Top 25 Romantic Travel Experiences Around the World: 2015 Viator Travel Awards

December 10, 2014 by

Romantic Tours, Things to Do, Travel Advice & Inspiration, Viator Travel Awards

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Editor’s Note: This post is part of the Viator Travel Awards, an annual awards competition where we – along with our readers, travelers, and fans – select the top things to do and see in each of the major regions we serve, the top things to do in our most popular tour categories, and more.

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Welcome to the 2015 Viator Travel Awards: Romantic Travel Edition! Whether you’re planning a trip around a special occasion – an anniversary, perhaps? – or you’re simply looking for a way to incorporate a romantic element into your next trip, we’ve got you covered with our list of the Top 25 Romantic Experiences Around the World.

The tours and activities we’ve highlighted were chosen based on traveler reviews, data from the millions of people who check out Viator.com during the year, and information on which tours travelers book most often. We think there’s something for everyone here, no matter what destination is next on your list, and it might be the best place to start brainstorming your next trip.

You’ll find all kinds of activities listed below, including helicopter rides, sunset cruises, and wine tasting trips near and far. Join us for this tour of the top 25 most romantic things to do!

1. Cruise into an unforgettable sunset

Sunset cruise in Hawaii

Sunset cruise in Hawaii

There’s something about putting your arms around a loved one as you watch the sun go down that just brings a smile to your face. It’s even better when you can watch that sunset on a cruise. Sail on San Francisco Bay on a luxury catamaran, watching the city glow as the sun sets. Sip champagne on a St. Lucia sunset cruise, enjoying hors d’oeuvres as the sun takes a dip into the Caribbean. Board an Arabian sail boat for a sunset cruise from Muscat in a wooden “dhow.” And if you think you might get peckish, you can go for a three-hour dinner cruise in Bali or a sunset champagne and dinner cruise along the Kohala Coast from Kawaihae.

2. Go wine tasting

Forget snacking on oysters – the easiest way to get in the mood for romance is an afternoon sipping wine in a variety of idyllic settings. Go on a wine tour of the Yarra Valley, with a ride on the historic Puffing Billy Steam Train. Drive through Tuscan countryside dotted with vineyards and medieval castles on a Chianti Region Wine Tasting Half-Day Trip from Florence. Combine a mountain view with a trip through Cava country on a Montserrat and Cava Trail Small Group Day Trip from Barcelona. Get a lesson in French wine tasting in Paris. Explore one of North America’s premier wine regions with a Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour from San Francisco.

3. Take a romantic helicopter ride

Las Vegas night helicopter

Soar over the sparkling lights of Las Vegas in a helicopter

What better way to rekindle those first date nerves than whisking your date into the sky on a breathtaking helicopter tour? Sip champagne on a private helicopter tour over Niagara Falls, getting unforgettable views of this natural wonder. Take to the skies with a private helicopter ride over Toronto. Make the trip extra-romantic (or extra thrilling) with a night helicopter flight over Los Angeles, or a night helicopter ride over Chicago. And for the ultimate combination of romance with sheer wow-factor, hop on board for a helicopter flight to see the Grand Canyon on a side trip from Las Vegas.

4. Renew your vows

Sometimes there’s nothing more romantic than reaffirming your love for the person you married all those years ago with a vow renewal ceremony. If you had a formal wedding, maybe you’d like to have a little kitschy fun this time at Las Vegas’ Graceland Wedding Chapel with an Elvis wedding. If you had a simple wedding, maybe you want pull out all the stops with a thrilling helicopter wedding in New York City. (Yes, the ceremony happens while in the helicopter over Manhattan.) And if you’re still as sappy-in-love as you were when you got married, how about a vow renewal in Paris, one of the world’s most romantic cities?

5. Get married

Valley of Fire wedding

Get married at the Valley of Fire

Anyone who loves to travel will love the idea of combining a trip with a wedding. We all know that Las Vegas is one of the top wedding destinations in the world, but it’s not all about the Elvis weddings. You could get married in a night helicopter flight over Las Vegas. You could enjoy the gorgeous red rock backdrop of a Valley of Fire wedding with transport by private limousine. You could combine thrills with scenery in a wedding in the Grand Canyon with transport by helicopter. And if you’re more interested in a beach wedding, you could choose a beach wedding in Tampa, Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, or a civil wedding ceremony on a Miami beach.

