View of alberobello italy's famous white huts

The Most Romantic Cities You’ve Never Heard Of

Charming and picturesque — go here for small-town romance.  

Beyond the famed romance of Paris and Venice lie lesser-traveled towns brimming with charm and intimacy. From secluded Swiss Alpine retreats to idyllic Italian villages, these off-the-beaten-path destinations offer couples unforgettable romantic experiences away from the crowds.

riverview of the charming town of Colmar France.
iStock | jenifoto

Colmar, France

Often referred to as ‘Little Venice,’ Colmar boasts charming canals, half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings, and a fairytale-like atmosphere perfect for couples seeking romance away from the crowds of Paris. Enjoy leisurely boat tours along the canals with “Barques La Flânerie,” explore local wine cellars along the Alsace Wine Route, such as “Domaine Marcel Deiss,” where you can learn about the winemaking process, and savor the Alsatian culinary traditions in quaint bistros like “La Soï,” situated in the heart of Colmar’s old town. 

View of Portree on the water
iStock | zhuzhu

Portree, Scotland

Known for its rugged landscapes, picturesque fishing villages, and medieval castles, the Isle of Skye offers a secluded setting for couples who love nature and adventure. Skye is best experienced through the outdoors based in Portree: Explore trails that lead to stunning natural wonders like the Quiraing, the Old Man of Storr, and the Fairy Pools. Visit castle ruins such as Duntulm Castle and the well-preserved Dunvegan Castle. Additionally, savor the opportunity to stargaze or stay up late to admire the Milky Way in the total absence of light pollution.

Ljubljana river at sunset.
iStock | kasto80

Ljubljana, Slovenia

With its baroque facades, leafy streets, and the tranquil Ljubljanica River meandering through the city, Ljubljana is a hidden gem offering a romantic and relaxed pace of life. Immerse yourself in the vibrant Ljubljana Central Market, explore the rich cultural scene with a visit to the National Museum of Slovenia, and unwind at riverside cafes, all with the picturesque backdrop of Ljubljana Castle overlooking the city.

Luang Prabang lanterns on the street.
iStock | guenterguni

Luang Prabang, Laos

This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its well-preserved architectural, religious, and cultural heritage, providing couples with a serene atmosphere amidst stunning natural scenery and Buddhist temples. Begin your day by rising early to participate in the traditional alms-giving ceremony along Sakkaline Road, then venture to the Royal Palace Museum to delve into Laos’s royal history. Alternatively, explore the Pak Ou Caves, home to thousands of miniature Buddha statues, set against the backdrop of the majestic Mekong River.

Pena Palace in Sintra Portugal
iStock | CCaetano

Sintra, Portugal

Tucked away in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains, this town is dotted with pastel-colored villas, palaces, and lush gardens, making it a dreamy escape for history and nature lovers. After marveling at the romantic Pena Palace, visitors can wander through the Quinta da Regaleira with its gothic façades, or take a leisurely hike in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park to discover the Moorish Castle’s ancient ruins and a panoramic view.

Street in Alberobello italy
iStock | Sky_Blue

Alberobello, Italy

Famous for its trulli, white-washed stone huts with conical roofs, Alberobello offers a unique and picturesque setting that feels like stepping into a storybook. Beyond admiring the distinctive trulli structures, visitors can explore the Trullo Sovrano, the only two-story trullo, which now serves as a museum detailing traditional Apulian life, or visit the Casa Pezzolla Territory Museum, a complex of 15 interconnected trulli that delves into the architectural and cultural significance of the buildings.

Cesky Krumlov bridge over the water at sunset
iStock | Yasonya

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov, a charming medieval town with its castle overlooking a bend in the Vltava River, is a romantic setting filled with history, art, and beautiful landscapes. Tour the Cesky Krumlov Castle, notable for its Baroque theater, one of the world’s oldest preserved theaters, or take a guided rafting excursion on the Vltava River to gain a unique perspective of the town’s architectural splendor from the water.

Street in San Miguel de Allende in the evening.
iStock | ferrantraite

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

In San Miguel de Allende, couples can immerse themselves in the city’s artistic legacy at Fabrica La Aurora, a revitalized textile mill now hosting an array of art galleries and studios, or ascend in a hot air balloon with Globo San Miguel at dawn, to witness the historic city and its surrounding natural beauty unfold beneath them.

Famous Forsyth Park fountain in Savannah Georgia
iStock | SeanPavonePhoto

Savannah, Georgia, USA

With its cobblestone streets, historic homes, and moss-draped oaks, Savannah exudes old-world charm and romance, perfect for a leisurely and intimate getaway. Explore a guided tour of the historic Bonaventure Cemetery, immortalized in the bestselling book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” to experience its intricate Victorian-era tombstones and statues set against a backdrop of Spanish moss-covered oaks, or explore the vibrant Savannah Historic District, strolling through Forsyth Park to admire its iconic fountain, one of the city’s most photographed spots.

Hoi an Vietnam silk lanterns hanging in the street.
iStock | Oleh_Slobodeniuk

Hoi An, Vietnam

This ancient town is renowned for its beautifully preserved architecture, traditional lantern-lit streets, and tranquil river setting, offering a blend of cultural and romantic experiences. Join a lantern-making workshop with The Lantern Lady to create a traditional silk lantern, or attend a cooking class at the Morning Glory Cooking School to engage directly with the artisanal and gastronomic traditions that define this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hallstatt Austria town on the water
iStock | bluejayphoto

Hallstatt, Austria

Nestled between the edge of Hallstätter See and the towering Dachstein mountains, Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty and quaint village charm. Visit the ancient Hallstatt Salt Mine, recognized as the world’s oldest, and take the Hallstatt Skywalk, a viewing platform that offers panoramic views of the village, lake, and surrounding Alps.

View of the mediterranean from Ravello Italy's Villa Rufolo gardens
iStock | Janoka82

Ravello, Italy

Perched on the Amalfi Coast cliffs, Ravello offers stunning sea views, beautiful gardens, and a serene atmosphere away from the tourist crowds, making it a hidden gem for a romantic escape. Take in a classical music concert in the Villa Rufolo gardens, a 13th-century estate that hosts the Ravello Festival, with breathtaking views over the Mediterranean. Hike the nearby Path of the Gods or wander through Villa Cimbrone, famous for its “Terrace of the Infinite,” which provides sweeping vistas of the Amalfi Coast.

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