Adventurous vacations can be the perfect setting to help sparks fly amongst romantic couples. They not only provide the perfect combination of adrenaline, excitement, and exercise — but they often immerse us in history and culture too. Studies show that both exercise and fear mimic the signs of arousal (heart pumping fast, shortness of breath), which increases attraction in your date's eyes. Our suggestion? Test those theories on one (or all!) of these amazing adventure trips.
Paddle the Amalfi Coast
Italy's Amalfi Coast is a destination that blends culture, history, adventure, beautiful landscapes, and romance in one amazing place. This UNESCO World Heritage site is breathtaking to behold, with towering cliffs, deep blue water, and lovely Italian villages splayed out across its slopes.
Perhaps the best way to take it all in is from the seat of a tandem kayak, with your favorite travel partner along for the ride. The waters just off the coast are tailor-made for those who love to paddle, and after you've worked up an appetite you can pull into shore to enjoy delicious Italian cuisine and local wine too.
Go Surfing in Bali
Bali is well known for being a romantic destination with some beautiful, secluded resorts that give couples all of the peace and quiet they could possibly want. But if you're looking to add a little adventure to your tropical escape, why not consider going surfing while you're there too.
The island is a mecca for surfers, offering hundreds of miles of beaches to explore. That means there are areas to surf for every skill level, ranging from complete beginner to seasoned pro. If you're new to the sport, take a lesson at the Odyssey Surf School, then hit the waves in one of the most breathtaking and romantic places on Earth.
Take in the Northern Lights in Finland
Arctic Europe is a fantastic place to see the Northern Lights, and you don't necessarily need to go during the winter to enjoy the show. Other than the two months of the summer when the Midnight Sun is at its zenith, the Aurora Borealis can be seen just about any time across Norway, Finland, and Sweden.
There is nothing quite like snuggling up with a loved one to watch the green, orange, and red lights dance across the sky. It is a sight that should be on every traveler's bucket list and it can be overwhelming to watch it unfold. But it is even more romantic when staying in a glass igloo with an unfettered view of the sky overhead all night long.
Go on Safari in Africa
An African safari is one of the most adventurous and romantic experiences a couple can enjoy together, mixing amazing wildlife, iconic settings, and outstanding lodges. Spend the day on game drives, spotting lions, leopard, elephants, and other amazing creatures, while at night you enjoy fine dining, spas, and comfortable suites that reflect the local culture.
Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa all offer wonderful lodges for couples to enjoy, as do Botswana, Zimbabwe, and other African nations as well. For instance, visitors to Kruger National Park can stay at the breathtaking Royal Malewane, which is simply put one of the best resorts in the entire world.
Ride a Mule Down a Cliff in Molokai, Hawaii
Molokai, Hawaii, is still an unspoiled treasure, with no buildings higher than three stories and a population of less than 7,500 people. It's rife with activities, too: Hike to a waterfall-fed spring, watch the sunset from a quiet beach, or hit the trail on an exhilarating mountain bike ride.
The truly adventurous can test their nerves on a mule ride down a nearly 1,800-foot-high cliff to Kalaupapa National Park. In the 19th century, Hawaiian King Kamehameha V banished all residents with Hansen's disease — aka leprosy — to this peninsula; today, it's a tightly-knit community for former patients, National Park Service employees, and Department of Health workers. It is a quiet corner of the island free from movie theaters, restaurant, and shopping malls, where residents stop to soak in the scenery of this island paradise.
Sail on a Felucca in Aswan, Egypt
Egypt is a country filled with mystery and wonder, with amazing sites to be found at every turn. Couples will be enthralled with the Great Pyramids at Giza, the Sphinx, and a myriad of other ancient wonders of course, with the rich history and culture of the country on display.
But for a truly romantic experience hop on a traditional Nubian boat — called a felucca — while visiting the southern city of Aswan, one of the sunniest cities in the world. Powered by sails, these boats offer a leisurely cruise along the Nile River, giving visitors a glimpse of what life has been like there for centuries. You can even get off the boat and walk through a Nubian village, wandering pathways that have been used for countless generations.
Float in a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey
Drifting in a hot air balloon over the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey; sleeping in an intimate cave room or a suite in an old, hillside mansion — it's hard to get more romantic, or thrilling, than that. Make Nevishir your home base as you head outside for hikes and mountain bike rides around Pigeon Valley. Scenic trails thread through this otherworldly landscape that was created by erupting volcanoes some three million years ago. As the ash settled, it formed a layer of tufa in places covered with basalt lava. Centuries of wind, rain, and hot and cold weather extremes have eroded the tufa, creating fantastical shapes that are called fairy chimneys today. The view from above via hot air balloon — or from the ground on foot — is simply mind-blowing, particularly when shared with someone you love.
Swim in a Cave in Rivera Maya, Mexico
You could easily spend your whole vacation sunbathing and snorkeling on the Yucatan Peninsula's striking beaches, but you'd miss an entire underground world just waiting to be explored. The asteroid that hit this region 65 million years ago created a unique topography that is essentially a mega-sized slab of limestone that allows moisture to easily pass through. This has led to the creation of thousands of cenotes — the Mayan word for "sacred well."
These mineral-rich pools are well-defined sinkholes, formed when the limestone top of a cave broke and opened up the underground pool below to the sky above. Many are open to the public for swimming and snorkeling, and each have their own charms. For instance, Gran Cenote, located about two hours from Tulum, claims crystal clear waters and lush jungle surroundings, while Dos Ojos ("Two Eyes") contrasts one crystal-clear pool with another dark and cavernous well. Either will provide an experience that will create memories for a lifetime, especially for couples.
Take an Adventurous Cruise
Cruises are often seen as romantic escapes, but they aren't always seen a grand adventure. But traveling on a small-ship excursion can actually provide both. During the day, you'll take part in all kinds of activities, ranging from hiking and kayaking, to snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding. At night, you'll return to the ship for great food, a little wine, and good company.
Cozy Up at a Dude Ranch
Picture the two of you in a cozy room or a private cabin surrounded by a spectacular wilderness. Is that a curious deer pushing its nose against the window? Was that the howl of a wolf you heard in the distance? Guest and dude ranches can be a wonderful choice for a romantic getaway any time of the year, but particularly in the winter. Go horseback riding in the snow or cross country skiing on remote trails. Afterward, soak in a private hot tub, or arrange for a couple's massage before heading off for dinner. Enjoy a quiet table for two in the main lodge or join new friends you've made on your latest adventure.
Not all guest ranches are open in the winter, but many of the best in the American West court winter visitors with special rates and interesting packages. Devil's Thumb Ranch and Vista Verde Ranch, both in Colorado, and Hidden Meadow Ranch in Arizona, are open during the winter to lure adventurous visitors who enjoy playing in the snow. Not sure how to choose a ranch? Let us help you out with our tips on how to plan for a ranch vacation.