In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I thought it fitting to reminisce on some of the most romantic places I’ve visited throughout my travels. Whether you have a significant other or not, these locations ranging from iconic cities to sun drenched beaches are sure to inspire the romantic in all of us.
1. PONT DES ARTS BRIDGE: PARIS, FRANCE
The love lock bridge phenomenon began many years ago when couples started adorning the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris with padlocks inscribed with their initials. This sweet symbol of love’s unbreakable bond quickly became a fad and lovebirds from around the globe flocked to the bridge to make this public proclamation.
The practice became so popular that the structural integrity of the bridge was compromised due to the weight of thousands of locks. Portions of the bridge have since been replaced with Plexiglas panes to prevent further damage. Despite efforts to curb the tradition, locks continue to appear on bridges throughout Paris and other major cities around the world, proving that love prevails regardless of the obstacles placed in its way.
2. SUNSET VIEW RESTAURANT: KOH TAO, THAILAND
The tiny island of Koh Tao is known for its beautiful beaches, superb diving, delicious food and wild nightlife. It also provides some of the most romantic settings in the world. One such place is the Sunset View Restaurant where couples can enjoy a quiet dinner and watch the sun drift behind Nangyuan Island in the distance.
3. MONASTIRAKI CENTER: ATHENS, GREECE
The Monastiraki Center located near the base of the Acropolis was uninhabited during this sunrise shot. During the evening hours, this space comes to life as restaurants, bars and boutiques along Adrianou Street cater to tourists and locals alike. After spending the day exploring the ancient ruins in Athens, there is nothing more romantic than enjoying a candlelit dinner beneath the subtle glow of the Parthenon.
4. DUMBO PARK: BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
I am lucky to live in one of the most vibrant and romantic cities in the world. There are dozens of picturesque locations throughout New York to enjoy with your companion, but Dumbo Park is one of my favorites. Situated just steps away from the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, this area was once abandoned and desolate. In recent years, it has been transformed into a beautiful green space offering stunning views of lower Manhattan. To avoid the crowds, venture here on a cool afternoon, settle onto a quiet bench with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the uninterrupted views of the city.
5. ISLA MUJERES: QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO
At first glance, Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun might be mistaken for a tourist trap as it is a popular stop for many day tours and cruise ships. However, if you can escape the main drag filled with countless shops offering the “best deal” you’ll be greeted by colorful neighborhoods and romantic seascapes.
6. THE COLOSSEUM AT NIGHT: ROME, ITALY
The colosseum is a must see when visiting Rome. Thousands flock to this site daily to marvel at its grandeur and experience its history. Though impressive, walking the corridors where unthinkable torture and bloodshed took place doesn’t illicit warm fuzzy feelings. But when night falls, the tourists disperse and the streets become quiet. Grab your lover and a bottle of wine and enjoy the warm glow of this world wonder.
7. LUMAHA’I BEACH: KAUAI, HAWAII
As far as beaches go, Hawaii boasts some of the best, but none quite rival this hidden gem. A wooded trail leads down to a secluded beach where you’ll find a handful of locals basking in the sun. Let the rocky cliffs, golden sand and azure waters serve as your private playground for an afternoon, with the exception of the occasional sea turtle that might swim up near the shore.
8. RUE SAINT ANTOINE: CANNES, FRENCH RIVIERA
Best known for its annual film festival and being a popular escape for the rich and famous, Cannes is a surprisingly intimate seaside town that oozes romance. Charming cafes, boutique hotels, quiet alleys and stunning views of the French Riviera provide the perfect backdrop for stealing a kiss. You’ll find several restaurants along Rue Saint Antoine where you can enjoy delicious French cuisine and a glass of bubbly with your love.
9. PIAZZA SAN MARCO AT NIGHT: VENICE, ITALY
During the day, San Marco Square is filled with tourists and vendors selling souvenirs of all kinds. After dodging a multitude of selfie sticks and tour groups, you may be able to capture a few decent photos. But for a more intimate and romantic experience, try venturing to the piazza after sundown. The crowds disappear and the lights from the tiny arched windows illuminate the space. You might even hear a violinist playing classic tunes or catch a couple slow dancing in the center of the square.
10. ORIENT BAY: ST. MAARTEN
The Caribbean is full of sun drenched beaches perfect for enjoying lazy days with your lover. Perhaps the most romantic is Orient Bay in St. Maarten. Past the posh restaurants and beach bars lies this secret oasis. It also happens to be St. Maarten’s only nude beach. Though a bit intimidating at first, it soon becomes apparent that this is a judgment free zone frequented by beachgoers seeking nothing but carefree relaxation.
What are some of the most romantic places you’ve visited around the world? Share your comments below!