There is a romantic in all of us. No matter how much we deny we’d still give anything to be in a place breathtakingly beautiful, and even better if we have someone special to share it with.
Of world’s most romantic places Paris tops the chart as the city of eternal romance where even sipping champagne at a roadside cafe facing the Eiffel Tower holds a special meaning. While places like Paris, Venice, the French Riviera are synonymous with ever-lasting romance, we scoured a few other destinations that spell romance, albeit in an unconventional way. Avignon, for instance, and its picturesque purple fields of lavender, the rolling tea estates of Munnar in Kerala, the lonely jungle walks in Portugal’s Madeira Island might appeal to your romantic side.
Valentine’s Day or otherwise, the below 10 experiences are an absolute must-do before you die.
An evening in Paris
Paris is magical, and a dream-come-true for diehard romantics. An illuminated Eiffel Tower, the life-giving waters of the Seine, the masterpieces at Louvre, the intricate detailing on every structure lining the boulevards, the saucy Moulin Rouge shows, and an atmospheric dinner at the recently refurbished ’58 Tour Eiffel’ restaurant on the Eiffel Tower, come together in a dizzying array to give you a different perspective on life, love and eternity.
Avignon, where time stands still…
See Europe’s biggest gothic structure, the Pope’s Palace in Avignon in Southern France among other architectural gems set against the coastal beauty of the Rhone River. The Monastery of the Val de Benediction with its superior frescoes is of particular importance. Stroll down the cobbled streets of Saint Remy, the village which inspired Van Gogh’s masterpiece ‘Starry Night’. Walk about in vineyards and savour the finest French wines. Explore the gorgeous lavender fields of Avignon; it opens up a painter’s canvas of rolling green valleys, sleepy homesteads interspersed by immense blue lavender fields.
The tranquil Cote d’ Azur or ‘French Riviera’
The charming port of St. Tropez sees chic Parisians and other international jet set spend a laidback vacation in their private yachts. Stunning coastal scenery mingles with a palpable sense of power, wealth and glamour in Nice, the capital of the French Riviera. It’s a quaint world there, only its material offerings are exclusive, rich and one-off. From shopping in chic boutiques, museum-hopping, enjoying the quiet beaches, strolling around the Roman ruins, to eating out at quaint roadside cafes, the French Riviera is an ideal retreat for a much-in-love pair.
An artist’s haven and a fashionista’s hub, Milan
Home to Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’, and the world’s top designer labels, Milan is beguiling and addictive. Do the town on coach or foot, and experience the grandeur of the massive marble Duomo, where every opera singer aspires to perform someday. Look up the oddball art pieces and furniture range at Castello Sforzesco. A walk in the evening while browsing the boutiques of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele arcade and the Corso Venezia is an ideal way to spend time in the Italian fashion capital with your beloved.
Venice, the city of canals on a gondola
Bards, painters and filmmakers for generations have glorified this tranquil Italian canal city in their works. A gondola ride on the Grand Canal through ancient bridges past pretty baroque houses of Venice is a feeling you will always hold close to your heart. It is a fine opportunity to soak up the Venetian way of life, the one thousand year old markets around Ponte di Rialto, and experience an architectural richness that makes up Italy’s most romantic city.
Lake Como and the Italian Lake District
Affording dramatic mountain scenery, Lake Como is the serenest of the three Italian lakes. In fact, Europeans love coming here because the city of Como is also the silk capital of Italy, what with silk factory outlets and branded stores strewn across its every nook and cranny. It’s a great idea to buy a pretty silk scarf or a printed silk dress for your partner on a trip down its narrow, scenic lanes. From Bellagio, an old-world town in the vicinity, you can take in panoramic views of the Alps and the aqua blue waters of Lake Como. Bellagio is characterised by old villas and luxuriant gardens.
The misty tea estates of Munnar
Not just is it the highest peak of the Western Ghats, the undulating, mist-covered tea estates, and gushing waterfalls, add to the other-worldly beauty of Munnar. Drive through dark, winding roads that look like an enchanted ribbon, and discover around every bend a starkly different view. The clouds hang so low that can reach out and touch them. Lush meadows sprayed with wild flowers, the quiet sound of the gurgling brooks through narrow rocks, the green lake at Echo Point, and the warm and hospitable local folks, make Munnar hauntingly romantic.
Witness a breaking dawn in Udaipur
Lovingly called ‘city of lakes’ and ‘city of dawn’, Udaipur’s romantic appeal lies in the tranquil waters of Lake Pichola and the white marble Lake Palace at its heart. The city virtually came up on the banks of Lake Pichola after Maharana Udai Singh II discovered it following a prophesy by an ascetic who summoned him to rebuild his empire over Lake Pichola after his defeat in Chittorgarh at the hands of Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Set against the looming Aravalis, Udaipur’s string of lakes, the sandstone City Palace on the eastern crest of Lake Pichola, the architectural structures dotting the city, the handicraft bazaars, local cuisine, and an idle pace of life are sure to bring you back for more.
Far away in the floating gardens of Madeira Island
Tossed on the sapphire blue waters of the Atlantic, just off the mainland of Portugal, the Madeira Island resembles a gigantic floating garden. Its capital city Funchal receives honeymooners from Europe who find glory in its fine wines, mild climate, bird songs, drunk-red rhododendron blossoms, forests of pine, terraced fields, secret gorges, and the glimmering blue Atlantic visible from every clearing in the jungle. Explore on foot a tired countryside sprawled on the crater of an extinct volcano which still resorts to wicker craft for a living. Follow a levada – an irrigational canal that winds through the jungles – and discover sights of immense natural beauty.
A pint of Guinness in Dublin
Head straight to the 250-year-old brewery, the Guinness Storehouse in Ireland’s capital city and find out all there is to know about the world’s most celebrated beer. From ground floor to the sky bar ‘Gravity’ on the seventh floor, the storehouse is an experience unlike any other. From taking you through the fine process of beer making to giving you a taste of their best brews, you can literally spend an entire day among great many varieties of beer. Take your date to Gravity in the evening and enjoy a few mugs of frosty beer with appetisers while looking over a brilliantly lit Dublin city. The haunting romanticism of the Irish Kilkenny and Malahide castles too are worth experiencing. Do it on a day trip from Dublin.