K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to pop the question, enjoy your honeymoon, celebrate an anniversary or just rekindle the flames of romance, you’re sure to find the perfect escape among these incredibly romantic destinations.
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The secluded Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, is known as one of the most romantic archipelagos on the planet. Offering some of the most romantic resorts in the world, you’ll find idyllic year-round weather, palm trees gently swaying in the wind and overwater bungalows along the crystal clear azure sea to spend your nights cuddled up in. Enjoy snorkeling together in the brilliant world underwater, bask on pristine, white-sand beaches and toast to an amazing day with a glass of champagne as the sun dips down below the horizon.
While it may be a cliché, the City of Light is truly a city of love, renowned as one of the most romantic cities on earth. Wander the charming streets hand-in-hand, indulging in culinary delights and taking in all the amazing sights and sounds. Nestled in the Marais quarter, you may want to enjoy a romantic interlude under the trees in the fountained gardens at Place des Vosges. Strolling along the Seine, or taking a moonlit cruise across its waters, and dining at a candlelit table at L’Ambroisie all make for an incredible day of l’amour dans Paris.
Venice is almost always near or on the top of the world’s best cities when it comes to love. There’s a reason actor George Clooney chose to marry his bride in this iconic Italian city. It boasts an urban landscape that’s so spectacular, even the large number of tourists can’t detract from its beauty. The hidden bridges, cobblestoned alleyways, and of course the legendary canals, are ideal for getting lost with a partner. Stay in one of the lavish luxury hotels and discover what Venice is really all about, together.
Kauai is a favorite for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy beautiful, secluded beaches as well as brilliant gardens with intensely colored tropical flowers and cascading waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery. It’s the ideal island for lovers with its abundance of natural splendor. Escape together to the Mahaulepu Beaches, the island’s most remote beaches where you’ll find three separate stretches of sands and a spot that’s all your own. Or, take a trek to one of the many waterfalls with tranquil pools at the bottom that are ideal for a private dip. For a romantic adventure, hop aboard the Na Pal Explorer and enjoy an up close and personal look at the wild, hidden beaches on the Na Pali Coast.
There is a reason Rome is called the Eternal City, romance is a big part of its heritage. It’s famous for breathtaking sunsets that turn its walls, domes and church towers to a lustrous gold along with its wealth of panoramic points like the Fontanone, or “big fountain” above Trastevere from which to contemplate the spectacular cityscape that’s beautiful from nearly every angle. Grab a table for two by the millennia-old fountain and sip a cappuccino while soaking in the unforgettable experience.
The Greek islands hold irresistible appeal for romance, whether you want to swim in balmy seas, stroll on a perfect beach, take in impressive sunsets or enjoy sipping fine wine and dining on outstanding local food. While there are 227 inhabited islands to choose from, Santorini with its whitewashed cave houses backed by blue-domed churches spilling down the rim of an ancient volcanic crater is a top choice for many couples. Its wealth of standout features include extraordinary wine, out-of-this-world black, red and white beaches as well as archaeological sites from the prehistoric era. End your days watching the sunset, with the Sea of Crete is bathed in a brilliant glow.
California’s central coast, particularly the 90-mile stretch of Highway One from Carmel to San Simeon, is one of the most breathtaking on earth. This rugged coastline – with the soaring Santa Lucia Mountains on one side, rocky cliffs and crashing waves on the other, make for a perfect romantic ride in a convertible with the one you love. In the heart of it all, you’ll find Big Sur and practically an endless number of idyllic beaches, including Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where you’ll be mesmerized by an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs onto the sands below. Stay in a cliff-side yurt at Treebones Resort or in a cozy cabin at Lucia Lodge, where guests enjoy a spectacular panorama of the coast.
Prague is filled with 14th-century stone bridges, ancient cathedrals with spires that reach into the sky and hilltop castles, making it one of Europe’s most beautiful, and romantic cities. Head to the famed Charles Bridge, commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357, which spans 16 arches and is lined with 30 Baroque statues of religious figures, or incredible views of the landscape. Arrive at drawn to enjoy a glorious sunrise all to yourself. Be sure to take a boat ride down the Vltava River and wander the medieval cobbled lanes.
Travelers of all types are sure to be enchanted with fairytale Bruges. The city’s charming houses, open squares and cobblestone streets create a romantic atmosphere that will especially sing to those with love in their hearts. Couples can take a boat ride through picturesque canals and hop on a horse-drawn carriage to Beguinage, a monastery with bridges and swan-filled towns. If you visit in the wintertime, you might even be able to strap on a pair of ice skates and glide along the canals. Afterward, warm up by ducking into a café for a mouthwatering Belgian hot chocolate.
