Whether you're looking for a beautiful beach to share a sundowner on, or you want to get lost in each other amongst the bustle of a city, these are the best places around the world for a spot of romancing.
20 fantastically romantic places
With verdant rainforest stretching down to dazzling white-sand beaches and warm azure seas, it’s no surprise that the islands of the Seychelles are such an intoxicating destination. Home to a number of intimate (and often exclusive) resorts – not least on beautiful La Digue island – this is undoubtedly a honeymooner’s paradise.
Constructed afresh each winter, the IceHotel is just as much an art project as it is somewhere to spend the night. Situated in Swedish Lapland, 200km north of the Arctic Circle, this is more than just an unusual place to stay (and snuggle up); it’s also an amazing spot from which to see one of the most astounding natural phenomena – the Northern Lights.
With sixteen major lakes squeezed between England’s highest mountains – and set within a mere thirty-mile area – the Lake District deserves all its hype. This is the place for long walks, picturesque villages and breathtaking scenery – and fantastic pubs in which to cosy up at the end of a day exploring.
This pristine town, nestled in a wooded gorge on the River Necker, has inspired everyone from Goethe to Disraeli with the loveliness of its setting. The epitome of a German fairytale, complete with a medieval castle set on the hill and “gingerbread” houses, it’s a great spot for a relaxed few days of fine food and people-watching.
Endlessly fascinating, Venice boasts an urban landscape so rich that even the sheer number of other tourists can’t detract from its overwhelming beauty. At its most alluring in winter, when mist descends over the canals, a leisurely wander through the quieter streets at any time of year will lead you to discover the true heart of the city.
Burgh Island, England
Separated from the mainland at high tide, this Art Deco hotel has long been associated with old-fashioned glamour. Decked out in period furnishings, a stay here is like stepping back in time – whether it’s sipping a pint in the old “smugglers” pub, swimming in the seawater rock pool, or getting your glad rags on for one of its famous dinner dances.
With one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul has been irresistible to travellers for centuries. Boasting a staggering wealth of attractions – from Byzantine churches to the minarets of its Ottoman mosques – complemented by superb food and exciting nightlife, Istanbul is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beguiling cities.
For many, Rajasthan is India at its most exotic; from the labyrinthine old walled town of Jodhpur, to the magical desert city of Jaisalmer and the waterside palaces of Udaipur, it’s not hard to see why. Evoke an old-fashioned romance with a camel-back trip across the sands, then spend the evening relaxing in a luxury tented camp, under the wide, star-filled sky.
Boasting the country’s richest culture, and most refined cuisine, complemented by ancient Buddhist temples, sublime gardens and majestic palaces, Kyoto is, for many people, the epitome of traditional Japan. Spring is undoubtedly the most romantic time for a visit, as the cherry blossom trees burst into bloom.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect sandy beach, that idyllic sunset view, or a traditional waterside taverna, island-hopping around the Greek islands holds an irresistible appeal. Swimming in balmy seas at dusk, chatting over great local food and drinking under the stars – it’s the simplest pleasures that are the best here.
Boasting some of the greatest landmarks in the world – Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain; Copacabana and Ipanema beaches; Sugar Loaf mountain – not to mention one of the world’s most sensual festivals, Carnaval, and a sublime setting, it’s fair to say that Rio isn’t just romantic, it’s downright sexy.
Dynamic, energetic and diverse – there’s nowhere else quite like New York City. Much of the city’s timeless appeal lies in the variety of its neighbourhoods. From the tenements of the Lower East Side to the brownstones and nightlife of Brooklyn, it’s a place where every corner throws up something new, and yet familiar – the perfect urban landscape to fall in love to.
South Africa is abundant in spectacular landscapes, and one of its most beguiling lies just a short drive from Cape Town – the orderly vineyards of the Winelands, set against striking white Cape Dutch architecture and dramatic mountains. And of course, nothing quite sets up a romantic scene like a glass or two of the finest local wine.
The romance of adventure is evident in travelling through Patagonia; this immense area is both legendary and extreme, from the breathtaking natural wonder of the craggy Glacier Perito Moreno, to the savagely beautiful peaks of the Fitz Roy massif. Marvel at whales, penguins and elephant seals, and feel as though you’re travelling to the edge of the world.
Tahiti, French Polynesia
This classic desert island idyll – tiny islands, crystal-clear waters and quiet beaches – is the perfect landscape for two. Choose an over-water bungalow for the ultimate castaway experience, complemented by leisurely days of swimming, sunbathing and gazing out at the endless ocean views.
An island of towering, cloud-topped volcanoes, vibrant green rice fields that terrace down to the ocean, a mesmerising traditional culture, and world-class beach resorts, Bali is undeniably enchanting. Dine barefoot on the sand by candlelight, relax with a traditional massage, or soak up the scenery from a mystical temple.
It may be a cliché to call Paris romantic, but that doesn’t make it any less true. This glamorous city is at its most compelling when explored on foot, discovering not just the obvious sites but its quieter charms; the tucked-away streets on the islands, the formica-clad cafés that haven’t changed for decades, and the smaller neighbourhoods where locals outnumber tourists.
For a romantic break with a difference, head to the charming Eastern European city of Mostar. Relatively tourist-free, this historic city nestles snuggly in a river valley; spend your days wandering its cobbled streets, marvel at its many minarets, and relax in one of the surprisingly chic cafés.
Arguably the country’s cultural and spiritual heart, Fez remains the world’s most complete and unspoilt medieval Islamic settlement. The city stimulates the senses, not least in the extraordinary Medina-city of Fez el Bali, where its souks are home to a barrage of hauntingly beautiful sounds, striking visual details and tantalising smells.
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
This rugged and remote landlocked national park boasts exceptional game and big-cat viewing. The best way to experience the landscape is from one of the park’s stylish but sustainable tented camps, many of which will enable you to spot giraffe and elephants without stepping beyond your private terrace.
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