Valentine’s Day might conjure up images of panic-buying cheesy cards and heart-shaped desserts in couple-packed restaurants, but we have another idea. Why not use February 14 for a bit of travel inspiration instead?
Some of these places around the world have a deep-rooted romantic history attached to them, and others are just perfect for a trip for two… and maybe a proposal.
8 romantic travel destinations
1. Juliet’s Balcony, Verona
As balconies go, they don’t come much more famous than the balcony on Casa di Giulietta – where Romeo promised Juliet his eternal love in the Shakespeare play. The building itself dates back to the 13th century and there’s a statue of Juliet, recently restored and moved from the courtyard to the house, that’s meant to bring unmarried people luck in love if they touch it.
2. Lovers’ Point, California
This small beach near Monterey in California is one of the only spots on the west coast of the States where you can watch the sunrise from the water, because of its unique east-facing location. So, couples often catch a quiet spot on the beach early in the morning, which is pretty romantic.
3. Callejon del Beso, Mexico
Legend has it that when two lovers pass through the narrow passageway of Callejon del Beso, the Alley of the Kiss, they have to kiss on the third step – and their love will last forever. It’s in the colourful city of Guanajuato, 230 miles north of Mexico City, but the story behind it is tragic. A young woman, Doña Carmen, fell in love with Don Luis, a man her father didn’t deem suitable and banned her from seeing, so Don Luis spent his life savings to buy the house opposite to be close to her. When her father caught them kissing across the adjacent balconies, he killed her in a rage and Don Luis committed suicide, so they died side by side.
4. Burgh Island
An island that’s only sometimes an island – depending on the tide – the Burgh Island Hotel is perched here, off the coast of Devon. The hotel dates back to 1929, it’s art deco in style and each suite is a nod to a bygone era, so you really feel like you’ve stepped back in time. To really make a statement you can hire the island, and entire hotel, for a wedding. What could be more romantic than being cut off from the world when the tide is in?
5. Philosopher’s Path, Japan
When you think of springtime in Japan, one sight comes to mind – the pink blooms of cherry blossom. This canalside path, which connects Ginkakuji and Nanzenji, in Kyoto, is lined with hundreds of cherry trees and is the perfect place for a romantic stroll. The flowers are deeply symbolic in Japan – they represented new beginnings and the fleeting nature of life – because the flowers themselves are so short-lived. After blooming for about a week only, the ‘sakura snow’ effect starts, as the flowers float from the trees.
6. Church of the Assumption, Slovenia
This baroque church sits on its own tiny island in the middle of the oh-so-picturesque Lake Bled, Slovenia, and inside hangs a 15th century ‘wishing bell’. According to the legend, a young widow Poliksena once lived at the Bled Castle, and had a bell cast for the chapel on the island, in memory of her husband. When the bell was being transported, a storm sank the boat and to this day, the bell is said to ring from the depths of the lake. After Poliksena died, a new bell was cast, which travellers can ring for a favour. If it’s everlasting love you’re after, there couldn’t be a prettier place to wish for it.
7. The Ladera Resort, St Lucia
How does your very own plunge pool, in your room, with magnificent views of St Lucia’s most famous landmark sound? The Ladera Resort is a couple’s dream. The suites are open air (with only three walls) with views of the Pitons – the island’s volcanic spires reaching out of the sea. It’s the ultimate honeymoon (or proposal) spot if you’re feeling extra generous this Valentine’s Day.
8. The Taj Mahal
You may not be able to find a quiet moment with your loved one away from the tourist crowds if you visit the Taj Mahal, but there is an amazing love story behind the Indian landmark. In 1907, Mughal Emperor Maharajah Shah Jahan fell in love with a market seller Mumtaz Mahal who became his third wife (but she was known to be his favourite). She died while giving birth to their 14th child and on her deathbed, he promised never to remarry, and to build a mausoleum over her grave. The Taj Mahal design was inspired by the Koran’s description of heaven and took 22 years to build, and the couple are buried next to each other.