British Colombia’s capital city offers the chance for plenty of old fashioned romance and makes for an easy weekend getaway from Vancouver or Seattle. It has the feel of old England, with plenty of places to enjoy high tea along with luxurious accommodations. The Fairmont Empress hotel has its own tea room set amid a colonial setting with beautiful bay views. In the springtime, you’ll find flowers blooming nearly everywhere you look. Stroll through world-famous Butchart Gardens, head up Mount Tolmie Park for 360-degree views of the city and take a romantic dinner cruise aboard Fantasea, which includes a full three-course dinner and drinks.
Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera is a dream setting for romance, with amazing sunsets, rocky shores, cerulean waters, plenty of pasta and lots of wine. Couples can explore picturesque harbor villages, hike stunning trails and stroll beachfront promenades. With several of the towns in the area producing their own wines made from local grapes, you can even hike through vineyards in Corniglia and sample different types. The more rustic side of the Italian Riviera, Riviera di Levante, offers the best chance for more secluded ambiance along with jaw-dropping views of the Ligurian coast.
Bora Bora is one of the most desirable locations for lovers, with overwater bungalows set above turquoise lagoons providing the ultimate castaway experience, all complemented with leisurely days spent sunbathing, snorkeling and taking in the endless ocean views. At the heart of this geographically blessed slice of French Polynesia, you’ll find the jagged peak of Mount Otemanu, with tiny islets and a coral reef teeming with colorful marine life sitting at its fringes. Due to the dramatic scenery, privacy and amenities – from sunrise to sunset, each resort in Bora Bora has designed their own blend of unique romantic experiences for guests to choose from.
England’s Lake District is made up of 16 major lakes tucked into some of its highest mountains, all within a 30-mile area. This is a wonderful place for long walks through beautiful scenery that features lush greenery, moody lakes and picturesque villages. Visit one of the many fantastic pubs and sit by a crackling fire listening to live music. Spend the night in charming country inns like Broadoaks Country House near Lake Windemere in Cumbria with four-poster beds and spa baths.
This dazzling French island just off the coasts of France and Italy, is so stunning, you’ll definitely want to bring your sweetheart, if only just to confirm that it’s real. Not surprisingly, Corsica has been the inspiration for more than a few romantic novels with its magnificent views and practically an endless number of charming corners. Bathe in the warm Mediterranean sunshine, walk across peaceful, unspoiled beaches, dine on fresh seafood and sip fine wines. Be sure to take a boat excursion from the village of Porto to the stunning Calanques de Piana with its steep-walled bays and dramatic backdrop of stone cliffs soaring up over the sea.
South Africa is known for its abundance of beautiful landscapes, with one of its most alluring found just a short drive from Cape Town in the vineyards of the Cape Winelands. The sheer beauty of the Winelands not only attracts photographers and artists to capture its magnificence, it regularly plays host to weddings and all sorts of special occasions. Set against stunning white Cape Dutch architecture and dramatic mountain surrounds with a grand heritage and sumptuous restaurants, the Winelands are also known as South Africa’s culinary capital. Few things set up a romantic scene like a glass or two of fine local wine and fabulous eats.
San Francisco, or the City by the Bay, is well-known for its fantastic food as one of the most popular destinations for foodies, but another major factor in its allure is the abundance of spectacular backdrops that are perfect for enjoying a romantic stroll or a kiss. Walk past colorful Victorian row houses and Art Deco mansions or walk across the legendary Golden Gate Bridge. Take a ferry to the fairytale town of Tiburon and enjoy a picnic on the grassy waterfront taking in incredible views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline. Just an hour north, you can explore Napa’s famous wine country.
Ireland exudes romance, with castles and ancient ruins dotting the lush, green landscape, jaw-dropping coastal scenery and soaring mountains. In the west, Connemara is known for some of the most stunning views on the Emerald Isle. Visit Kylemore Abbey, a dramatic castle set on the edge of a lake just a few miles from Clifden, where you can spend the night at another castle, Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, nestled in the romantic setting of the Twelve Bens with picturesque views overlooking Clifden Bay. Choose a luxury suite and you can get comfy on the four-poster bed, relax by the open fire and soak in the Jacuzzi.
Kyoto is an exotic city filled with history, culture and color. Each temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens that provide the perfect setting for romance – and, if you visit during the spring, you can even enjoy a romantic boat ride along the city’s cherry blossom-lined Okazaki Canal. In Japan, cherry blossoms are considered very symbolic, with the Japanese believing that the short blooming cycle is a metaphor to life, and a yearly reminder that time is precious.
