20 Destination Romance Novels to Get Lost In
A holiday fling is dreamy, romantic, and full of endless possibilities. It adds an element to a vacation that makes your surroundings become even more magical and new (they can be heartbreaking too, but that just might be part of the appeal). If a true, real-life travel romance isn’t exactly in the cards right now, then we suggest you dive into a novel instead.
With these books, you’ll travel from Tuscany to Paris and even to Maui, experiencing the tastes, smells, and sights of these cities and losing yourself in their corners and turns, while also falling in love with the protagonists. Old romances becoming new again, sparks where one least expects them, and falling in love with a spouse all over again are all narratives included in this list, intensified by a new, exciting destination. You’ll want to cancel your return flight, and keep on reading these forever! Swipe through to find our top picks.
You Me Everything: A Novel by Catherine Isaac
Set in the French countryside, You Me Everything: A Novel by Catherine Isaac is a perfect summer read to enjoy with a glass of Rosé or French wine in hand. It follows the protagonist Jess and her 10-year-old son William as they set off to spend the summer on the hills of the Dordogne and reconnect with William’s father, Adam. This book tells the tale of family reconnection, maternal protection, unexpected secrets, and a French romance.
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
In the mood for a vacation romance that isn’t set in either Europe or an idyllic beach? Look no further than The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler. It’s an Alaskan romance between Graham, a grumpy diner owner who hates tourists, and a sunny tourist named Zoey who turns his world upside down.
A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
If you’re in the mood for an early 20th century classic, but still love a travel romance, this is your best bet. A Room With a View by E.M. Forster is an Edwardian social critique set in Italy, revolving around a forbidden love. Young Englishwoman Lucy Honeychurch faints into the arms of fellow Brit, George Emerson, when she witnesses a murder in Florence. George is unsuitable for her class and her conflicting desires, and she already has an acceptable suitor back in England. Will she choose passion, or what’s expected of her?
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
How about a destination romance with two people who already know each other, and maybe even hate each other? The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is like the perfect rom-com, filled with hilarious antics, love where you least expect it, and a lot of bad luck . . . until it becomes the best luck of all. Olive Torres, the self-proclaimed “unlucky twin,” is the maid of honor at her sister Ami’s wedding, alongside best man Ethan (who she absolutely hates). Soon enough, he’s winning a free honeymoon at the wedding and she convinces him to split the prize. They’re off to Maui, and, you guessed it, their hatred for each other begins to transform into something entirely different.
That Weekend in Paris by Inglath Cooper
The Italian Villa by Daniela Sacerdoti
While Paris might be the city of lights (and love), the Italian countryside holds a different kind of visceral, sun-kissed romance. The Italian Villa by Daniela Sacerdoti depicts a small-town waitress named Callie who recently found out she’s adopted. She heads to Montevino, Italy, to search for her family and stays at a hillside villa that she has just inherited. As she begins to fall for the mysterious groundskeeper Tommaso, a parallel story unfolds through a diary of a woman named Elisa, who secretly married her childhood sweetheart and fled to join the resistance in World War II. But plans and destiny quickly changed, and those secrets begin to unfold, too.
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
Then this one’s for all the royals fans. Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory illustrates a second chance at love. Vivian Forest accompanies her daughter, Maddie, on a work trip to England where she’s been tasked with styling a member of the royal family. There, she quickly falls for a private secretary, and soon they’re kissing under the mistletoe. Will it end after the quick holidays or will they make it work?
Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman
Timothée Chamalet fans may already be aware of the original book that inspired the gorgeous film Call Me by Your Name. André Aciman’s 2007 novel is heartbreaking in a crushingly beautiful way and is set in Italy among the golden sun and forbidden fruit.
The Summer House by Jenny Hale
The epitome of a summer beach read, The Summer House by Jenny Hale is about island secrets, forbidden mysteries, and a possible romance with a rich playboy. Callie and her best friend Olivia buy a beach house together in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where they open a bed and breakfast. Callie meets Luke, a local heartthrob who’s the heir to her father’s real estate empire, but there’s more to him than meets the eye. One diary full of secrets later, and the entire island is threatened by a storm of mysteries and truths.
