If you’re hoping to take romance a step further this Valentine’s Day, why not head off to one of the world’s most romantic destinations? From exotic, faraway places to spots that are closer to home, you’re sure to find something perfect among these fantastic ideas.
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It would be a nearly impossible challenge to find a spot on the Amalfi Coast that isn’t romantic, but Positano is a village that may be the best of all when it comes to romance. This glamorous seaside town perfectly blends pastel colored buildings that spill down the mountain, winding streets, idyllic beaches and breathtakingly blue waters, not to mention absolutely stunning sunsets. Positano is one of those destinations that was made to order for a romantic escape with a skyline that still looks like it did a century ago as the strict building codes have kept out modern construction. While there is little else to do but browse the local markets and shops, eat, spend time on the beach and take in the views – what more do you really need?
Jaw-droppingly beautiful Santorini is often ranked as one of the most romantic places on the planet, with spectacular turquoise sea views and whitewashed cave houses that are backed by blue-domed churches that spill down the rim of an ancient volcanic crater. A popular honeymoon destination, it’s also ideal for a Valentine’s escape that oozes romance. Many of Santorin’s restaurants overlook the gorgeous caldera, offering the chance for an unforgettable candlelit dinner where you’ll be able to savor the especially aromatic Mediterranean flavors while taking in the view. Be sure to catch one of the glorious sunsets from the ruins of Byzantine Castle or the Akrotiri lighthouse.
There are numerous romantic resorts to choose from too, like the five-star Santorini Kastelli Resort, built in traditional Cycladic architectural style set at the foot of the hill of Ancient Thira, just steps away from the black sands of Kamari beach.
Seville, located about an hour from Spain’s southern coast, offers an almost fairytale-like atmosphere with stunning architecture and beautiful historic treasures like the Royal Palace of Seville, the Seville Cathedral (the largest Gothic cathedral in the world), and the magnificent Plaza de Espana. You’ll also find plenty of eateries offering delectable tapas from a variety of culinary influences and a number of accommodation options like Corral del Rey, a 17th-century “palazio” located in the old quarter of Barrio Alfalfa, the heart of Seville. It features a rooftop terrace with impressive vistas of the Giraldo and a plunge pool.
Venice is often found at the top of lists of the most romantic cities in the world. This Italian city built on water offers the chance to enjoy each other’s company on a glamourous gondola through dreamy canals, stare into each other’s eyes in quaint cafes and walk charming alleyways, stealing a kiss in hidden corners. A gondola ride is truly a must for Venice visitors, but to make it even more romantic, why not bring a bottle of champagne and a small picnic with delicious prosecco and head out at sunset? One of the most scenic itineraries is from Bacino Orselo near St. Mark’s Square, traversing some of the most atmospheric waterways before culminating in the Grand Canal. As February in Venice can be a little chilly, you’ll have a good excuse for cozying up together.
If you’re looking to indulge in some of the best Venice has to offer, stay at the sumptuous 16th-century Aman Canal Grand Venice Resort. This boutique hotel with just 24 rooms is located right on the Grand Canal and offers sunset drinks on the rooftop terrace.
San Francisco, California
If going overseas isn’t an option, San Francisco is one of America’s truly most romantic cities – ideal for food lovers and those who appreciate spectacular landscapes. Take a stroll hand-in-hand across the Golden Gate Bridge where you’ll enjoy magnificent vistas of the Pacific, Alcatraz Island and the city skyline, or walk together up one of the many dizzying hills – stunning views can be found almost everywhere you look. Plus, there’s artisanal food around nearly every corner, from gourmet eateries to fair-trade coffee shops and the incomparable Ferry Building farmers’ market. Dining at the Top of the Mark restaurant, located atop Nob Hill on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel, brings the chance to soak up live entertainment and sip outstanding libations from an extensive martini menu while taking in even more beautiful views with the city all lit up after dark.
If you’re looking for a unique place yet not exorbitantly priced place too stay, Hotel Vertigo is located in a landmark building where part of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” was filmed and features a design lovers’ bold orange-and-white color scheme.
With cobblestone streets, moody Spanish moss and Southern charm, Savannah is another fabulously romantic spot for those that prefer staying stateside. The laid-back city inspires stolen kisses whether you’re newly in love or long time partners. Get active together by kayaking the shores of Hilton Head or paddling a canoe for two on a Wilderness Southeast tour where you’ll glide along coastal creeks framed by stately tupelo and cypress trees watching for wildlife like turtles, alligators and herons. Of course, a horse-drawn carriage ride through the picturesque streets is a must for romance. You’ll find a wealth of romantic inns to choose from too, including the Ballstone Inn, a luxurious B&B set in an 1838 mansion.
