Finding romantic places to stay can be a tricky task, especially if privacy and originality are your primary criteria. So – for those hopeless romantics dreaming of when we can travel again, we’ve found five lesser-known romantic destinations around the world that are perfect for a loved-up getaway, according to our global travellers.
Take a romantic trip away to Otaru in Hokkaido, Japan
Spend the weekend at the city's Snow Light Path Festival
The city of Otaru on Hokkaido Island, Japan made its name as a trading port and financial hub, and isn’t internationally known as a romantic destination. But for domestic travellers, it’s one of Japan’s most popular destinations for couples to celebrate an anniversary, propose or simply take a holiday. The city’s main attraction is the central canal. Here, stone and brick buildings and Victorian-style street lamps line the water, while mountains form the backdrop. And visiting over Valentine’s Day more or less guarantees a carpet of snow.
Propose at the picture-perfect Èze in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Climb to the hilltop village of Èze for sensational views of the French Riviera
The medieval, hilltop village of Èze is all too often overlooked as a romantic destination, often being eclipsed by its famous neighbours, Nice and Monaco. But you’ll no doubt wonder why as you walk through its uneven, cobbled streets and bougainvillea-covered archways, with hills of orange, lemon and carob trees below. Make time to watch the sun glint on the Mediterranean Sea in the distance as it encapsulates all the romance of a Brigitte Bardot-inspired, Côte d’Azur daydream – it may also just be the most picture-perfect backdrop to propose. The Jardin Exotique d’Èze (located at the top of the village) is also a must-see. Its stepping stones wind between statues, cacti and tropical plants, as well as a neo-classical church with frescoes and chipped, canary yellow walls.
Head off on a romantic roadtrip to Dinkelsbühl in Bavaria, Germany
Stroll down the cobbled streets of Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria
For those loved-up couples looking for a romantic weekend road trip, take the ‘Romantic Road’, a route which passes through Bavaria and the town of Dinkelsbühl. The route is marked with brown signs and it takes you to some of southern Germany’s loveliest sights; fairy-tale, moated castles, spa towns, the Danube River and even a crater formed by a meteorite crashing into Earth 15 million years ago. For a romantic place to stay along the way, make a pit stop at the walled city of Dinkelsbühl for a charming stroll over cobblestones and past medieval houses with red-tiled roofs, flower boxes and wooden shutters.
Escape for a romanitic getaway at Orta San Giulio in Piedmont, Italy
Sit and watch the shimmering Lago d'Orta in Italy
Given how picture-perfect this town is, it’s surprising that it’s not as established a romantic destination as, say, Venice or the Cinque Terre. Orta San Giulio in Piedmont, Italy sits on a mountain slope that leads into a peninsula off the shores of Lago d'Orta, looking out to a little island, Isola San Giulio, amid the shimmering, teal-coloured lake. This island houses a 12th-century basilica, a 19th-century monastery and several small piazzas so it’s worth visiting for a secluded anniversary celebration, honeymoon or a romantic proposal. You can catch a boat back to Orta San Giulio and finish your romantic getaway watching the sunset over the apricot-hued lakeside villas and palazzos.
Enjoy a peaceful honeymoon at Panwa Beach in Phuket, Thailand
Watch the romantic sunset by the waters of Panwa Beach
For a romantic holiday like none other, head to Panwa Beach, a curved golden beach bordered by tall, slim palms. It sits on the coast of the Cape of the same name, protruding into the Andaman Sea in the quiet, southeastern corner of Phuket, Thailand. The romantic destination has managed to evade much of the urbanisation that’s been seen on the island’s hotspots – it doesn’t have much in terms of nightlife, making it a go-to for a serene honeymoon. The beach is relatively built up with villas and hotels but there are still large swathes of land with nothing more than fishermen’s huts and mangroves; climb to the peaceful Panwa viewpoint for romantic sunset views of this unspoiled part of the island.