Travel is the ideal way to stoke the fires of amour. Discover new and exciting locales, try authentic local cuisine and check into romantic boutique hotels in our 5 most romantic cities of the world.
A city that captivates virtually everyone who visits, Sydney is defined by its world-famous harbour and the warm weather that makes al fresco dining and outdoor events a must. Sydney’s harbour has long been considered one of the world’s most beautiful natural anchorages; a stunning sapphire strip with a myriad waterways, inlets, bays and beaches, and a scattering of islands for good measure. For couples visiting this thriving city, the harbour is a place to meet, to relax, to enjoy and to marvel. Start off in bustling Circular Quay, where you can catch ferries up the Parramatta River or down to Watson’s Bay, through to Middle Harbour or across to Manly. The famed Opera House is home to some of Sydney’s most iconic restaurants, and happy-hour revellers or operagoers should stop in for a preshow tipple at Opera Bar, one of the city’s most iconic watering holes. If you’re in the city on the weekend, head over to the Rocks Markets, home to brilliant arts and crafts, live music and a culinary kaleidoscope. To be in the thick of the action, check into the newly reopened and utterly indulgent Park Hyatt Sydney, located between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
2. St. Petersburg
Russia’s second largest city might be snowed under for half the year, but come the summer months, its rich heritage, from historic buildings to meandering canals, is a major draw card for lovers from across the world. Base yourself at the elegant Grand Hotel Europe, located off Nevsky Prospect in the heart of the city. With beautifully appointed rooms and suites, and a clientele that demands the highest-quality service, this remains the city’s grand dame house of slumber. First stop should be the Hermitage Museum, located at the Winter Palace. The city’s top attraction, the palace museum showcases more then three million items, including works by Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michelangelo and more. Lovers will also enjoy visiting the Church of the Saviour, a traditional Russian styled church built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Another famous landmark worth checking out is the Church of the Assumption of Mary, located on Vasilievsky Island. As the sun drops, dress in your finery and head to a night at the opera at the famed Mariinsky Theatre before enjoying this historic city on one of the popular evening canal rides that pass the Peter and Paul Fortress, vodka and caviar included.
3. San Francisco
Regularly voted one of the most liveable cities in the United States, San Francisco has it all, from museums to parks, chic cafes to a dynamic cocktail culture, and as the mercury rises, the city makes for the perfect gateway to the US for couples of all ages. Base yourself at the boutique Kensington Park Hotel on Union Square. Located close to the city’s famed cable car lines, the 92-room boutique hotel combines a classic sense of luxury with contemporary amenities. Start your day off at Golden Gate Park, one of the world’s largest urban greenbelts. The 411-hectare park is home to gardens, sports grounds and the California Academy of Sciences, which features an aquarium, planetarium, a natural history section and an expansive roof garden, home to 1.7 million native plants. For lunch, head to the Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street for some of the best crabs and oysters in town. As the sun dips low in the sky make time to walk the almost three-kilometre-length of the Golden Gate Bridge, or to admire the iconic structure from a different perspective, Adventure Cat offer catamaran yacht cruises around the famous prison island of Alcatraz and beneath the Golden Gate.
4. Cape Town
A city that has reinvented itself, Cape Town is increasingly popular as a gateway for safaris, an ideal honeymoon adventure, so don’t be surprised if you’re not the only lovers in town. With the city’s main focus on its iconic Table Mountain and the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, check in at the luxurious One & Only Cape Town, which is located right on the vibrant quayside. Set off on foot and explore Bo-Kaap, the colourful neighbourhood inhabited mainly by the decedents of Muslim slaves from Southeast Asia. Here you’ll find tiny mosques, brilliant cafes and colourful streets overlooking the city. Couples will also enjoy a stroll through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which boast a huge diversity of plants and flowers from across Africa. Take a ferry over to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The island is now home to large colonies of African penguins. Alternatively take a trip up to the top of Table Mountain by cable car and snap a few iconic photos of the city from this vertiginous vista. Finish your day with shark feeding at the Two Oceans Aquarium before diner at one of the seafood restaurants at the bustling Victoria and Albert Waterfront.
One of Asia’s most thriving, pulsating and invigorating cities, Bangkok is a journey as much for the senses as it is for the soul. Boasting everything from boutique hotels and world-class restaurants to ancient temples and bustling floating markets, the city constantly has one foot in the past and the other in modernity, making it ideal for honeymoons or romantic weekend escapes. From the river, hail one of the city’s bumblebee-like tuk-tuks and head for Wat Pho, home to the iconic Reclining Buddha, a 15-metre-high and 43-metre- long gold-covered Buddha statue. To satisfy your taste buds, there’s no better place than the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Thailand’s largest and a treasure trove for shoppers and amateur photographers. Finish up with cocktails and dinner at one of Asia’s most unforgettable hot spots, Sky Bar at Sirocco, the world’s highest truly al fresco restaurant. This lofty perch offers 270-degree views of the Chao Phraya River and the cityscape, with some of the city’s hottest cocktails – if you’re looking for a place to make a good impression, this is it!
Text by Nicholas Walton | Photos courtesy of each country