15 Up and Coming Romantic Holiday Destinations for Wanderlovers
If travelling is your second favourite activity to share together, you know that choosing the right place is vital. Romantic holiday destinations have to have the perfect balance between scenery, great food and drink and plenty of things to see and do, but they also need to have that special something, atmosphere, let’s call it.
And while you can play it safe with the obvious names such as Venice, Paris of New York (ice-skating in Central Park, anyone?), or go to the other extreme and choose the most obscure island in the Pacific or a charming little village in the middle of nowhereland, the list below offers you the best of both worlds: places that have character and authenticity yet are easy to reach and have a wide array of alternatives for tourists to enjoy.
A city with 3,000 years of history to discover, where Roman era architecture frames farmers markets, boutiques and outdoors concerts. It is quite an affordable alternative compare to other European destination with similar features, perhaps because it is still relative out of the radar.
The city is a great base to visit the whole Dalmatia region, filled with charming towns and beaches. And if you both enjoy binge-watching Game of Thrones, you can take a tour to several filming locations from Zadar.
Don’t miss: a visit to the Sea Organ, a large experimental musical instrument that allows the sea to make beautiful music with its waves.
Also known as Donostia, this coastal city is located in the Basque Country, barely a few miles away from France. With plenty of Michelin star restaurants to choose from, just for that it’s already a worthy destination, but its wonders continue: admire the Belle Epoque architecture in the New Town or go even further back in time and give yourselves a tour of the Old Town.
But if you are there to soak up the sun, just go straight to the Concha Bay, walk the Concha Promenade and indulge in the freshest seafood.
Don’t miss: Food at Mugaritz, a 2 Michelin Star restaurant regarded as one of the best in the world. If you get the opportunity to get a table, take it without a second thought. For more ideas on local food and drink have a read at our San Sebastian food travel guide here.
Whether you visit from Dublin or from the other side of the world, the city of tribes is also meant for just two. The outdoorsy types will find unforgettable beauty in Connemara and the Galway Bay, and those who’d rather to stroll around the city will discover it’s numerous and colourful independent shops and cafés, and its streets full or art and music. Did we mention that it’s one of the best places in the world to enjoy fresh oysters? Share them with wine or as the locals do, with a pint of stout.
Don’t miss: The chance to try glamping! There are plenty of fabulous places near Galway that will give you the most romantic camping experience of your life. Check out our guide for the best boutique sites in Ireland.
The Canadian city is the perfect base for you to enjoy the natural wonders of Niagara Falls (less than two hours drive), visit fun and relatively affordable ski resorts and even drive to vineyards and have a taste of the local specialty, Ice Wine.
But you don’t need to leave the metropolis to have a fantastic time, with Michelin Star restaurants, world class museums, ice skating rinks and a super friendly vibe, Toronto might have a cold winter, but it makes up with its warm welcome.
Don’t miss: A visit to the CN Tower, the second tallest building in the world, great spot to enjoy the view over a cuppa!
A romantic weekend that attracts an every day growing number of young couples who fall in love with the concerts, the arts, the colours and the great value its restaurants and activities offer. Some lovely activities to share with your loved one are a visit to the Szechenyi Baths & Pool (which remains warm even during the winter), taking a river cruise or attend to any of the citiy’s foodie festivals which include wine, beer and chocolate.
Don’t miss: A dinner cruise across the Danube, share a candlelit table for two while enjoying the city lights.
One of the world’s most opulent travel destinations is packed with wonderful sites both traditional and modern. After a shopping spree at Dubai mall or any of the souks (traditional markets), you both can enjoy cuisines from every corner of the world, or a romantic promenade over the JBR Walk, fabulous day and night and with the sea right at the reach of your toes.
Don’t miss: Afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab, an absolute indulgence in the world’s most luxurious hotel (it doesn’t have five, but seven stars!). For more ideas on what to do in Dubai, check out the suggestions of two Emirates Cabin Crew members who shared their top spots.
The city is located within the stunning French Alps, at the northern end of Lake Annecy in a deep gorge on the Thiou river. It is a couple’s dream destination, with indoor and outdoors heated pools, idyllic lake houses and of course, ski resorts.
You can also stay at the Imperial Palace, located by the water on its own peninsula, and one of the most beautiful hotels in the area. If not spending the night, visit for dinner.
Don’t miss: a romantic picnic by the lake, ideally with cheese and chocolate obtained earlier at any of the many farmers markets around and of course, a bottle of French wine.
Whether you think of it as the city of bikes or as the city of sin, it surely is a place of freedom and a great destination for a couple looking to have fun. Rent a bike and enjoy all the types of foods on the market square of Nieuwmarkt, visit Chinatown and why not? take a stroll across the popular Red Light District.
