As anyone who's watched Unreal will be aware, there's likely very little reality in hit reality TV shows like The Bachelorette. And while we're under no illusion that those "spontaneous" dates are actually the handiwork of a team of producers, there's one aspect of the addictive drama that is true-to-life: the stunning locations.
On top of the allure of finding true love, contestants are flown around the globe to explore the world's most romantic cities, taking viewers on a whirlwind journey to places like Venice, Barcelona, and Taipei over the last 12 seasons. In fact, while we're sure most the contestants signed up in the hope of finding lasting love (or momentary fame), being wined and dined in exotic locations is a serious side perk.
As excitement builds for season finale, we've gone back through the archives to unearth the all-time best destination dates made famous by The Bachelorette. Thankfully, you don't need to wait for a rose to take your S.O. to one of these romantic hot spots.
With cobbled streets, terra-cotta rooftops, and jagged cliffs adorned with ancient fortresses, it's little surprise that Dubrovnik often tops the list of romantic European escapes. The Croatian city is renowned for its world-class seafood, sparkling sea, and historic buildings—oh, and for serving as King's Landing in Game of Thrones.
Their Pick: Emily Maynard, star of Season 8 of The Bachelorette, took her suitors to the seaside city to test them at the famous "balancing stone." Legend has it that if a man can balance on the small face-shaped ledge while taking his jacket off, he'll be with his partner forever.
Our Pick: Wake up early to walk the perimeter of the city walls before the crowds arrive. Then, after at least three days exploring the city, head to Vis to enjoy a sunset dinner with your S.O. from Fort George, a 200-year-old historical site.
While Paris often steals attention as the most romantic city in France, Marseille, a port city in the country's south, deserves equal attention. Perched on the Provençal coastline, Marseille boasts tranquil streets, thriving souk-like markets, and buildings rich in over 1500 years of history.
Their Pick: Atlanta native Andi Dorfman flew to the South of France with the Season 10 contestants and explored the coastline by boat.
Our Pick: Enjoy traditional French cuisine in the République quarter, and be sure to see Marseille's famous striped Cathédrale de la Major. When you're ready to venture outside of Marseille, hire a car and drive inland to see near endless fields of vibrant lavender, which bloom from late June to August.
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Taiwan's 300-year-old city is a vibrant mix of Chinese, Japanese, and Western influences. With delicious street food, soothing hot springs, and colonial towns, it's an ideal vacation choice for couples looking for an unconventional romantic escape.
Their Pick: Season 7 saw contestants crisscross around Asia to multiple destinations, but Taiwan was a highlight. Bachelorette Ashley Hebert took a train to Pingxi to watch a lantern festival and wandered the temples in Taroko National Park.
Our Pick: Don't miss the Minnan-style temple within Taipei. After a day or two in the city, venture by moped to the tea fields or national parks that dot the country, which is particularly breathtaking in winter when the trees and temples are covered by a blanket of snow.
Often viewed as a family destination, Fiji offers far more than all-inclusive child-friendly resorts. The Yasawa Islands in the country's north consist of roughly 20 volcanic islands, each offering a unique slice of paradise.
Their Pick: Naturally, water sports were a big part of the Fijian adventure for the cast of Season 7. Hebert took the final few snorkeling and ventured to a nearby island via helicopter.
Our Pick: Journey beyond your resort and book a day trip to Cloud 9, a floating restaurant and bar that bobs in the South Pacific. Enjoy a wood-fired pizza and a glass of champagne on the two-deck boat; then relax in one of the daybeds before getting a private transfer back to your resort.
The Argentinian capital bursts with life and culture. Home to the famous sultry tango dance, the city thrives with overflowing bars and live performances, and is described by some as Europe with a Latin American twist.
Their Pick: Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher, the current 25-year-old star of The Bachelorette, jetted to Buenos Aires with the final five contestants. The group strolled through La Boca neighborhood to play soccer with the locals, and learned the sensual art of tango in one of their dates.
Our Pick: Stroll the cobbled streets of San Telmo, a beautiful neighborhood with colonial mansions and gorgeous storefronts. Foodies, be sure to visit a local steakhouse, known as a parillas, and order a meal with a glass of Argentinian red wine.
The romantic European city has fairy-tale appeal, thanks to the quaint sorbet-hued awnings and a charming bridge that stretches over the Vltava river. Nicknamed "The City of a Hundred Spires," the capital of the Czech Republic rivals its romantic European neighbors with a unique skyline punctured by castle towers, church steeples, and clock towers.
Their Pick: After touring Croatia, Season 8 Bachelorette Emily Maynard took the final four on a tour of the charming Czech city, and followed a local tradition by putting a padlock on a gate to symbolize long-lasting love.
Our Pick: Prague has no shortage of romantic restaurants, but the U Prince Hotel Rooftop Bar in the Old Town should be at the top of your list. Reserve a table at sunset for an unforgettable view of the medieval astronomical clock, and sip on a cocktail as the moon illuminates the silhouette of Prague Castle.
With its tapestry of Gaudi artworks, buzzing tapas bars, sizzling beaches, and thriving art scene, Barcelona is a romantic's dream. The coastal city boasts some of the world's best art galleries and mind-bending architecture with a Catalan flair that distinguishes it from other big Spanish cities.
Their Pick: Season 9 Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock forwent exploring the stunning streets of Barcelona for a football game at the RCDE Stadium. One date touched on the city's art scene, with a live drawing class, but the show barely showed the true beauty of Barcelona.
Our Pick: There's so much to do in Barcelona, so plan your time wisely. While we wouldn't normally recommend the usual sites, Gaudi's Park Güell and Sagrada Familia are a must-see, even during a short stay. Sample the best tapas in Barcelona at Quimet & Quimet, a local wine shop turned foodie hot spot that's a favorite among insiders.