The Best Summer Trips for Couples Under 30

Cartagena, Colombia/Oyster

Traveling with family and friends can be great, but a romantic vacation with your significant other is truly something special. In fact, a report from the U.S. Travel Association found that couples who travel together tend to have longer-lasting relationships than those who don't. Plus, traveling sweethearts are likely to be more communicative, experience greater levels of intimacy, and share more similar values. Now that summer is near, there's no better time to use those vacation days and get one step closer to these benefits. Whether you want to relax at a beach resort, explore a new city, connect to nature, or immerse yourself in a completely new culture, there's no shortage of vacation options. But for young couples, it can be tricky to nail down an affordable and romantic destination. To help, we've outlined 12 places -- from Montreal to Morocco -- that would make for a great summer trip, especially for couples under 30. 

1. Budapest

Nicolas Vollmer/Flickr

Summer is the peak travel season for Europe, so you won't be the only couple here. But there's a reason for the crowds, like warm weather and seasonal events, which you'll be capitalizing on. Our top European pick for culture-loving couples on a budget is Budapest. Also known as the "Paris of the East," this city offers the perfect balance of romance and grit. There's the glitzy end in Buda, complete with a castle and panoramic views, as well as the trendy bars and cafes of Pest, which lies across the Danube. A concert at the State Opera House and a dip in one of the famous thermal baths should not be missed. To find some tranquility, head to Margaret Island for a picnic. Bonus points if you can time your trip with the Sziget Festival, one of Europe's the largest music and cultural festivals.

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2. Morocco

Riad Tamarrakecht in Marrakech, Morocco/Oyster

If you've ever seen a picture of a riad, you'll understand why Morocco is such a favorite among young couples. Summers are hot, but visitors can expect major discounts on accommodation and activities. Spend some time in the bustling markets, ancient palaces, colorful gardens, world-class restaurants, and winding streets of Marrakech before heading to the coast. Agadir, Essaouira, Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier each offer ocean breezes and Instagram-worthy views. If you want a break from the cities and surf towns, set out for a trek in the Atlas or Rif Mountains. When you start itching for a ride, hop on a camel. The ride to your campsite in the Sahara is a journey you'll never forget. 

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3. Montreal

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal/Oyster 

Walking through this Canadian metropolis, you'll feel more like you crossed the Atlantic than crossed the border. The French language, ancient architecture, and cafe culture is all very European -- and very romantic. Once you've seen the charm and felt the magic of Vieux-Montréal (Old Montreal), check out the botanical garden, which is one of the world's largest. Need more activities? The Lachine Canal is perfect for cycling, the art galleries are teeming with visual wonder, and the speakeasies are top-notch. And depending which dates you pick, you could see an incredible fireworks show, feel the exhilaration of improv, or hear some of the best jazz musicians in the world. Don't depart without sampling poutine and a wood-fired-oven-baked bagel. 

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4. Hoi An

Sarahhoa/Flickr

The beauty, people, and price tag of Southeast Asia propel it to most young couples' bucket lists. Unfortunately, summer is monsoon season throughout much of Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. Central Vietnam, however, doesn't get much rain. This makes it the perfect time to visit Hoi An, the historic port town and UNESCO World Heritage site that acts more like a living museum than anything else. The ornate Japanese Covered Bridge, the pottery at Terracotta Park, and My Khe Beach will all impress. A nightly stroll under the city's traditional lanterns is a must, as are motorbike rides to the nearby mountains. If you start sweating during your explorations, cool down with a tube popsicle or fresh fruit shake. 

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5. Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal/Oyster

The Iberian Peninsula is showered with sunshine nearly all summer long. For your next trip, trade Madrid, Barcelona, and Ibiza for Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. The climate and culture may be similar to Spain, but Portugal offers passionate pursuits all its own. Not only is it affordable, but the country has 1,000 miles of coastline and some of Europe's best beaches. Go for a mid-morning dip (or surf), with stunning cliffs in the background, before heading to a winery. When it's time for dinner, find a restaurant with fresh fish and live fado music. If addition to riding the tram in Lisbon, sipping port wine in Porto, and sunning in the south, make a day trip to Sintra's Moorish castle and the westernmost edge of the continent at Cabo de Roca. 

