by Regin Reyno
"If travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it's a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end." ~Pico Iyer
This month of love I want to share with you 7 places that are romantic. These are places that will add to that spark: that magical feeling when with you’re with a romantic partner: whether that be your wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, fiancee, or even a fellow traveler that you’ve met on the road (ala Before Sunrise), or even a local.
The elements of these places will definitely make you fall in love even more: rekindle that lost romance: or who knows? Maybe even bring romantic love that wasn’t there in the first place.
Routine, busyness, boredom, flat experiences; these are just some of the things that can kill that romantic feeling. So, book that ticket, delete your social media apps, and head to these destinations to have a wonderful romantic getaway. Life is short to not have romance, magical experiences, and cloud nine moments.
7. Agra, India
One of the most iconic symbols of romantic love; The Taj Mahal: an ethereal beauty.
Walk around Taj Mahal during early hours of the morning. Go inside. Behold the tombs of Sha Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal and reflect on the love and sacrifice that resulted to this beautiful building. Sit on one of the benches from distance and spend time looking at it. Let its beauty and story work its way to your hearts.
Cap your day by having a delicious Indian cuisine dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the Taj with the moonlight reflected on the river.
6. Naha, Japan
Japan is a very special and amazing country. The cleanliness, the efficiency of everything there, the safety, comfort, and most of all, the politeness and integrity of the people. A vacation in Japan always guarantees quality. Okinawa islands of Japan, with its capital, Naha is one of the best islands in the world. Have a base at Naha; explore the city by foot or take its convenient and efficient transportation system and just roam around. Eat, drink and enjoy healthy Okinawan food. Because of its efficiency, comfort, and the politeness of the people there, there will be no irritable moments. (You can’t have romance when you’re irritated, can you?)
Rent a car and explore other parts of the island. Because of its low population, you’ll have most of the places to yourself. Park your car and just enjoy the scenery of the Pacific ocean at sunset; free from noise, crowd, and annoying tourists.
5. Pai, Thailand
Located in the mountains of northern Thailand, this quaint little town is very charming. Foggy mornings, cool climate, lush forest, and a river. Despite it being in the boondocks, it’s laden with wonderful accommodations, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Sleep in one of the bungalows made of bamboo overlooking the mountains and river. Wake up to a foggy morning, have a healthy breakfast of muesli or pad thai. After spending some time in a hammock, roam around by renting a bicycle, stopping at lovely cafes along the way.
4. Rome, Italy
If having dinner on the cobbled streets of Rome-during spring or autumn-with your partner doesn’t give you that romantic feeling, I don’t know what will. There’s a reason why Rome is the set of many romantic movies.
It’s food and history will work its magic when you’re there. Find time to go around the city by foot. Don’t fail to stop by bars to have espresso shot (In Italy, coffee is sold in bars. Hence, the term, barista. You’re welcome.) Oh, and enjoy, Roman pizza together at the many pizzerias in town.
In the evening, how about a candle lit dinner by the Colosseum?
3. Sagada, Philippines
This official hugot place of the Philippines is where broken hearts go, according to Antoinette Jadaone. If it can heal a broken heart, I’m sure it can also provide some spark and magical moments. The vibe of this place is similar to Pai, Thailand and Aguas Callientes, Peru.
Your quality, romantic moment starts at Manila where you will take a 9 to 12-hour bus ride. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by many wonderful cafes. What makes this place so romantic-apart from its nature and mountainous environment-is the presence of these wonderful, quaint cafes. Yes, just like Pai, Thailand. My favorites are Gaia Cafe and Bana’s Coffee. The ambiance and views of Yogurt House is also great.
Have a leisurely stroll around town. You’ll be greeted by fresh, cool mountain air, and beautiful pine trees. Then, have some delicious lemon pie at Lemon Pie House. Go spelunking in Sumaguing Cave. The production of adrenaline in your body contributes to that bond and makes your travel more memorable.
2. Cusco, Peru
This is a very beautiful and picturesque city in the Americas. Situated 3,399 meters above sea level, it gives you a cool, fresh, crisp mountain air. There a lots of historical sites and beautiful architectures.
A walking city; it gives you an opportunity to just walk around and enjoy the historical architectures, and its preserved culture. Then, grab a bite at the balcony of one of the restaurants by Plaza de Armas enjoying an overlooking view. In the evening when the temperature drops, it becomes more romantic. Sit on stairs in front of the church and just have chat while enjoying a wonderful, bird’s eye view of Cusco city lights.
- Tolosa, Spain
This small town in Basque country in Spain is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve been to. It is so quiet, calm, and peaceful. It is surrounded with verdant green rolling hills. It also has a clean river. Since, it is a very small town with low population, you have this wonderful town all to yourselves. No disturbances, annoying crowd, honking vehicles, and touts.
This is the perfect town to have that romantic stroll in the evening. Just walk around, appreciate calmness and beauty. Don’t forget to head to the fountain; sit down take your time and have a drink. It’s refreshing.
Then you can always enjoy some pintxos at one of the charming restaurants/bars. And if you're lucky, you might even catch the best choirs in the world performing at Leidor Theater.
May these destinations help you experience one of the greatest feelings in the world; falling in love/falling in love again.
Happy Valentines Day!
photos: © Regin Reyno
Do you have any romantic places to add to the list?