Prague, Czech Republic
This romantic city boasts fairytale castles and a tableau of red-tiled roofs along with Gothic churches, beautiful bridges, arcaded houses in pastel hues and intimate eateries, perfect for a Valentine’s getaway. Prague also has a modern side with innovative restaurants and hotels as well as a wealth of interesting shops. Strolling hand-in-hand under the enchanting gas lamps that line cobblestone lanes and taking a romantic boat cruise down the Vltava in a replica century-old boat with Prague-Venice Cruises will allow you to take in the magnificent vistas of Old Town from the water.
Stay at The Golden Well, nestled in a cobbled back street of this lovely quarter of the same name in the heart of Prague, which offers amazing views of the red-tiled roofs as well as spacious rooms with wooden floors and period furniture – if the weather cooperates, you can start your day with a delicious breakfast on the terrace.
Some say the secluded Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, are the most romantic archipelago in the world, and if it’s privacy you’re craving, you’ll find it here. Bask on private white sand beaches that sit at the edge of cerulean waters and spend your nights in gorgeous Water Villas with multiple terraces over the sea by booking a stay at Cheval Blanc Randheli on Noonu Atoll. Spend your days relaxing together or taking part in active pursuits like diving, snorkeling, sailing the lagoon, windsurfing, canoeing or a host of other options. You’ll even have access to a marina with a fleet of traditional wooden boats, speedboats and a yacht. Guests of the resort enjoy top-notch cuisine from around the world, including Iberian, French and Japanese as well as lots of fresh seafood.
Big Sur, California
If you’d love to go to Italy, but it’s just not in the cards, how about California’s own Italian Riviera? The Big Sur Coast is an epic Mediterranean-style stretch of coastline that’s been called the “American Riviera.” Drive south from Carmel on Highway One and the views somehow keep getting better and better, with the Santa Lucia Mountains rising alongside the dramatic coast with wild, beautiful beaches and even the occasional waterfall that plunges to the sand below. Be sure to spend time at Pfeiffer State Beach, home to one of the world’s rare purple sand beaches – with the turquoise waves crashing against it, the contrast is stunning.
Post Ranch Inn, which sits on a cliff 1,200 feet above the Pacific, is known as one of the most romantic places to stay in the world. Enjoy couples massages, a candlelit restaurant, infinity hot pools that overlook the waves and incredible stargazing after dark.
St. Lucia, Caribbean
The Caribbean offers nearly an endless number of wonderful places to stay that are ideal for romance, but St. Lucia Island is often named as the very best for keeping that spark of love burning – or igniting the flame. And of St. Lucia’s many romantic abodes, the most striking is Jade Mountain, a futuristic, hilltop retreat with vast, open-plan bedrooms referred to as sanctuaries, boasting mesmerizing views of the island’s green Pitons erupting out of the sea. Most have their own iridescent-tiled infinity plunge pools and all are free of technology so that you can stay focused on your partner.
Romance is a big part of Rome’s heritage. The Eternal City is renowned for its spectacular sunsets that transform church towers, domes and walls to a lustrous gold hue – and, of course there are intimate piazzas, Ponte Sisto, known as the “kissing bridge,” and Fontanone, which sits above Trastevere offering an ideal spot for contemplating the gorgeous cityscape that’s spectacular from every angle.
Stay at Hotel Camp de’ Fiori, a romantic retreat in the heart of the centro storico that exudes charm with an ivy-covered façade, a secret roof terrace and plush theatrical rooms that feature elements from Rome, Venice and Paris. Spring for a top-floor superior deluxe and you’ll enjoy a private balcony, four-poster bed and frescoed ceilings.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Set along the wild, breathtaking northern Oregon coast, Cannon Beach is known around the world as a top spot for romance. The town is home to world-class art galleries, unique shops, restaurants with stunning ocean views and fantastic seaside resorts, some catering to couples seeking a romantic escape, like the Stephanie Inn which features suites that overlook famous Haystack Rock and the Pacific beyond in addition to including a Jacuzzi tub and fireplace. Enjoy hiking scenic trails that wind the through ancient, old-growth forest at the edge of the ocean, beach combing and exploring tide pools filled with all types of fascinating, colorful creatures. If the weather isn’t cooperating, enjoy storm watching from the comfort of your room.
