Clichés exist for a reason: something was memorable. Some cliched romantic travel destinations are overexposed, others have kept the intense meaning that got them on the list to begin with.
So rather list “off the beaten track,” random travel destinations which require extreme stretches of the imagination to find appealing, we’re showing our earnest appreciation for 9 tried-and-true romantic travel destinations that have withstood the test of time.
This list will come in handy for honeymoon planning in 2015. More people propose on Christmas Eve than any other day of the year. Don’t forget to book your vacation rental early. These tempting destinations fill up fast.
Image: Adam Smok
This beguiling, sinking city in North Eastern Italy gets ghastly crowds, but thanks to the intricate canal layout, there are still nooks where you can enjoy a private moment. Sip a fizzy, potent spritz aperol at a Hemingway haunt the Longhi Bar in the Gritti Palace. Have a seafood dinner at a rustic osteria. And most importantly, take that touristy gondola ride.
Today gondolas are for tourists who want a languid cruise and unparalleled views; nearly a thousand years ago they were the way to transport Venetians through the lagoons. You can even take couples’ rowing lessons (extreme paddle boarding!) from Row Venice.
Image: Donald Man
Saying the name conjures tropical paradise, hence why Bali (the entire province) is always in the top 10 list for honeymoons. The Indonesian Island of the Gods has it all: beach resorts, ancient temples, spa experiences, terraced rice fields, diving spots, lush forests and craggy volcanoes.
The most compelling reason to keep it at the top of the list? The Balinese have a tradition of being welcoming and warm with tourists. If you can’t smile at your fellow tourists too, there are plenty of deserted white sand beaches, especially along the Southern Lombok coastline, where you can relish your privacy.
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Image: Jacqueline Deshpande
Why take a safari? Safaris, meaning travel, have tempted travellers (think Livingstone and Ava Gardner and Clark Gable in Mogambo in 1953) for hundreds of years. Whether you glamp or rough it, you’ll experience elemental, awe-inspiring, ennui-shattering wildlife encounter — the kind you want to share with someone you love.
The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya Taking a safari has all the big names: lions, elephants, cheetah, wildebeest, zebra and antelope. The most overwhelming sight is the great migration of the wildebeest and other grazers across the rippling savannah which happens every year between summer and fall.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Image: Asif A. Ali
Known as a destination for newlyweds and nearly deads, the jokes stop when you clap your eyes on the natural wonder. Described a over a million bathtubs full of water crashing down every second, there’s nothing quite like the scale of this waterfall. It’s the second largest in the world, and the largest you’re going to find in North America.
Make it a total sensory experience by getting up close. We recommend a clinging to one another during a ferry ride into the mist. When it comes to the town of Niagara, it’s best to embrace the tacky: as heart-shaped jacuzzis, lunch specials, buskers and casinos. Alternatively, book a stay at one of the charming vineyards in the nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Image: Shubhika Bharathwaj
Birthplace of the tango should say it all. But if you need more reasons to put Buenos Aires on the top of the romantic travel destinations, we’ll add the architecture — a stunning European-South American mix, the juicy steaks and the nightlife. Buenos Aires never sleeps. You dine at 9pm. head to the bars around midnight. And dance until morning.
A mix of gritty and high-end sensual pleasures, Paris may as well be a synonym for amour. Whether you’re shopping for French lingerie, sipping a pastis at a boulevard cafe, holding hands during a Seine walk, feeding each other bites of haute cuisine at the latest it restaurant, or sharing a joke about your stereotypically grumpy waitstaff, the rollercoaster of emotions Paris evokes in visitors mimics the feelings of new love.
North Island, New Zealand
Image: Emma Gawen
Until the Lord of the Rings films, most folks had no idea about the magnificent natural wonder awaiting them in middle earth, a.k.a. New Zealand. Now it’s on the top 10 list for honeymoon destinations in 2014. While you have your pick between fjords, mountains and limestone caves, nothing quite evokes romance like sand and sun. Head to North Island’s Bay of Islands — a 100-island maze — to meet some of New Zealand’s most gorgeous and unblemished beaches.
Image: Mohamed Iujaz Zuhair
Kate Middleton and the prince are among the many shiny, fancy people who consider the Maldvies the ideal tropical paradise. An archipelago of more than 1,100 islands stretching 500 miles in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives offer white sand, lagoons and super sophisticated dining and lodging options. If lazy beach days that end with oceanfront candle lit dinners are your idea of romance, the Maldives offer the best of the best. Should you wish to emerge from your stupor, the big activity is diving.
Mysterious and ethereal, the Northern Lights are considered a source of luck and fertility by many cultures. Star-gazing has been on the list of romantic pastimes for centuries with good reason. Whitehorse, relatively close to B.C compared with other aurura borealis viewing destinations, is a cozy place to hole up. After a frosty, awe-inspiring view of nature’s dancing lights, head to Whitehorse’s Takhini Hotsprings for a warming dip.
Feature image: MorBCN