Sparks fly in these destinations that are ideal for a winter couples trip.
There’s something about a winter getaway to a mountain town filled with all the textbook cozy, cold-weather stuff that just screams romance. Imagine spending the day skiing, cuddling up on a sofa with a hot toddy or cup of mulled wine, heading to a dimly lit bistro for dinner, and retiring to a fireplace-warmed room at a charming slopeside hotel. Then again, jetting off to a warm-weather island in the Caribbean that has blue skies, beaches, and toes-in-the-sandy luxury resorts — and will leave you with that post-vacation glow — is guaranteed to get the sparks flying, too. The frosty season also stands out as the ideal time to visit a major city like Paris or New York City to get swept up in the cosmopolitan charisma and culture without droves of other tourists. And it’s worth considering a once-in-a-lifetime trip during a period that’s typically slower, which means more wallet-friendly rates and fewer travelers.
Searching for some inspiration for a couples-oriented escape that’s sure to delight during the months of December, January, and February? Read on for 20 incredibly romantic winter getaways experts love — and you will, too.
Paris ignites sparks in all seasons. A winter getaway to the City of Love is especially romantic. As the flakes fall and nights get longer, the French capital looks like a movie set come to life. It’s impossible not to fall in love with candlelit dinners, Seine river cruises, and sharing a bottle of red at an atmospheric wine bar. And, of course, few things are more amour-inducing than watching the skyline sparkle from above alongside your sweetie. The rooftop at Hôtel Dame des Arts boasts panoramic views of major monuments.
It’s hard to think of anywhere more quintessentially romantic than the Maldives. Couples looking to escape the cold will discover more than warm weather and sunny skies. White-sand beaches and shimmering blue water are just some of the most alluring traits. The islands also brim with luxury resorts that personify paradise. "At Six Senses Laamu, guests can spend days swimming with manta rays, relaxing in total seclusion, getting pampered at the spa, and dining by candlelight steps from the water," says Caroline Quinn, travel expert at Black Tomato.
Charleston, South Carolina
With incredible Lowcountry cuisine, postcard-worthy architecture, and sophisticated boutique hotels, Charleston charms year-round. When the thermometer drops and the crowds thin, it’s even more magical and romantic. And while it’s no secret the Holy City pulls out all the stops for the holidays, the twinkling lights stay up even after Santa departs. Frosty temps beckon couples to cuddle in cozy restaurants and fireside cocktail bars or go for bundled-up strolls along the waterfront. At The Spectator Hotel, personal butlers even draw candlelit rose baths for guests.
One of the most romantic destinations in the Caribbean, Anguilla exudes a barefoot luxury vibe with white-sand beaches, coral reefs, high-end hotels, and an excellent culinary scene. "It’s tranquil yet vibrant and filled with scenic beauty and activities for couples to enjoy during a sun-soaked winter escape," says Lucy Rudgard, Oceans & Islands travel consultant. Whether you’re catching rays around the cascading infinity pool at Malliouhana, snorkeling, sipping rum punch at a lively seaside shack, or cruising around in a colorful Moke, it’s a sublime mix of relaxation and recreation.
Mexico City, Mexico
The undeniable buzz and energy of Mexico City are infectious and seductive. From the vibrant nightlife to the exquisite culinary scene, this sprawling metropolis exudes rich character. With so much to discover around every corner, you could easily spend a week or more soaking the charm of its distinctive neighborhoods, admiring colorful portraits at the art museums, visiting 13th-century Aztec Templo Mayor, doing mezcal tastings, and eating flavorful food. Boutique hotels like Casa Polanco and La Valise Mexico City are a romantic home base in between exploring.
Few mountain towns have the prestige or panache of Aspen. It’s also endlessly enchanting in the winter when fresh flakes turn the alpine landscape into a real-life wonderland and the dreamlike atmosphere inspires romance. Couples can fill days skiing on the groomed slopes, riding the gondola for sweeping views, hitting the Nordic trail system, and twirling around the ice. At night, the award-winning restaurants and bars buzz with excitement. When it’s time to call it a night, snuggle up in sophisticated style at The Little Nell.
New York, New York
From carriage rides through Central Park and ice skating to dining in an outdoor igloo and drinks on a rooftop underneath the starry sky, New York offers a winter dreamland for couples. Yes, the City That Never Sleeps is inherently fast-paced, but a sense of peace permeates the colder months. Angela Malek, a North America travel consultant at Scott Dunn, encourages duos to slow down and take it all in. "Stop in a cute coffee shop and savor a frothy latte, unwind at a luxe hotel spa, see a Broadway show, and treasure those special moments spent together."
Most people visit Sonoma in the summer or peak harvest and completely overlook the sleepier winter season. Couples familiar with the myriad charms of this quieter period love the sense of seclusion and serenity that washes over northern California. It’s a great time to go wine tasting at the many organic vineyards, savor farm-to-table fare, unwind with spa treatments, strike out on the hiking trails in nearby state parks, and wander around the historic downtown. Without the crowds, everything just feels more intimate and romantic.
St. Barts has a reputation as an ultra-luxurious, adult-oriented island that’s at once revelrous and relaxing. In its peak season, this Caribbean paradise turns up the heat with buzzy beach club parties and see-and-be-seen restaurants. Of course, that’s not to say couples won’t find plenty of quiet moments to enjoy each other's company while doing serene hikes, indulging in spa treatments, blissing out on near-empty stretches of white sand, and posting up at a secluded villa or a five-star hotel that’s used to catering to anonymity-seeking A-listers.
