As the old saying goes, it takes two to tango
If there's one destination to blow your savings on in the name of love, this tiny, pricey South Pacific island is it. James A. Michener famously described Bora Bora as, "the most beautiful island in the world" and visitors to its far-flung shores rarely disagree. So small that the island road is a mere 19 miles long, this Polynesian idyll sits 143 miles northwest of Tahiti and boasts the best that nature can offer: a high-mountain center cloaked in jungle, a superb cobalt lagoon, a splendid coral reef, and pristine stretches of bone-white sand dotted with fallen coconut husks. When you're not discovering the many bounties of this island paradise, hang out at the local watering hole, Bloody Mary's, where Pierce Brosnan has been known to woo his leading lady, or send off the sun with a sunset catamaran cruise. Come nightfall, few can resist bedding down at a lavishly appointed over-the-water bungalow.
Couples in search of romance are flocking to this wondrous city on the southernmost stretch of Croatia's coast, as enchanted by its beauty today as the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who once proclaimed, "If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik." The city has been magnificently restored to its former glory to emerge as one of the most fashionable vacation spots in all of Europe. Dubrovnik's resurgent popularity should come as no surprise, however—this "jewel of the Adriatic," as the coastal resort town is often referred to in tourist brochures, is breathtakingly beautiful and a magnet for dreamy-eyed lovers in search of romantic inspiration. The city's fortified old town overlooks the dazzling Adriatic from a shelter of limestone cliffs and its marble-paved streets are lined with marvelously preserved churches, stately palaces, squares and terracotta-roofed townhouses. Meanwhile, down below, along the seaside coast, fine beaches beckon—as do a slew of offshore islands—making Dubrovnik uniquely appealing to just about any taste.
Now that you've found your knight in shining armor, put his dragon-slaying skills to the test in this ancient dragon's lair near the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. Indeed, "Ha Long" means "where the dragon descends into the sea" and, once you're sailing the enchanting emerald-green waters here, you'll easily understand why the bay is believed to have been formed by the thrashing of a dragon's tail. It's a sight that confirms Vietnam's status as one of the most romantic countries in Asia; undoubtedly the country's most mesmerizing natural setting, this UNESCO-protected area is dotted with grottoes, some 3000 limestone islets (only one of which is inhabited), and often shrouded in mist, which only adds to its mystique. While day trips are available, we strongly recommend booking an overnight cruise to experience the bay's phenomenal sunset and sunrise, as well as more of its splendid landscapes. Our favorite agencies for two-day cruises are Emeraude Cruises and Buffalo Tours.
If you're craving a Caribbean getaway that's just as high on romance as it is on R & R, look no further than darling Nevis (pronounced n-EE-vis), the sister island of St. Kitts. A quiet, old Caribbean charm reigns on this 36-square-mile patch of land that famously produced Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States. Nowadays, cocooning lovers can hole up in converted plantation houses—rather than sterile high-rise beach resorts—where atmospheric verandahs, louvered windows and four-poster beds guarantee your hours, if not days, will be spent canoodling. Should you deign to leave your room, the island's scenery is equally entrancing: Disused stone sugar mills are now overgrown with vines, lush island paths invite hiking and horseback riding and sugarcane fields lead to remarkable restaurants serving fine Creole fare. Add in the fact that Nevis is still relatively difficult to get to (you have to change planes in Antigua, St. Maarten, or Puerto Rico), and you'll be looking at spending serious quality time with your sweetie—without having to share him or her with other vacationing sun worshipers.
Parisian culture seems inherently designed for romance, with countless settings tailor-made for those only-in-the-movies-type kisses: Manicured gardens with perfect make-out benches lie around every corner; lamp-lit pedestrian quays along the Seine invite stolen smooches; and majestic plazas and tucked-away squares like Place des Vosges offer storybook backdrops for marriage proposals. A perch atop any of the city's famous bridges (ponts) are also sure to get your heart racing: Linger on the city's oldest bridge, Pont Neuf; check out the animated arts-and-music scene of Pont des Arts; or take in the phenomenal views of the Eiffel Tower from the elaborate Pont Alexandre III. Undoubtedly, for some, the height of romance can be found at the top of the Eiffel Tower itself; coordinate your viewing with one of Paris' lovely sunsets, and the city will blush pink right along with you.
With its homegrown French language, colonial architecture, and horse-drawn carriages, Quebec City is uniquely made for a romantic rendezvous. Encircled by ancient stone ramparts, and speckled with lovely squares, quaint cafés, and striking historical buildings, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is also blessed with a phenomenal natural setting above the mighty St. Lawrence River, with plenty of vantage points from which to view the coursing waters. Each season brings its own special charms, too: While summers encourage late-night lingering over wine at outdoor cafés, the chilly winters give lovers all the more reason to snuggle up under a blanket in a horse-drawn carriage or get cozy with a delectable fondue for two at a first-rate French restaurant. No matter what time of year you choose to visit, stay in a quaint 17th-century inn (auberge) complete with wood-beamed ceilings and exposed brick walls to complete the otherworldly experience.
Bona fide beach town, the Santa Ynez wine-producing region next door and loads of spa retreats within driving distance it's no wonder California's Santa Barbara gets our nod in the romance department. Its splendid location, between palm-fringed Pacific beaches and the ever-green Santa Ynez Mountains, quaint Spanish-Mediterranean-style architecture, gourmet fare and posh hotels have attracted West Coast residents for quiet weekends for decades. And no wonder: From wine-tasting in the country's largest wine-producing region and supping on sublime organic foods, to enjoying massages for two and strolling barefoot on the beach at sunset, a visit here is an undeniably heady experience. Tack on an outing in a hot-air balloon
Some may think island romance is overrated, but then they've probably never been to Santorini. The most visually stunning of all the Greek Cyclades, this beguiling honeymoon spot has all the trappings of a dream vacation: Postcard-perfect cliff-side villages, exotic black-sand volcanic beaches, transcendent sunsets, luxurious cave-rock hotels, dramatic striated red-and-gray cliffs stretching to the sky and the Aegean's finest wineries. Built atop volcanic ashes on the ruins of what Plato believed to be the lost city of Atlantis
An extraordinary waterfront wonderland where ancient palazzi seemingly float above water, Venice manages to be both serene and seductive all at once. While its labyrinthine cobblestone streets certainly encourage lovers to stroll hand in hand, it's the city's iconic gondolas that really up the romantic ante. Picture yourself, a deux, tucked in an intricate, hand-carved boat and punted along dreamlike canals by a young Italian gondolier who serenades you as you glide under delicately-arched bridges