An Off-The-Beaten Path Romance

When we looked up the definition of romance, it read, “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” When it comes to romance travel trends, we tend to find that there is very little mystery in it these days. Most travelers know what to expect when they take a romantic trip to Jamaica, Venice, and Paris because we’re bombarded by romantic images of those destinations in movies, films, and social media.

So to add the mystery back into romance travel and bring you and your partner some new kind of excitement, we decided to create this list of underrated romantic destinations around the world that will have you calling us at Sten Travel ready to book. 

1. Hungary

Sightseeing in Szentendre. 

Imagine a land with 103 castles and palaces, 1,300 thermal baths, and 22 wine districts. Sounds romantic, right? That land is called Hungary and it’s one of our favorite romantic spots in Europe. Start your trip in Budapest where you can take a romantic river cruise on the Danube River and stay in the Anantara New York Palace Budapest Hotel, a mighty dame with ornate decor in the style of Belle Epoque. Just outside of Budapest is the charming town of Szentendre, which has colorful buildings, cobbled streets, and galleries galore. Go further afar to have a castle stay in the Botaniq Castle of Tura or eat at a Michelin star restaurant, Platán Gourmet, in the Tata castle. No matter where you go in Hungary, it’s sure to be a romantic, fairytale-esque trip for you and your loved one.

2. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky skyline on the river.

You’re probably surprised that Louisville is on this list, but it’s inclusive and queer-friendly atmosphere makes it a safe and romantic destination for couples of any type who love bourbon, architecture, and fun. Have the ultimate bourbon tasting at Old Forester, which has the first openly gay master taster, or a Prohibition era tasting called The Ideal Bartender Experience at Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. As you taste three whiskies, you’ll be served by (an actor playing) Tom Bullock, the First Black American to write and publish a cocktail book. Beyond bourbon, take a stroll through Old Louisville to admire the largest collection of restored Victorian homes, or better yet — book an Old Louisville Ghost Tour! And it could be fun to dress to the nines before catching a horse race at Churchill Downs. Who said romance couldn’t involve booze, ghosts, and betting? 

3. Andorra

 Andorra la Vella, Andorra.

Andorra is a tiny country located in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. Full of charming villages with historic buildings and churches, Andorra is perhaps best known for having 190 miles of slopes across four major ski resorts including the Grandvalira. In addition to a cozy and romantic ski getaway with your ski bunny, you could also visit the capital of Andorra La Vella, which is walkable, and full of cafes, great art galleries, and historic buildings. Take day trips to Les Escaldes to soak in the thermal hot springs and go hiking in El Serratf. 

4. Amelia Island, Florida

Amelia Island Fernandina Beach 

If you’re looking for a romantic beach holiday in the U.S., consider Amelia Island. Located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Amelia Island has 13 miles of uncrowded beaches, a cute downtown, and wonderful hotels with spas and charming B&Bs. Book a stay at the Hoyt House in the historic downtown or choose a beachfront stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Active couples can explore the island through kayak excursions, by sailing, or on an electric bike. Foodies should check out the Parisian dining experience at LECLOS or order a luxe and lavishly decorated picnic on the beach with Picnics by Les. With plenty of shopping, wine tastings, and sea adventures, there is something for all couples to enjoy in Amelia Island. 

5. Vietnam

My Khe city beach, Da Nang, Vietnam.

A lot of travelers to Vietnam start off in Ho Chi Minh City, but we want to turn your attention to Vietnam’s most romantic destinations. The beaches of Da Nang are gorgeous and feature an array of great hotels, like TIA Wellness Resort, with incredible spas and rooms. Other great beach destinations include Phu Quoc Island and Cam Ranh. 

Couples who prefer history, architecture, and art, will love Hanoi. Stroll through the Old Quarter during the day, stopping to sample street food or experience the cafe culture. Hanoi is also known as Vietnam’s art capital drawing travelers to its galleries and museums. And for something especially unique? Travel through the beautiful Ha Long Bay with the luxurious Au Co Cruises to experience this gorgeous slice of Vietnamese heaven on a lovely boat with beautiful rooms, open-air Jacuzzis, and great food. 

6. Finland

Couple feeding reindeer while using Uber Sleigh service in Lapland, Finland.