Feel like doing some sightseeing? Take a cruise tour and cosy up in a boat while being shown one of the city’s most romantic angles.
Don’t miss: A day tour of Delft, a nearby town with lovely architecture, and famous for its white and blue pottery. Buy some Delftware and while you’re at it, a few amazing cheeses to serve on them!
Want more Amsterdam holiday inspo? Read our food and drink guide here.
Share la dolce vita together in a city that skips the theme-parky feel that blockbusters like Rome or Venice can have at times. Share an authentic bolognese pasta dinner -Lady and the Tramp style- and then burn the well spent calories walking through the city’s numerous historical sites, including the world’s oldest university.
Share breakfast on a charming café or a pizza (depending on who you ask, this city is the original birthplace of the dish) and go on, get a second scoop of that gelato. Bologna is also super close to many wineries in the Emilia-Romagna region, so plan a visit and taste together.
Don’t miss: Fine dining lovers will have a dream date at the Grand Hotel Majestic Gia Baglioni, one of the city’s most romantic restaurants.
While the nickname Beantown is not very evocative of romance, Boston is actually one of the most charming locations in the US West Coast. Whilerelatively close to New York, the city offers a completely different and way more relaxed energy and a great mix of old world and Irish influence and American style.
Boston Public Garden is gorgeous all year round and so is a walk by the Charles River. Culture enthusiasts must go to a show at the stunning Boston Opera House and science geeks can enjoy an evening of sweet stargazing at the Museum of Science’s planetarium Astronomy After Hours.
Don’t Miss: The seafood! The city is filled with seafood restaurants to suit all styles and budgets and its globally known for the quality of its catch.
Want more ideas to enjoy Boston together? Check out our insider’s guide to the city’s best food and drink.
Norway’s capital fantasy-like settings inspired many of the places in Disney’s Frozen, so whether you guys wanna build a snowman or just let it go and forget about the outside world for a few days, escape to Oslo and you’ll actually get a very warm feeling thanks to the cosyness that reigns.
Walk through the Nordmarka forest, or depending on the time of the year, explore the city’s Summer Park or Winter Park (isn’t that handy?). On cold season, hug each other under the Northern Lights, and on warmer days, visit one of the many food markets such as Mathallen Food Hall and stock up on goodies to share on a romantic picnic by the fjord, where you can also get a kayak, if you’re feeling active.
Don’t miss: a fjord cruise, if you want to splurge, there are cruises that take you on board for a few days -all included- to see the Northern Lights. Alternatively, a shorter ride will also be filled with plenty of beautiful scenery.
This beautiful Greek island will please both party animals and peaceful creatures. With its own “Little Venice” area, Mykonos’ most romantic quarter filled with historical attractions, restaurants and bars, the area has inspired plenty of artist and lovers and is one of the most photographed parts of the island.
Indulge in irresistible Mediterranean food and wine, and swim in the clear waters of beaches such as Elia, Agios Stefanos or Paraga.
Don’t miss: Share a spa experience by the seaside, you’ll get to relax with the sound of the ocean in the background. This treat is offered by several hotels around the area and it will be the perfect thing to enjoy after a day of fun at the beach.
Wondering what to eat and drink in Mykonos? Check out our food lovers’ travel guide!
In the Caribbean ABC that is Aruba-Bonaire-Curacao, any choice will offer you dreamy white sand beaches and sun, Curacao however gets the romantic prize thanks to it’s beautiful UNESCO World Heritage capital city Willemstad and to being -slightly- less crowded than Aruba yet a bit more lively than Bonaire. You can have it all!
Don’t Miss: the multi-coloured sunset of Curacao! Proof that some of the best things in life are free. It’s enjoyable from many locations but specially pretty from a pier in Willemstad, from which you’ll also get to see the city lighting up once it gets dark.
It takes two to discover one of the most romantic cities in South America. With passionate tango dancers and artists bringing life to the main streets where shopping is a complete pleasure, even a stroll across the city is quite an experience. Besides, it features great restaurants (get the steak!), fantastic wines (at fantastic prices!) and a laid back feel that just compels you to relax and enjoy yourselves.
Don’t miss: An afternoon in Caminito (Spanish for “little path”), a colourful “street museum” filled with quirky craft shops, local designers, cafés and history, ideal for loosing track of time and finding cool souvenirs.
The Austrian capital is so elegant and yet so relaxed, that discovering it feels like waltzing into a fairy tale world of perfect pastries, urban vineyards, baroquely decorated cafes and gorgeous gardens that just beg to become kissing locations. Explore Schloss Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens or enjoy a candlelit dinner on the Wienner Riesendrad, one of the world’s oldest and most romantic Ferris wheels.
Don’t miss: a visit to Café Sacher, home of the luscious Sachertorte, which you will share while sipping creamy Vienna coffees. And that is non-negotiable.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.