Top Romantic Destinations for an Unforgettable Culinary Vacation
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"Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate." – A lan D. Wolfelt
Food is an intimate affair and many couples make it a big part of their travels. Good food creates memories and make the heart grow fonder.
Whether you want to walk on the beach together, explore a cultural destination, or plan a weekend getaway, finding a destination which offers excellent food choices and romantic things to do may be a bit challenging.
To make food-loving couples’ life easier, in this article, we share some of the best romantic destinations for a culinary vacation. We hope that it will come in handy in helping you plan your gastronomic adventure of a lifetime!
Note: BookCulinaryVacations offers a flexible cancellation policy. Should you not be able to travel as scheduled, we’d be happy to help you alter your booking with the same organizer or a different organizer.
Big, bold, and beautiful. That’s the United States for you. From lively cities to sandy beaches, from mountains to canyons, there are plenty of romantic destinations to choose from in the USA.
A California vacation allows you to enjoy a wine tasting experience combined with a romantic escape. And while you are in the area, you can check out Los Angeles or San Francisco, as well.
If you are looking for a great beach experience, then head to Hawaii. With 392 beaches to choose from, there are plenty of options to have an amazing time. And in case you plan to go stargazing or want to check an amazing sunset, Hawaii offers these as well.
With a climate varying considerably between the States, the best time to visit depends on the area you decide to go for your culinary vacation. California and Hawaii, for example, are excellent choices for a romantic destination during February, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
As for the food to try in the USA, start with the typical American favorites: key lime pie, tater tots, cobb salad, pot roast, meatloaf, hot dogs, cheeseburger, or buffalo wings. And you can also try the ethnic cuisine foods which are among the favorites of Americans, such as Indian frybread, jambalaya, or fajitas.
Mexico has everything you need when it comes to a romantic getaway: beaches, shopping, spa, resorts, historical sites, and flavorful food.
Easy to reach from the United States, Mexico is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Rivera Maya are excellent choices for any couple.
Take a break from the sun and sand to visit the incredible pyramids at Chichen Itza and Tulum, located close to Riviera Maya and Cancun.
A culinary and cultural holiday in Mexico allows you to discover more about its history and traditions, visit farmers’ markets, and learn how to cook local foods.
Blessed with tropical weather, the best time to visit the country is between December and April.
The foods to try in Mexico include chilaquiles, a breakfast dish made of lightly fried tortillas, served with salsa and topped with fried eggs and/or chicken; tacos al pastor, a variant of tacos made with meat fried on a spit; tostadas, fried tortillas served with a variety of garnishes; elote, corn on the cob; enchiladas, tortillas filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables; tamales; and guacamole.
Photo Credit: Villa Maria’s Kitchen
The blue waters of the Aegean, the majestic landscapes, and the incredible cuisine, make Greece one of the best romantic culinary destinations in Europe. The tourist season kicks in around mid-April when the ferry companies start to offer more connections between the islands.
Take advantage of the lovely weather in late April or early May and plan your Greece vacation before the heat of the summer and the wave of tourists. Santorini remains the place to go for amazing sunsets, while Crete is the destination of choice for nature lovers and those who prefer an active vacation.
June is another good month to visit Greece. If you are looking to party all night long, then the island of Mykonos is a great choice.
Food wise, Greece offers all the bounty of the Mediterranean cuisine. Start the meal with mezedes, such as tzatziki, saganaki, or dolmades, then try fassolatha, a hearty while beans soup, or moussaka. Discover souvlaki and pair it with local wines. For dessert, try loukoumades, honey puff, or kataifi.
» Read more: Why You Should Go on a Culinary Vacation in Greece
Photo Credit: Miroslav Vajdić Flickr via Compfight
Located on the east side of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a perfect destination for a romantic vacation in early spring. Crystal clear water, plenty of archaeological sites, incredible wines and gorgeous landscape, recommend the country as a perfect choice for a budget culinary vacation.
Although a bit too touristy lately, Dubrovnik remains the pearl of the Adriatic and a very romantic place to visit. Beat the crowds and plan your trip in March so that you have the city mostly for yourself. Rovinj and Pula are two great alternative destinations. And if you prefer a more active romantic vacation, then a hike at Plitvice Lakes or a dive near Zadar are your best choices.
