Traveling is inherently romantic. The anticipation of a new place, the discovery once you’re there, and the fulfillment once you’ve left. But if you are traveling to inspire amorous feelings, there are cities that will make it a whole lot easier.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic destination for a honeymoon or a first date, these 14 cities will inspire passion. It couldn’t hurt to bring a book of Shakespearean sonnets with you either.
With its moorish architecture and narrow streets, Marrakech is Morocco in a nutshell. Heady smells of cumin and coriander fill the Jemaa El Fna where hawkers once traded gold and ivory. It’s a bustling city, but not one without an abundance of romance.
Stay at La Mamounia Marrakech 89, Morocco’s most prestigious hotel and host to many a celebrity since 1923.
The Argentinian capital “combines Old World grandeur and tango performances with fabulous nightlife and cutting-edge restaurants” (Food & Wine). Visitors will feel like they’re in Europe, but with a fabulous Latin American twist.
Stay at the Faena Hotel 87
Frommer’s says “if you’re looking for a romantic city with canals, forget the crowds of Venice and head northwest to Bruges instead. Here, the intimate lanes almost require hand-in-hand walks.” We recommend visiting off season, when you’ll have Bruges’ cobbled lanes all to yourself.
Stay at the Hotel De Tuilerieen 90, which Insight Guides calls “the most luxurious hotel in town.”
Feel like you’re in Europe without ever leaving North America. Food & Wine says “in addition to the cobbled streets and old bistros, this Francophone city fosters some of North America’s most talented chefs, innovative musicians and a vibrant arts scene.” With extreme seasons (caution: winter in Montreal is brrr!), residents enjoy their modern yet historic city nonetheless.
In the morning, stop by Olive & Gourmando 91 for a luscious almond croissant and cappuccino. You’ll want to stay for lunch too: the sandwiches are some of the best in the city.
Get a dose of 19th century charm at Auberge du Vieux-Port 82, which Fodor’s calls a “magnet for romantics.”
With its hundred-year-old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and Antebellum architecture, Savannah doesn’t need to do much else to inspire romance. While looking like something out of a storybook, Savannah has a vibrant arts scene thanks to the Savannah College of Art & Design, as well as world-famous culinary destinations.
Stay at The Brice, where Fodor’s says “traditional culture meets curated design, the “New South” [come] alive.”
Many think of Nice and Cannes when they think of the French Riveria, but Forbes says “we think the village of Èze is especially romantic.” Head to this perfectly preserved village on a mountain and feel like you’ve stepped back in medieval times. If you’re lucky to catch Èze on a sunny day, the views below will take your breath away.
Skip the bus back into town by hiking down the Chemin de Nietzsche (Nietzsche’s Path). Drink in the stunning ocean views and serene setting as you wind down the mountain.
Stay in nearby Nice at the charming and quaint Hotel Suisse 76.
Stroll through one gorgeous palazzo after another, but don’t miss the Renaissance masters while you’re there. “Viewing Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Caravaggio’s Bacchus, and Michelangelo’s David leaves little left to the imagination for amorous inspiration” (Conde Nast Traveler).
Stay at Hotel Brunelleschi 73 to be in the heart of Florence, offering views of the Duomo directly from your bedroom.
Take in the view of Florence from a 14th century tower in what Michelin Guide describes as “magical, fairy tale atmosphere” at the Torre Di Bellosguardo 88.
Big Sur, California
Rocky cliffs set the stage for this rugged city by the sea. You won’t see a Starbucks or chain store in this town – what Big Sur lacks in modern commercialism, it more than makes up in stunning coastline, 100-year-old Redwood trees and a starry sky at night.
Built in the 1930s by a Norwegian expat, Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, with its cottages nestled among the forest, makes for an intimate stay.
See a free movie under the stars at the Henry Miller Memorial Library, where the famed author lived and worked.
CNN says it’s best to kick it old-school in Havana, where “it’s still 1959 in the capital of Cuba…the resultant sensations of risk and antiquity in this forbidden time warp make romance unavoidable.” With travel to Cuba more open than ever, now is the time to visit.
Stay at Hotel Saratoga 92, dubbed “a 19th-century Neo-Classical gem” by DK Eyewitness.
Make the Kenyan capital your home base for exploring all of Eastern Africa’s natural wonders. But don’t miss out on the city’s vibrant cultural life, fantastic eateries and nightlife. Kenyans will wrap you up in a warm embrace, so it really doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo.
For a truly unique experience, stay at the Giraffe Manor 89, an ivy-covered lodged home to a herd of giraffes that’ll join you for tea.
During your stay you can stroll across the lawn to the AFEW Giraffe Centre to learn about the endangered Rothschild Giraffe or take a guided walk around the sanctuary.
Leave busy Tokyo behind in favor of Kyoto, formerly Japan’s capital. Smart Travel recommends visiting Kyoto’s Imperial Gardens during cherry blossom season, which starts in February and lasts through the summer. “The very site of these beautiful red and white budded trees will send bumps throughout your body.”
Stay in Lonely Planet’s top choice Hyatt Regency Kyoto 95.
New York City is many things to many people, but it’s an especially great city for lovers. Whether taking in the breathtaking skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge 90 or rowing a two-person boat in Central Park 97, NYC is a treasure trove of old-school (and new school) romance.
Dine in Chinatown (try Mission Chinese Food 86or Chinatown’s oldest dim sum joint Nom Wah Tea Parlor 81) and take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge at night. Seeing the city lights through the iconic arches of the bridge is worth braving the crowds of tourists.
Stay in the East Village at The Bowery Hotel 84 just up the street from the birthplace of punk rock. Relish in the neighborhood’s entertainment and nightlife while enjoying the hotel’s impressive lobby bar.
Don’t let the tricky name dissuade you from visiting this northernmost city. From October to April, you’ll be able to catch the Northern Lights, a true wonder of the world. Breathtaking snow-capped mountains and crystal clear waters aside, Reykjavik is a modern city with excellent museums, fine dining and a happening nightlife.
Stay at 101 hotel 85 which Travel + Leisure calls “modern, art-focused property” with a great location near the city center.
Affectionately known as the “Pink City,” Jaipur is literally awash in a rose-colored hue, all the better for those romantics. Visit the gardens at Amer Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Birla Mandir temple, which is especially enchanting at night.
Stay at The Oberoi Rajvilas 82, a 32-acre resort with an opulent garden and plenty of secret romantic hideaways.
Embark up the hill on an adorned elephant to the Amer Fort or breathtaking views of Jaipur.