Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and Perfect Wedding Magazine has found some beautiful options for all lovers.
From falling in love all over again in the aptly named Côte d’Amour region off the western coast of France to honeymooning in a private game reserve in South Africa to spicing things up with the erotic ‘Kamasutra-themed’ sculptures at Khajuraho, there are simply some places, some kinds of adventures, that make us want to fall in love. To celebrate Cupid’s Day, we share some of the world’s most romantic destinations, for every type of couple, to swoon over.
FOR THE YOUNG LOVERS – MADRID, SPAIN
Ah! Young love – so tender, so visceral, so earth-shattering. For the newly minted couple looking to solidify their love, the passionate metropolis of Madrid provides the perfect tryst. With its glorious city life, mixed with medieval mansions and royal palaces, Madrid is a city with a special charm, offering infinite possibilities to nurture that young love. Passion runs deep in this city. In fact, passion is part of the fabric of daily life – a city with music in its soul and an unshakeable spring in its step. Whether it’s watching the beautiful Spanish sunset in El Retiro Park or sharing that box of chocolates (and the delectable churros) with your Valentine’s lover at one of the city’s famous churrerias, there’s something about Madrid that will fan the flames of love.
Youth travel specialist, Contiki, offers a 14-day journey through some of Spain’s most passionate cities on its “Spanish Spree” itinerary, allowing guests to immerse themselves and dive into the Latin culture. Visiting Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Bilboa and Pamplona, it is in Madrid that young lovers can find some time for themselves and enjoy a romantic stroll in some of the city’s unique barrios. For more info, visit contiki.com
FOR THE STAR CROSSED LOVER LOOKING TO PROPOSE! – VERONA, ITALY
We may live in an age when text messaging has replaced a phone call as the method du jour to communicate, but that doesn’t mean old-school romance is dead. For those looking to pop the question in a grand manner, the romantic Italian town of Verona offers the best chance of receiving a resounding ‘yes’ to the question at hand. It comes as no surprise that this quaint northern town was recently voted as “the best destination to propose”. The greatest love story of all time, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was set in Verona after all! Never mind that Romeo and Juliet were completely fictional characters, romantics still flock to the 14th century Casa di Giulietta (“Juliet’s House”) at via Cappello 23 to add their lovelorn pleas to the sea of amorous notes lining the courtyard gateway. For that star crossed lover, proposing to their loved one beneath “Juliet’s Balcony” will surely induce these famous words: “But my true love is grown to such excess I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth.”
Romantics will enjoy all the gems of Italy on Trafalgar’s 7-day “Jewels of Italy” itinerary, an ode to beautiful Italia. This journey includes exploring some of Rome’s most treasured sites, and watching Venetian craftsmen at work at a glass-blowing workshop in Venice. Guests looking to propose will have the opportunity to do so when they visit “Juliet’s Balcony” in Verona, where they can pop the question amongst their new travel companions. For more info, visit trafalgar.com
FOR THE JEALOUSY INDUCING HONEYMOON – SOUTH AFRICA
Romantic? Check. Bragging rights upon return? You can bet on it. An unforgettable honeymoon filled with enough adventure and lush scenery to last till death do you part? Triple check. Honeymooners looking to spend their first moments together as a married couple need not look further than South Africa. Blessed with heavenly forest hideaways and culture that will surprise many, it’s not just about safari going anymore. Sure, you can still spot wildlife in one of the many national parks, but doting couples can also taste extraordinary sauvignon blancs in Franschhoek, dine on Cape Dutch cuisine in Cape Town, even bungee jump or shark-cage dive where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. With so much to do, your first fight being married might be bickering over how many more extra days to add to your honeymoon.
