I don’t normally write holiday themed posts, but I felt particularly inspired this year so I thought I’d share some of my favorite romantic spots around the world that I almost guarantee aren’t on any top ten list. They may be a little unusual, but hopefully it proves that romance and romantic travel is more about the person you’re with than it is a few palm trees and a beach.
Dome of the Reichstag in Berlin
I have found few urban settings as beautiful as the dome of the Reichstag in Berlin at sunset. The massive glass dome offers a 360-degree view of the city and if you are there at the right time of day, then you’ll see Berlin in a way you never thought possible. The mirrored cone in the middle of the dome directs sunlight into the building and offers visitors a rare glimpse into government at work. This was done purposefully, to show that the people should always be above the government and not the other way around. Free, timed tickets have to be reserved in advance, so make sure you get them early to share that romantic moment with your loved one.
Hiking in Antarctica
Granted, this isn’t an every-year kind of tradition, but I found the beauty and serenity of Antarctica to be romantic in a rough and tumble kind of way. While there are many spots around the icy continent that would be perfect for a romantic moment, one island in particular took my breath away – Orne Island. Looking out across the icy waters it finally hit me that I was on the bottom of the world, I was in Antarctica. The scale was enormous, people looked like mere specks amongst the canvas of white. We weren’t alone though, also resting on the mountaintop were penguins, thousands of them. This colony called Orne Island home, trekking to and from the waters below to get food to feed their hatchlings. Sitting there on a rock, drinking some water and watching as a penguin walked a foot away, not at all caring about my presence was a special moment – one that would be perfect to share with someone else.
Winter Fun in Finnish Lapland
In general, Finland isn’t typically known for its romance and that’s particularly true in the far northern reaches of the country in the Lappish city of Rovaniemi. I think though that if you venture up when it’s still dark and cold you not only experience the region the way it is meant to be experienced, but that it can be a very romantic trip as well. Rovaniemi is most famous as the home of Santa Claus, and that should definitely be on your agenda, but for something special be sure to seek out one of the many secluded and rural cabins and sauna found in the woods of Lapland. With some new friends, I trekked out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, a remote place hidden amongst the deep woods. There we spent the night without electricity or running water, just each other’s friendship to warm us through the night. The highlight of my evening was learning the proper way to take a traditional Finnish sauna, an experience I guarantee would be more romantic if you were there with your significant other.
Floating Above the Serengeti in Tanzania
While the remote grasslands of the Serengeti may not be on your romantic travel to-do list, a certain experience there is one of the hallmarks of romantic travel moments – a hot air balloon ride. Floating high above the mighty Serengeti, we saw a different side to the African bush impossible to otherwise replicate. Mere feet from the road, yet invisible thanks to the tall grasses, was another world hidden in plain sight. Lions devouring breakfast, hippos sleeping in the water and more zebra and wildebeest than I ever thought possible to exist were all right there, unknowingly providing a show to the people flying over their heads. The hour flew by, but in those 60-minutes we enjoyed a collection of memories so powerful and so vivid, I know I’ll never forget them. Add in the glass of bubbly at the end, and I can’t think of a more perfect romantic moment to share with the special love in your life.
Tidal Basin, Washington DC
As a Washingtonian, I have to include my home city but I think it deserves its spot on this list. At the right times of year, Washington can be a beautiful and incredibly romantic city. Granted, this isn’t usually in February, but you can still get out there and enjoy some private time with your partner and see some of the country’s most famous sights in the process. While there are many places in Washington I’d put on this list, one of the most romantic has to be a walk around the Tidal Basin. Made most famous by those amazing photos taken during cherry-blossom season, I personally think it’s a beautiful place to wander no matter what time of year. The Tidal Basin is also at the heart of the Washington experience with the Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the FDR Memorial all standing adjacent. It’s here that you start to understand and appreciate the history of our country and it’s made even more memorable if you experience it with the love of your life.
On Top of the World in Hong Kong
I love Hong Kong, a city that never ceases to surprise and delight, but not for the reasons you might think. It’d be easy to put together a Valentine’s Day full of shopping, eating and spa treatments, and while that’s all fine, for me one of the most romantic spots is in the highest hotel in the city (and the world.) The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong calls the island of Kowloon home and it’s the perfect spot to see the beautiful Hong Kong skyline in all of its glory. It’s also the tallest hotel in the world, which means the views from lounges and even your room are mesmerizing and perfect to create special memories with your significant other. To add in a little more romance, be sure to enjoy dinner at one of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants – high end dining in the highest hotel.
What other unlikely romantic spots would you add to this list?