The world’s most romantic holiday destinations

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Kayleigh Dray
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Romance and travel have been irrevocably linked for as long as we can remember; after all, the term ‘wanderlust’ means, quite simply, a heady desire to see the world in all of its wondrous glory.

So it makes sense that National Geographic, aka the ultimate experts in travel, have drawn up a list of the world’s dreamiest locations – all of which have one thing in common; love, love, love.

In their new book, entitled The World’s 50 Most Romantic Destinations: 50 Dreamy Getaways, Private Retreats, and Enchanting Places to Celebrate Love, they take us through a parade of possibilities, enticing us to throw caution to the wind and book that holiday, stat.

From picturesque European cities for sneaky weekend breaks (bonjour Paris!), as well as more unusual and far-flung locations, there’s something here for everyone to fall in love with. So, whether you plan to go there with someone special or treat yourself to the ultimate getaway, it’s definitely worth scrolling through our favourites from the list…

Bon voyage, mon ami!

  • Takato Castle Ruins Park, Japan

    What could be more beautiful than a whirlwind trip to Japan in the springtime, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom? It’s said that these sweet flowers are at their most vibrant in the Takato Castle Ruins Park, where 1500 Kohigan cherry trees have thrived ever since they were first planted in 1875.

  • Venice, Italy

    Lose yourself in the colour, history, and peacefulness of this magical floating labyrinth – no matter what time of year it is. In the summer, the streets are warm and bustling – and the canals are calling out for a romantic gondola ride. In the winter, mists seep in from the mountains, transforming Venice into an eerie fairy-tale city, where the prevalent sound is that of echoing footsteps, and nothing is quite as it seems. 

  • Bali, Indonesia

    From towering volcanoes to tropical oceans, dense jungles to green rice paddy fields, Bali is magical, romantic, and inspiring. And there’s just so much on offer. You can opt to submerge yourself in the rich culture of the Indonesian islanders, dip your toe into the fabulous nightlife on offer, or simply head for one of the island’s more secluded beaches for a truly out-of-this-world experience…

  • Pacific Grove, California, USA

    Sun-soaked California is always at the top of our list, but the guide recommends Pacific Grove, and, more precisely, Lovers Point, as your must-visit destination in among this plethora of beaches, fresh juice drinks, and suntanned bodies. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun rise up over the sea. 

  • Paris, France

    From Lady and the Tramp, to Carrie and Big, plenty of famous lovers have locked eyes in the fair city of Paris – and for good reason. It’s packed full to the brim with beautiful and art galleries museums, cobbled streets, quaint shops, and delicious food. Plus there is, of course, the Eiffel Tower to climb, too.

  • Bora Bora, Tahiti

    The tranquil azure waters of Bora Bora need no introduction; just picture yourself wandering along the beaches at daybreak, the sand between your toes… dreamy stuff.

  • Rothenburg, Germany

    Once upon a time… we lost our hearts to this picturesque German town. It looks like something out of a fairytale, so it’s definitely worth visiting their Christmas markets, for a truly romantic festive break...

  • Central Park in New York, USA

    NYC is an incredible destination any time of year, but National Geographic recommend heading there in the autumn so that you can enjoy the bold, bright, and beautiful kaleidoscope of fall colours in Central Park.

  • Victoria Falls, Zambia

    There’s nothing quite like the riotous cacophony of the Victoria Falls – the constant spray of sparkling water pretty much guarantees non-stop rainbows. But, while it’s worth visiting at any time of day, nothing quite beats watching the sun set behind the falls.

  • Icehotel, Swedish Lapland

    Every winter, as the waters of the Torne River freeze over, a glittering hotel crafted entirely from ice appears. And it is, quite literally, the coolest place to stay in the whole world. You’ll feel like Disney’s Elsa as you enjoy fine dining, snowmobiling, sledding, and – of course – sleeping on ice. Throw in the glorious Northern Lights, and you have a hotel well worth falling in love with.

  • Machu Picchu, Peru

    If you wake up early and hike up Macchu Picchu in time for the sunrise, you’re guaranteed an incredible view – not to mention a more private, serene experience.

  • Lijang, Yunan Province, China

    Think vibrant lantern-lit canals, gorgeous scenery, and delicious food; what more excuse do you need to venture off the beaten track and visit these enchanting waterways?

  • St Moritz in the Alps, Switzerland

    If you fancy a frosty fairytale adventure, you need to pack your warmest clothes and head for St Moritz in the Swiss Alps. If you can bag tickets for the Glacier Express, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the snow-capped mountains – all while sipping on luxurious hot chocolate. 

  • London Eye, UK

    If you’re saving up your air miles, don’t despair; the UK’s very own London Eye also made the list. Sitting on the South Bank of the Thames, offering panoramic views across the city – and, yes, there’s even the opportunity to book a flight (with champagne) at sunset.

  • El Parque del Amor in Lima, Peru

    Say hello to Lima's Parque del Amor, home to a competition for couples who sustain the longest kiss. This small park is entirely dedicated to love, in all of its glory, with the El Beso statue (featuring two people united in an intimate kiss) taking centre stage. But there’s also the mosaic walls to pore over, not to mention the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets – and, just a short walk away, you’ll find beaches and an awesome shopping district, too. 

  • Still need more inspiration?

    Buy The World’s 50 Most Romantic Destinations: 50 Dreamy Getaways, Private Retreats, and Enchanting Places to Celebrate Love for £16.99; it’s sure to provide you with more than enough ideas for your next holiday abroad...


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.