Tallinn is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns. With its marvel of castles, cathedrals and cobblestoned streets, it appears as if it’s stepped out of the pages of a fairy-tale. Take a stroll through one of its many parks and discover why some feel it just might unseat Paris as the romantic capital of Europe. After dinner, take a walk to one of the most picturesque, secluded places in Old Town, the Danish King’s Garden, with an amazing view of the Niguliste Church spire. After dark, you can enjoy a peaceful interlude with the medieval walls at your back and the beautifully lit town roofs offering a wonderfully romantic ambiance.
Located in Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino set on the west coast of Vancouver Island, faces out to the wild Pacific Ocean. It has lots to offer when it comes to a romantic getaway, with magnificent scenery, a remote location and plenty of private, secluded spots. Stay at the luxurious Wickaninnish Inn and watch storms roll in off the Pacific, or take a stroll along Chesterman Beach on a sunny day. Dine at the inn’s Pointe Restaurant to enjoy over 240 degrees of ocean views and an award-winning, world-renowned menu. You can work up an appetite by hiking through the dense temperate rainforests on the wooden boardwalk gazing up at the 800-year-old cedar trees or take a drive an hour north to Hot Springs Cove, where a 30-minute trek culminates at the springs and a dip in the bathwater warm waters.
Cartagena is one of the most romantic towns in South America, and it makes for a more unique, off-the-beaten-path destination as well. Filled with fantastic food and wonderful people, the romantic, colonial streets of the old walled city can be toured in a horse-drawn carriage, and, if you’re into dancing, the town is renowned as the Colombian center of Salsa. It’s doesn’t get much hotter than that, but you’ll also find plenty of picture-perfect stretches of sands with nearly 12 miles of beaches found in the metropolitan area.
The Isle of Skye, connected by a road bridge to the west coast of Scotland, offers some of the most dramatic mountain and coastal scenery in the nation – and the world – along with plenty of opportunities for seclusion where you can just enjoy each other’s company. The fantasy-like landscape appears as if it was painted into the sky, so beautiful it’s hard to believe that it’s real. Picnic along the banks of the fairy pools, hike the majestic Quiraing, tour magnificent Dunvegan Castle and sample whiskey at Talisker Distillery. Return to your cottage at Gairloch View after an unforgettable day, where you can enjoy spectacular open sea views along with breathtaking sunsets.
For those who dream of a wild and remote, breathtaking coastline along with an abundance of wildlife, Fogo Island, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, is perched at the edge North Atlantic, surrounded by seabirds, whales and icebergs. In what feels like the edge of the world, but can be accessed via a 45-minute ferry ride from Farewell, the recently opened Fogo Island Inn offers suites on the third floor that make an ideal romantic nest. Cuddle up with a glass of wine next to the glow of the wood-stove fireplace, while floor-to-ceiling windows provide views of the ocean crashing into the rocky coast as your backdrop.
The Seychelles is an idyllic island paradise. As soon as you step onto Fregate Island, a 740-acre private island in the Seychelles, you’ll forget all about the real world. At Fregate Island Private, you and your loved one can enjoy an outdoor shower and Jacuzzi, along with a gentle breeze, soft sands, brilliant sunshine and the warm, clear azure waters and the diverse marine life of the Indian Ocean. Of course, you’ll also have a waiter at your beck and call to refresh your tropical drink.
Few people have heard of Bequia, Mustique, Mayreau or Canouan, islands that make up the Grenadines. Of course, that’s a good thing when you’re looking for a romantic destination in which to escape the outside world. That may be why several British royals and rock stars like Mick Jagger have chosen to vacation on Mustique. On this stunning, exclusive private island, the Cotton House is an ultra-romantic hotel set among 13 acres of lush gardens with its own amazing beaches. Or, venture to Bequia, where you can enjoy the steel drums at Frangipani, sitting at the edge of the turquoise sea, while sipping rum punch and dancing to the beat with water gently lapping at your feet.
For a romantic escape in a unique, natural environment, head to the Amazon jungle. One of the best ways to experience it is by embarking on an Amazon River cruise, where you can watch the amazing scenery and wildlife while sipping a glass of South American wine. Share the magical feeling with your partner of falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle and waking to the calls of tropical birds. This is also your chance to see the rare pink dolphin and meet indigenous cultures that have changed very little over the centuries. While you’re here, you might want to explore one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu.