nearby in the Duoro Valley, you can visit vineyards where wine has been produced for more than 2,000 years, sample it, and participate in harvesting practices such as stomping on the grapes. It’s the perfect part of Portugal to spend a day or two, if not longer. In a city infused with the culture of wine making and drinking, you and your significant other can get tipsy on the energy alone.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Known for its natural and architectural beauty, Italy’s Amalfi Coast is a prime choice for a romantic Mediterranean getaway. Travelers can bask in the natural scenery, hike through dreamy seaside villages with picturesque views, and visit famous sites such as the Grotta dello Smeraldo (the “Emerald Grotto”), as well as medieval churches, gardens, and museums. When you need some quiet time for just the two of you, there are a number of secluded hotels offering oceanfront views and luxurious amenities.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

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In Argentina’s bustling capital, you and your significant other will never run out of activities to try, with lots of live entertainment and a multitude of restaurants and bars. For a day-to-night date, La Boca is a vibrant neighborhood known for Tango dancing and El Caminito, a pedestrian walkway lined with houses and shops painted in bright primary colors — strolling through this vibrant neighborhood is one of our favorite things to do in Buenos Aires.

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

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At the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, these 74 islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia, will have you sailing into uncharted relationship territory with unbelievable sites to discover together. Whitehaven Beach is one of the most popular white-sand beaches in the country — despite it being a tourist hotspot, you’ve got 4.3 miles to play with, making it easy to stretch out and find your own space.

In addition to enjoying blissful beach days, you can embark on some truly unforgettable and romantic excursions while visiting the islands, such as flying over Heart Reef in a helicopter, staying aboard a boat for a few days, or snorkeling at the legendary Great Barrier Reef.

South Caicos, Turks and Caicos

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While Turks and Caicos is certainly not a new destination for romantic vacations, most visitors flock to Providenciales, the first major stopping point on the tropical archipelago.

Far less popular (and far more secluded) are the pristine beaches of South Caicos, just a short, scenic connecting flight away. If you’re looking for something truly special — perhaps to celebrate an anniversary or another special occasion — Sailrock Resort is a luxury property nestled within natural brush along white-sand shores that lead into crystal-clear water. You’ll experience the type of picturesque serenity you thought was only accessible to movie stars, yet there the two of you will be, sipping colorful cocktails together on a hammock at the beach’s edge, with nothing but the open, beautiful horizon spanning ahead of you.

Barbados

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No matter how active you decide to be, Barbados is one of the best vacation spots for couples. The island’s west coast is home to several high-end resorts with various offerings to make your Caribbean escape extra memorable. Arrange some classic island excursions, such as snorkeling, private boat trips with companies such as Seaduced, or visits to local attractions like the spectacular Hunte’s Gardens and Rihanna’s childhood home.

For a dose of local cuisine and culture, spend an upbeat Friday night at Oistins fish fry or sample some of the island’s best rums on a tour of the Mount Gay rum distillery. You could also kick back and make relaxation your number-one priority by simply enjoying the beautiful beaches and temperate water. For a dinner you won’t soon forget, head to The Cliff, which overlooks the water in a sultry, fire-adorned setting.

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

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For the ultimate romantic vacation, charter a boat and sail along the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. If you start your journey in Dubrovnik and end up in Split, you’ll get a comprehensive look at the country, from nautical exploration to sightseeing in both small seaport towns and big cities. With a stopover in a new place every night, the transit is part of the fun, rather than merely a means to get from point A to point B.

Travelers mainly book Turkish gulets (or small yachts) with separate quarters for the crew. Companies like Gulet Yacht Adriatic Holiday offer packages that include the services of a captain, chef, and one or two crew members to help curate not just your route, but everything else you do while you’re on the water or shore. While the busy season is typically from June through early September, trips also set out in October and make a great option if you want a bit more quiet and privacy on the Adriatic Sea.

Cotswolds, England

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Step into a romantic period piece on a vacation in the Cotswolds, located in the picturesque English countryside. The rolling hills and fields are dotted with the most quaint towns you’ll ever find — popular stops include Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Castle Combe. Grab a pint in a storied pub or tea in a cute cafe after spending the day exploring town after adorable town.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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What could be more romantic than snuggling up by the fire after a day out in the snow? In Jackson Hole, you can enjoy winter sports in a stunning setting just a short distance from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Plus, you can book a stay at a luxurious property like Amangani or the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole for a truly romantic trip — or the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort if you’re both skiing or snowboarding enthusiasts.

Charleston, South Carolina

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Charleston is often a favorite city among Travel + Leisure readers, and once you visit, it’s easy to see why. Dine at delicious restaurants, take a sunset cruise in the harbor (where you may even spot a dolphin or two), and visit one of the nearby beaches. For romantic accommodations, we recommend staying outside the city on Kiawah Island, a little under an hour’s drive away, where you’ll find The Sanctuary, a beachfront luxury hotel.

Tucson, Scottsdale, and Sedona, Arizona

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Looking for a mindful way to connect with your partner? Consider booking a trip to a wellness resort with a spa and classes to deepen your relationship. Miraval Arizona, located in Tucson, has an all-inclusive experience that throws in fitness classes, health and wellness lectures, and spa treatments, among other amenities. The Civana Wellness Resort & Spa near Scottsdale offers a serene escape amid the Sonoran Desert, while Sedona, with its red rocks and mysterious vortexes, is another popular destination among wellness travelers.

Kauai, Hawaii

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Find paradise together on a trip to Kauai, Hawaii’s Garden Isle. You’ll find the best of both worlds, with a beautiful mix of lush jungle landscapes and beautiful beaches. Spend your days alternating between lounging or strolling hand-and-hand along the shores and exploring its natural wonders by foot, boat, or helicopter. Popular romantic resort options include Timbers Kauai in Lihue and Koʻa Kea Hotel & Resort in Poipu Beach.

Napa Valley, California

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A romantic jaunt to California’s wine country might be the perfect getaway for couples looking for delicious vino, beautiful views, and world-class dining. Spend a few days touring vineyards together and tasting different varietals while gazing out at the rolling, vine-covered hills. You can also opt for a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train for more scenic views. Retire to one of the many beautiful luxury resorts in the area, such as the Auberge du Soleil, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, or Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection.

Sea Island, Georgia

Courtesy of The Cloister at Sea Island

This Georgia barrier island resort offers secluded, five-star luxury across several styles of accommodations, including The Cloister, located in the heart of the resort, as well as private cottages. In addition to the beach, guests can golf, lounge by the pools, enjoy spa treatments, and participate in other activities like tennis and horseback riding.

New York City

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For some couples, taking on a major metropolis is just as romantic as spending a week by the beach. And when it comes to big city destinations in the United States, it’s hard to beat New York City. Every night is date night on vacation, so go to dinner and take in a Broadway show, enjoy extended evening hours at some of the world’s best museums, visit acclaimed restaurants and cocktail bars, and stroll through Central Park to soak in the sights and sounds of the Big Apple.

Palm Springs, California

Mariah Tyler

Escape to the desert with a trip to Palm Springs, surrounded by picturesque mountains and lined with palm trees. Plan your visit in the spring, fall, or winter to avoid the intense summer heat, and admire mid-century modern architecture as you hit the links or head to the spa. The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage is a luxe pick for a pool with a view, while the Parker Palm Springs is another trendy choice.

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