This post was originally posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on April 7, 2016.
Are you and your better half trying to plan a romantic trip somewhere soon? Choosing a destination that is secluded, pleasant, and welcoming can be challenging, so Hipmunk has helped narrow it down for you. Here are a few less-heralded spots that promise to be serene and memorable for couples, without the buzzing of tourists around.
Alappuzha (or Alleppey), India
Located in southern India on the tranquil Laccadive Sea, Alappuzha is blessed with natural beauty, calm waters, and abundant marine life. It sits precisely at sea level, making it a tremendous place for meandering around by boat or canoe. And with its vast network of canals and lagoons, as well as over a thousand houseboats, it is no surprise that Alappuzha was declared The Venice of the East.
After flying into Delhi, you can either take an overnight train or rent a car to travel the remaining 1,500 kilometers to paradise. For the ideal weather (and no risk of monsoons), April through June is the best time to go.
Walk along the Alleppey Beach for a breathtaking sunset, picnic by the palm groves and the 19th century lighthouse, and paddle along the sea like a halcyon. This spot is so far off a tourist’s radar, you may feel as though the lighthouse is winking just for the two of you.
Of course, some couples are looking for more buoyant, above sea level adventures. Nyungwe sits 3000 feet above sea level and is home to the Nyungwe National Forestin southwestern Rwanda. This tropical rainforest is studded with towering trees, colorful orchids, and swirling butterflies. Its biodiversity is startling and unequaled, with 13 primate species, 275 bird species, and a bouquet of other mammals, plants, and reptiles.
Enjoy a hike or a bike ride across the woodland’s 1000 square kilometers, circling waterfalls and high ebonies, and then cozy up at the Nyungwe Forest Lodge, surrounded by tea fields at the edge of the forest floor.
Getting here isn’t exactly easy, but it is well worth the travel. Fly into Johannesburg Airport and spend a night there before connecting to a smaller plan for Rwanda. These small flights only go out four times a week, so book early and plan ahead!
Another option with less travel hassle to be had is Orange Beach. This white sand beach will relinquish your stress, and leave you and your beau alone to relax on a blanket, swim in the Gulf of Mexico, watch the sunset, or go dolphin cruising.
Have a lazy brunch at Brick & Spoon, surrounded by Bloody Marys and eggs Benedict. For dinner, make sure you order some cold bubbly and imbibe the fresh-off-the-boat seafood at the townies favorite spot: Cosmo’s. The oysters are not to be missed, and will be sure to add a little extra flavor to your utopic evening.
Salamanca is in northwestern Spain, sitting right in the heart of Ribera Del Duero and the richest Tempranillo wine productions in the world. The weather is continental, with hot summers and cool winters, so spring and fall make for perfect seasons to travel here. Enjoy a ripe red wine at the local vineyard, or take a bottle to the Plaza Mayor, right in the heart of city center. Although more heralded than some on this list, the gorgeous baroque style plaza is a quiet, pedestrian-only plaza that seeps romance. Peppered with cozy restaurants and shops, it is known as one of Spain’s most beautiful and prized centers.
Fly into nearby Madrid and lazily make your way to Salamanca, where restaurants, vineyards, and piquant adventures are just a few miles away.
Another extraordinary European destination where you can hear your echo for miles around is in a little town named Alnwick. With a population of just over 8,000 and sitting 32 miles from Scotland, this town is no more than a gentle whisper to most ears. You’ll be sure to have privacy and bounty as you walk along the cobblestone streets, or hike atop the rolling hills and come upon the Alnwick Castle, a 1,000 year old masterpiece of prestige and legend. Your closest airport is over in Scotland, at theEdinburgh Airport. And why not have a spot of lox and scotch before heading across the border?