Many of us scramble to come up with creative, romantic, and affordable ways to celebrate with our partners.
Typically, the occasion is commemorated with one or more of the following: flowers, candy, and a romantic dinner out at a nice restaurant.
However, from time to time it’s nice to shake things up and do something completely different…like take a trip.
I worked with other traveler enthusiasts and put together a list of their favorite romantic and affordable destinations around the world to help you get some new ideas.
Here are their favorites.
= UNITED STATES =
1. The Big Island, Hawaii
Of all the Hawaiian islands, the Big Island is definitely a friendly and budget-conscious destination where you can travel inexpensively if you like to do things on your own. The island offers a lot of outdoor adventure that is free: beaches, gorgeous coastline, waterfalls, hiking – it’s all up to you to decide. The towns are free and fun to explore along with Farmer’s markets and many tourist events sponsored by the Big Island tourist Bureau.
The budget also goes a long way food-wise wise with plenty of food choices for cheap eateries, take-out food and our favorite poke (raw fish) shops that offer plenty of interesting fish choices for a great price.
Check out some of my favorite things to do in West Hawaii Island and attractions here for more inspiration and wonderful places to explore on the Big Island.
Contributed by Noel at Travel Photo Discovery
2. New York City, New York
Contributed by Ian of Escaping Expectation
= CANADA =
3. Banff, Alberta
Immerse yourself in Quebec’s winters with a romantic glamping experience!
Spend the night in a ready-to-camp oTENTik luxury tent in Mauricie’s national park and, by day, try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or even building a fort in the deep snow.
Original and perfect for a couple’s getaway, this choice of lodging will allow you to take advantage of nature while cocooning close to the wood fire upon nightfall.
Available in many of Canada’s national parks, oTENTik is a cool way to take advantage of the cold season without compromising on comfort and romance! The cost for one night is 120 CAD$.
Contributed by Jennifer of Moi, Mes Souliers (Me, My Shoes)
5. Punta Mita, Nayarit
With the dollar to peso exchange rate currently at around 20 to 1, Mexico is an ideal destination for adventure travel!
Situated on the Pacific Coast of The Riviera Nayarit, Punta Mita is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
Fresh seafood, chilled beers and salt-rimmed margaritas await your arrival!
While accommodations can range in price, affordable options are not difficult to find.
Take for example Meson de Mita , located at Anclote Beach and only steps away from the coral sand and swimming-pool like turquoise ocean.
Rent a SUP (stand up paddle board), take a panga (a sturdy little boat) to the nearby Marieta Islands, or just sit yourself down under one of the many beach umbrellas that line the beach with a good book in one hand and a cold drink in the other.
Hungry? There is no shortage of local culinary delights. One of our favorite spots is Original Anclote. The owner and her staff are extremely attentive and the food is always fresh and affordable. Mention that Los O’Gradys in Mexico sent you and realize a 10% discount on your bill if payment is made in cash.
No matter how you choose to spend your Mexico vacation, a visit to Punta Mita, Nayarit is sure to satisfy!
Contributed by Katie of Los O’Gradys In Mexico
= EUROPE =
6. Mykines, Faroe Islands
In my opinion, tiny Mykines in the Faroe Islands is the perfect destination for a romantic escapade, provided you love nature. It’s also a place where you can have unique experiences without breaking the bank!
The island can be reached by helicopter, and the ride from Vagar airport will only cost you about $25!
Mykines is a birdwatching paradise in summer, when over a million birds nest on the island that only has 14 permanent inhabitants. You’ll see puffins, gannets, oystercatchers, arctic terns and more, and the landscapes are just breathtaking.
There isn’t a huge amount of places to stay on Mykines, but most options are budget friendly – you can camp for only a few dollars, you can stay in the ‘yellow house’ hostel for $20, or opt for a homestay for about $80 per person, including guided hikes and full board.
Contributed by Margherita of The Crowded Planet
7. Paris, France
As far as romantic destinations go, Paris is the classic choice, and no list would be complete without the city of love itself.