6. Set sail with your sweetheart

We don’t know what it is about sailing that is so romantic, but we’re willing to go with it. Especially when there are so many beautiful places to go sailing. Head out on a yacht for a private sailing trip from San Diego, with snacks to nibble along the way. Board a traditional wooden sailboat called a “gulet” for a luxury cruise in the Arabian Gulf from Dubai, including watersports and a buffet lunch. Go sailing and snorkeling around Molokini from Maui. Join a small-group sailing trip in St. Maarten, with homemade lunch and drinks. Treat your inner history buff to a sailing trip on the R. Tucker Thompson tall ship through the Bay of Islands. You’ll feel like an old world explorer, only with better lunch.

7. Get away for the weekend

Surprise your sweetie with a weekend getaway, and you’ll keep the travel fun (and romance) going. Don’t sweat the details, either – book a whole trip in one go and then you can both relax. Choose a private food and wine tour of the Mornington Peninsula with a local guide. Check out the mineral baths and spa at Mt. Rigi on a trip from Zurich, including a train trip to the peak of the mountain. Step back in time with a two-day trip to Delphi and Meteora from Athens. Book a romantic overnight trip to historic Alberobello, complete with a candlelit dinner and couple’s massage. Experience Australia’s red center more deeply with a two-day tour of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, during which you’ll see both sunrise and sunset over the famous red rock.

8. Snuggle on a horse and buggy ride

Horse and buggy ride in Paris

Horse and buggy ride in Paris

Being romantic is often about slowing down and taking in the scenery, which is easy when you’re tootling around in a horse and buggy – bonus points for chilly weather that requires serious snuggling. Enjoy a horse and carriage tour of Vienna with a visit to Belvedere Palace and a candlelit dinner. Take a private horse and carriage tour of Seville, either in the afternoon or in the evening. Visit Sonoma County’s vineyards via horse and carriage, with stops at three wineries. See the pretty English-style town of Victoria, Canada from the back of a “Royal Carriage.” You can even melt away the hustle of a big city like Paris with a romantic horse and carriage ride.

9. Take a luxury tour

There’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a bit of luxury when you travel, and it’s even more wonderful to do that with your soulmate. Sail around Sydney Harbour on a private luxury cruise, with either morning tea or an Australian barbecue lunch. Hawaii offers lots of luxury options, including a luxury sunrise experience at Haleakala National Park, a luxury small-group tour of the Road to Hana and Ka’eleku Cavern, and a luxury luau on Maui. To really push the word “luxury” to its limits, however, you can’t do much better than a four-night luxury safari at Sabi Sands Game Reserve near Kruger National Park. An all-inclusive stay at a 5-star safari lodge? Yes, we think that’s a good representation of an unforgettable life moment.

10. Savor a dinner cruise

Paris dinner cruise

Enjoy a romantic dinner while cruising down the Seine

Sometimes going on a boat tour when you’re traveling just isn’t a romantic enough experience. To take it to the next level, why not book a table on a dinner cruise? You’ll dine in style while the scenery drifts by. Step aboard an Old Spanish Galleon for a lobster dinner cruise in Cozumel. Float down the Yarra River while enjoying gourmet cuisine on a Spirit of Melbourne dinner cruise. Get to know the beachy side of L.A. with a 4-course meal on a Los Angeles dinner cruise from Marina Del Rey or Newport Beach. Sample an international menu on a Tokyo Bay dinner cruise. You can even kick up your heels after you eat on a dinner cruise from St. Petersburg with dancing after dinner.

11. Escape for a day

Maybe your sweetheart knows all about the plans for your trip. So maybe you throw in a little surprise curve ball with a day trip. See the Danube Valley on a day trip from Vienna, including a boat ride on the famous river. Get to know Valparaiso like a local with a private walking tour with transport from Santiago. Step inside the circle with a private viewing of Stonehenge, including stops in Bath and Lacock along the way. Explore Chichen Itza with early access and an archaeologist guide to see the ruins before the crowds arrive. And though you can’t buy a private island for a day, you can take a private island day trip from Nassau to escape the crowds.

12. Turn up the heat (in the kitchen)

Couples who cook together have way more fun, both in and out of the kitchen. Taking a cooking class together when you travel just ups the romantic ante even more. Learn to make some of those famous Italian dishes with a semi-private cooking class in a Tuscan villa. Get a private Greek cooking lesson in Crete. Visit a local chef’s residence in Barcelona for a cooking class. Take a half-day Malaysian cooking class in Kuala Lumpur to find out what makes this cuisine unique. Learn some of the secrets of Chinese food with a private dim sum cooking class in Shanghai, including steamed soup dumplings.

