Sick of the tired old romance cities? Try these ten off-the-beaten locales instead
I don’t know about you, but when I think of romantic destinations, three particular places come to mind: Paris, France, Italy’s Amalfi Coast and Santorini, Greece. But if you’re sick of the obvious, you might want to try out these atypical locations. Explore, conquer and be the captain of your own love map! Yes, you can kick me in the ass for being so cheesy.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH PLACES FOR LOVE
Courtesy of YourTango
#1 Colchagua Valley, Chile
Move over Napa, Chile has a growing and gorgeous wine region dotted with 54,000 acres of vineyards and 5-star hotels. Colchagua Valley is the star of this show, with about a dozen high-quality wineries to tour and a museum of arts from the early Americas. Don’t leave without tasting the region’s star red wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Where to stay: Casa Silva is a small boutique hotel with luxury touches plus its own wine bar, well-rated restaurant and vineyards, through which guests can take a romantic carriage ride. Rooms start at $140.
#2 Nyunge, Rwanda
Rwanda isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of romance but picture this: hiking trails nestled in a lush rainforest surrounded by green hills as far as you can see. The Parc National Nyungwe Forest is East Africa’s largest protected high-altitude rainforest, located in southern Rwanda, and is home to more than 13 different species of monkeys, among other exotic creatures.
Where to stay: The 5-Star Nyungwe Forest Lodge offers private villas with fireplaces, private balconies and very sexy in-room Jacuzzis, plus a communal infinity pool, all situated on a tea plantation on the edge of the Nyungwe Forest. Rooms start at $175.
#3 Muscat, Oman
Another unexpected addition to the list, Oman is exotic, sweet and sexy, with Muscat as its chic capital. Rich in history (archaeologists have found remains from the 6th century BC), this port city offers stroll-able souks (markets) and ancient walled towns plus simple, fresh cuisine, the Al Hajar Mountains to the west and the Gulf of Oman to the east.
Where to stay: The Chedi, a Leading Hotel of the World situated on the Gulf, has everything from BOSE Sound systems to rain showers to make guests feel pampered. The suites are idyllic and luxurious, with complimentary cocktail hours and lavish breakfasts. Rooms start at $299.
#4 Grindavik, Iceland
Just a half-hour drive from Reykjavik, Iceland‘s capital and largest city, you can find total relaxation in a geothermal spa known as the Blue Lagoon. The steamy blue pool in Grindavik was originally part of a lava formation and now hosts a cozy sauna, silica mud treatments and a cave-like geothermal steam bath. And because it’s heated by nature, even during the winter, the lagoon stays at a balmy 98 degrees Fahrenheit so you can stay outside and enjoy the gorgeous Icelandic skies.
Where to stay: Hotel Borg, in Reykjavik, was Iceland’s first luxury hotel when built in the 1930s and though updated, retains an Art Deco charm. It’s luxury Tower Suite is booked a year in advance. Rooms start at $350.
Even though this peninsula—a British territory located in southern Spain—is thought to be one of the oldest areas of the world, it’s not often thought of as a romantic destination. But its chic beaches, unique culture and ancient roots make Gibraltar no standard beach getaway.
Where to stay: The Rock Hotel, a colonial-style resort and one of the most well-known throughout the Mediterranean, sits on the top of the island with absolutely amazing views of both Spain and Morocco. The hotel offers British touches such as manicured gardens and high tea. Rooms start at $240.
If you want an exotic vacation in China, but aren’t ready to fully commit to the Far East, Macau is your sexy getaway. A little bit Hong Kong and a little bit Vegas, you’ll find a clever mix of busy Cantonese markets and glittering casinos on this island. For a really romantic stay, though, step away from the nightlife and spend an evening in Coloane, a waterfront neighborhood that played host to pirates in the early 1900′s but now is chocked full of delicious food and colonial charm. Whatever you do, don’t miss sharing one of Lord Stowe’s sweet egg tarts while strolling past the chapel of St. Francis Xavier.
Where to stay: Westin‘s signature amenities—full-service spa, luxury workout center and trademark Heavenly Bed you’ll never want to leave—all situated in Coloane directly on the South China Sea. Room start at $150.
#7 Catanzaro, Italy
What’s more romantic than draping yourself in silk and velvet? How about doing that in Italy. Forget Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast and head south, way down south, to Catanzaro, a former industrial town still known for it’s luxe fabrics, with sweeping coastlines and astonishing Byzantine architecture. Take a stroll in idyllic public gardens or tour one of the Calabria region’s best historic sites, a 16th century cathedral housing art just as old and the remaining tower of Norman Castle. Even if you simply enjoy the views from this peninsula, you’re guaranteed intimacy other Italian cities lack.
Where to stay: Check out the 4-star Hotel Palace for seafront luxury, proximity (the hotel is on Catanzaro’s beachfront promenade) and amenities such as an on-site Turkish bath.
#8 The Maldives
Looking for the most beautiful beach in the world? You’ll find a contender in the Maldives. But although the natural beauty of porcelain sands and turquoise water are stunning enough to warrant a vacation, the activities this chain of islands offers guarantees you and your partner a sexy adrenaline rush, too. Dive through Indian Ocean coral reefs, surf 8-foot waves or take a sunset boat trip out to a secluded fishing spot. The laid-back luxury and organic atmosphere of the Maldives will stick with you months after you return home.
Where to stay: The Four Seasons Maldives offers sunrise and sunset views, beachfront villas with private pools, a full-service spa and five different restaurants. Rooms start at $750.
#9 Hvar, Croatia
Croatia‘s gift to couples travelers is enchanting Adriatic nightlife, fairy tale-like architecture and historic cathedrals just minutes from desolate Adriatic Sea beaches. To really get in the mood, go see some stars. Hvar has one of the most beautiful observatories in the world, situated on top of a hill in an old French neighborhood. Or, tempt your taste buds with the deliciously fresh seafood the Croatians pride themselves on; the seafood risotto is a not-to-miss.
Where to stay: Hotel Podstine offers its own private beach, plus a spa and other luxury touches, all a 15-minute walk to central Hvar. Rooms from $190.
#10 Pueblito Paisa, Colombia
Colombia has a nice hidden secret in Medellin. This rough, sprawling urban destination is known for its powers of industry but has recently become a hub of expats and artists alike. The best spot in the city? Hightail it with your honey to Pueblito Paisa, a recreation of an old Antioquian village where street vendors sell arepas and musicians walk the streets playing tunes. You won’t find more stunning views elsewhere in the city; on a crystal clear night you’ll get a 360-degree look of the lights and sounds of Medellin.
Where to stay: The Intercontinental Medellin features pools, spa, tennis courts and an on-site pastry shop within a couple miles of Pueblito Paisa. Rooms start from $77.