sunset in kauai, a romantic destination that's great for solo travelers
Flickr/Nicki Dugan Pogue

Traveling by yourself? One great thing to note about some romantic travel destinations is that they can also be fantastic places for solo travelers. And just think — nobody will be harping on you about whether you got him or her something for Valentine’s Day. Here are some sweet destinations where it doesn’t matter if you have a plus-one:

Paris
Paris is for lovers. But it’s also for lovers of the city. It’s just as easy to get yourself lost along the tree-lined boulevards, the banks of the Seine, and expansive gardens as it is to walk arm-in-arm with someone. The sidewalk cafes are perfect perches from which to sip your coffee slowly, catch up on your reading, and people-watch for hours. Pick a theme for the day — from bookstores, museums, parks, and historic sites — and take your time on foot or public transportation.


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Germany’s Romantic Road
With historic towns, gorgeous scenery and fairytale castles, Germany’s Romantic Road runs from Würzburg in the north to Füssen in the south. It’s also one of the busiest routes in Germany, so there will be plenty of solo travelers in addition to amorous couples. Explore on your own by car or bicycle, or join a larger tour — all are ways to get the best of the region, depending on your travel preferences. If you’re into exploring, make sure to save time for some of the smaller towns along the way, not just the big sites, and the walking trails through the vineyards in the Tauber Valley.


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New Orleans
This year, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras are within a few days of each other (February 14 and 17, respectively). While a welcoming city any time of the year, New Orleans opens its arms wide during Carnival season. Which means it’s a great time to make new friends. Wander through the French Quarter, any of a few nearby neighborhoods, or hit the parades — and you’ll find it easy to strike up a conversation with nearly anyone. You may even be invited to a local party or ball, all in the name of celebration.

San Francisco
San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods, from the Mission to North Beach. It’s relatively compact, too, so travelers can walk to many of  the city’s highlights, like the Ferry Building Marketplace and Golden Gate Park. While San Francisco’s spectacular views are often enjoyed by couples, you don’t need a plus-one to appreciate beauty. Head to the Lands End Lookout visitors’ center for views above the Sutro Baths ruins, Coit Tower for a sunset spectacle, Alamo Square to see the Victorian Painted Ladies, or Twin Peaks for one of the best views of the city.

Vietnam
From Hanoi to Saigon, Vietnam — an increasingly popular destinations for honeymoons — is under construction. The country is in a rush to welcome travelers and wants to show you a good time. Land travel can be slow and often hectic, but once you’re set in a place, the cities are optimal places to discover new sights and tastes. Nobody looks at you sideways if you enter a restaurant alone, and you may even get an impromptu tour of the kitchen if there isn’t a crowd. Pro tip: Don’t skip the street food. It’s inexpensive, safe, tasty, and you’ll often make local friends.

Kauai
You could argue that, at least within the States, there’s isn’t a more classically romantic destination than Hawaii. But on the island of Kauai in particular, who you’re with (or not) is beside the point. Here, it’s really about learning how to surf, lounging on a beach, or getting a bellyful of fresh poke for all. If you’re looking for something different — and meaningful — consider a volunteer day with the Waipa Foundation, where you can get a window into cultural preservation and participate in an important Hawaiian tradition. The foundation makes poi, thanks to the help of volunteers, and then distributes it across the island to locals at cost, keeping the poi heritage alive. Locals and visitors bond over pounding and peeling taro, and with no smartphones or distractions, talking story during the workday gives a greater insight into the culture.

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