This stunning Northern California seaside Victorian village sits atop the rugged cliffs overlooking the Pacific, with walking trails providing inspirational water views and 1850s New England-style Victorian homes. Famous worldwide as one of the most beautiful places for romance, in Mendocino you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy walks on the beach, hikes through the redwood forest, a visit to a magnificent botanical garden and even wine tasting with a number of wineries found throughout the region. Be sure to sample the amazing Pinot which is produced with grapes grown along the coast.
Stay at the MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant and you can enjoy a sumptuous Valentine’s meal along with panoramic ocean views in a Victorian mansion setting.
The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys offer up all sorts of attractions for lovers – the scenery alone provides the opportunity for an incredible romantic escape. From secret gardens and glorious sunsets to champagne sails, diving and snorkeling, it’s hard to go wrong with a Valentine’s vacation here. You can enjoy the tropics without a passport in this 110-mile island chain just south of Miami, complete with warm, crystal-clear, blue waters. The Key to Romance package at Hawks Cay Resort allows couples to escape day-to-day chaos and reconnect while enjoying stunning water and sunset views. You’ll even get a bottle of sparkling wine or cider and chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to your room upon arrival. Take the opportunity to indulge in a couple’s massage at the resort’s Calm Waters Spa as well.
The Garden Isle is a favorite for romance, as a more peaceful, quiet isle with gorgeous, secluded beaches, spectacular gardens with tropical flowers and more waterfalls than any other island in Hawaii. Visit the Na Pali coast, a breathtaking coastal range known as one of the most stunning spots on the planet that can only be accessed by hiking, boat or helicopter tour. At Mahaulepu Beaches, Kauai’s most remote beaches, discover three separate, picture-postcard stretches of sand where you can have a private spot all to yourselves. And, you can even take a trek to one of the island’s many beautiful waterfalls that have tranquil pools at the bottom – perfect for a private dip.
Fregate Island, Seychelles
Staying on what will feel like your own private island has to be the ultimate romantic escape for Valentine’s. Fregate Island Private in the Seychelles is a 740-acre private island where you can forget all about the real world and spend time focusing on your relationship in a spectacular resort where there are never more than 40 guests at a time. The lush isle is home to 2200 free-roaming giant Aldabra turtles, a sanctuary to thousands of birds, seven beaches and a practically endless number of romantic dining venues, including a unique treehouse which sits in one of the island’s oldest and largest banyan trees. You and your partner can also enjoy your own Jacuzzi and outdoor shower – and you’ll have a waiter at your beck and call when you want to refresh your tropical drinks.
Staying in a real-life castle is hard to top for romance. Castle Leslie is nestled on 1,000 acres of lush Irish countryside dotted with dazzling lakes and ancient woodlands. It offers a ton of character and charm as well as special packages that include a full Irish breakfast, a bottle of bubbly and handmade Irish chocolates. There are a wide range of activities available right onsite too, including fishing, indulging in organic treatments in the Victorian treatments rooms, soaking in the outdoor hot tub, going one on of many exceptionally scenic walks available on the estate or taking in a private movie screening in the castle’s own cinema. Dining options are plentiful too, from delicious breakfasts and picnic lunches to romantic dinners featuring regional ingredients and artisan foods as well as fresh, daily-baked breads and scones.
Puerto Rico is another fabulous Caribbean destination, but of course, here, American’s don’t need to bring a passport. “The Island of Enchantment,” offers the chance to soak up some winter sun on more than 200 miles of beaches and enjoy the vibrant culture of historic San Juan, including fine restaurants serving up some of the best dishes in the Caribbean, and the opportunity to learn the salsa – the most seductive dance in the world using the energetic rhythm of the beat as your own personal aphrodisiac. There are many places throughout the capital city to learn if you don’t know how, like Nuyorican Café.
Stay at the InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino in San Juan, and you’ll have access to two-miles of the city’s best beach, a lagoon-style pool with a swim-up bar, a swanky piano bar, full-service spa and an onsite casino – all just a 15-minute drive from Old San Juan.
No list of romantic destinations would be complete without Paris, the ultimate city of romance. While it may be cliché, this is truly a city of love. Wander the charming streets hand-in-hand, take a moonlit cruise down the Seine River and savor a delectable Valentine’s dinner in one of the many authentic Parisian eateries serving dishes like coq au vin with chocolate fondue for dessert. Of course, you’ll have to visit the Eifel Tower. If you head to the top just as twilight turns to night, you’ll see the lights sparkling across the city from this iconic landmark. There’s no better place for an unforgettable kiss!