More Than Words by Mia Sheridan
For lovers of childhood crushes that evolve into adult romances, More Than Words by Mia Sheridan confronts inner demons, innocence, and secrets. Lost souls Jessica and Callen became a safe haven for each other at a young age – until Callen suddenly disappeared from her life. As an adult, Callen becomes a famous composer, but his deep troubles cause him to hit a creative roadblock. Soon enough, Callen and Jessica stumble into each other in France, and they’re suddenly wrapped up again in forbidden memories, renewed passion, and musical sparks.
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
An Irish romance that’s as haunting as its history, Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts is a story of folklore, magic, and passion above all else. Jude Murray escapes to Faerie Hill Cottage in Ireland to learn about Irish folklore and magic, soon meeting Aidan Gallagher, a pub owner who recognizes wildness in Jude. They connect over the mystic land they reside on, and create something otherworldly of their own.
That Month in Tuscany by Inglath Cooper
That Month in Tuscany by Inglath Cooper tells the tale of rock star Ren Sawyer and his unlikely romance with Lizzy Harper, a self-proclaimed regular person whose husband ditched her on their anniversary trip. On the flight to Italy, turbulence makes Lizzy fall onto Ren’s lap in classic rom-com fashion, and they feel an immediate attraction. They explore Florence and Tuscany together, discovering the countryside, each other, and themselves.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
This Scottish tale of deep passion, with the added feature of time travel, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is a must read (pro tip: watch the Outlander series on Starz once you’re done). The time-traveling fantasy book series revolves around Claire Randall, a World War II nurse from 1945, who magically transports to 1743 Scotland through an ancient boulder. She soon falls in love with Scottish soldier James Fraser, who is a dichotomy between innocence and sex appeal, strength and fragility. Here, you’ll find real-life historical references mixed with mysticism.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Another story that was adapted for the screen, Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes depicts the process of renovating a torn-down Tuscan villa, and through it, finding friendship, incredible food, a different culture, and a renewed romance within a long marriage. With endless problems along the way involving language barriers, a different attitude toward time constraints, and more, this book is about finding love and joy through a leap of faith.
Summer at Firefly Beach by Jenny Hale
Another great summer beach read, Summer at Firefly Beach by Jenny Hale is about rising from the ashes. Hallie Flynn’s favorite place is her great Aunt Clara’s beach house in Firefly Beach, filled with the magic memories they made together – but one day, Aunt Clara unexpectedly passes away. Hallie discovers a bucket list her great aunt left behind for her, and drops everything to pursue it. As she begins to find herself through this healing journey, her childhood best friend Ben is by her side. Soon enough, she meets newcomer Gavin Wilson, a photographer who leaves her questioning everything.
The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton
Ah, more Italian romances. Are we complaining? Absolutely not. In The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton, Ellie Maddison heads off on a business trip to Southern Italy – the land of vineyards, sun-kissed hills, and the director of the estate Villa Rosso, Max Johnson. Suddenly, Ellie is entangled within the place’s walls, sharing secrets with Max that cause her to question her entire life up to that point.
The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton
The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton tells a sweltering story set in Alabama about family, loss, and love. Sara Jenkins’s last family member dies, so she goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother’s bed and breakfast in Sweet Bay. Sara learns she has inherited The Hideaway and now must renovate it, where she soon learns more about her grandmother than she ever thought could lurk beneath. Add to that a handsome contractor, and Sara’s life may never be the same.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Much like Under the Tuscan Sun or You Me Everything, People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry is about finding the unexpected with someone you already know like the back of your hand. Poppy and Alex are complete opposites, and have been best friends for a decade. But two years ago, something occurred that made them stop speaking, and almost lose that friendship forever. Now, they’ve decided to embark on one final vacation together and fix it all: but there’s a secret that may risk everything.
Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday
Charming and witty, Jenny Holiday’s novel Mermaid Inn is set in Matchmaker Bay, a small town summer escape. Eve Abbott has just inherited her grandmother’s Mermaid Inn, and now must go back to handle it. But Police Chief Sawyer Collins, a heartbreaker from Eve’s past, lives right down the street, and he can’t forget what they had either.
One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
Because Paris is the glittering city of romance, wine (and bread!), One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan perfectly encapsulates the destination romance novel. It’s a parallel narrative about second chances that unite American teacher Grace Porter, who recently separated from her husband David on their anniversary, and Londoner Audrey Hackett, a student and hair salon employee that faked her way into a Parisian summer job. As opposites, they inspire each other in opposing ways, as Grace offers advice to Audrey about adulthood and love with her new French boyfriend, and Audrey gives Grace the strength to take risks.
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