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


Top 10 Romantic Destinations 2007

Beauty indeed is in the eye of the beholder, yet somehow a setting—any setting—is exquisite when you’re in love. Exploring the world together is just plain romantic, and as you plumb the depths of these locales near and far you’ll surely be stimulated in more ways than one. From mountains to coastline, from metropolis to wilderness, our list includes the eclectic and the classic. The only thing to remember is that wherever the two of you find yourselves, love makes the ideal traveling companion.

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UNITED STATES
Big Sur, California

Big Sur

Ninety miles of dramatic, awe-inspiring coastline between Carmel and San Simeon, Calif., define the area known as Big Sur (of Spanish derivation for “big south”). Here, much like love at first sight, land, sea and sky meet in a spectacular confluence. Driving its winding length via Highway One—rugged mountains flank the route’s east side, while the Pacific Ocean crashes on rocky shores to the west—promises an experience of remarkable natural beauty and scenic splendor.


Savannah, Georgia

Lafayette Square

A designated National Historic Landmark, Savannah is a city of history and mystery. It’s famous for its spirits and specters, elegant antebellum mansions, lovely town squares, and residents of character and color (read: eccentricities). Perhaps the most romantic way to come under the spell of this engaging southern city is by horse-drawn carriage. Sit back and sip Champagne as a liveried driver takes you on a private tour of the largest contiguous historic district in the United States.

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ARGENTINA
Lake District

Lago Huapi, Argentina's Lake District

An enchanting region of mirrored lakes, ancient forests and snow-covered mountains, Argentina’s Lake District in Northwest Patagonia is majestic in its beauty, humbling in its magnitude and intoxicating in its atmosphere. Its national parkland setting is perfect for tender twosomes who take to white water rafting, hiking, fishing or birding. Headquarter in the vibrant town of Bariloche and you’ll delight to discover a mecca for artists and musicians. One caution: Local legend has it that once you’ve breathed the air, it’s impossible to leave.

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CARIBBEAN
Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Vieques Island

Though the island may be small, its beauty is immense: remote beaches with soft sands, sylvan nature trails, mangrove stands—and no casinos, golf courses, or shopping malls! (If you need an adrenaline fix, the island is only a short flight or ferry ride away from San Juan.) Vieques’ most captivating feature is the bioluminescent lagoon at Puerto Mosquito. As you paddle the bay at night, millions of microscopic organisms light up with an ethereal bluish glow—scattering and sparking with every splash of your oars.


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CROATIA
Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

A fascinating walled city on the Adriatic Coast, Dubrovnik sprang up in the 7th century as a fortress town before becoming known as the “Jewel of the Adriatic.” In its Old Town, the main street is lined with cafes, shops and sidewalks that invite strolling, browsing and espresso sipping. Be sure and visit the Rector's Palace, built in 1441 and today a museum filled with historic exhibits. If you’re visiting mid-year, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival offers music, theater and dance performances.

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FRANCE
Provence

Lavender fields in Provence, France

Situated in Southeast France, Provence is the embodiment of living life to the fullest. When one thinks of this legendary realm, images of lavender-filled fields and vistas of ripe natural beauty immediately spring to mind. You’ll fall in love all over again as you discover its varied landscapes, defined by the Alps to the east (Mont Ventoux, the Luberon and the Alpilles), the Rhône River in the west (fertile valleys and plains) and the Mediterranean Sea due south (the fanciful marshlands of the Camargue).

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ITALY
Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

You may not be able to climb its rough crags, cut ravines and steep embankments, but you can certainly marvel at them. You’ll also be seduced by the area’s fabulous climate, ancient feel and scattering of villages that time seems to have passed by. Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano and Ravello are all major resort towns here. While you’re discovering them, be sure and pick up two items the area is known for: a bottle of limoncello liqueur and special paper used for wedding invitations (hint, hint).

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JAPAN
Fuji Five Lakes Region

A reflection of Mount Fuji

When in spring and autumn the day arrives that the snow blankets just the top of Mount Fuji, it’s the perfect time to visit Japan’s Fuji Five Lakes region. This aqueous quintet—Lakes Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Sai, Shoji and Motosu—lies in a lovely arc surrounding the northern foot of the country’s highest mountain. Both peak and lakes, formed in eons past by lava flows that dammed up several rivers, are part of serene parklands that invite hiking, meditation and other countryside pleasures.

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THE MALDIVES
Faafu Atoll

The Faafu Atoll, Maldives

Twenty-three tiny islands, only five of which are occupied, make up this lyrical South Pacific atoll—one of the remaining uninhabited islands has been entirely converted into a resort that’s accessible only by seaplane. Here, amid wind-dancing palms and surrounded by endless blue expanses of ocean and sky, you’ll experience a sense of profound isolation and paradisiacal island beauty. In addition to your significant other, excellent dive sites and abundant marine life will make your heart race.

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NEW ZEALAND
Milford Sound, South Island

Milford Sound

Along the southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Milford Sound has been described as the Eighth Wonder of the World. This remote region, with its sheer rock faces and waters teeming with penguins, seals and dolphins, is located within the Fiordland National Park, part of the larger Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. Adventurous lovers can attempt “the most beautiful walk in the world,” a three-and-a-half-day trek from Te Anu that every step of the way envelops you in the area’s natural grandeur.

Current Top 10 Romantic Destinations

Images:

Big Sur courtesy of Stan Russell and www.bigsurcalifornia.org
Lafayette Square, Savannah courtesy of Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Lago Huapi, Argentina courtesy of Argentina Turistica
Provence image courtesy of French Government Tourist Office
Dubrovnik courtesy of Dubrovnik Tourist Board
Amalfi Coast courtesy of The Italian Government Tourist Board

Faafu Atoll image courtesy of Holiday Watchdog
Milford Sound courtesy of Tourism New Zealand

P011907
(Updated: 10/24/12 JLD)

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