There are many museums, historic attractions, charming cafes and beautiful parks to visit, and as far as romantic things to do, you can sip champagne in front of the Eiffel Tower, go for a romantic stroll along the Seine, or have a Lady and the Tramp dinner in a romantic alleyway.
As far as budget travel goes, hostels close to the main attractions are around 30 USD per night. But if you’re not looking to share your romantic evening with 6 other room-mates, private rooms start around the $80 mark. Also check budget hotels and Airbnb.
The average cost of a nice romantic dinner (including wine) will be around $40 USD. If you’re eating in the tourist area this could be 30% higher. But there’s nothing more romantic than an intimate picnic on the Seine, and there are many markets and shops where you can pick up cheap ingredients. It’s around $15 to create your own meal this way … more if you buy wine!
Contributed by Meg & Mike Jerrard of Waking Up Wild
8. Marseilles, France
If you’ve spent any time in France, it’s likely you haven’t been to Marseille. This overlooked city – France’s second largest in terms of population – also holds the title of the oldest continuously-inhabited city and port in France (30,000 years and counting). And with age comes a certain charm and romantic appeal that many of the neighboring towns along the French Riviera sorely lack.
The heart of the city is the Old Port (Le Vieux Port), a great focal point for a day or weekend getaway to this extremely diverse Provençal city.
A stroll along the Quai des Belges and either a few go-rounds on the Ferriss wheel or a Petite Train ride up to the Notre-Dame de la Garde, a basilica offering a 360-degree view of the city, will get your heart pumping and tempt you and your significant other to plot your move to Provence. From there, it’s possible to see Chateau d’If, the setting for the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
After a half hour of snapping pictures of the rooftops and landscapes of Marseille and imagining the streets as Cezanne and Van Gogh may have seen them, head back down to the port for a lunch of bouillabaisse or salad Nicoise and a carafe of rosé, for which the locals are fiercely proud.
After lunch, wander out of the sun to shop, visit several of the local museums, such as Musee des Beaux-Arts at the Palais Longchamp, then hop on a boat for a tour of the Marseille coastline or a quick hop to d’If.
Finish the day with dinner and sunset at L’Épuisette, a restaurant perched above the reefs of the fishing port of the Vallon des Auffes, a short stroll southwest along the seafront from the Old Port.
When the sun goes down, head back to the Old Port to people-watch with a glass of pastis under the glow of incandescent and neon lights (or perhaps peruse the local real estate offerings and plan your Provençal life). While you may not end up living in an apartment on the Rue Canebiere, at the very least you’ll return to France’s southern capital.
Contributed by Tracey Stark of Freedom Chasers
9. Prague, Czech Republic
With its cobbled lanes, magnificent royal gardens and a myriad of Baroque and Gothic architecture, it’s no wonder Prague has gained itself a reputation for being one of the best romantic getaways for couples in Europe.
With its tall spires and a historical center that looks like it’s been taken straight out of a storybook, Prague easily rivals cities such as Rome and Paris on the romance scale.
Visit in the spring when Petrin Park is in full bloom with hundreds of cherry blossoms, when tourists are in fewer numbers and when there is still a crisp breeze in the air, the perfect excuse to huddle ever so slightly closer to your loved one.
Contributed by Samantha of The Wandering Wanderluster
10. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is a city with a split personality which makes it the perfect destination for lovers (and lovers of travel).
The Old Town has that romantic medieval feel with Edinburgh Castle sitting proudly at the top of the Royal Mile while the New Town is awash with swanky bars and bustling restaurants. Where dining and drinking can be expensive in Scotland’s capital there are many free Edinburgh activities to help budget travelers.
There are three walking trails which I recommend:
- An easy short (like 5 minutes) walk up to Calton Hill is top of any Edinburgh visitor’s itinerary as the views of the city are majestic. Go at dusk to see the sunset over the Castle and Princes Street Gardens.
- The second route is a little more challenging, a hike up Arthur’s Seat (next to the Scottish Parliament) for views of Calton Hill and beyond Edinburgh.
- The final walking route is in Leith, the village within the city. The Water of Leith Walkway can be as long as you like from 2-7 miles with lots of stops at cafes and pubs along the way, it is Scotland after all!
