Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 Romantic Destinations 2005

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UNITED STATES
Connecticut


If yours is the kind of love that can weather all seasons, then Connecticut is the perfect place to celebrate your union. Sleigh rides in winter, wine touring in spring, weekend jazz concerts in artsy New Haven in summer and the turning of leaves in autumn. The intimate size of the state (less than 100 miles from east to west and about half that length from north to south) lends itself to an equally intimate holiday. Because it’s so small, you can meander the aforementioned wine trail that winds throughout the state in just a few days. Along the way you’ll encounter such charming places as the colonial village of Litchfield and the seaport town of Mystic.

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Laguna Beach

How do we love Laguna Beach? Let us count the ways. We love this pretty enclave for its awe-inspiring Pacific sunsets, eclectic art galleries, divine restaurants and ocean view lodgings—dolphin sightings are not uncommon. We also love it for the annual Pageant of the Masters, a summer performance that must be included in any romantic weekend here. The scale of this town (yes, despite being surrounded by the sprawl of Orange County, it is still a town) adds to its cozy ambience. And because you can walk everywhere, there’s no need to get stressed out driving around. Hide the car keys and spend your time strolling around holding hands instead.

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San Francisco

Sure, it’s an obvious choice, but we just can’t help ourselves. Those cheesy tourist T-shirts don’t lie. San Francisco really is for lovers. Among our favorite places for canoodling: the ferry to Sausalito, the trattorias in Little Italy and the Top of the Mark. But while we could go on and on about the best spots to rendezvous, it’s the character of the city itself that’s its most romantic aspect. Every neighborhood has something to offer couples, from historic Nob Hill, home to the tryst-worthy Huntington Hotel, to the Haight-Ashbury District, which is not only fun and funky, but gave the world the Summer of Love. And for the record, what they say about leaving your heart here is true, too.

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Taos

This artist community has held a romantic allure for wanderers from all over the world at least since the 1920s, when there were perhaps as many artists and intellectuals in Taos as there were in Paris or Berlin. For one, it’s beautifully set in the “land of enchantment” on the high-desert mesa at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains; it’s a landscape that makes your soul soar. Art and galleries are everywhere; but even if you’re not up for buying an O'Keefe, there’s plenty for lovers to do: romancer D.H. Lawrence's memorial chapel and shrine is located just ten miles outside of Taos. Pay homage to the Rio Grande atop the Gorge Bridge or to the ancestors of this country at Bandelier National Monument. And when it comes to cozy lodgings, the fact that Taos has a reputation as "Bed & Breakfast Capital of the Southwest” says it all.

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CANADA
Alberta


Love and nature have something in common: given the right circumstances, both can be counted on to get the pulse pounding. In the case of nature, there’s no place like Alberta to make your heart race. The scenery here is awe-inspiring. Icefields Parkway winds through the Rocky Mountains past 100 glaciers from Jasper to gorgeous Lake Louise. And if you don’t feel like driving, you can snuggle side by side on a train ride through the province. Alberta is home to many beautiful resorts, and not that you need an excuse to snuggle, but luscious lodgings, snow outside and a crackling fire inside certainly doesn’t hurt. In the summer months, hike through an alpine meadow and pick a posy of wildflowers for your sweetheart.

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CARIBBEAN
St. Vincent and the Grenadines

If your idea of romance is access to a Robinson Crusoe-worthy deserted island without having to sacrifice unadulterated luxury, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will make you very happy. This Caribbean cluster consists of thirty islands and cays, most of which are uninhabited. A few, such as Palm Island (candlelight dinners on the beach) and Petit St. Vincent (just twenty cottages and no room keys), are even privately owned resorts. Stay on one of these exclusive islands and boat out each day in search of solitude. Our pick for lovers of sand, surf and one another? The white sand beaches and coral reefs of the unpopulated Tobago Cays.

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CZECH REPUBLIC
Prague


Like Paris, but with less cliché and more discretion, Prague offers many a corner for sneaking a romantic interlude. Pause to admire the graceful lines of Frank Gehry’s “Fred and Ginger” building. Bond over beers at U Fleku, a 500-year-old microbrewery. Row leisurely along the Vltava River, or linger above this winding body of water at sunset on the Charles Bridge. Prague may have played a crucial role in the Cold War, but there’s nothing chilly about it now. Home to Prague Castle, classical music, a lively Bohemian spirit and a charming Old Town webbed with cobbled streets, it’s sure to fan the flames of love.

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MOROCCO
Marrakech

We know that Morocco and Saudi Arabia are on entirely different continents, but when waxing poetic about Marrakech, it’s hard not to call upon exotic images of Scheherazade and her Arabian Nights. Begin composing your own never-ending story as you venture out at sunset into Djema el Fna Square. A UNESCO World Heritage Site inside the old walled city, it is a feast for the senses, a carnival of snake charmers, magicians, acrobats and fortune tellers—find out what your future together holds. Outside the city, visit the mysterious Berber villages in the High Atlas Mountains and the quaint harbor town of Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast.

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SOUTH PACIFIC
French Polynesia

French Polynesia is home to Tahiti and Bora Bora. Need we say more? This is inarguably one of the most romantic destinations on earth. Not convinced? Spend some time studying Gauguin’s erotic Tahitian works. (And pick of a copy of his Noa Noa to read to one another on a secluded beach.) Considering how these islands with their dramatic sunsets, fragrant flowers and thatch-roofed resorts have enamored artists and travelers over the years, they’re an obvious choice for couples enamored with one another. French influences add to the ooh la la factor. And FYI: these are volcanic islands and atolls, so don’t be surprised if they ignite a little fiery behavior on arrival.

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VIETNAM
Hanoi

Despite the bullet train of modernization that raced through Hanoi at the end of the 20th century, it remains a city of slow gracious charms. A century of French influence—from architecture to fine art—managed to survive decades of cement block Communism. Don’t get us wrong, cement blocks exist. But among them you’ll find elegant colonial villas, the drift of incense and sunrise mist over Hoan Kiem Lake. Cozy up together on a cyclo ride through town. And while we know Communism isn’t an aphrodisiac for most, we still suggest visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Sure it’s weird and not all that romantic, but if you and your comrade are looking for something unique to talk about over an intimate cocktail at the Metropole, this will do the trick.

Current Top 10 Romantic Destinations

(Updated: 10/24/12 JLD)


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