From a romantic Table Mountain sunset to evening sundowners under Africa skies, Lion World Travel’s 11-night “African Dream Honeymoon” itinerary makes for a dream honeymoon in South Africa. On this unforgettable trip, guests are treated to four nights of opulence in Cape Town, from dining at the world famous Azure Restaurant to canoodling at a couples spa treatment. At the private Sabi Sand Reserve, lovebirds embark on a romantic safari before ending their honeymoon on a beach paradise in Mozambique. For more info, visit lionworldtravel.com
FOR THE COUPLE LOOKING TO SAY “I DO…AGAIN” – COTE D’AMOUR, FRANCE
Whether it’s five or 50 years, the fact that you and your loved one made it this far is cause for celebration. What could be more romantic than planning a trip to say ‘I do…again’? Revered for the beauty of its landscapes, such as the spectacular Pink Granite and Emerald coasts, and its blissfully carefree way of life, the romantic Côte d’Amour region of northwestern France is the perfect retreat for couples looking to renew their vows. Once consisting of only two ancient fishing ports, this region has seen considerable development since a local newspaper christened it Côte d’Amour in 1913. From its fine sandy beaches to the romantic walled town at Guérande, this lover’s coast has all the trappings of amour – here’s to another 50 years!
Couples looking to celebrate their marriage in style are offered a truly exceptional experience on the Luxury Gold by Insight Vacations 11-day “French Elegance” journey. From dining at one of France’s most celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants to looking beyond the ramparts in medieval Guérande to uncover the source of the world famous fleur de sel, amourants will be able to renew their love for each other – all while enjoying the elevated level of comfort and convenience. For more info, visit insightluxurygold.com
FOR THE FRISKY COUPLE – THE EROTIC SCULPTURES AT KHAJURAHO, INDIA
Nestled away from the crowds, an archaeological site known for its sculptured temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Jain patriarchs await those who don’t shy away from a little bit of flesh. While the 10th century Khajuraho temple complex features thousands of statues and artwork depicting simple everyday life, all magnificent in form and richly carved, this UNESCO World Heritage Site located in India’s Madhya Pradesh state is more famous for its steamy Kamasutra-themed sculptures. The perfect getaway for lovers looking to add some ‘spice’ into their relationships, 10% of the complex’s sculptures depict tantric sexual practices – with some scholars suggesting that they are a bold portrayal of man’s deepest hidden passions and desires. From Parsvanath Temple, the most scintillating structure in the group, to the extravagantly interlocked maithunas (lovemaking couples), Khajuraho is not just a tourist spot but it also serves as a complete book, for frisky couples, to learn from.
Insight Vacations offers a 13-day journey into a wonderland of the exotic and enigmatic, full of strange fascination – from the erotic temples of Khajuraho and the splendid Taj Mahal, to the ashy presence of Hindu holy men and the world’s only official living goddess on its “Classical India with Nepal” adventure – complete with truly exceptional hotels and world-class service. For more info, visit insightluxurygold.com
FOR THE MOST ROMANTIC CITY IN THE WORLD… THAT IS NOT PARIS! – VENICE, ITALY
Sure, Paris is known the world over as the love capital of the world, complete with its romantic aura and beautiful people. But couples looking for love filled trysts, without having to wade through the throngs of other lovers who also flock to Paris, Venice comes in at a close second. With its hidden bridges, cobblestoned alleyways, and iconic canals, it’s easy to see why La Serenissima is the perfect city to get lost in with a partner. Lovers can stroll the palaces and piazzas, explore the ancient architecture and lose the day in chic boutiques, art galleries, and canal-side cafés. For that ultimate experience, nothing says “ti amo” better than serenading your loved one while riding in a private gondola along the tranquil canals.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise offers a 10-day journey that will uncover the extraordinary hidden treasures of Venice and Northern Italy on its “Gems of Northern Italy” itinerary – all aboard a floating palace. Lovers will encounter unforgettable sights on an odyssey that begins in Milan and ends in legendary Venice, where exploring the Venice Lagoon and partaking in a wine tasting on the island of Mazzorbo are all part of the romantic experiences. For more info, visit uniworld.com