A seductive feast for the senses, Marrakesh dazzles with colorful souks, Djemaa el Fna square, the oasis-like Majorelle Garden, and romantic riads with rooftops for watching the breathtaking sunsets. What makes the Red City especially appealing during the winter months is the mild climate and clear skies. If you really want to impress your partner, Rachael Mendizabal, lead tailor-made travel consultant at Scott Dunn, suggests coordinating dinner in a private tent in the Sahara desert to savor delicious Moroccan cuisine under a blanket of stars.
A legendary fall foliage locale and one of the prettiest small towns in Vermont, Stowe brings the romance in the snow-covered winter months. This adorable getaway in the northern corner of the Green Mountain State turns on the charm with New England architecture, covered bridges, and storybook ambience. Outdoorsy couples will love shredding the slopes, traversing groomed cross-country skiing trails, tubing, and ice skating. When it’s time to warm up, cozy cafes for sipping cocoa and quaint inns with fireside rooms await.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town overflows with natural beauty, history, and culture. Due to its Mediterranean climate, the months of December, January, and February are mostly warm and dry, which is prime for exploring its many scenic and human-made highlights. Whether you plan to spend a week exploring the beaches, climbing to the top of Table Mountain, and visiting Robben Island or just do a few days in the capital before heading to wine country or a safari in Kruger National Park, it’s the superlative far-flung escape for couples who like a little bit of everything.
London, United Kingdom
A winter trip to London is all about walking around to see the larger-than-life landmarks before ducking into pint-sized cafes, quaint bookstores, and fireside pubs to warm up. "The spirit of the seasons really comes alive in December with decorations and the annual Hyde Park Winter Wonderland," says Meg Shepro, a travel consultant at Scott Dunn. Of course, the Big Smoke charms couples in the quieter months of January and February, too. It’s a great time to see a theater show in the West End and stay at Beaverbrook Town House, a grown-up hideaway in Chelsea.
A sizzling port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena is the perfect romantic winter escape for couples who like warm weather, a sultry atmosphere, photogenic architecture, and beautiful beaches. The colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and lively performances at squares in the walled Old Town are matched by the wealth of experiences for pairs to enjoy — from candy making to the bustling nightlife scene. Just an hour boat ride away, the Rosario Islands have coral reefs with diverse marine life and excellent snorkeling.
Couples seeking a far-flung adventure should set their sights on Patagonia in the sunny winter (a.k.a. summer in the Southern Hemisphere). The ultimate romantic getaway for outdoorsy types, this vast final frontier region supplies a stunning mix of terrain — glacial fjords, sparkling lakes, temperate rain forests, and mountain peaks — for hiking and kayaking as well as unparalleled stargazing far away from light pollution. It’s not all rough and rugged, though — luxury lovers can shack up in elevated style at The Singular Patagonia.
Banff takes travelers' breath away in the winter — and it’s not just because of the frigid temperatures. This wonderland shows off spectacular scenery with snow-dusted forests and peaks. Must-do outdoor activities include skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, fat biking, ice skating on frozen lakes, and helicopter tours. Surrounded by protected parkland, the Fairmont Banff Springs is a regal castle hotel with a spa for couples treatments, cozy rooms, and seasonal dining.
If your definition of a romantic winter getaway involves the hustle, bustle, and exuberant energy of a dynamic city, Bangkok beats the rest. Thailand’s capital brims with ornate shrines, sacred temples, and mega malls. It’s also a culinary superstar, with everything from Michelin-rated fine-dining restaurants to famous street-food stalls with black sesame dumplings and aromatic bowls of noodles. "I like to send couples on a boat trip along the Chao Phraya River and for a nightcap at the rooftop bar atop The Peninsula Bangkok," says Quinn.
The "Jewel of the Pacific," Valparaíso is a vibrant and fascinating coastal city with centuries of rich history, countless frame-worthy photo ops, and a pleasant winter climate. Winter means plenty of wandering the colorful streets, admiring the unique architecture, and visiting La Sebastiana, the former residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda turned museum. Even if it’s not swimsuit weather, couples will still have a lovely time strolling along the gorgeous beaches. It’s also worth doing a day trip to nearby vineyards to sip local wine.
Many locals flock to Kawaguchiko for its world-class skiing and breathtaking alpine scenery. Traditional onsen culture continues to thrive and therapeutic hot springs dot the landscape. And the snug izakayas are perfect for date night. Quinn recommends staying at FuFu Kawaguchiko for snowy walks through the woods and mesmerizing views of Mount Fuji. "It’s a deeply romantic setting in the winter for couples who want to embrace the natural world along with a healthy dose of wellness and relaxation," she says.
Rome in December exudes a festive allure with holiday markets. January and February are wonderfully underrated months in the Eternal City. Less crowded than the nonstop summer season, this slower period provides ample opportunities for couples to visit renowned landmarks like the Colosseum and Pantheon without hordes of travelers. Trattorias attract diners with handmade pasta, red wine, and warm hospitality. It’s also possible to score favorable rates at Hotel de Russie, a Rocco Forte Hotel, which was voted Travel + Leisure's favorite hotel in Rome in the 2023 World's Best Awards.
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