With Valentine’s Day now just a few weeks away, we’ve been thinking about our favourite romantic holidays. Paris is indeed the city of lovers; a Venetian gondola ride is a quintessential date night; re-enacting the end of ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ at the top of the Empire State Building is literally the height of grand romantic gestures – but we’ve come up with a list of some of our other favourite romantic travel experiences that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
This northern Italian city is the setting for three of Shakespeare’s plays, one of which is Romeo and Juliet. Things didn’t work out well for these star-crossed lovers, but picturesque Verona’s pretty piazzas, excellent regional cuisine and proximity to the utterly romantic Lake Garda will see that your love story runs a much happier course. Time your visit to coincide with an atmospheric performance of the Bard’s great tragedy in the city’s well-preserved Roman amphitheatre.
Every spring in Japan, thousands of cherry trees burst into clouds of delicate blossom, setting off a national phenomenon known as hanami, or ‘flower viewing’. Its temples and parks make Kyoto a lovely city at any time of year, but in spring the romance factor really skyrockets. One of the best ways to soak up this atmosphere is to take a walk along the ancient Philosopher’s Path, a two kilometre-long canal-side stone path that is lined with hundreds of cherry trees, or you can head for Maruyama Park, where a large, weeping cherry tree is illuminated to form the backdrop for your traditional night-time hanami picnic.
The ruins of this fifteenth-century citadel sit high in the mountains of the Cusco region, and watching the sun rise over its ancient stone walls is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring experiences. Take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and aim to arrive at the entrance early in the morning to beat the worst of the crowds and soak up the views. As the light changes, so does the view, so you’ll want to spend at least a few hours exploring the site, but when you’re ready to leave, skip the hot springs in Aguas Calientes and head for the Baños Termales de Cocalmayo in nearby Santa Teresa instead to soak away the exertions of the day.
Considered by many to be the ‘Paris of South America’, Buenos Aires is also the city of the tango, which is often described as the ‘dance of love’. Taking in a tango show is a great way to whet your appetite, but if you really want to find out what tango is all about, why not sign up for a private lesson. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the fancy footwork and flamboyant execution of this passionate dance: learn the basics from an expert, then head for a tango club and allow yourself to be swept up in the music and electric atmosphere.
Completed in 1653, this vast, marble mausoleum in the Indian city of Agra is one of the greatest monuments to love that has ever been conceived. It was commissioned by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, who died while giving birth to their fourteenth child, and took more than twenty years to construct. More than seven million visitors a year come to this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, and whether you visit at sunrise, sunset or any other time of day, it is a powerful symbol of love and loss.
What’s your ultimate romantic destination or experience? Contact your personal travel manager here who can help you get there, or offer recommendations based on their own list of the world’s most romantic getaways.