Top 10 Valentine's Day destinations in the world

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 Top 10 Valentine's Day destinations in the world

The Trevi Fountain is Rome's most romantic spot.

The Trevi Fountain is Rome's most romantic spot. Photo: Alamy

 

1 IPANEMA BEACH, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Beautiful bays and humped mountains give Rio a sublime setting fit for any fling, especially if you stay in famous beachside suburb Ipanema, where the tall and tan girls go walking like a samba, just as the song promises. Sand, sunsets and beautiful people will have the hormones raging. Better yet, a week after Valentine's Day comes the city's bold, brash carnival. Bossanova rhythms play, cocktails shake, and love is in the air. See visitbrasil.com

Ipanema Beach: The very air is alive with romance.

Ipanema Beach: The very air is alive with romance. Photo: Alamy

 

2 WHIRLPOOL HILL, GUILIN, CHINA

The destination Chinese newlyweds aspire to visit on their honeymoon is lushly beautiful, with steep mountains rising above emerald rice fields and meandering rivers like a scene from a scroll painting. The teahouse atop Whirlpool Hill might have the most romantic views. Take a cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo past magnificent landscapes of karst piles and lush green valleys and you might well feel happy ever after. See visitguilin.org

 

3 TOMB OF HAFEZ, SHIRAZ, IRAN

This beautiful historic city, fabled for its rose gardens (and once for its wine), should be the romantic getaway of choice for adventurous lovers, though you'll have to remain decorous in public. While the tomb of a 14th-century poet might seem an odd place for love, locals come here to drink tea amid rose beds, pomegranate trees and fountains, and recite Hafez's poetry about nightingales and summer evenings as the light fades. See iraniantourism.com

The Tomb of Hafez

The Tomb of Hafez. Photo: Alamy

 

4 TAJ MAHAL, AGRA, INDIA

Predictable, yes, but never was a more romantic building created than the Taj Mahal, commissioned by Shah Jehan in memory of his wife Mumtaz. In his moment of grief, the shah created something of eternal beauty. Windows are carved with geometric designs, flowers in marble blossom from wall panels, and everywhere lapis lazuli, onyx, jasper and gold glitters. If you don't fall to your knees and propose, you have a heart of stone. See tajmahal.gov.in

Taj Mahal in morning light. Located in Agra, India.

Taj Mahal in morning light. Located in Agra, India. Photo: iStock

 

5 CHILLON CASTLE, MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND

Squatting like the epitome of medieval chivalry on a rock at the edge of Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle is the pick for those taking a saccharine view of love. Snowy mountains rear in the background, swans paddle and the gorgeous lakeshore walk to the castle from Montreux is a flower-draped gambol. The chateau was celebrated by many Romantic writers, including the ultimate ladies' man, Lord Byron. See chillon.ch

Chillon Castle near Montreux at dusk Photo:?Switzerland Tourism str11-trav10-valentines

Chillon Castle near Montreux. Photo: Stephan Engler

 

6 CHARLES BRIDGE, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

This 15th-century bridge over the Vltava River links medieval with baroque Prague, with views to melt the heart of history lovers. Some of the bridge's statues of saints (and particularly the crucifix of St John) are said to provide good luck if rubbed. Buskers add a musical background to your stroll, though for that intimate kiss you'd best get yourself here early in the morning before the crowds gather. See www.prague.eu 

Charles bridge in Prague, Czech republic Three minute guide, Prague

Charles Bridge in Prague. Photo: iStock

 

7 FERRIS WHEEL, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

For a bit of loving the old-fashioned way, settle into a red cabin on this Ferris wheel and admire the twinkling lights of Vienna. If you're an advance planner, you can even book champagne and canapes or a four-course meal as you circumnavigate; if all goes well, weddings are also held in cabins. A Ferris wheel has stood here since 1897, and the surrounding Prater amusement park provides plenty of turn-of-the-century nostalgia. See wienerriesenrad.com

Big wheel: Prater park in Leopoldstadt is Vienna's permanent – if slightly gaudy – fairground.

Big wheel: Prater park. Photo: LatitudeStock

 

8 ALHAMBRA, GRANADA, SPAIN

If you take the Romantic view that love is always tinged with sadness and transience, the scenery-soaked battlements of this sprawling palace complex are the place for you. They were the scene of the "Moor's last sigh" as Granada's Islamic rulers were bundled out of Spain forever. The Alhambra's fountain-splashed courtyards are impossibly beautiful, and the adjacent gardens feature trickling water, roses and more fine views. See granadatur.com

view of Spain's main tourist attraction: ancient arabic fortress of Alhambra, Granada, Spain tra15sixbest-architecture Credit: iStock

Photo: iStock

 

9 GRAND CENTRAL, NEW YORK, US

Who would imagine a train station could be romantic? Quite a few people, to judge from the number of proposals seen beneath the constellation-decorated, vaulted ceiling of the magnificent main concourse. Passing crowds often stop to applaud. You can repair afterwards to a Belgian chocolate shop or upmarket oyster-and-champagne bar for celebratory nibbles as trains shunt, bringing another whole level to industrial chic. See grandcentralterminal.com

Grand Central in the evening.

Grand Central in the evening. Photo: New York Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

10 TREVI FOUNTAIN, ROME, ITALY

A trio of classic movies – Three Coins in the Fountain, Roman Holidayand La Dolce Vita – sealed the reputation of this magnificently baroque fountain as the place to steal a kiss. The Trevi, as large as a building, recently emerged from a renovation and is looking terrific. Chuck in a coin and it's said you'll return, though no promises whether it will be with the same person. See turismoroma.it

Trevi Fountain in Rome.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome. Photo: Gregorio Borgia

Post written by: Brian Johnston has travelled as a guest of tourist offices or tour companies in many of these destinations.
Original article can be found H E R E