"Les villes de l'amour!"- An intimate look at some of the World's "Cities of Love".
"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street."
Starting this list off with a bang, is the perpetual holder of the esteemed title of the 'Most Romantic City in the World'; Paris. Perhaps why Paris is considered to be so romantic, is because of its sheer luxuriousness, combined with its candidness.To make your stay in Paris just that more romantic, consider any of these activities:
1. Love lock it= This might seem like a very cliched thing to do in Paris. But the essential concept of it is so romantic; put a personalized lock on the bridge between Notre Dame and Pont de l'Archeveche to commemorate you and your partners love!
2. Show off your dance moves= Whether it's tango, waltz, rock, or jazz, that is your style, head down to the Port Saint-Bernard between the months July and August, and dance the night away.
3. View world-class Art= Head down to the Muse'e de l'Orangerie to view stunning paintings by renown artists such as Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, and many others. In particular, check out the ground floor, where Claude Monet's masterpiece the 'Nympheas' is located.
4. Have Paris at your feet= .... From the top of the Eiffel Tower! This legendary structure is entirely accessible to the public, and offers a Michelin star-quality restaurant; the 'le Jules Verne- Tour Eiffel Paris. Reach the top, via stairs or elevator, and admire the incredible view!
On the surface, Heidelberg appears to be a normal, bustling university town. But beneath the surface, this is a town of rich history, and fairy-tale like sights. Established in the 18th Century, Heidelberg was a huge favorite amongst famous writers, painters and poets; such as Mark Twain and William Turner, the latter who took inspiration from the town and its surrounding landscapes to create some of his greatest masterpieces. To make your stay in Heidelberg, just that more romantic, consider any of these activities:
1.Visit Heidelberg Castle= Built in the 1300's this ancient castle is now in ruins, but this does not diminish its sheer size and magnificence. During your visit marvel at the castle church, the Friedrich Wing, and the Hortus Palatinus; which was formerly considered as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'.
2. Take a stroll along Philosophers Way= Known as a favorite walk amongst the Romantic period's renown poets and artists, take a walk along this scenic path with your loved one to find some inspiration of your own!
3. Grab a cone at Gelato Go!= This gelato bar is infamous for the long lines that trail from its entrance during the summer... But, remember, nothing is better than enjoying a sweet, refreshing gelato on a hot summer's day!
With its ruins of a civilization past, Rome is renown for being a history-buff's haven. But did you know that Rome is also one of the most romantic cities in the world? The delicious cuisine, active ambiance and incredible sights turn this popular tourist city into a charming spot for romantics. If you want to add some extra ROMEance to your stay, consider any of these activities:
1. Visit the Trevi Fountain= Completed in 1762, this enormous, and beautifully sculpted Baroque fountain has its own tradition. If you toss a coin into the fountain from over your shoulder, than you are destined to return to Rome, toss two and you will return and find true love, toss three and you will return, find love and marry.
2. Listen to the sweet sound of jazz at the Villa Celimontana= Head down to the Villa Celimontana at 9.00 pm during the summer months, to enjoy the annual Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival. Where, you can soak up the diverse sounds of pop, piano, and Brazilian, but most prominently of all; Jazz.
3. Sample the local cuisine= Whether you prefer your dining experience to be flawless and 5-star, or a homely and rustic atmosphere appeals to your tastes, Rome has something for everybody. For those who love to splurge, try the luxurious 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, La Pergola. While for those who prefer simple food done well, look no further than Roma Sparita, located in a pretty piazza, in Trastevere.
For a double-dose of the exotic and romantic, look no further than India's "Pink City"; Jaipur. With a charming palace around every corner, this is definitely a city fit for royalty. If you're looking for a spot to pick up a souvenir, look no further than the bustling bazaars. Where you can sample and buy everything from traditional Indian dishes, to beautiful handmade jewelry. And, of course, the city is tinted a lovely shade of pink, what could be more romantic!
1. Visit the Hawa Mahal Palace= Also known as the "Palace of Winds", the unique structure of the Hawa Mahal was inspired by Lord Krishna's Crown. Originally built for the royal ladies of Jaipur, this historical site is now enjoyed as a main tourist attraction.
2. A picture perfect Love-Story= Found in the royal garden of Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh, are wall-paintings that tell the romantic and captivating Radha-Krishna love story. Originally built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, as a symbol of his love for his beautiful wife Sisodia, this garden is dedicated to romance.
3. Enjoy Jaipur from the air= Get an exclusive look at Jaipur... From a hot-air balloon! See all of the sights and attractions of Jaipur, that you might not have had time to see under normal circumstances. For an approximate NZ$370, you can see the Pink City from the air.
Dubrovnik has much more to offer than just sparkling seas and breathtaking sunsets- although these are certainly available in abundance.This Adriatic jewel is encircled by medieval walls, from its time as a medieval fortress. The city is also the site of many impressive statues; particularly of the city's patron saint St Blaise. To make your stay in Dubrovnik more romantic than conventional, consider any of these activities:
1. See Dubrovnik from the air= Dubrovnik's beauty can also be witnessed from Dubrovnik's own Cable Car service. Enjoy a leisurely ride in a cable car, with panoramic views, while you are transported from Ploce to the top of Mount Srdj.
