Some couples love a day on a snow-white beach, piña colada in hand. Others want nothing more to lace up their hiking shoes for a trek up to some epic peak with fairytale 360 views. For the latter, we’ve rounded up the 20 most incredible hikes that will surely be the highlight—or maybe even centerpiece—of your most exciting, most romantic getaway yet. After all, you’ll have really earned all the pampering to come. And, you know, YOLO!
Santorini Caldera, Greece
It’s maybe not the most unexpected, but it’s certainly worth it. Santorini’s famed caldera provides one of the most epic vistas of the Aegean Sea ever. From Fira to Oia it’s a six-mile journey following the caldera to the classic sunset viewpoint, with historic sights along the way and at the end three reinvigorating swimming pools to plunge into at Katikies Santorini hotel.
Mount Gower, Australia
The remote, crescent-shaped Lord Howe island is an offbeat paradise, with just 400 visitors allowed at any time to enjoy its coral reef and twin peaks. Its lush Mount Gower, 2,870 feet, is considered one of the world’s best climbs. Think an eight-hour guided trick with rope-assisted sections and sheer drops.
Great Ocean Walk, Australia
If you’re serious about your fitness, and staying on your feet, consider an eight-day, 62-mile adventure that starts at picturesque Apollo Bay and finishes at Gibson Steps. The spectacular Twelve Apostles landmark is just one of the highlights, with each day revealing a new natural wonder, from deserted beaches to seashore platforms.
Koko Crater Trail, Oahu
As an alternative to the iconic Oahu hike Diamond Head, Koko Crater Trail—super close to The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach—is a favorite for advanced hikers who are into more reward for their sweat, in the form of epic views from the perch of an extinct volcano.
Krn Mountain, Slovenia
Adventurous types searching for a vista none of their friends have seen can find that in Kobarid, Slovenia. SmartFlyer agent Lila Fox recommends summiting the virtually unexplored Krn Mountain in the Julian Alps, where one peak hits more than 7,000 feet and is virtually guaranteed to reveal a once-in-a-lifetime view (stay at Nebesa).
The Arkaba Walk, Australia
An ancient and majestic range a couple hours from Adelaide is endlessly Instagrammable, with multihued mountains, Aboriginal rock art, gorges and wild animals. The remote area of the outback is where you can take a walking safari for three days, between camps with a guide. It’s magical and rustic—you’ll sleep under the stars and wake to the sunrise.
Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand
There are plenty of places on the 16 lush acres of gardens and vineyards at The Marlborough Lodge to wander, but for a full-day guided excursion the Queen Charlotte Track is a singular experience. You’ll board a water taxi first, then walk past podocarp and beech forest with native ferns and foliage while learning about Maori history.
AltaGracia, Costa Rica
How does a private rainforest hike sound? Hacienda AltaGracia, an Auberge Resort, owns a piece of the rainforest in Pérez Zeledón, one of the last untouched destinations in the country, and it’s where you can hike together through pristine jungle beauty en route to a three-tiered waterfall. A traditional Costa Rican picnic lunch is the perfect romantic addition.
Il Sentiero Degli Dei, Italy
Who wouldn’t want to experience an ancient hiking path known as the “Path of the Gods,” especially with guaranteed azure Mediterranean vistas. Monastero Santa Rosa, a 17th century ruined convent–turned–boutique hotel offers a Health & Hike Experience that includes this and other treks plus a cooking demo, picnic and body wrap.
Gros Piton, St. Lucia
One of the Caribbean island’s most defining landmarks is the towering Gros Piton, beautiful and dynamic, giving honeymooners something to do besides laze in the sun. Marigot Bay Resort & Marina exclusively offers the Gros Piton Nature Climb & Swim, which includes a steep hike up the 2,619 mountain plus snorkeling and a picnic.
Ponta de Piedade, Portugal
Wake early to have this coastal Portuguese cliff hike all to yourselves, and prepare to drag your jaw along with you, since the panoramas along the way are truly breathtaking. Of course, the beaches around this area of Lagos are world-class, so take bathing suits and take a refreshing dip whenever you see the opportunity.
Waimea Canyon, Kauai
TLC were wrong about one thing: chasing waterfalls. Every minute of the moderate several-mile Canyon Trail trek in magical Waimea Canyon is fantastical, but the cherry on top is Waipo’o Falls, an 800-foot cascade of water over sheer rock and vegetation that makes the perfect romantic picnic stop.
Gertrude’s Nose, New York
Just like in love, timing is everything when it comes to this climb in New Paltz, New York, not far from Manhattan. The hike is most seductive during peak foliage season in the autumn, when the vistas it affords are studded with all the richest fall colors and the odd waterfall, too. The hike is named for a big rock that juts out and looks like a nose, and is an unforgettable place for a proposal (hint!) or self-timer photo shoot looking out over the color-changing trees below.
Inca Trail, Peru
One of the most classic couples’ hikes might be the Inca Trail, which involves a heady dose of dramatic natural beauty. There are half-day hikes at Machu Picchu, but if you’re serious about getting out there, Mountain Lodges of Peru has a customizable five- or seven-day excursion that involves plenty of off-the-beaten-path hikes along with cultural experiences, yoga and meditation, biking and kayaking—oh, and massages.
Munro Trail, Lanai
On a supernaturally gorgeous and unusual island with few people there’s a very good chance you’ll find no one else on this hike—named for naturalist George Munro—which takes a good part of a day and should be kicked off early. Expect the unexpected when it comes to landscapes and views of the other Hawaiian islands (and maybe plan to relax to the max the next day at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai).
Vermejo Peaks, New Mexico
Ted Turner Expeditions’ 585,000 acres of land in New Mexico, known as Vermejo Park Ranch, is like having an entire national park for just the two of you. You might just feel wild and free while climbing one, two or even more of the peaks—there are four signatures—by day and cuddling up in a luxe log cabin by night.
In pastoral Giles County, Cascades is a fairytale hike you’d never imagine. The trail meanders up a mountainside with bridges and artful stone steps that make it easy to traverse yet dreamy all at once. Close to the end a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole are bonuses.
Gaviota Hot Springs, California
There’s only one thing as exciting as a waterfall at the end of a hike: secluded hot springs. This Santa Barbara trail, a moderate 2,458 feet, presents a fun but doable challenge, and the ultimate treat down a small detour, where you can soak any achy muscles, or simply skinny dip with your honey.
Upper Hazard and Hard Creek Lakes, Idaho
A passport is not necessary to experience a pair of high-alpine beauties, Upper Hazard and Hard Creek Lakes, in the heavily forested state of Idaho. Their names certainly don’t betray the kind of postcard perfect sights a trek to these mirror-like lakes includes (less than an hour’s drive from Shore Lodge): flower-filled meadows, granite peaks and an 8,600-foot mountain.
Mt. Livermore, California
Gaze out over Marin County, San Francisco and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge from the tip of the scenic Tiburon Peninsula (home of the charming Lodge at Tiburon), where Mt. Livermore offers exhilarating hikes for lovers who like to mix a bucolic setting with easy access to city life.