The 24 Most Romantic Cities in the World

The 24 Most Romantic Cities in the World

romantic cities

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Take a romantic getaway to one of these amazing spots.

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We can all agree that date nights are great. But romantic getaways? Now that’s what movie-worthy romances are made of. Unfortunately, with busy lives, it can be hard to sneak away with your beloved, often making it imperative that you choose the perfect destination. Luckily, there are plenty of dreamy locales across the world ideal for lovebirds of all kinds. 

You and your loved one history buffs? There’s a spot for you. Are you a pair of night owls? There’s a city filled with fine dining and nightlife. What about you nature lovers? Yes, there are even destinations that offer the perfect combo of ruggedness and urban flair. We scoured travel blogs, spoke with locals around the world, read hotel and restaurant reviews, and researched award lists to find the 24 most romantic cities across the planet.

Singapore

Singapore

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You wouldn’t immediately think of Singapore as a romantic destination. But with the buzz surrounding the hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” there is a lot of love in the air for the Lion City. It’s home to an abundance of mesmerizing spots such as Gardens by the Bay, home to the breathtaking SuperTrees, where couples can explore these remarkable structures measuring between 80 and 160 feet tall. There are also indulgent resort getaways such as Capella Singapore, located in the heart of Sentosa Island framed around two restored Tanah Merah colonial bungalows dating back to the 1880s, from which the hotel extends into gardens and grounds framed by the sea, replete with sexy hidden villas and manor homes. But for the best romantic views in the city, head to one of the many rooftop bars, pools and skywalks Singapore has to offer, like Singapore's highest rooftop bar, 1 Altitude, on the 63rd floor of 1 Raffles Place; or Mr. Stork, a destination bar nestled at the rooftop on Level 39 that provides 360-degree views of the city.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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With its unique desert-meets-the-sea setting, featuring sunsets over the water and breathtaking underwater excursions, Cabo San Lucas has been a go-to honeymoon, wedding and romance destination for travelers across the globe. Some of Mexico’s most romantic hotels — like The Cape, a Thompson Hotel; Esperanza, an Auberge Resort; and The Resort at Pedregal — are located on the Los Cabos sands. The culinary options range from chef-driven options like Manta from chef Enrique Olvera to restaurants immersed in nature like Flora’s Field Kitchen and Acre (both of which feel a lot like dining amid a tropical forest). Sailing and catamaran excursions along the Sea of Cortez at sunset are always a hit, while other romantic activities include whale watching (some of the best sightings in the world can be experienced in Cabo), horseback riding on the beach, or snorkeling/scuba in what Jacques Cousteau dubbed “the aquarium of the world.” There’s even a famous beach called Lover’s Beach, nestled along a natural rock formation near the region’s famous El Arco monument and accessible by boat.

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado

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From countless award-winning spa treatments and luxury hotel suites to horseback riding through the San Juan Mountains, the beautiful mountain town of Telluride boasts an array of over-the-top romantic experiences for couples who love to relax and those who like to adventure. With Telluride Sleighs, couples embark on a horse-drawn sleigh that winds through mountainous trails to their destination: an authentic mountain yurt where they are served wine and tapas under the stars. Then there’s the Himalayan Salt Spa Cave, which is brand new to Telluride’s spa scene, and is large enough for couples massages and yoga sessions and has detoxifying and stress-relieving properties. As far as a romantic place to stay, couples can rent private cabins at Dunton Hot Springs that have access to secluded outdoor hot springs with views of Alpine Valley. And you can’t forget that Telluride is home to Alpino Vino, the highest-elevation eatery in North America.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

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Charleston’s historic charm, cobblestone streets, iconic blooming plantations and pristine sunsets on the harbor offer all offer an idyllic backdrop for a romantic retreat. Couples can experience private horse-drawn carriage tours, bicycle rides and picnics along the scenic waterfront, shopping on the famed King Street, adventure at the many historic plantations, taking in a panoramic sunset aboard a Schooner Pride sailboat cruise and indulging in a variety of elevated Southern cuisine at award-winning restaurants including FIG (led by James Beard Award-winning chef Mike Lata). As far as where to stay, the Historic District is the heart of the city with a variety of luxury accommodation options including the Spectator Hotel, where each guest gets a personal butler, and HarbourView Inn, where they offer the “Allie & Noah’s Timeless Romance Package” inspired by “The Notebook.” Couples can relive the iconic romantic film by getting personalized marquee access at the American Theatre where Noah and Allie danced in the street, tickets to Boone Hall Plantation (Allie’s summer house) and dining certificates, including famed Jeni’s Splendid to recreate the iconic ice cream scene.