2. Watch a breath-taking sunset= Dubrovnik is renown for its dazzling sunsets, the sweeping view of the blood-orange sun sinking beneath the waves of the Adriatic Sea is entrancing for visitors and residents alike. Enjoy the view from cliff bars, such as Cafe Buza or beaches,.
3. Try Dubrovnik's quality sea-food= Due to its location, right above the bountiful Adratic Sea, Dubrovnik has tantalizing seafood in abundance. Experience this fresh and delicious seafood in restaurants such as 'Proto' and 'Nishta', or buy your own produce at Gruz market.
Marrakesh is often referred to as the "Red City" because the city itself is painted in a delightful dark peach color. In fact, the entire city is awash with fantastical colors that can be found in the magical bazaars, the winding streets, the gleam of snakes scales as they are entranced by the tunes of snake charmers, and the rusty tones of the untamed desert. To make your stay in Marrakesh as romantic as the city itself, consider any of these activities:
1. Shop to your heart's content= By daylight, Djemaa El-Fna is Marrakesh's biggest square, and a shoppers paradise, where you can buy anything from clothes to trinkets, and spices. At night, the square becomes a Middle-Eastern entertainment center. Be entertained by snake charmers, henna tattoo artists, and medicine men, while feasting on delectable Moroccan dishes.
2. Explore the Sahara desert= Explore the World's largest, and most enigmatic desert, from an unusual approach.... From a camel's back! Take a day-trip from the city of Marrakesh,and venture into the Sahara desert with experienced guides, prices are variable.
3. Indulge yourself in a Moroccan Hammam= Take a load off, and just relax, with a traditional Moroccan hammam. For those of you who don't know what a hammam is, its simply a hot steam bath and massage. Hammam's can be enjoyed in 5-star quality,such as the Riad les Yeux Bleus. Or traditional and local style, such as the Hammam Dar el- Bacha.
Magical, colorful, and fascinating are words often used to describe the wild beauty of the Seychelles Islands. The endangered turtles and tortoises, and the looming rock formations give the Seychelles Islands an primeval and raw atmosphere. Victoria, the romantic capital of the Seychelles encapsulates this atmosphere, while also mixing it with New-World luxuries, such as modern shopping and dining experiences. To add some extra romance to your stay in Victoria, consider any of these activities:
1. Visit the Victoria Botanical Gardens= The Victoria Botanical Gardens is a marvelous display of flora, fauna, and wildlife. Established in 1901, by Queen Victoria, the Gardens is home for a colony of fruitbats, giant tortoises, and over 500 exotic plant species. Look out for the awesome Coco de Mer, a palm tree that only grows in the Seychelles.
2. Soak up the sun, sand, and surf= Over in the Seychelles, the sun is bright and shining, the palm trees are swaying, and the ocean's tranquil cerulean-blue waters are inviting. Victoria has many fabulous beaches where you can snorkel, dive, swim or just lie on the powdery white sand. Particularly beautiful beaches are Anse Major, and Beau Vallon.
3. Snorkel and dive in the Seychelles waters= The island that Victoria is located on; Mahe, offers many stunning diving and snorkeling spots. Perhaps why the Seychelles is such a celebrated diving and snorkeling location, is because of the rare rock formations that surround the Seychelles Islands. Also the exciting wildlife, such as rays, sharks, turtles, and a variety of iridescent and unusual fishes are must-sees.
Prague- Czech Republic.
The dreamy city of Prague, offers a awe-inspiring skyline, with the spires and towers of Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque churches and cathedrals, piercing the horizon. Prague is a city that weaves an enchanting spell on tourists and residents alike, the cobbled streets, and the 'hundred spires' that shoot up into the sky, all lend the the city a fairy-tale like atmosphere. If your looking to make your stay just that more romantic, consider any of these activities.
1. Celebrate love on 'May Day'= May the 1st, may represent 'Labour Day' for many countries around the world. But for the Czech's, this day represents the celebration of Love and spring. A local tradition among the lovers in Prague, is to climb Petrin Hill, and lay flowers at the feet of the sculpture of the romantic poet Karel Hyneck Macha.
2. Check the time at the Astronomical Clock= Located in Prague's Old Town, the clock itself was constructed with exquisite detail. At it's centre, the clock features the earth, being orbited by the sun and moon. The time is measured through both Roman and Arabic numerals, and the remaining blue represents the sky. The sun beneath, moves through the 12 zodiac signs.
3. Stroll along Charles Bridge, after the sun sets= This awesome Gothic Bridge stretches between Prague's Old Town and the Mala Strana district. Dotted along the bridge's length is historical Baroque statues of significant religious figures. The Bridge is often very busy during the day-time, so it is generally advised to visit after dark.
