Feel like you and your sweetheart have done everything there is to do? This Valentine’s Day, think outside of the (chocolate) box and embark on one of these unique — and unusually romantic — getaways, from the stark orange desert of Oman to the snowy tundra of Greenland.
Perfect for: Luxury-minded lovers of hot weather
Where to stay: Six Senses Zighy Bay. This extremely posh desert resort comes complete with spacious pool villas and butler service and is situated on one of the finest stretches of beach in northern Oman. The holistic spa is the perfect hideaway; indulge in Ayurvedic treatments and a traditional Moroccan hammam for a most relaxing stay.
What to do: The resort staff can hook you up with a number of adventures in the Omani desert and seas, from paragliding to mountain biking to snorkeling. Discover Arabic cooking with a master-chef-led lesson and a tour of the on-site organic gardens. Or embark on a sunset cruise with your significant other, during which you’ll see a gold-and-pink sunset over Haffa Bay.
Perfect for: Dog lovers who don’t mind the cold
Where to stay: Nellim Wilderness Hotel. This eco-friendly hotel tucked away in the wild Inari area is a great base camp for your northern adventures. Guests can book an Aurora Bubble for the best views of the vibrant northern lights, but the cabins with steamy private saunas are also good bets for romance seekers.
What to do: Explore the local wilderness area with the hotel’s expert guides. Visit a nearby reindeer farm alongside a reindeer herder (yes, such a thing exists!). Drive a dogsled led by snow-loving huskies to glittering Lake Inari. Or snowshoe through Finland’s wild and frosty forests before stopping for an open-fire picnic lunch.
Perfect for: Escapists who love Southeast Asia’s beaches but hate crowds
Where to stay: Casa Colombo. This hotel in Sri Lanka’s capital is a funky and modern retreat, with 12 eclectic suites combining Moorish balconies, Italian tile and Indian art. Super-accommodating staff, a stylish restaurant and bar, and a pool surrounded by neon lights make this a truly sensual stay.
What to do: Mt. Lavinia Beach ranks among TripAdvisor’s best for its golden sunsets and inexpensive nightlife. Discover Sri Lanka’s long history and colorful culture at The National Museum, a surprising must-see. Or visit the beautiful Buddhist temples that dot the area, including Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, a serene shrine in the countryside.
Perfect for: Anglophiles interested in new landscapes and historic castles
Where to stay: St. George’s Hotel. This Victorian hotel is all elegant style and old-school cool (black-and-white-tiled bathrooms, crystal chandeliers and pitch-perfect service). Plus, it’s near the medieval castles of Conwy, Caernarfon and Criccieth, all of which you can rent for your moody, romantic Welsh wedding.
What to do: Llandudno, a seaside resort town, is a largely undiscovered destination with beautiful and ancient churches, long stretches of picturesque sand and Great Orme, a towering limestone landmark. Take a cable car up its cliffsides for stunning views of the north Welsh coast and emerald-green hillsides dotted with sheep. Bring your cutest sweaters.
Perfect for: Road-tripping oenophiles who like a good view
Where to stay: The Inn at Little Washington. The 24 splurge-worthy rooms and suites are unbelievably decorated in an English manor-home aesthetic and come complete with fireplaces and soaking tubs. Chef Patrick O’Connell’s restaurant of refined American fare is continually considered one of the best in the U.S. — perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime romantic meal.
What to do: In the state’s rural countryside, it becomes clear why the tourism slogan is “Virginia Is for Lovers.” Wineries and distilleries dot the rolling land along the western edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pull over for a round of tastings, embark on a scenic journey along Skyline Drive or descend into Luray Caverns.