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland

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Zurich is a chocolate-studded romantic hotspot, filled with plenty of activities to be enjoyed by couples.  Lake Zurich offers scenic shorelines where couples can stroll hand-in-hand or rent a boat and spend the day paddling among the swans. Or pay a visit to famed art haven Kunsthaus Zurich and get swept up looking at works by Henri Rousseau. Within the city, the Dolder Grand is the place to stay for the most luxurious and romantic experience the city has to offer. By booking the “Meet Me at Midnight” spa package, couples can relax with two hours of uninterrupted solitude in the hotel’s 43,000-square-foot spa. It comes complete with Champagne, chocolate strawberries and romantic decorations; this memorable after-hours experience will provide romantic memories for years to come. And speaking of chocolate, Switzerland is the birthplace of milk chocolate, and Zurich offers a multitude of chocolatiers — Confiserie Honold, Confiserie Teuscher, and Läderach to name a few — eager to impress with romantic confections and collections.

London, England

London, England

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Some say Paris is the city of love, but neighboring London is just as romantic and packed with cultural heritage, enchanting royal gardens and stunning landmarks. Couples can stroll through neighborhoods like Mayfair to find views from the Blue Bridge, exquisite shopping on Jermyn Street and quaint eateries. You can also check out stunning museums like Victoria & Albert in Brompton, grab a pint at cozy the Churchill Arms in Kensington, and have a decadent fine-art-inspired afternoon tea at the Rosewood Hotel. After a day of exploring, retire to Dukes London, situated in a quiet courtyard in St. James’s Mayfair. There you can sip the famed Dukes Martini at Dukes Bar, enjoy an authentic British meal at GBR, or wind down with the hotel’s Beditation Butler service.

St. Michaels, Maryland

St. Michaels, Maryland

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In the past 20 years, the village of St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has become the go-to place for couples looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of big cities like Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. Its most famous hotel is The Inn at Perry Cabin, which you might recognize from its role as the wedding venue in the Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn movie “Wedding Crashers.” That led to even more romance-seekers getting excited about this tiny town filled with quaint shops, fantastic restaurants (yes, any crab dish is sensational, but go for soft crabs if they’re available), and folks who’ve come to town on a sailboat or to take a cruise on one. Its main thoroughfare, Talbot Street, is the hub of activity. That’s where you’ll find all those restaurants and plenty of B&Bs, plus a rye distillery, grocers where you can get your own crabmeat to take home, and plenty of shops that sell all kinds of Chesapeake Bay souvenirs.

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

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Between the jungles, rice paddies, and ancient shrines, it’s hard not to get in a romantic mood when visiting this town in the uplands of Bali, Indonesia. And there are plenty of love-inducing activities — visitors can hike to Mount Batur to watch the sunrise, take a private yoga class at Yoga Barn, visit one of the many local craft shops, and learn how to make a traditional Balinese offering at one of the temples. But the dreamiest spots of all have to be the luxury hotels in the area. Viceroy Bali, for example, is an intimate villa-only resort where couples get a private pool overlooking the jungle. The Four Seasons Bali Resort at Sayan offers chakra ceremonies in a lush riverside retreat where you walk along a suspension bridge to reach the rooftop lotus pond. And you shouldn’t leave without dining at Kubu at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. There they have nine private “cocoons” perched along the river, making for the most romantic dining experience ever.

Paris, France

Paris, France

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Paris is considered the city of love for a reason. You could spend all day just wandering the picturesque streets, lounging by the Seine River or picnicking at Luxembourg Palace and Gardens without anything else on your itinerary and still be in the mood. But the city is also filled with a ton of amorous activities like visiting the Mur des Je t’aime (“Wall of Love”), checking out the art at the quaint Musée de Montmartre, or grabbing a drink at the sexy La Derrière restaurant complete with a speakeasy lounge. And to keep the romance going well into the wee hours, book a suite at Hotel Plaza Athénée with a view of the Eiffel Tower. After all, that’s where Carrie from “Sex and the City” stayed during her time in the stunning destination.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