13. Plan something special for Valentine’s Day

Learn the art of French pastry in a Paris cooking class

Learn the art of French pastry in a Paris cooking class

Don’t let Valentine’s Day come and go with no fanfare – especially if you’re traveling in February. Make this holiday special with a memorable event. Maybe you’re in the mood for a Valentine’s Day dinner cruise from Waikiki. Perhaps you’d like to add some cabaret spice to your evening with a Lido de Paris Valentine’s Day dinner and show. Make some sweets with your sweetie – take a Paris cooking class all about desserts and pastries. Explore the history of adoration in a beautiful Italian city with a private “Bologna in Love” walking tour. Or simply say “I love you” in Paris, with a private limo tour of one of the world’s most romantic cities.

14. Stroll through a city hand in hand

When you get right down to it, there are few pleasures as lovely as the simple ones. For instance – walking through a new city with your loved one, for instance, discovering it side by side, holding hands. Take a romantic walking tour of Montmartre in Paris, with a stop at the “I Love You Wall.” Learn to see Santiago like a local, with a private walking tour of the markets, street food, and San Cristobal Hill. Follow up a private tour of the trulli of Alberobello with a wine tasting. See the famous monuments all lit up during a night walking tour of Rome. See how lively the evenings are in Argentina with a private night tour of Buenos Aires, including dinner.

15. Book a special shore excursion from your cruise

Taking a cruise can be a romantic way to spend a relaxing vacation, but you can take it to another level with a special shore excursion. Don’t follow the crowds to the usual places – book tours to the places you really want to see. From Santorini, you can take a private tour to a volcanic caldera, a traditional winery, and the village of Oia. Don an apron in Katakolon with a private Greek cooking class. Head inland from Marseille on a private tour of Avignon and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the world famous winery. Explore the highlights of Tuscany on a private countryside tour from Livorno, including tasting local wine and olive oil. For a real whirlwind trip, take a private tour of the Scottish Highlands from the Edinburgh port.

16. Be a VIP

Tour Napa Valley wine country in a helicopter

Tour Napa Valley wine country in a helicopter

Nothing takes the romance out of seeing a famous attraction like a crowd. Get above the fray with a VIP tour and the special treatment you and your sweetheart deserve. Take a night helicopter flight over New York City, plus a Statue of Liberty cruise to do NYC like a VIP. Waltz past the line for priority entry at Rockefeller Center ice skating, plus a visit to the Top of the Rock and access to the heated indoor chalet. Enjoy VIP seating at the world-famous Moulin Rouge, sipping champagne while you take in the cabaret. Tour Napa Valley wine country by helicopter, with a wine tasting, lunch, and views over the San Francisco Bay. You can also take a helicopter from Cape Town to the Cape Winelands for a gourmet lunch in an award-winning winery.

17. Treat yourself to a private cruise

Cruises are romantic – we’ve established that. Private tours are also romantic. When you combine the two, you’ve got something really magical going on. Take a private boat trip to Capri from Sorrento aboard a speedboat or a traditional wooden boat. Float between continents on a romantic private Bosphorus Strait cruise at sunset. Enjoy a private sailing cruise of Portugal’s coast from Lisbon. Savor the privacy of a romantic Seine River cruise on a private boat, followed by dinner near the Champs-Elysees. Or outdo yourself with a Seine dinner cruise in Paris with an overnight stay in your own private cabin, including live entertainment after your gourmet meal.

18. Relax into a spa day

Immerse yourself in a spa in Ecuador

Immerse yourself in a spa in Ecuador

Sometimes all it takes to be romantic is slowing down – but that can be hard when you’re on a trip and determined to always be doing something. Force yourself to relax by booking some time at a local spa. When in Iceland, that means a trip from Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon (everyone does it, but there’s a good reason for that). Combine sightseeing with spa time on a private tour of a volcano followed by hot springs from Santorini. Surround yourself with the natural beauty of the Puritama Hot Springs on a day trip from San Pedro de Atacama. After a marathon day of shopping, rejuvenate with a Milan luxury spa evening, including aperitivo. Spend a day in the Amazon jungle at the Papallacta Thermal Center and Spa on a day trip from Quito.

19. See the adults-only side of Las Vegas

To many of us, romance is hard to come by when the kids are always around. Even in Las Vegas, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities these days. For one night, though, leave the kids with a sitter and take in a little adults-only entertainment. Absinthe at Caesars Palace is like a raunchy traveling circus. Jubilee! at Bally’s is one of Las Vegas’ original showgirl revues, complete with the skimpy attire. The Vinnie Favorito Comedy Show at the Flamingo is never the same twice, although it’s always hilarious. And of course you can always get onstage yourself – or at least prepare for it – with a Stripper 101 class at Planet Hollywood.

