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Top 10 Romantic Destinations Worldwide 2008

Romantic Locales — from Hawaii to Croatia

Hawea Point, Kapalua, Maui

The Most Romantic Destinations in the World

When you're in love, there's a desire to share it with the world, and it's a big world out there. Whether you want to shout your love from the top of a mountain or while snorkeling with underwater creatures, there are plenty of places across the continents to proclaim your connection. The trip is just as important as the destination, so here's a selection of some of the most romantic destinations on the planet where you can create memories to last a lifetime.

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UNITED STATES
California Wine Country

California Wine Country

What could be more romantic than savoring a glass of Chardonnay, cycling through vast vineyards or taking a dawn hot air balloon ride through Northern California's wine country? Both Napa and Sonoma are great valleys for your wine country jaunt, yet both are markedly different from the other. Where Napa is small and unified, it's also more commercial than the laid back Sonoma, whose vineyards sprawl over far more acreage. Both produce distinctive wines, yet either or both are perfect for a romantic getaway. Wine country is also great to visit year-round, although if you want to see the autumnal colors of the region, be sure to visit in the fall.


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.

Maui, Hawaii

Maui
Hawaii's island of Maui has always been synonymous with romance. Combining the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, Maui has it all for that great romantic escape. From the artsy boutiques of Lahaina to the 10,000-foot heights of Haleakala — the island's volcano — Maui combines the best of the big island. Gasp at waterfalls, trek rainforests, hike towards volcanoes and indulge in every kind of water sport imaginable. Maui also has perfect weather year-round, so you can save money on your romantic getaway by booking during off-season, which is usually September through November.

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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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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 to visit the Rector's Palace, now a museum filled with historic exhibits, built in 1441. 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
Italian Lake District

Italian Lake District
Italian is the language of love, so the perfect romantic getaway for European romance seekers has to be the Italian Lake District. You'll find yourself inextricably drawn to the beauty of Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and even the intimate Lake Orta. Indulge your ultimate fantasies and stay in a lakeside villa, secluded castle or panoramic chapel, all of which are scattered throughout the region. If it's good enough for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, it should be good enough for you. If it's grandiose you're after, choose Lake Garda. This large lake features picturesque resorts including Riva del Garda, situated on the water's edge. Take a trip to the tiny port town of Gargnano with its Villa Feltrinelli, or perhaps drop in on George Clooney at his Villa Oleandra in Lake Como.

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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 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.

Images:
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
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: 03/18/13 CT)

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