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The sunsets here are so beautiful they’ll make you cry. And if you aren’t in Santorini with a significant other, you’re bound to fall in love. The Red Beach feels otherworldly along with the steep cliffs, whitewashed homes, and narrow alleyways. For outdoors lovers, the hike between the towns of Fira and Oia comes with some of the best views on the island. And you can’t talk about the island without mentioning the best Greek food you’ll ever have. While you’re pretty much guaranteed a good meal at any restaurant, book the balcony table at Canaves Oia Suites, where they set up a private candlelit table for two with panoramic views of the caldera.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Tanzania

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While many newlyweds will head to the Seychelles or Maldives for their honeymoons, there’s an equally romantic tropical paradise that’s a bit more under the radar. Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania and is filled with a stunning coastline and intimate villas like Matemwe Retreat. Here you can relax in a hammock on your private deck, take a dip in your roof-top plunge pool, enjoying world-class snorkeling in the Indian Ocean, and dine under the stars on the beach. Or, if you find yourself getting a little too relaxed, take a drive into Stone Town for a dose of history at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

New York, New York

New York, New York

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With so many people and so much noise, it’s easy to think that New York City is unromantic. But there are so many hidden bars, sky-high hotel rooms, and little nooks in the metropolis that hiding away from all that commotion makes it that much more romantic. You can get lost wandering around the Cloisters (a secluded branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art nestled in a park along the Hudson River), dine in a historic carriage house at the restaurant One If By Land, Two If By Sea or grab a nightcap at Attaboy (there are only three booths available), before retiring to the High Line Hotel, where rooms overlook a rare private garden.

Québec City, Canada

Québec City, Canada

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Carriage rides plus cobblestone streets plus 18th-century homes equals one heck of a romantic destination. Québec City is like a slice of charming historic Europe right in North America. Old Québec — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is filled with adorable boutiques, galleries and landmarks like a stone church from 1688. You’ll love walking through Quartier du Petit Champlain (especially in the winter when the snow-covered streets glisten under the street lights), and you can ice skate at Place D’Youville. Visitors there can feel even more like a fairy tale by staying at the famous Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a grand castle-like hotel overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

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Although Venice has become a significant tourist attraction in recent years, causing the Italian city to feel a bit claustrophobic at times, there’s still something so dreamy about it. Instead of focusing on popular spots like Piazza San Marco and St. Mark’s Basilica, spend time getting lost along the canals in the Castello and Dorsoduro sestieri (the Venetian word for neighborhoods). Stop by the Peggy Guggenheim art museum and whimsical second-hand bookshop Libreria Acqua Alta before grabbing a light bite at Cantina Do Mori (an eatery from the 1400s without any tables). But to really get away from it all, book a stay at the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa. The five-star luxury hotel is located on a private island known for its healing qualities.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Between the historic buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is a gorgeous Croatian city. The Old Town, which is enclosed by a massive 16th-century stone wall, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its well-preserved buildings range from the baroque St. Blaise Church to the Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stradun (or Placa) is lined with adorable shops and restaurants. A simple jaunt around the city and you’ll feel the romance in the air. But to kick up the love factor, have lunch at Victoria Restaurant at Villa Orsula, sip cocktails at Vapor restaurant at Hotel Bellevue, and book a room at the five-star seafront Hotel Excelsior which has housed some cast members from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” while they filmed in the city.

Carmel-By-The-Sea, California

Carmel-By-The-Sea, California

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Carmel-by-the-Sea looks as if it’s been ripped out of a storybook and plopped beside the Pacific Ocean. The small city is filled with whimsical cottages, charming restaurants and high-end galleries, making it the perfect escape for couples. Not to mention, the Scenic Bluff Path is a stunning and quiet place to watch the sunset over the ocean. You have to have a meal at Casanova, where there’s a table once used by Vincent Van Gogh, and Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant, where you can enjoy dinner with a view of the sprawling pasture. Then spend the night at Bernardus Lodge & Spa where all rooms come with a two-person soaking tub and fireplaces. Hello, date night!