20. Glide down a canal

Sailing on the ocean is certainly romantic, but what happens when your travel destination is inland? You look for canals, that’s what. Plenty of places have canals – and canal cruises – that let you get on the water without being near the ocean. You can enjoy a candlelight cruise on Amsterdam’s canals (which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that includes wine and cheese. You can tour Stockholm on its canals, using the boat as your transport from sight to sight. Stay up late with a midnight cruise in St. Petersburg to see the city’s drawbridges go up. See a less-known side of Prague with a canal cruise through “Little Venice.” And then see the real Venice with a night cruise of hidden canals in a traditional Venetian boat.

21. Feed your passion

Tapas walking tour of Barcelona

Tapas walking tour of Barcelona

Sharing a food experience with someone we love can be as intimate as it is delicious. Make tasty memories with your fellow foodie on a food tour the next time you travel. Spain is famous for its late-night dining, so join in the fun with a tapas evening walking tour of Barcelona, or a tapas night walking tour in Madrid. Sample the unique nighttime culinary scene of Tokyo with a night Japanese food tour. Get insider information on hidden foodie hotspots on a Turkish food tour of Istanbul by night. Explore the fascinating array of snacks on a Siem Reap street food evening tour, while being transported by a motorized rickshaw.

22. See a show

There’s something about going to a performance that makes us feel cultured – and that’s especially true when it’s a show that captures local flavor. You can, for instance, get a better understanding for the steamy dance culture of Spain by going to Flamenco Night at Tablao Cordobes in Barcelona. You’ll see San Francisco’s silly (and dare we say gaudy) side at the Beach Blanket Babylon show in North Beach. Be stunned by the acrobatics of Shanghai Circus World, with their ERA Intersection of Time show. Steep yourself in the traditional Kecak Dance, Fire Dance, and Sanghyang Dance in Bali at an evening performance. And you can’t go wrong with a classic – get tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

23. Surround yourself with tropical paradise

Does the concept of “paradise” not seem complete without your sweetie by your side? Then complete the picture on your next trip. Greet the dawn of a new day together in the paradise of Hawaii with a sunrise tour of Mt. Haleakala – there’s no better way to watch the sunrise than from the top of a mountain. Visit a Mediterranean island paradise with a day trip from Dubrovnik to the island of Korcula for wine tasting. Travel like a movie star with a private luxury yacht cruise from Cannes along the French Riviera. Get the best of both worlds with a tour of both the El Yunque Rainforest and Luquillo Beach in Puerto Rico. Explore the otherworldly terrain of the Rio Secreto underground river, including a crystal cave with surreal mineral formations.

24. Cuddle up for winter

Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights in Iceland

You don’t need an excuse to cuddle with the love of your life, but we’re happy to give you one, anyway. Take a tour of Seattle’s breweries and its Christmas light displays, including a behind-the-scenes brewery tour. Marvel at the icy wilderness on a whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour from Juneau. Soak in the gorgeous Norwegian scenery on a sightseeing cruise of Oslo’s fjords. Add a bit of adventure to your trip with a visit to Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge during their Winter Wonderland celebration. Be utterly awed by nature during a Northern Lights night tour from Reykjavik – something you’re sure to talk about for many winters to come.

25. Make your New Year’s Eve kiss more memorable

It’s not too late to make spectacular plans for New Year’s Eve – the kind of thing that you’ll both remember for years, and that doesn’t take a huge amount of effort. We’ve made it easy for you with some New Year’s Eve tours. Welcome the new year in Paris aboard a New Year’s Eve Seine River cruise, including a 4-course meal and entertainment. Join the locals in Reykjavik for a New Year’s Eve bonfire and fireworks display, not to mention lots of street parties. Watch New York City’s fireworks at midnight on a New Year’s Eve cruise on New York Harbor, including a champagne toast and desserts to snack on. Or head down under for a warmer introduction to 2015 with a Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve cruise, including cocktails and hors d’oeuvres all evening.

 - Viator Travel Team

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2 Responses to “Top 25 Romantic Travel Experiences Around the World: 2015 Viator Travel Awards”

  1. Elena&Pero Says:

    We do like all about Florence and Tuscany, specially horse riding in Chianti day trip from Florence. Next time we shall write something more about Florence and Tuscany romantic experiences as Florence and Old Bridge do deserve to be mentioned. We love Viator!

  2. Alex SG Says:

    Almost everywhere I go I try to rent a scooter and checkout the local area. The feeling is much more intimate plus you can stop nearly anywhere, park the scooter, walk around and talk with the locals. The feeling is a lot more authentic than sitting on a tourist bus watching the outside world from your premium leather seats. Strong agree with the points above.

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