Likes: holding hands, feeling the sand between your toes, the intoxicatingly fresh smell of salty sea air, and long walks on the beach. Dislikes: concrete, crowds, and lonely nights home alone. Good news, pleasure seekers, these 15 island getaways know just what you want in a romantic vacation, and they’re just waiting to make you and your sweetheart’s palm frond-fanned fantasy come true. Pack your bikini and swim trunks and some decent SPF (anything else is purely up to you) and prepare yourselves for a memorable getaway – and never fear, we checked, and there’s just room for two.
Poor Puerto Rico is far too often underrated as a travel destination, but the hidden coves, unspoiled landscapes, and laid back lifestyle of the locals in Vieques is perfect for a couple of lovebirds looking for a relaxed island escape. Forget chain restaurants and hoards of tourists; Vieques doesn’t even have traffic lights, and you’ll often have to yield the right of way to a herd of wild horses as you head down to the beach. Sea turtles are protected here, and it’s no wonder – you’ll find yourself happily falling in step with their trademark languid pace before the sun sets on your first day here in paradise.
St. Barths in the French West Indies is widely regarded as rich people’s playground, making it the perfect place to go when you want to party like the elite. Exclusivity is the name of the game here, and from the sparsely populated stretches of pristine white beaches to the designer clothing shops to restaurants that cost more for a meal than most people pay per month in rent back on the mainland, this exotic utopia is a sun-drenched glimpse into how the other half spend their time away from home. If your idea of romance is a Caribbean island with world-class dining and being waited on hand and sand-dusted foot, this is the spot for you.
There’s something romantic about being surrounded by sweet smelling breeze, and when you step onto the island of Mo’orea and find yourself greeted by the intoxicating scent of vanilla – the nation’s signature crop – you can’t help but be lulled into a bit of a mushy mood. If the natural perfume of the island doesn’t get you hot and bothered, maybe sharing a meal of fragrantly spiced fish followed by a moonlit splash in palm tree-lined lagoon will do the trick.
Romance is so abundant in the South Pacific nation of Fiji that it takes 333 islands to contain it all. With such an impressive amount of real estate on offer, it’s no surprise that there’s accommodations to suit every taste, budget, and lifestyle. Hang out in a hostel with little more than a backpack and flip flops to your name, or book into a five-star resort and spend your honeymoon in completely catered bliss. Either way, you won’t spend too much time indoors because as comfy as your bed may be, the coral reefs, coconut groves, and private waterfall picnics are calling. You should most definitely answer.
Venice is nice and Rome certainly has charm, but if you’re yearning for a beachfront getaway in one of the world’s most romantic countries, look no further than the Italian island of Capri. The locals embrace the idea of living life to the fullest, and it’s impossible not to be swept along into that current of wonderfully infectious energy. With waterfront accommodations aplenty, numerous places to sun yourself along the rocky shores, and a delicious family-run trattoria around every corner, you’ll never run out of ways to kick back and enjoy the good life with your better half.
If you’ve ever dreamed of skinny-dipping in the ocean a few short strokes away from the sunbathers on shore, the scattered rock formations that ring Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands provide the perfect cover for your naughty game of hide-and-go-peek. Less adventurous couples will still revel in the island’s exclusive feel; as beautiful as its more populous cousins in the BVI chain, Virgin Gorda is less spoiled, with only a handful of resorts and limited commerciality that makes this hidden spot feel like it’s just been waiting for you two kids to arrive.
Hawaii as a whole is not exactly undiscovered territory, but of the eight main islands, Kauai’s sweeping vistas and hidden treasures make it the best spot for a romantic getaway. Kayak up the Wailua River, hold hands as you stare into the cavernous depths of Waimea Canyon, listen as the locals tell their sacred legends, or simply sit side by side as the sun sets over the lush rim of your own private lagoon and listen as the wind whispers over the hills.