It’s hard for couples to spend quality time together within the routine of work and home duties, and the standard dinner-and-a-movie combo gets old before long. The best way to have fun together and leave all the boring, everyday humdrum behind is to go on a trip, away from it all, and plan some cool activities. For couples who want to make their time together count, here are 10 of the most romantic and unique couples experiences around the world.
1. Consult the cards at a Santa Fe spa.
Build your own couples retreat and head to a destination spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to seek spiritual renewal together. At Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, couples can explore their relationship with spiritual guide Jessica Ibarra, who will help the pair set mindful intentions and relationship goals through tarot card readings and spiritual guidance sessions.
For a full-on couples retreat experience, lovers can book the Couples R+R Package (all-inclusive rates start at $543) and enjoy a spacious casita, farm-fresh daily meals, homemade chocolate truffles, $100 in spa credit per person per two-night stay, a romantic 50-minute soak for two in the private outdoor Ojitos tub, access to the co-ed steam room, and unlimited access to onsite activities, including yoga, meditation, expressive arts classes, horticulture, gardening, and even petting puppies and Silkie chickens.
2. Immerse yourselves in nature and see the northern lights in Sweden.
Few things could be more romantic than watching the sky light up in crazy colors as if you’re the only two people in the world, and Sweden is the perfect destination for such an experience. At accommodations like the Ice Hotel and Tree Hotel, you can cozy up with your significant other in a room sculpted completely of ice or gaze at the stars from high up in the treetops. Or, in Abisko National Park, head to the Aurora Sky Station, built to provide the perfect spot to watch the northern lights. Couples can also stop here for a four-course dinner featuring Nordic cuisine plus a guided tour to learn more about the aurora borealis, or opt for wintry activities like dog sledding, snowmobile tours, and hiking.
3. Take love lessons by the beach in Florida.
Demonstrate the depths of your commitment by learning to love your partner better through curated experiences that are aimed to spice things up, provide you with new experiences together, and strengthen your connection — all set in a palm-studded paradise. Lovers can book a stay at The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, to enjoy aphrodisiacal cuisine with wine pairings, a private sailing lesson, an in-room couples massage (with couples massage lessons), and a ballroom dancing lesson to make their romantic and relaxing stay full of interesting and new activities. Other optional lesson add-ons include surfing, pottery, private golf, and scuba diving.
4. Spend a night at the world’s most private island resort.
For ultimate romance, book a night at Gladden, the private island resort designed for just two people. Located off the coast of Belize, the elegant villa that makes up the entirety of Gladden resort sits on its own private sanctuary and features all-inclusive service.
The staff of the two-person resort reside on an unseen island behind Gladden but remain ready to respond at a moment’s notice to any and every request. For guests to maintain the island’s air of utmost exclusivity, there’s even a “privacy meter” that indicates when a staff member is present on the island. Save for those times, you and your beloved are left to yourselves on the lush island to take in the views or do whatever else you feel like doing.
5. Go onsen-hopping in Kinosaki, Japan.
For an adventure in cultural immersion, couples can head to Kinosaki, Japan, for a few days of steamy onsen-hopping if they want to heat their relationship up in a unique way. Couples can stay in a ryokan, don yukatas (a light kimono), and hop between the seven public onsens of Kinosaki to ward off the snowy chill of the surrounding winter — and grow closer than ever.
Every onsen in Kinosaki has a different story, with its own unique charm and architecture. For example, Ichino-Yu (bath of fortune) offers an outdoor cave bath experience, while Kouno-Yu, the first onsen built in Kinosaki, is said to bring happiness in marriage as well as longevity. Couples should also make sure not to miss Goshono-yu during their visit, as this bath purports to bring luck in love and protection against fire.
6. Climb sea stacks in Ireland.
Thrill-seeking couples should book a trip to Donegal, Ireland, to go sea stacking with Unique Ascent, an adventure company that promises to, “take you to places that have been visited fewer times than the moon.” Sea stacks are the towering rocky outcroppings found along the coast of Ireland and the UK, and they are seldom explored. With guiding and instructional packages provided, couples can cross open ocean and then safely summit these topographical wonders, even if they have no previous climbing experience, and arrive up to 600 feet in the air with expansive and one-of-a-kind views.
7. Go stargazing at 7,500 feet in Canada.
Head to Sulphur Mountain in Banff, Canada, to learn about the night sky with an uninterrupted and close-up view. Couples will ride the Banff Gondola to the summit, where they’ll enjoy an evening exploration of the galaxies. Ultra-modern telescopes, exhibits, and knowledgeable interpreters will be available so that couples can deepen their understanding of the skies. Best of all, professional photographers will be on hand to help newbies navigate their camera settings and figure out how to capture the perfect starry shot to document the night forever.
When the night grows too chilly, snuggle up by the rooftop fire pit with complimentary tea and hot apple cider and then head to the Above Banff Theatre for a special showing of short film Rockies After Dark. Stargazing with experts from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) are available on Friday evenings from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, as well as Saturday nights without RASC, and are free with gondola admission.
8. Live out The Notebook-inspired fantasies in the American South.
For couples who have cried through Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook more times than they can count, a trip to a quaint luxury boutique hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, is the ultimate romantic getaway.
Allie & Noah’s Timeless Romance Package at HarbourView Inn, the only waterfront property in the Historic District, includes a dozen roses in-room upon arrival followed by a private carriage ride down King Street to visit the American Theater, the site of Noah and Allie’s first date, where couples can request through the hotel’s concierge to have a romantic saying displayed on the marquee. Couples will also enjoy a private boat to canoe through Cypress Gardens (just like Noah and Allie did) and dinner at High Cotton before rounding the night out with a gift card to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, where lovers can reenact the famous ice cream scene for themselves.
9. Take part in the Caribbean’s largest vow renewal ceremony on a beach in Aruba.
Whatever your level of commitment — legally hitched or just hopelessly in love — there’s no better place to reaffirm your dedication to your one-and-only than one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, complete with a sunset backdrop as nature’s gift.
Aruba’s annual vow renewal ceremony is the largest in the Caribbean and takes place each year on Eagle Beach — with this year’s date falling on August 19 — where hundreds of couples converge to make a barefoot profession of love and devotion. Some are on their honeymoon; others have stuck side-by-side for 60 or more years. Everyone comes dressed in white, adding to the romantic wedding vibe of the experience and immediately after the ceremony, a colorful procession of Carnival performers kicks off a night of dancing under the stars. Best of all, participation is free.
For even more romance, book a stay at Renaissance Aruba Resort in Oranjestad where guests are granted access to the hotel’s famous flamingo-filled private island. Reserve a private cabana to maximize the memories — it doesn’t get much better than an overwater beach bungalow for two.
10. Wander the rivers of Europe with U River Cruises.
Set sail on a European adventure for two with U River Cruises and you might find yourselves overusing the heart-eyes emoji. Culturally immersive eight-day itineraries along the rivers of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, The Netherlands, and Hungary are available from $1,959 and include all food, beverages, and excursions as you peacefully drift from country to country along the rolling Rhine or the serene Danube.
Couples can wake each other up with a fresh cappuccino every morning and dine on local fare every night with optional onboard experiences like morning top-deck yoga, mixology classes, and silent discos in between. Couples can also book a cozy rooftop camping experience, complete with a private projected movie showing.
Editor’s note: A version of this article was previously published on February 5, 2019, and it was updated on January 20, 2020.