Whether it’s the winter or summer, Finland is an unexpected romantic destination, but one we know that adventurous couples will enjoy. Hit the slopes in the winter with your loved one at the Levi ski resort, and when you’re not skiing, set up other fun experiences with the resort such as meeting local reindeer. To see the Northern Lights, take husky sled rides, and go on snowmobile safaris, you’ll need to book a trip to Saariselka.

In the warmer months, Helsinki is a great jumping-off point for a romantic vacation full of things to do like island hopping or visiting the Market Square, museums, and romantic restaurants. Don’t overlook the chance to discover other beautiful places in Finland like Savonlinna with its ancient castle and lake cruises and the beachy getaway of Hanko.

7. Bolivia

Bolivia Express

Want a truly unique couple’s getaway —  how about staying in a hotel made of salt in the world’s largest salt flat? It can be done in Bolivia at Hotel Palacio de Sal. The property is made of salt and has a front row seat to Bolivia’s Uyuni salt flat. Beyond visiting Uyuni during the day, you can take a romantic stargazing tour at night.

But wait — there are more romantic trips to be had in Bolivia. Go to Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca for incredible sunsets and hiking or take vineyard tours in Tarija. Samaipata is a fun little getaway that’s nicknamed “Bolivia’s Little Switzerland” for its colorful houses and shops set in surrounding mountains. The area has a great selection of jungle hikes and the La Cuevas park which is full of various waterfalls for you and your partner to enjoy.

8. The Highway 1 Discovery Route in Central California

Cayucos, California

Looking for a romantic road trip? Check out the Highway 1 Discovery Route in Central California. Highway 1 Discovery Route goes from Ragged Point to Nimono and features 10 artisan communities that stretch alongside 100 miles of beautiful Pacific coastline. Besides the amazing beaches along this route, you can stop in each community for a different experience. San Simeon has the only free, accessible elephant seal rookery in the world and the beautiful Hearst Castle. Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys are full of mom and pop coastal wineries begging you to stop and take a taste. You can ride the gigantic Clydesdale horse at Covell’s California Clydesdales in Cambria, or check out one of the 13 state parks along the route. If you’re the kind of couple who likes to fly by the seat of their pants and have a coastal road trip experience, the Highway 1 Discovery Route is perfect for you. 

9.Victoria, Australia

Twelve Apostles National Park, Victoria, Australia.

Australia is such a large country that we thought it best to focus on the southeastern state of Victoria. Melbourne can offer a romantic urban experience that includes eating at restaurants on the Yarra River, strolling through the picturesque Paris End of Collins Street, taking hot air balloon rides over the city, and catching live performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre. From Melbourne, hit the Great Ocean Road in a car to enjoy the beaches and wildlife along the coastline. Or go to Phillip’s Island to see the Penguin Parade at sunset. Day trips to Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s premiere wine regions, are a must.

10. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico at dusk.

Santa Fe, set in the Land of Enchantment, invites couples to enjoy adobe architecture, spectacular sunsets seen from rooftop bars, and relaxing spa experiences at hotels like Hotel Inn & Spa at Loretto. Stroll hand in hand through the Santa Fe Botanical Garden before exploring over 100 galleries, boutiques, and restaurants at Canyon Road and learning about the city’s Native American history at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Add some playfulness to your couple’s trip with a visit to Meow Wolf, and in the winter, ski down the slopes together at Ski Santa Fe. 

Atlanta is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. The city serves as the cultural and economic centre of the Atlanta metropolitan area.

As of 2010, Atlanta is the seventh-most visited city in the United States, with over 35 million visitors per year.

Visit the Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium is a public aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Georgia Aquarium is home to hundreds of species and thousands of animals across its seven major galleries, all of which reside in more than 10 million US gallons (38,000 m3) of fresh and saltwater. It was the largest aquarium in the world from its opening in 2005 until 2012 when it became the third-largest aquarium in the world after the Marine Life Park in Singapore and the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China; the Georgia Aquarium remains the largest aquarium in the United States and the Western Hemisphere.
The Aquarium’s notable specimens include whale sharks, beluga whales, California sea lions, bottlenose dolphins, and manta rays.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park covers about 35 acres (0.14 km2) and includes several buildings in Atlanta, Georgia related to the life and work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
In the park, you’ll find the modest home where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised. You can also head over to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was once a pastor. And at The King Center, you’ll find engaging exhibits on the civil rights movement and King’s gravesite. These, along with several other landmarks and museums, are jointly considered national historic sites.

