Top 10 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Looking for alternative romantic escapes? Something off-the-beaten-track?

Tired of overdone Paris, over-touristed Venice, hyper-pretentious New York?

Travel widely has always been my motto. And the world is full of romantic escapes that see just a trickle of tourists.

#1 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Sundowners on the rooftops of Khiva, Uzbekistan

After a long day in Khiva there’s nothing better than reclining on the roof of your guest house while you sip Russian beer, nibble on raisins, sunflower seeds, and sweet sesame snacks, and watch the sun go down.

And the best thing of all?

You’re likely to be the only ones doing it.

Rooftops, Khiva, Uzbekistan

Khiva, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

#2 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Picnic on Little Pigeon Island, Papua New Guinea

Take a picnic lunch on the tiny, uninhabited sand cay 10km offshore from Kokopo in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. You can dive, snorkel, swim, or just lie on the beach in view of Mt Tavurvur, PNG’s most active volcano.

Best of all, apart from a few local daytrippers, you’ll have the place to yourself

Little Pigeon Island, PNG

Mt Tavurvur on the horizon. Photo credit: Benjamin White

#3 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Sunrise over Borobudur

Okay, this one involves an early start, but the shifting colours and lingering mist from which the temple of Borobudur gently emerges is breathtaking. Follow it up with a trip to the temple itself.

Sunrise over Borobudur, Indonesia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

#4 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Poolside vista of Aït Benhaddou, Morocco

I don’t think there are any 5 star resorts here, but there are plenty of decent hotels with balconies overlooking this dramatic, mud-brick ksar. Some places even have pools! All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the view.

It’s also where they filmed Gladiator and a few scenes from Game of Thrones.

Aït Benhaddou, Morocco

Aït Benhaddou, Morocco. Photo credit: Benjamin White

#5 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Sunset from the Park of Love, Lima, Peru

Enjoy the stunning sunsets from the promenade known as the El Malecón in Lima, Peru. There’s even a section of El Malecón known as El Parque del Amor, or The Park of Love, where a statue called El Beso (The Kiss) depicts two lovers embracing.

Pink sunset, El Malecon, Miraflores

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

#6 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Kalesa ride through the historic centre of Vigan, Philippines

A kalesa is a local horse-drawn carriage. It’s a great way to explore the beautifully restored historic centre of this once-grand colonial city.

Crisologo Street, Vigan, Philippines

Crisologo Street, Vigan, Manila. Photo credit: Benjamin White

`#7 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Watch lenticular clouds form over Volcán Concepción, Ometepe, Nicaragua

Grab your picnic gear and head to Punta Jesús María, a narrow spit of white-shell-covered black sand that juts into Lake Nicaragua. Sip champagne as you watch this natural phenomena in action.

Punta Jesus Maria view of Volcan Concepcion, Ometepe, Nicaragua

The Island of Ometepe, Nicaragua

`#8 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Dhow ride to idyllic beaches, Lamu, Kenya

Looking for an exotic, labyrinthine Swahili port city that time forgot? Don’t go to Zanzibar*, go to Lamu. The best thing about Lamu is the absence of cars, it gives Lamu a sleepy, Old World atmosphere that can’t be beat. After exploring the town itself, take a dhow trip to nearby beaches. (NB. check the security situation before heading to Lamu).

*Actually Zanzibar is great too.

Old Town, Lamu, Kenya

The island of Lamu, Kenya. Photo credit: Benjamin White

`#9 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Glacier tour, Cerro Torre, El Chaltén, Argentina

Sip whiskey cooled by 10,000 year ice on a tour of Glaciar Grande in southern Patagonia. Views aren’t bad either.

Glaciar Grande, El Chaltén, Argentina

Glaciar Grande. Photo credit: Benjamin White

`#10 Alternative Romantic Escapes

Winter wonderland in Zakopane, Poland

I thought I’d better throw in one European destination or the Europeans would feel neglected. 😀

Zakopane isn’t that well known outside of Poland. And that’s a shame as it’s a delightful ski resort town. Spend a day hiking to Morskie Oko, then relax in a cafe admiring the falling snow.

Downtown Zakopane, Poland

Krupówki Street. Photo credit: Benjamin White


Worthy contenders:

These destinations didn’t quite make my top ten, but I thought they deserved a mention nonetheless.

Nighttime stroll, Safavid Bridges of Esfahan, Iran

Si-o-se-pol, Isfahan, Iran

Si-o-se-pol at night. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Waterfall tour, Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Lookout view of Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Frozen lakes and island castles, Trakai, Lithuania

Trakai Lake Castle, Lithuania

Trakai Lake Castle, Lake Galve, Lithuania. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Midday sunbeam, Cenotes X’keken & Samulá, Mexico

Cenote X'keken, Mexico

Cenote X’keken at midday. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

The blue hour, Flåm, Norway

Flåm, Norway

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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