The cuisine is based on seafood and you should not miss trying to include brodet, a fish stew made with mixed fish and served with polenta or rice; hvarska gregada, a fish dish with different types of fish cooked with potatoes, herbs, and white wine; or Bakalars krumpirima, dried cod with tomatoes. Croatia is also famous for truffles and cheeses.
»Read more & discover more Destinations for Scrumptious Budget Culinary Vacations
Photo credit: Italian Cookery Courses
Great weather, good food, historical places, and peaceful hillside villages recommend Italy as a culinary destination for any couple. Avoid the scorching heat of summer and visit this Southern European country in late spring.
Discover Apulia, with its white-washed houses, set against the azure backdrop of the Aegean Sea. The climate makes it a perfect choice for a March romantic vacation. Don’t forget to include Alberobello in your itinerary.
Or you can choose the secluded Amalfi Coast for an equally romantic getaway. Rent a car and enjoy the stunning coastal road, from Salerno to Ravello, the latter being considered one of the most beautiful small towns in Southern Italy.
If you prefer a culture and culinary vacation, Rome and Venice are both amazing choices. Plan to visit in April or June, when the cities are not as crowded as during the summer months.
Italian food is amazing no mater what region or city you decide to visit, but the staples vary a lot. Pizza lovers should not miss Naples, while if you love seafood, head to the Adriatic Coast. Pasta is popular in every region but what they are topped with or cooked in vary a lot. Start your day with cappuccino and cornetto, the staple breakfast. For lunch, ravioli, bolognese, gnocchi or lasagna are excellent choices. And don’t forget to enjoy gelato.
» Read more: Why You Should Go on a Culinary Vacation in Italy
Photo Credit: mekiaries Flickr via Compfight
Located between Europe and North America, Iceland is popular for the amazing mountainous scenery, its glaciers, and the Northern Lights.
If you are looking to spend an active romantic vacation then the best time to visit is during July and August. Thorsmork valley, with its mountains, rivers, and excellent hiking paths is a great choice. Snaefellsnes peninsula, with its glacier, wildlife, and easy hiking treks is also a good option.
If the Northern Lights are on your mind, February, March, September and October are excellent choices. And you don’t even need to drive far from Reykjavik to see them.
Icelandic food can easily be defined as weird and features many staples which haven’t changed since the Vikings time. Dried fish and blood pudding can easily rank high in the list of world’s bizarre foods. Tamer options include the local hot dog, fish & chips, meat soup, lamb, and skyr, which is a low-fat dairy product resembling yogurt.
The seventh largest country in the world, India is a mix of interesting cultures, stunning landscapes, and bustling cities.
Forget the busy city life of Mumbai or Delhi and choose to explore the tastes of Kerala. If you are looking for a hidden destination, places such as Mashobra and Mararikulam can offer a respite from the noise of a major town.
Although crowded, the amazing Taj Mahal in Agra is one of the most beautiful places to visit in India.
The majority of India has a tropical climate, so your best bet is to avoid the monsoon season. January is a great month to visit, but anytime between October and March can be a good choice.
India is a heaven for those who enjoy the vegan cuisine. Try vada pav, which is made from mash potatoes and onions, deep fried, and eaten in a type of bread or aloo parantha, which is roti or chapatti stuffed with a potato filling. Meat lovers can enjoy tandoori chicken, fish curry, chicken curry, rogan josh, consisting of lamb curry cooked with Kashmiri red chili or butter chicken.
Photo Credit: JULIAN MASON Flickr via Compfight
You simply cannot go wrong with a culinary vacation for couples in Bali. The island has all the ingredients to be your romantic destination of choice: romance, unique activities, lovely scenery, secret spots and adventure.
The Island of the Gods is one of the most popular travel destinations and its superb and varied scenery makes it a very good choice for your vacation. Escape the cold weather of the Northern Hemisphere and come to Bali in January, following the peak season.
If you come here for scuba diving though, you should plan your trip between April and June, during the dry season. It is also a good time to engage in some light trekking, such as the The Campuhan Ridge Walk, which takes you through rice fields and sleepy villages.