The Fox Theatre

The Fox Theatre is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. It is one of Atlanta’s premiere venues for live entertainment. Fox’s 4,665 seat theatre hosts more than 150 performances a year ranging from Broadway to rock to comedy to films.
Originally conceived by Atlanta’s Shriners organization, Egyptian and Spanish architecture inspired the theatre’s design, specifically the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor and the Alhambra in Granada.
In addition to taking in a show, you’ll enjoy a feast for the eyes covering the walls and ceiling: Brilliant colors, a dynamic ceiling – complete with painted clouds and stars.

Centennial Olympic Park

Located across the street from the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta is Centennial Olympic Park, a 21-acre patch of land that features lush paths of grass, artwork, pools and fountains.
The park was originally built for the 1996 Olympic Games and was a centerpiece of the festivities; now, it’s one of the most visited areas of the city. One of the park’s most well-known elements is the Fountain of Rings, made up of 251 water jets. Every day, four water shows choreographed to various songs take place.

The World of Coca-Cola

As its name suggests, the World of Coca-Cola is a museum dedicated entirely to Coke. Visits to the two-level facility begin with exhibits on the drink’s historical milestones, its role in pop culture and the bottling process. The older generations in your group will likely enjoy the museum’s attention to the company’s past, but the kids will probably be most excited for the Taste It! area, where over 100 varieties of Coke from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America are available for unlimited sampling. You can also purchase various Coke memorabilia at the on-site gift shop.

Stone town situated on the island of Zanzibar, is off the coast of Unguja on the west. It is a historic location in Zanzibar. This well-known town has been there since the 19th century, and it is famous for its architecture. The oldest section of Zanzibar island is commonly known as Mji Mkongwe.

Stone Town is rich with influences from the Arab, Persian, Indian, and European cultures, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town’s name possibly comes from the style of stone-built homes erected by Arab traders that is there.

These were constructed using coralline rag stone and other materials used in the making of the structures at Stone Town. Buildings in Stone Area are also renowned for their intricately carved double doors, which are a favourite location for visitors to the town to take pictures near. The structures are renowned for their open courtyards, broad verandas, and lavish interior decoration.

There are also winding lanes with stores in Stone Town that provide a variety of goods for sale along the streets.

Another spot in Stone Town to consider is the Old Fort, the House of Wonders, the Old Dispensary, the Malindi Bamnara Mosque, Persian Baths, and the Palace Museum, which was formerly the Sultan of Zanzibar’s residence, among other attractions.

In addition, Stone Town is renowned for serving as a hub for trade between Asia and Africa.

This historic town also participated in the slave trade, and Zanzibar was one of the main ports used to import slaves from other East African nations. Stone Town was one of the largest open slave marketplaces where Dhows were used to transport slaves across the Indian Ocean from the mainland, and they are still used to convey visitors to the island today.

The historic slave market location in Zanzibar is now an Anglican cathedral. Tourists can take advantage of learning more about the way of life of the Zanzibaris while touring the island’s various attractions.

When it comes to the food in Stone Town, you may also sample the regional cuisine.
Forodhani Market is a food market where you may sample a variety of cuisines while in Zanzibar, making it one of the must-see attractions in Stone Town. The market is close to the water where affordable foods are served. A variety of foods, including meat, fish, coconut bread, cassava, and chapatti, are available. The market also sells a variety of tropical fruits such as mangoes, coconuts, and pineapple.

Zanzibar island is known as the spice island in addition to being an island with sand, sea, and sun. You can combine a visit to Stone Town with a stop at one of the island’s spice farms to learn more about how the spices are grown, sample some of the local cuisines that have been spiced, and then buy some of the spices, including vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Although the island has a rich cultural diversity, Swahili is the primary language used there. In addition to numerous other languages besides Arabic, English is also spoken on the island.
The majority of the residents of Stone Village are Muslims, and you will hear the call to prayer while on tours of the town. Additionally, in order to respect local customs and culture, tourists are advised to dress appropriately when on the island of Zanzibar.

During tours to Zanzibar island, there are a variety of lodging options nearby stone town, including luxury, midrange, and low-cost hotels. The Double Tree by Hilton, Tembo House, Golden Tulip, Dhow Palace Hotel, Zanzibar Palace Hotel, and Zanzibar Serena Hotel are a few of the hotels in the vicinity of Stone Town.