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6. Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia/Oyster

You may have noticed that travelers are visiting Cartagena in droves lately -- and with good reason. The city is packed with colorful colonial buildings, pristine beaches, stylish boutiques, and gourmet restaurants. It's one of the easiest cities to fall in love with, and easy is how you should take it. The city is meant to luxuriate in, so leave the itinerary checklist in your hotel room. Wander the cobblestone streets of old city, popping into museums, ogling at old basilicas, snapping photos of public sculptures, and finding refuge in shaded plazas. The only activities you can't miss are a visit to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas fortress and a boat ride to the surrounding Rosario Islands. 

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7. Turkey

Elena Pleskevich/Flickr

Italy and Greece are renowned for their summertime fun, leaving Turkey overlooked. For young couples hoping to get (somewhat) off the beaten path, the bridge between Asia and Europe is a good place to start. You'll hear the call to prayer, taste delicious street corn, and see some of the prettiest mosques in the world. If you want to feel truly rejuvenated after your summer holiday, opt for some time in a traditional hammam. You won't want to miss the excitement of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, the views of ancient cave dwellings in Cappadocia, or the medieval fortress at Bodrum. But no matter where you decide to visit, don't miss the sandy beaches in Antalya. 

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8. Montenegro

Trish Hartmann/Flickr

Montenegro may not spring to mind when planning a romantic summer trip, but it certainly should. With beautiful beaches, glacial lakes, and charming buildings, there's lots to see and do here. Hiking through the mountains and ancient fortress cities will get you hungry for hearty Montenegrin dishes like grilled ćevapi (sausages), cufte (meatballs), and sarma (sauerkraut rolls). For breakfast, try fresh burek from a bakery. Then, take a boat tour through the Bay of Kotor or strip down to your swimsuit for some time on the beautiful Budva Riviera. 

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9. San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco/Oyster

Driving across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a must-do in San Francisco, but the city has plenty more to offer. Ride a cable car, mingle with the tourists at Fisherman's Wharf, take a ferry to Alcatraz, and get a picture of the Painted Ladies to start, then get down to the truly romantic offerings. Lovebirds will appreciate a trip to the Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers and the Palace of Fine Arts. Active couples will love pedaling on a bicycle built for two. Just look out for Lombard Street's dizzying hills. Celebrate your efforts with some tacos in the artsy Mission District, chocolates straight from Ghirardelli, and wine flights fresh from the Sonoma vines. At just seven miles long, San Francisco makes a great long weekend destination for lovers. 

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10. Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia/Oyster

With more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a great place for a summer romance. While it's warm year-round, summer is smack in the middle of Indonesia's dry season. Bali is undoubtedly the best known part of the country, offering visitors a tranquil coast, striking volcanoes, rushing waterfalls, and seemingly endless rice paddy fields. There are plenty of sunset cruises and beachside movies to fill your time, and every couple should make their wish for everlasting love at the giant banyan tree. But don't stop there. The temple-filled island of Java is great for soaking up culture and connecting to the spirit of Indonesia, while Sumatra's jungles provide the unique chance to see orangutans in the wild alongside rhinos, elephants, and tigers. 

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11. Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru/Oyster

Another diverse country, Peru has become one of South America's most popular vacation destinations for couples. The peak tourist season runs from June to August, so a trip in late May or early September is ideal. Of course, all travelers should visit Machu Picchu. If you're extra adventurous, hike the historic Inca or an alternative trail to get there. Walking through the breathtaking landscapes and traditional villages of the Sacred Valley will bring you closer in a way you can't imagine. Other highlights include the magical Lake Titicaca, the markets and museums of Cusco, and the world-class restaurants and galleries of Lima. For those willing to go further afield, explore the Amazonian rainforest with a shaman or see the mysterious Nazca Lines in the desert. 

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12. Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland/Oyster

The Emerald Isle is full of friendly people and ancient castles, all against the backdrop of epic landscapes. Kiss each other, then pucker up to the Blarney Stone (it's said those who do so will be granted the gift of eloquence). Then, rent a car and drive through the untamed countryside, where the scenery varies from rolling green hills to rugged coastal cliffs to sheep-filled farmland. Eat fresh oysters along the Cliffs of Moher, feel at home in Galway, hop the rocky shores of the Aran Islands, and marvel at Giant's Causeway. Once you're ready for your wild ride to come to an end, head to the whiskey bars, beer factories, historic libraries, museums, and adorable shops in Dublin. Take a belly full of stew and your own Claddagh ring home with you -- just be sure to face the heart inward (signifying that you're not single).

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