From Paris, to Venice, Santorini, and Vienna—there are a few cities which can live up to these tried and tested romantic holiday destinations. But for wide-eyed wanderers and adventure seekers looking beyond the usual list toppers, these three utterly charming cities in Denmark, Canada, and the Philippines offer a definitively romantic yet unique je ne sais quoi of their own.
So whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, looking to pop the question, or just surprising that special someone with a well-deserved romantic getaway, these underrated idyllic retreats are perfect for any loved-up couple.
For the Design Fiends— Copenhagen, Denmark
Image sources Hand Luggage Only, Infinite Legroom, Brochner Hotels, Far and Close, Food and Wine
Oozing with style, striking architecture, chic boutiques and eateries, Copenhagen is a Scandinavian design haven. The city, iconic for the brightly coloured houses and canals that is Nyhavn harbour, is more than just a pretty face— it’s an exhibition of historical landmarks and cultural hubs peppered with contemporary aesthetics. From the friendly people, streets bustling with cute and quirky bicycles, interior design stores on every corner, and gastronomic Nordic delights on offer, it’s hard not to fall in love with this Danish capital.
- Tivoli Gardens
Swap out Disneyland for the poetically profound Tivoli Gardens. Established in 1843, this theme park is the second oldest amusement park in the world and has since been a hit with children (or the child at heart), thrill seekers, and history lovers.
An apotheosis of contemporary Scandinavian design, Amass is a perfect dinner spot for design mavens. Overlooking the old docks, its effortlessly contemporary aesthetic and authentic yet modern Danish bites has earned this restaurant a spot in the 2016 Michelin Guide.
- Botanical Gardens
The University of Copenhagen’s Botanical Garden is a peaceful oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. The garden houses a wonderful array of palm trees, succulents, ferns and a collection of endangered flora.
- Hay House
From fabulously functional furniture to minimalist homeware and trinkets, Rolf Hay’s interior design brick-and-mortar store offers exquisite Danish-made pieces that can make any design lover swoon. This design haven is centrally located on the Strøget pedestrian shopping street in Copenhagen.
- Designer Zoo
Designer Zoo’s perfectly peculiar, unique and über-luxe design concepts are a must see for locals and tourists alike. Housing a collection of modern Danish design and crafts, the store boasts seven active arts and craft workshops as well as two massive floors of exhibits from in-house and visiting designers.
For the Vintage Souls— Victoria, British Columbia Canada
Image sources Vogue, Fry’s Bakery, Bernstein and Gold , Chintz & Co. JFTP, Tourism Victoria
This picturesque capital has been named as one of the most romantic spots in Canada. Its quintessential British characteristics gives Victoria an old city charm while offering new world experiences. From romantic long walks along the waterfront, to eyeing antiques, locally made textiles and jewellery, and the utter beauty of the many heritage listed architecture; Victoria provides a romantic escape from our usual hurried lifestyle
- Fry’s Bakery
I don’t know about you, but the smell of perfectly baked bread and pastries makes my heart leap. A visit to Victoria is not complete without grabbing a loaf from this family run wood-fired, sourdough bakery. Ideal for packing in a romantic picnic along the city’s harbour.
- Bernstein and Gold
Established in 1992, B&G stocks everything you might need to add class, sophistication and unmistakable style to your sartorial masterpiece. The boutique’s spa room exhibits an array of luxe skincare brands to compete with a carefully curated selection of designer labels such as Elizabeth & James, Ted Baker, Joie, Hoss Intropia, Pour La Victoire, and Soludos.
- Chintz & Co.
Chintz & Co. is the home to eclectic furniture, florals, homeware, textile, and gifts. There’s always something for everyone in this 20,000 square feet shop filled to the brim with charming and unique contemporary and vintage pieces— no matter how much you and your partner disagree on furnishing.
- Tonic Jewelry
Tonic is a jewelry mecca that shares a romance with the local Victorian scene, promising “the works of real people with a passion for their work and community.” Tonic bursts with colour, creativity, and personality, carrying one of a kind, made-in-the-neighbourhood pieces. The perfect souvenir to take home!