When it comes to the Balinese cuisine, you should not miss trying mie goreng, fried noodles served with chicken, shrimp, or pork; nasi goreng, fried rice with chicken, shrimp, or pork and sometimes a fried egg on top; sate, mashed chicken, spiced and barbecued; nasi campur, steamed rice with vegetable and fish or meat, spring rolls; or gado-gado, a vegetable salad with peanut sauce. To finish your meal, be sure to try pisang goreng (fried bananas).
Photo Credit: drburtoni Flickr via Compfight
Thailand is the most visited country in Southeast Asia. The lush jungles, the great beaches with their warm water, along with the excellent choices for accommodation recommend the country as a great culinary destination for couples.
The most popular romantic destination in Thailand is Ko Samui. The incredible beaches offer a variety of things to do and there is no shortage of luxury resorts either.
If you prefer to avoid the popular Ko Samui and Phuket, Krabi is a great alternative. It is located on the mainland but offers quick access to secluded places such as Railey Beach.
Mostly tropical, the best time to visit Thailand is between November and February when the weather is great for outdoor activities.
The dishes to try in Thailand include phat thai, rice noodles stir-fried with tofu, egg, and shrimp; tom yam, sour Thai soup, green curry; yam, a salad which combines seafood, fresh herbs, and dressing; and khao phat, fried rice.
Vietnam has recently gained a lot of popularity among couples. Having been on the backpack trail for years, the country has grown to appeal to more than just budget travelers.
Exotic, home to incredible beaches, bays, and charming cities, Vietnam has all the ingredients to be one of the top romantic destinations in 2017. Take advantage of the best time to visit the country and plan to escape here in February.
Although quite touristy, Halong Bay remains of the most romantic (and iconic) images of Vietnam. A UNESCO Heritage Site since 1994, the area is particularly known for the incredible sunrises and sunsets. On the other hand, the charming city of Hoi An is a perfect choice if you are looking for a place to spend your culinary vacation on the beach but also soak up the history, while Da Lat, the city of Eternal Spring, is known for its gorgeous flowers and Western feel.
The Vietnamese foods you need to try to include bánh cuốn, steamed rice cake served with cucumbers, lettuce, shrimp, and ground beef; spring rolls; nánh xèo, sizzling pancake; bún bò huế, beef vermicelli soup; bún riêu, crab and tomato noodle soup; rice noodle soup; pho; canh chua, Vietnamese sour tamarind soup; porridge; fried rice; or sticky rice cakes.
»Read more: The Vietnamese Cuisine at a Glance
Photo Credit: Herver
Nothing says romantic escape more than learning to tango in Buenos Aires. Sensual, romantic and dramatic, tango began in the streets of Argentina’s capital. Why not pick up some steps during your vacation together?
If dancing is not your forte, then head into one of Argentina’s regions for some amazing hiking, cycling, paragliding, or even rafting.
Or maybe choose a culinary vacation for couples in Argentina and go on a vineyard tour and indulge in wine tasting. Other interesting ideas include visiting Iguazu Falls and taking a lovely glacier boat cruise.
The country can be visited year round but if you are looking to try the outdoor activities in Patagonia, it’s best to plan your trip between December and March.
While everyone knows how popular Argentina is for asado (barbecue), the foods to try also include empanadas, pockets of dough with a savory or sweet filling, then deep fried or baked; provoleta, the local variant of provolone cheese; carbonada, a stew made of meat, potatoes, carrots, peppers, and topped with fruits; and dulce de leche, made from condensed milk.
South Africa is, without a doubt, famous for its wildlife and national parks. Add in world famous wines, varied landscapes, and tasty food and South Africa becomes an amazing option for your romantic vacation.
April to September are the best months if you plan to go on a safari honeymoon or just plan to go on a safari during your trip. If you prefer to head to the Cape vineyards, avoid the hordes of tourists visiting during summer and choose, instead, the winter (June to August) for your trip.
The cuisine of South Africa has many influences by way of Dutch, French, Malaysians and Indians, making for very interesting and flavorful dishes. During your culinary vacation, make sure to try biltong & droewors, traditionally cured meat; boerewors, sausage beef, mixed with pork or lamb and a variety of spices; chakalaka & pap, a vegetable dish made with tomatoes, peppers, and beans, usually served cold; and bobotie, minced meat simmered with spices, herbs, and dry fruit, topped with eggs and milk and then baked.
Feeling like going on a special vacation just for the two of you? Then why not book a romantic culinary vacation and have the time of your life!