Lonely Planet Writer

Where to find romance around the world

sunsetIn a series of articles this week leading up to Valentine's Day, Lonely Planet authors covered multiple destinations where one might find romance around the world, including Iceland, the steamy jungles of Malaysian Borneo, the surprisingly romantic Detroit, Japanese love hotels, and, the old romantic standby, Paris.

Do travelers today really find Paris to be romantic, or is that just a tired cliché? When we posed the question on the Lonely Planet Facebook page there were a few that thought Paris was overrated as a romantic destination (in fact one said "[I] broke up with my fiancé on my first visit - you do the maths!"), but the overwhelming majority loved Paris and found the romance to be quite real, no matter how many times it has been said before. In fact when we asked "Where's the most romantic place in the world?" France came out as the 4th most popular country, and only one France supporter didn't mention Paris specifically.

But when Lonely Planet readers think romance, one country holds the key to their hearts: Italy. Whether it's dramatic marriage proposals at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, gondola rides through the canals of Venice, or watching the sunset on the island of Capri, Italy is often the first place people associate with romantic travel.

romance-graphOf course Italy isn't the only place to find romance, travelers find it everywhere, sometimes in the least likely places. Andi U. suggested Sengkang Cemetery in Sulawesi, which probably not the most popular pick, but definitely a discerning choice. Instead of the typical combination of boredom and bad food, Shelley B. managed to find romance in an airport: "In Sea-Tac Airport, Seattle, remeeting an old friend for a holiday in the Emerald City, after 28 years apart! Seattle to Vancouver then Whistler by car...and it snowed! Just the two of us...on the sweetest, romantic adventure of my lifetime."

Certain keywords appeared in the suggestions and seem to be correlated with romance, so if you're hoping for a little romance on your next holiday, try to include the following elements:

  • Boats
  • Islands/Beaches
  • Moonlight/Stars/Night
  • Sunsets/Sunrises
  • Bedrooms
  • Gelato

However, as several wise travelers pointed out, there's more to finding romance than a boat, a nice view and some gelato:

"Depending on the circumstances and the person you're with, almost any place can be romantic. I've had quite a few romantic moments in quite a few places, but looking back, it was always the person and the circumstances that made the moment romantic, not the actual setting." - Csaba B.

"The most romantic place in the world is right at the spot where you are with your beloved." - Tehsin B.

"Romance is a state of mind. Anywhere is possible." - Harvey C.

Happy Valentine's Day, and may you find romance wherever you go!

[Top photo: Sunset, by William Butler Yeats]