Romantic destinations can come in all shapes and forms. You may have found love on the tube, taken your first romantic date to the local chippy (that can be romantic, right?) or been whisked away to the city of love we all know as Paris. But there are some cities, hotels and places in the world that have an unmistakeable romantic air about them. Here are my top romantic destinations from around the world that are personal to me, but I hope you’ll agree, they’ll have a romantic appeal to travellers from all corners of the globe.
The Travel Journo’s Top 10 Most Romantic Destinations
1. St Lucia, Caribbean
The Carribean island of St Lucia is a prime spot for lovebirds, thanks to its undulating hills, spectacular sunsets and peaceful beaches. I’m also a little bias as this is where BC proposed to me at the peak of Pigeon Island National Park, a place that offers beautiful views across the island. St Lucia is also where they produce some of the Caribbean’s best chocolate. Visit the historic Rabot Estate and you can have the opportunity to plant your own cocoa tree. Now that’s a great way to mark the start of a beautiful relationship, isn’t it?!
2. Msambweni Beach House, Kenya
This boutique hotel on the south coast of Kenya was made for romance. Its hidden, beach-front location offers optimal sunset views and stargazing and the bathtubs inside the hotel’s main house are huge, meaning there’s always room for two. Guests who stay at Msambweni Beach House have the option of private beachfront dining, so you can dine just the two of you, with the waves as your soundtrack. It’s no surprise this is a popular spot for honeymoons and destination weddings.
3. Pangkor Laut, Malaysia
Pangkor Laut, has all the ingredients for a romantic holiday. This private island retreat in Malaysia’s Straits of Malacca is home to over-water villas, private beach picnics and a glorious spa that offers treatments pour deux. Experience their traditional Bath House Ritual and then retreat to one of their spa pavilions for a couple’s treatment that’s inspired by a Malaysian ritual for brides and grooms-to-be. Using time-honoured principles from China, Japan, India, Thailand, Bali and Malaysia, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this enchanting five-star retreat.
From cuddling up over an alfresco coffee and walking along the River Seine to perusing the finest French chocolatiers, the City of Lights will always be the city of love – of course I was going to include it in the list! Walk the love lock bridge to ‘lock your love’ with your partner, take a river cruise along the Seine or dine over candlelight in a traditional Parisien restaurant. For romance without the frills – and my personal favourite – take a picnic of cheeses, breads and a nice French red wine, and find a romantic spot to enjoy it in one of the city’s pretty parks.
5. Treasure Beach, Jamaica
Another bias one – I had my honeymoon here – but there’s something incredibly romantic about the simplicity of Treasure Beach. Located on the quiet south coast of Jamaica, this is where barefoot luxury lovers come to watch pelicans dip in and out of the ocean, admire deep red sunsets and relax into a slower pace of life. You can have the beaches here all to yourself.
London has its downfalls (over-packed tubes, busy roads, hectic pace…), but it’s also home to many places that offer a romantic charm. I’m thinking long walks in Hyde Park, strolls along the South Bank as you admire St Paul’s Cathedral, and walks over the glittery Albert Bridge. If walking doesn’t sound too romantic to you (I seem to have a theme going on here), there are dozens of champagne bars, restaurants and hotels to choose from that ooze romance. London, we heart you.
Zanzibar, or The Spice Isle as it’s also known, is without question, one of the most romantic islands in the world. The coastline appears to go on forever and that turquoise water you see in the glossy mags? Yep, that’s all real.
Go for romantic sundowners at Africa House in Stone Town and watch the dhow boats glide across the horizon. Then retreat to the south-east coast to a gorgeous retreat such as Zawadi. It’s a favourite among honeymooners looking for a romantic break after their African safari – and it’s the perfect place to enjoy beach walks under dusky pink skies.
8. New York City
As the setting of rom-coms like Harry Met Sally and classic films like West Side Story, New York City has plenty going for it in the romance stakes. And let’s not forget the many, many romantic moments filmed here for Sex and The City (sorry, I’m a fan). Countless couples have got engaged at the top of The Empire State Building, many more couples have tied the knot in Central Park. Personally, I think there are few things more romantic than walking through Central Park when it’s covered in a carpet of snow. Love is always in the air in the Big Apple.
9. Champagne, France
We all associate champagne with special occasions and romance. So it goes without saying that the birthplace of the world’s most famous sparkling wine – La Champagne – is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. The Marne Valley is filled with an abundance of lovely champagne bars, chic restaurants and places to chink glasses of bubbly over candlelight. There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy a wine tasting or vineyard picnic with both well-known champagne brands and lesser-known organic and family wines.
10. The Cape Winelands
From one wine region to the other, The Cape Winelands in South Africa are one of the most stunning and romantic places I’ve visited. Its landscape of rolling hills, winding country roads and Cape Dutch architecture make for a spectacular roadtrip with your beau. You’ll also find world-class restaurants here with knock-out mountain views, top spas for couples’ pampering and gorgeous hotels perched above the Franschhoek Valley.
What do you think are the world’s most romantic destinations? Would you include any of the destinations included in my list? Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know…