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

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Where do we even start with Kyoto? There is so much ancient history, such stunning natural wonders, and so many beautiful cultural traditions that it’s impossible not to get in the mood here.  Couples will love staying at a ryokan — a traditional Japanese inn — that’s all about simplicity. You can indulge in a multi-course kaiseki meal in a private tatami mat room before taking a dip in a private onsen (hot spring). Many ryokans have private gardens where you can lounge in your yukata robe. As far as romantic attractions, the Philosopher’s Path is filled with cherry blossoms and has the stunning Nanzen-Ji Temple at one end. Plus, there are numerous restaurants along the way where strollers can stop and take in the scenery. Of course, you can’t come here and not visit the “Love Stones.” According to legend, if you can walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed, then your love will stand the test of time.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina

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When a city is dubbed the “Paris of South America,” you know it has to be pretty romantic. With their tango culture, phenomenal opera, delicious malbec wine, and famous steak dinners, there’s pretty much no escaping the sensual nature of the Buenos Aires. The quaint streets are dotted with neoclassical buildings and lined with intimate boutiques and art galleries to wander during the day. And in the evening, couples can attend a show at the famous Rojo Tango or take a dance lesson at Maldita Milonga. Candlelit restaurants are the norm here too. So you’re guaranteed a dreamy evening at places like La Brigada and Casa Cruz. Make sure to have a nightcap at Nicky NY Sushi, a speakeasy bar hidden in a Japanese restaurant, before spending the night at Algodon Mansion, an intimate hotel in the famous Recoleta neighborhood.

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

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Cartagena is quickly becoming a popular destination for couples, as the Colombian city is filled with cobblestone streets and colonial-style buildings. It’s even been assumed that the setting in the romance novel “Love in the Time of Cholera” was based on the charming city. You can go on a carriage ride around the old town — which is a UNESCO World Heritage site — watch the sunset along the Santo Domingo bastion, dine at Alma’s open-air courtyard, and spend the night in Casa San Agustin, a boutique hotel set at the heart of Cartagena’s walled city. They’re even launching new luxury day-trips to Isla Barú, a remote tropical island off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, to up the romance factor for guests. With so much history and and so many modern amenities, it’s easy to see why the picturesque city would inspire an author.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

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Where do we begin with the romance of Dublin? You can linger in uber-cool Luna’s “Mad Men”-style booths until you’re helpless to resist their dessert cart, cuddle up in kayaks on the Grand Canal or row beneath the bridges along the Liffey, and stroll-and-smooch along Ha’penny Bridge, graced by initialed Love Locks. You can even retrace the romance from Oscar-winner “Once” by walking down Grafton Street. The historic bars and Old Library at Trinity College only add to the ambiance, making it an ideal spot for couples.

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco

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Morocco’s Red City of Marrakech is brimming with activities and sights to suit couples seeking romance. Visit the majestic ruins of Badi Palace, stroll through the Menara or Majorelle Gardens, and dig through the treasure trove of crafts at a souk (market). Lovebirds can get pampered at one of the many hammams at spas like Kosyspa. The rooftops are famous here and the perfect spot for watching the sunset over the historic Medina. As far as hotels go, the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech has all the makings of a romantic getaway including landscaped gardens filled with the scent of 100,000 roses and views of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

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With chapels, castles, candlelit dinners, and horse-drawn carriages, Prague (sometimes called the Golden City) could make anyone fall in love after just a weekend. Couples can get lost in the cobbled streets of Prague’s Malá Strana district, stroll through the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle complex, or relax at the Strahov monastery complete with a charming baroque courtyard. And no visit is complete unless you visit a garden. Petrín Hill is a favorite for lovers, as it’s home to the statue of poet Karel Hynek Mácha. According to legend, if you kiss in front of it on May 1, your love is guaranteed to blossom. As far as some romantic dining, book a table at Kampa Park, which is perched beside the river on Kampa Island next to Charles Bridge.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

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It’s all about the natural beauty in Cape Town, South Africa. Venture out to Camps Bay Beach, Clifton Beach or Boulders Beach to have a picnic and take in the incredible ocean views. For hidden nooks above it all, hike up to Chapman’s Peak or take a cable car ride to Table Mountain. Both are ideal locales for watching the sunrise with your beloved. Also, you can’t forget to stop by Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where the unspoiled scenery is breathtaking. And who can come to South Africa and not sample the wine? The towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl are famous for their vineyards, making them perfect for a romantic day trip.

New Zealand

New Zealand

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Although there are so many romantic rural locations in New Zealand — Fiordland National Park, Waiheke Island, and Lake Tekapo to name a few — the city of Auckland is pretty incredible too. It’s home to fine-dining like Orbit (a 360-degree revolving restaurant), picnic spots with views (Mount Eden), and outdoor movie theaters (Silo Park Cinema). It’s a great jumping-off point to explore other, more remote, parts of the country. But you can also get a taste of the outdoors here by visiting Waiheke Island, home to several vineyards, or the beautiful volcanic island of Rangitoto, just one of many New Zealand experiences you should encounter in your lifetime.

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