Bagan has definitely earned its title of "Land of a thousand Pagoda's", with over 2000 pagoda's, temples, monuments, and the native surrounding jungle, the city has an element of old-world charm. The mesmerizing vista is a sight to behold, as is the gripping history behind it. Lose yourself in this romantic city that feels like you have stepped back in time. Experience the romance and wonder of Bagan, through these activities:
1. Enjoy Bagan from the air= Get a exclusive look at Bagan....from a hot air balloon! Admire the thousands of stunning temples, and the beautiful Burmese landscape below, in comfort and safety, for up to USD $320.
2. Visit the Golden 'Ananda Pahto'= This truly inspirational, must-see temple was built to honor the eternal wisdom of Buddha. Topped by a golden spire, and perfectly symmetrical (similar to Greek architecture), the Ananda Pahto is one of Bagan's biggest and most beautiful temples.
3. Taste the local cuisine= Taste the diverse and delicious flavors of traditional Burmese cuisine, in bustling street markets, such as the Nyaung U street market. Or you can opt for a humble, but still reputable restaurant or cafe, such as Myo Myo Myanmar Rice Food, or the Black Bamboo.
The beautiful pastel houses perched on a cliff-side beside the cobalt, Aegean sea, has become an image synonymous with Fira, the capital city of the Greek Island, Santorini. Fira's versatility is apparent in the winding streets, and hard-working donkeys that give Fira a rustic feel. While still retaining the dazzling brightness from both sun and sea, and the iconic blue and white domed churches, that Santorini is famous for. To make your stay just as romantic as Santorini itself, just try any of these activities.
1. Discover the secrets of the Caldera= Starting from Fira's Old Port, take a guided boat tour out to Nea Kameni, to observe Santorini's enormous volcano. Spend the rest of the day discovering the Caldera's many hidden thermal springs and underwater caverns, before disembarking at Oia.
2. Experience Fira's booming nightlife= As the capital of Santorini, Fira leads the way in modern and fun nightlife. The Mediterranean Island atmosphere, and festive people make for an exciting time. Some nightclubs to visit for a good time, are the Koo Club, and Club 33.
3. Watch a romantic sunset= Santorini is famous for providing some of the best sunsets in the world, and many of these sunsets can be witnessed from Fira. You can enjoy the vision of the blood-orange sun being engulfed by the cerulean waves of the Aegean Sea, from any vantage point that suits your liking. Either have a romantic dinner in a cliffside cafe like Classico Cafe, or see it from your hotel, or beach.
The tranquil city of Kyoto is known for being the Emperor's past residence, and the former capital of Japan. Its an ideal city to visit in the seasons Spring, when you can see the blooming cherry blossoms, and in Autumn, when the leaves turn a rustic copper. Overflowing with darling geisha's, beautiful flora and fauna, and over a thousand Buddhist temples and shrines, Kyoto is a city that celebrates the traditional way of Japanese life. To add extra romance to your stay in Kyoto, try any of these activities.
1. Visit Nanzen-ji Temple= The gorgeous and highly respected Zen Buddhist temple; Nanzen-ji Temple, is famous for its beautiful gardens, that truly does induce one into a state of zen. The temple is divided into many sub-temples that house peaceful gardens and walkways, such as the Pond Garden in Nanzenin, and the many rock gardens. There is also a tea-house for refreshments.
2. Walk through the bamboo forest= In the Western outskirts of Kyoto, lies the district Arashiyama district. This district is the site of winding pathways that cut through giant groves of row after row of tall green shoots of bamboo. You can either take a bike along these long pathways, or leisurely walk along with a guided tour.
3. Watch a Maiko show= Witness traditional Japanese performing arts in a Maiko show. Maiko are apprentice Geiko's (similar to Geisha's) that perform feminine ceremonies and dances. At the Gion Corner, the Maiko's perform seven different ceremonies- The Kyo-mai dance, Flower arrangement, Tea ceremony, Koto zither, Gagaku court music, Kyogen theater, and Banraku puppet theater.
The Old-World European influence in this charming Canadian city is profoundly felt. With its ramparts, cobbled streets, and location on a sloping cliff that ends at the St. Laurence river, Quebec City is certainly a magical city. Perhaps the factor that truly makes one feel they have stepped into a fairy-tale, is the Chateau Frontenac; an exquisite hotel, that resembles a grand castle.
1. Put on your skates at Place D'Youville= From mid-October to mid-March, you can test your skating skills at the ice-skating rink; Place D'Youville. Doesn't matter if you and your partner are amateurs or professionals ,you two are guaranteed to have fun at this popular rink, with its backdrop of the romantic French-inspired Quebec City.
2. Dine at the Chateau Frontenac= One of the most iconic buildings in Quebec City, is also complete with a 5-star restaurant and bar! Enjoy panoramic views of the St. Laurence River as you sample the restaurants divine menu, and admire the sumptuous décor.
3. Shop till you drop!= Shop the well-endowed streets of Quebec City for anything from souvenirs,to designer clothing and décor. Find yourself in shoppers heaven at the Quartier Petit Champlain, or the Fleur de Lys shopping center.