5 amazing alternatives to the world’s most popular romantic places

If you’re dreaming of a romantic getaway with your significant other, Paris and Venice may well spring to mind. But there’s nothing that will kill the mood quicker than big crowds, long queues and heartbreaking prices. If you really want to spend some quality time with your valentine, consider these incredible alternatives to the world’s most popular romantic spots.

Ljubljana: the less crowded alternative to a weekend in Paris

Ljubljana. Credit: iStock / Trifonov_Evgeniy
Paris may be the romance capital of the world, but if you want to impress your significant other by thinking outside of the box, consider booking a trip to Slovenia’s capital. Ljubljana may be much smaller than Paris, but it is also a lot less crowded and the city has plenty of charm. Wander around the beautiful Old Town, exploring colourful markets and iconic landmarks like the Dragon Bridge and Ljubljana Castle, which affords a gorgeous view over the city from its hilltop position. Enjoy a romantic meal for two at one of the many restaurants along the banks of the river or take a picnic to the tranquil Tivoli Park. Missing the Mona Lisa? Ljubljana has plenty of museums and galleries, including the excellent National Gallery.

Chefchaouen: the instagram worthy alternative to Santorini

Medina in Chefchaouen, Morocco. Credit: iStock / John_Walker
If you and your beaux love to document your trips away, photogenic Chefchaouen has plenty of material for the gram. Nestled in the hollow of two mountains, the “Blue Pearl” of Morocco looks like a Greek island village with its mesmerising blue- and white- washed buildings and mediterranean-style terracotta roofs. Sure, it doesn’t have the beaches of Santorini, but there are plenty of places to relax and spend quality time with your loved one, from peaceful squares studded with ornate fountains to quirky cafés serving delicious dishes.

Con Dao Islands: the off grid alternative to the Maldives

Con Dao Islands, Vietnam. Credit: iStock / Khoa Nguyen
A cluster of 16 islands, Con Dao may be remote but it is without doubt one of the most astounding destinations in Vietnam. Still relatively little visited other than by Vietnamese tourists, this stunning tropical paradise promises beautiful beaches and lovely bays to rival those of the Maldives. If you want to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience with that special someone, the Con Dao National Park, which covers a massive portion of the archipelago, offers fantastic wildlife-watching opportunities. The seas are home to dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles, which lay their eggs on many of the islands between April and September.

Western Seafood Coast: the laidback alternative to driving the Amalfi Coast

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, Denmark. Credit: Dreamstime / Rphstock
Legendary lover Casanova reportedly ate 50 oysters every morning – hence the idea that oysters are a natural aphrodisiac. If you want to put the theory to the test there’s no better place than the western seaboard of Denmark. An absolute joy for foodies, the wild west coast of Jutland is the best place to sample freshly caught seafood. You even attend the Oyster Festival, which hosts oyster safaris, herbal tours and, of course, taste tests. Plus, taking a drive along this stretch of Denmark's coastline not only promises as many palate-pleasing delights as the Amalfi Coast, but also crowd-free beaches, surf towns and historic seafronts.

Annecy: the fairy-tale alternative to Venice

Annecy, France. Credit: iStock / Olga_Gavrilova
Let’s face it: over touristed Venice could do with a break. Enter Annecy, one of the most underrated romantic spots in Europe. Here, just like in Venice, canals wind languorously through the city, crossed by bridges and overlooked by ancient pastel-coloured buildings. But in Annecy there are no gondolas floating along the water. Instead, only the occasional swan glides over the surface, leaving visitors to enjoy some peace and quiet. With its cobbled streets, worn shutters and flower-filled window boxes, Annecy is like the setting of a fairy tale – the perfect place to enjoy a magical weekend with your loved one.

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