Contributed by Gemma & Craig of Two Scots Abroad
11. Budapest, Hungary
I fell in love with Budapest in 2007. Between then and 2015, I’ve visited the city more than 10 times and each time I found something new to do.
For the couple who wants to visit Hungary’s capital for a romantic vacation, I recommend starting with a ride in Budapest Eye, the Ferries wheel which is located in Elisabeth Square.*
From here, make your way to the Danube Promenade and, hand in hand, soak in the atmosphere of the city stopping to take photos of the beautiful landmarks.
The Promenade ends at Chain Bridge and now you can either cross it and then climb up to Buda Castle (or take the Funicular); or continue towards the Parliament and then further to Margaret Island.
Make sure to stop for some sweets, as Budapest is very well known for them!
* It is seasonal, though, so you have to research before you go.
Contributed by Cris of LookNWalk
= AFRICA =
Our favorite romantic destination has to be Seychelles. It was our choice to spend three magical weeks during our honeymoon, island hopping from one magnificent paradise to another. It’s rare to come across secluded beaches, lines with exotic vegetation, crystal clear waters, and tropical marine life. I simply can’t imagine a better place to watch the sunset with my partner or walk hand in hand on the finest, white sandy beaches.
The Seychelles aren’t too cheap and I would definitely not class it as a budget-friendly destination, but indie travelers can always find a way to enjoy this paradise at lower prices.
Although my husband and I treated ourselves in one of the most expensive hotels in the Seychelles (think over $1500 a night), we also spent a week in a mid-range apartment, overlooking the ocean for just $100 a night. The good news is that certain villas start from as little as $60 a night. A price worth paying in exchange for spending some time in paradise.
Contributed by Cory of You Could Travel
= INDIA =
Darjeeling, a place as exotic as its name and its tea, is situated in the Himalayan foothills of Northern India.
Situated at an altitude of 6,700 Feet, this hill station is serenaded by one of the World’s highest mountain peaks. the Kanchenjunga. The cool and fragrant mountain air with a tinge of the freshness of tea is sure to ensure all your romantic instincts are on high alert.
A heritage toy train takes the romanticism of the place to another high. Add to this a mesmerizing sunrise with spectacular views of the mighty Himalayan ranges and you have a fairytale destination, a place that has leapt out of the pages of a book.
What is really wonderful is that one can experience this exhilarating and romantic destination on a budget too. Options range from the Luxurious to Budget and one can enjoy Darjeeling even as low as $50 per day.
Contributed by Sandy & Vyjay of Voyager
= ASIA =
14. Bali, Indonesia
If you are looking for some privacy and also want to keep your wallet happy, this hidden gem is perfect for you. It’s called Room@Bali and is located five minutes outside Ubud. You get your own apartment, with a kitchen and living room and an unbeatable view right across the rice fields and the Ayung River Valley.
Each apartment is decorated differently, has a huge balcony and overlooks a typical Bali rice fields. Depending on what room, booking site and period you book, you can get your romantic get-away for $60 per night.
Contributed by Nadine of Blonde Seashell
15. Bintan, Indonesia
If you are looking for a romantic destination, Bintan is a perfect choice.
Bintan is an island located in Indonesia and the landscape is very beautiful. The island is very quiet and the atmosphere is very relaxing.
You will find paradise beaches with white sand and blue waters where you can go snorkeling, sunbathing or swimming.
Another perfect romantic plan is to enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine — surreal romantic moments to share between you and your partner. An unbeaten favorite view is of course the one where you can watch the sunset over the beach. Much better enjoyed while having a fabulous dinner!
The island day trips are beautiful, and at night, the Mangroves sparkle with fireflies. All these things cost $30-40 per day and person.
Contributed by Rubin & Rachel at Gamin Traveler
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these amazing places and that got some ideas for future trips.
Which one did you like the most? Which one are you most likely to visit? Are there any romantic (and affordable) destinations you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments below.
Until next time, wishing you awesome travels…and a romantic getaway!
© All photos are copyrighted by the contributors unless otherwise noted.