It’s Valentine’s Day and around this time of year, you see a lot of lists of the top romantic destinations in the world. While I’d never turn down a romantic trip to Paris, I wanted to share with you some of the more off-the-beaten path, unexpected romantic destinations that I’ve visited over the past few years.
#1 – Óbidos, Portugal
The medieval village of Óbidos, Portugal, is short bus ride outside of Lisbon – making it the perfect day trip or overnight escape from the city. Complete with a castle, quaint cobblestone streets, shops and cafes, and Ginjinha (local, famous cherry liquor) served in edible chocolate cups, Óbidos is the perfect Portuguese romantic getaway. The village is also know as “The Wedding Town” as it was a traditional bridal gift of kings of Portugal to their queens, a custom dating back to 1282, which further adds to Óbidos’ romantic appeal.
#2 – Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan
One of the most luxurious and (also off-the-beaten path) places for romance in Jordan is Feynan Ecolodge in Jordan’s Dana Biosphere Reserve. Named one of the top 25 ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine, the 26-room lodge is truly unique. Feynan runs on solar power and is lit by candles at night, serves an all vegetarian menu, and is committed to sustainable tourism in coordination with the local Bedouin communities who reside near the lodge. Feynan is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Amman and a beautiful place for a romantic candlelit dinner under the stars.
#3 – Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
Egypt may be more well known for its pyramids, deserts, and the Nile than romance; however, when we ventured over to the Sinai Peninsula to Sharm el Sheikh for a belated anniversary celebration, we found our all-inclusive, oceanfront resort to be quite romantic! (You can read more about our visit to Charming Sharm here.) As tourism is down in Egypt, some days we had the beach practically to ourselves. The resort staff were very friendly, even sending us a gift for our anniversary. If you’re looking for a place to relax and not have to worry about planning the details of your trip, I’d recommend a romantic getaway to Cleopatra Resort on Nabq Bay just outside of Sharm el Sheikh.
#4 – Cappadocia, Turkey
While not too far off the beaten path, Turkey’s Cappadocia is known for its fairy tale-like atmosphere. With its unique “fairy chimneys”, the landscapes of Cappadocia are unlike any other. Imagine spending the night in your own cave and then getting up at dawn for an incredible sunrise. Caves, many of which were once home to churches, include ancient frescoes and are waiting to be explored. And, the Güllüdere (Rose) Valley has some of the most beautiful hiking in Turkey. Once you conclude a day of exploring, you can sit by the fire and enjoy a traditional Turkish meal and head to bed inside your very own cave. There is something quite romantic about the other worldliness of Turkey’s Cappadocia that makes it an unexpected romantic escape.