- White Heather Tea Room
This particular establishment has been voted as the best place for tea in the British-influenced city of Victoria— so you know it means business. The White Heather Tea Room is justifiably well-loved by both locals and visitors. The elegant atmosphere, Victorian-style ware, tiered sweet and savoury delights, and the perfect cuppa can turn a regular afternoon tea to an unforgettable date.
For the Eco Explorers— Bohol, Philippines
Image source Flickr, Just Oneway Ticket, Choose Philippines, Siniciliya, Our Awesome Planet, JanaonaJaunt
From the white beaches of Panglao Islands to the glorious Chocolate Hills, Bohol is a lost Eden of ecological enchantments. When compared to Copenhagen and Victoria, Bohol doesn’t bear much in the visual design front. But this hidden paradise offers an idyllic retreat rich in visual poetry, culture, socially conscious and ecologically sustainable tourism, and an unparalleled coastal escape. Dotted with Spanish-influenced architecture and fresco, natural wonders, and the warm and friendly locals, Bohol is a city that feeds wanderlust-hungry couples.
- Chocolate Hills
Yes, you read that right— and, no unfortunately you can’t eat them. Bohol is commonly recognised for the 1,770 perfectly cone-shaped hills that turn into giant replicas of Hershey’s Kisses in dry seasons. This unique geological gem has baffled scientists for decades, formulating various theories of its origin. Personally, I opt for the Filipino folklore about a giant named Arogo who fell in love with a human named Aloya. Their love affair was forlorn, and Arogo was in such sheer and unimaginable grief that his lasting and colossal tears formed the chocolate mounds we know today.
- Tarsier Sanctuary
Ran by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, the Tarsier sanctuary is a haven for these endangered palm-sized marsupials which are endemic to the Philippine archipelago. The Sanctuary breeds and cares for tarsiers to protect them from exploitation and other dangers.
- Buzzz Café
Bohol’s Buzzz Café and Bee farm offers more than just a mouthful of words. This coffee shop is perched right along the shores of Alona Beach, giving you the perfect view of the crystal blue sea while sipping on your kapeng barako (strong black Filipino coffee) and sampling a variety of local dishes. And as its name suggests, the café doubles as a retail outlet, selling organic soaps, lotions, shampoo, sweets and various snacks made from locally produced and harvested honey.
- Loboc River Cruise
This cruise takes you through a twisting and winding emerald river nestled between tropical jungles. After the hour long scenic tour, like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, guests are rewarded with an all-you-can-eat buffet on a floating restaurant, paired with entertainment courtesy of Bohol locals performing traditional folk dances and music.
ShopandBox with our Boxer Kryzelle from the Philippines to satiate your Filipino cravings.
Whether you’re island hoping through Bohol’s beaches, strolling the streets of Victoria for a weekend getaway, or indulging in Copenhagen’s designer boutiques, pack these travel essentials for a smooth sailing romantic R&R.
- Catbird Ghost Rose Travel Candle, Catbird, USD14, +Add to Wishlist
- & Other Stories Two Tone Wool Blanket Scarf, & Other Stories, USD65, +Add to Wishlist
- Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve, Rosebud Perfume Co., USD6, +Add to Wishlist
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Camera, Fujifilm, USD200, +Add to Wishlist
- Hers: Ainsley Monogrammed Leather Toiletry Case in Navy and White, Pottery Barn, USD89, +Add to Wishlist
- His: Ainsley Monogrammed Leather Toiletry Case in Brown and Black, Pottery Barn, USD89, +Add to Wishlist
- Skintopia by Bina Hampton Sun Spray Sunscreen SPF 35 Travel Size, Skintopia by Bina, USD10, +Add to Wishlist
- Death Valley Travel Size Dry Shampoo, R+Co, USD17, +Add to Wishlist
- Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum Touch Point, Tom Ford, USD45, +Add to Wishlist
Featured Image: Hello BC
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