You’re thinking of going abroad to a romantic destination
with your special someone, but you don’t want to follow the crowds by visiting
Paris or Venice. You want to do something different, something unusual,
like going to a place where most people won’t think is romantic; but that in
reality, there’s some romanticism hidden there for you to enjoy with your
sweetheart. To help you with that decision, here are five unlikely
romantic destinations that are not on every couple’s radar.
Bagan is the main destination that draws tourism into
Myanmar, yet it is still far from being a tourist town. The beauty of
Bagan lies in its more than 2,200 ancient temples and pagodas that still
survive, spread throughout the vast plains and forests.
The most special moment comes at sundown, when you can go to
any of the temples, hike up to its terrace or climb up the pagoda, and witness
with your special someone one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see –
with hundreds of pagodas poking out of the forest. The romantic part
about Bagan is that it is easy to get away from the crowds by just biking a bit
off the main road and find a temple where there’s absolutely no one, or just a
handful of other people looking for the same – some quality time with their
partner, surrounded by the beauty of Bagan.
Hội An, Vietnam
Hội An, which literally translates as "peaceful meeting
place," is an exceptionally well-preserved ancient trading port town
dating back to the 15th century. It still preserves almost
intact its distinct Chinese atmosphere with low, tile-roofed houses and narrow
Walking along the romantic low-scaled alleys, paired with a
nice traditional dinner in front of the Thu Bon River, is the best way to
absorb the ancient charm the town presents. While taking a stroll along
the river, you will see locals lowering floating candle lanterns into the river
as they silently cast their prayers and wishes.
You and your loved one can participate by throwing your own floating
lantern either from the river side or from one of the popular romantic dinner
cruises – which also gives a great opportunity to take gorgeous sunset pictures
of the mountains and all the fishing activity on the river.
Cappadocia has one of the strangest yet most beautiful
landscapes in the world. This moon-like landscape hides a lot of
history dating back over 3,000 years in its underground cities, cave churches,
and houses carved in the rocks.
I’ve mentioned sunsets as being romantic in the previous two
destinations, but in Cappadocia, the sunrise is the most romantic time. Do
a hot air balloon tour over the landscape and you’ll watch how it all slowly
illuminates as the sun comes up, creating interesting shadow patterns with the
fairy chimneys and eroded surfaces.
Splurge a bit more and hire a balloon just for you and your
partner. You’ll enjoy the romantic moment with just the two of you (and
the balloon pilot, of course).
If ballooning is not for you, no worries, you can rent a car
or bike and go to Devrent (Imagination) Valley on your own. Hike to a
secluded point along the eroded landscape and watch the scenery from a high
vantage point while letting your imagination go wild as you name the different
animals and shapes created by the rocks.
Ouro Preto, Brazil
Ouro Preto is the pure definition of old, cute, and
small. This well-preserved Portuguese colonial town from the 18th century
might be easily considered as a romantic destination. Its cobblestone
narrow streets, its colonial buildings and churches, and the unique location up
in the mountain form part of the various ingredients needed to make it a
destination romantic. But, Ouro Preto is not that mainstream, so you can enjoy
the romanticism of the town without the crowds.
Ouro Preto, which translates as “black gold”, was developed
as a gold mining town during the Brazilian gold rush in the 18th century. As
soon as the gold ran out, the city center stopped developing and preserved its
character almost intact. Today, you can walk along the alleys and narrow
streets and you can easily feel like you traveled back in time.
For me it is extremely hard to picture India as a romantic
destination, but Srinagar is one special place that doesn’t really feel like
the rest of the country. Nestled in the Himalayas, Srinagar is a lake town
where all buildings are actually boathouses. It is actually referred as the
Venice of the East. You can take a small canoe to “stroll” (or row) around
the town, visiting the restaurants down the “flow”, the little shop three boats
ahead, or to the floating cafe where all the locals meet.
Just imagine yourself rowing on the lake, just the two of
you in the canoe, surrounded by the beautiful Himalayas, the boathouses in the
distance, and the welcome sight of other rowers passing by. It’s just
beautiful. Everything here goes at a really slow pace and the
atmosphere has a very pleasant vibe that makes you feel good about
Have any of these destinations sparked your romantic side?