Love is in the air! Everywhere we look heart-shaped explosions of pink and red remind us that it's high time for Valentine's Day. If you feel the need to beat last year's last-minute effort of bad rosé and droopy roses, then a surprise treat to a romantic destination could be the answer. We've picked out some of our favorite romantic destinations to help you treat your someone special to a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.
1. Romantic Europe
Europe is a heavyweight when it comes to romantic getaways, with iconic destinations like Venice (pictured), Paris, Rome, Vienna, and Prague all vying for attention. In fact, picking just one destination can be the hardest part of the planning. Luckily Lufthansa offers roundtrip flights (from 618.16, a low by $25; expires March 31) to a wide variety of cities in Europe. Why not whisk your love away on a train ride through Europe, taking in several of the major tourist destinations. Chances are you'll miss your stop and end up in some tiny village (like Domodossola in the Italian Alps) that isn't on any map...and it'll be the highlight of your trip. If we had to pick just one European city for your love tryst we'd have to recommend visiting Venice. With its picturesque canals and car-free silence, this decadent city is the ideal background to your European love affair.
2. Tropical Paradise in Hawaii
Hawaii has long been the destination for happy couples and honeymooners, thanks to its stunning tropical environment, soft azure ocean, laid-back vibe and incredible sunsets and night skies. It's one of the few places where you can see both the North Star and the Southern Cross. Take advantage of this 3-night flight and hotel and car rental package (from $1,432, a low by $169, expires February 28) in the state capital of Honolulu then head over to Maui for world-class beaches and private look-out points over breathtaking scenery. Take your better-half's hand for a romantic nocturnal stroll along Kaanapali Beach and watch the bioluminescent sea-creatures illuminate up the waves.
3. Take a Tipple in the Wine Country, California
Board an American Airlines weekend roundtrip flight (from $92, a low by $169; expires February 7) and head to the vineyard regions of the Napa Valley and Sonoma in Northern California. There you can savor the good things in life. Take a drive through the sun-dappled hills and enjoy the rolling view of endless vineyards and quaint towns before ditching the car and indulging. Don't miss out on a Montaluce Winery and Estates Tasting Tour (from $35, a low by $30; expires March 15) to learn about the wines and improve your nose and palate. This sophisticated getaway will woo even the hardest of heart. And hey, if it all fails, at least you've tasted good wine. #priorities
4. Caribbean Dreams in Aruba
The Caribbean is a place to kick back and let the worries of the world slide away. Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela, has an enviable combination of sun, beach, and scenery. The Dutch-influenced architecture adds an unusual flavor to the island destination. Book a 5-night vacation (from $1,475.95, a low by $123; expires February 11) with a roundtrip flight and stay at the Holiday Inn Resort and let the relaxing begin! This is a place to really connect with your sweetheart, from a romantic afternoon swim in the turquoise waters of Cura di Tortuga volcanic grotto to building a devotional rock tower in Arikok National Park for bringing good luck to your relationship. And don't forget your camera! This will be a trip to remember.
5. Celtic Spirit in Ireland
If you want to treat your love to an ethereal vacation of ancient castles, haunted lakes, and druidic scenery then head to Ireland. There's a charm in Ireland that gets under your skin and lends a certain character to any vacation. We recommend renting a copy of Leap Year with Amy Adams to get an impression of the countryside and aforementioned character. Then book this 6-night Ireland flight, hotel, and car rental package (from $2,398, a low by $115; expires February 19)! It will bring you and your partner into the capital city, Dublin, and then allow you to roam the countryside. And if you're not careful you're very likely to fall in love — with the country itself!
6. Oriental Romance in Kyoto, Japan
Thanks to its role as the imperial capital of Japan for a thousand years, Kyoto is full of ancient temples, tea houses, and palaces. Opt for a visit during the cherry blossom season in early spring when the cities abundance of sakura turn Kyoto pink. To get a feel for the culture and traditions of the city, stay in a wooden ryokan or traditional inn, which typically features rice-paper screens, bamboo floors, and floor futons. To add a final flair of romance to your trip, hire a horse-drawn carriage to transport you and your significant other through Gion district, the most exclusive Geisha district in Japan.
7. Mythical Love on the Greek Islands
Dreaming of a Grecian getaway? Put your faith in Aphrodite (the ancient Greek Goddess of Love) and sweep your partner off to one of the many Greek Islands in the manner of Paris sweeping Helen away from Troy. This 9-night flight and hotel package for two (from $1,475.95, a low by $1,910; expires February 7) starts off with three nights in Santorini, one of the most romantic places in Greece. It boasts white and blue houses and dramatic cliff face. Earn extra brownie points by taking your loved one on a boat trip to the volcano and basking in the beauty of both the view towards the volcano and back over Santorini.
8. It Takes Two to Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Home of the tango, Buenos Aires doesn't do romance, it does passion! This city is a melting pot of old world chic and new world experimentation, so it's no wonder that the nation's traditional dance is still alive and (literally) kicking. Here, a quiet afternoon stroll amongst the Belle Époque architecture can turn into a street festival or edgy fashion shoot in an instant. Buenos Aires is bursting with surprises. And remember, the couple that dances together stays together.
9. African Safari: Kruger National Game Reserve, South Africa
Allow the primal heartbeat of Africa to rekindle the passion in your relationship as you journey to the Kruger National Game Reserve, situated on the northern border of South Africa. This 12,500-mile reserve includes all the "Big 5" animals (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo) and it's well worth booking a daybreak safari with an experienced bush-guide rather than combing the park endlessly yourself. This 10-night flight, hotel, and sightseeing package for two (from $6,950, a low by $1,748, expires February 9) includes a 2-night stay in a lodge inside the game reserve, which we highly recommend. At night you'll hear all manner of nocturnal animals, and maybe even lions roaring in the distance. With any luck your lover will leap into your arms, either through fright or desire. But does it really matter?
We chose this destination for the couple who like a little crazy in their romance. Costa Rica might not rank highly for its outright romance, but we found it able to rival any big destination in creativity and authenticity. The Tree House Hotel in particular gives your a chance to fulfill your childhood dream whilst also providing an incredibly romantic backdrop. The wooden suites are built on stilts connected by a sloping suspension bridge! Environmentalist will like to know that the furniture is hand-carved from sustainable wood.
We hope we've found a romantic destination that'll both put you and you partner in the mood without breaking the bank. If you're looking for a different kind of vacation be sure to be sure to check out our weekly travel deals for other car rental deals, discounted cruises, bargain hotel stays, and vacation packages.
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