Manasi Y Mastakar takes you on a sojourn through the most romantic cities of the world
No mention romantic places is complete without the mention of France, with Paris leading the list. With so much to explore, it’s difficult to narrow down the must see places or must do things in the City of Light, popularly also called as the City of Love. The Eiffel Tower standing tall at 324 mt high is renowned for several people going down on the knees and proposing to their beloved.
Be it strolling across the Latin Quarters of Paris, which is a haven for several monuments, bistros and shopping centres, or visiting iconic churches like the Notre Dame or Sainte Chapelle, or getting lost in the city’s past through several museums like The Louvre, or art havens like Musee d’Orsay, Musee de l’Orangerie, Musee Marmottan Monet, or taking a walk through the vast landscaped lawns of Champ de Mars or the numerous picturesque bridges; the grandeur and intimacy of the city easily engulfs you.
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End the visit on a high note with the O Chateau Wine Tasting. A visit Palace de Versailles and take a cruise through Seine River is also a must do in Paris. The phrase ‘romance is in the air’ perfectly describes the city, because no matter where you go, love follows you everywhere.
Built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, Venice the capital city of northern Italy’s Veneto region, no roads. Known as the city of canals, they are the only medium of transport and travel across the city. Cruise through the 2-mile long Grand Canal, with Renaissance and Gothic palaces passing by, or stroll through the central square, Piazza San Marco containing St. Mark’s Basilica, a cathedral with gilded domes, and the Campanile bell tower offering a panoramic views of the city’s red roofs.
Museums, monuments are scattered across the city which is best explored on foot, or through the canals. Experience the city’s romantic side in the night when the entire city, especially canals are lit up, inviting you to explore the waters in a gandola.
San Sebastián, Spain
Beach and water loving couples will find this resort town a blessed retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Nestled on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country, the beaches provide a picturesque bayfront housing several world-renowned restaurants. Visit the white sandy beaches of Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta and take a dip in the crystal clear water and spend a relaxing afternoon sunbathing.
If beaches are not your thing, then one can always find solace in the calm cobblestoned old town of Parte Vieja or feast on the stunning view of this quaint town from Monte Igueldo standing tall at 184 mt. One can also have fun at the Parque de Atracciones de Monte Igueldo, an amusement park in Monte Igueldo. Take a fairy to Isla de Santa Clara, a 30 mt wide island just off the coast of San Sebastián. It has been declared as a Historical National Interest Site. Some other must see places are Aquarium-Sea Palace, Parque de Aiete: Public Park and Venue for Cultural Events, Catedral del Buen Pastor.
With several mosques, palaces and gardens scattered around the city, Marrakesh is a major economic centre and home to several architectural marvels. The town’s main attraction is Medina, the densely packed, labyrinth like, walled medieval city. Between these old walls, one can find crowded souks with each being famous for selling particular kinds of product. Like, for example, Babouche (shoe) Souk, Chouari (carpenter’s) Souk, El-Attarine (perfume and spice) Souk and the Cherratine (leather) Souk.
If Medina is Marrakesh’s landmark, Koutoubia Mosque is the symbol of the city, with its 70m tall minaret visible from miles away. Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts is a home to beautiful collection of Berber jewellery and artefacts. If the city starts to feel crowded, one can escape to the land of peace at Manara Gardens, which is a famous tourist spot for locals and tourists alike or the mountain village of Imlil.
Famous for its natural hot springs and 18th century Georgian architecture, this honey-coloured architectural wonder takes its name from the 2000-year old Roman baths that are scattered around the city. Out the several important structures that Bath houses, around 500 are considered historically important, so much that Bath was granted World Heritage status in 1987. Must visit places in this dream-like town are Roman baths, which have been crowned as the most romantic places in Britain, Bath Abbey, noted for its large stained-glass windows, 1770-constructed (and still standing) Pulteney Bridge, 200-yard semi-circular Royal Crescent with residential houses uniformly constructed and Fashion Museum which includes 150 dressed figures and 30,000 items dating back to 16th century.
Mention of England cannot be complete without London. The city’s famous giant wheel, The London Eye, rents the cabins on Valentine’s Day – a perfect way to celebrate the day while enjoying the view of the brightly lit city skyline.
Prague, Czech Republic
One of the most popular destinations in Europe, Prague’s centuries-long romance with history is evident in Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau architecture. Originally built as a walled fortress around 970 AD, Prague Castle today is the resident of the Czech Republic’s President.
The Castle is a popular tourist destination providing several places of interest like St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, Powder Tower, Old Royal Palace, and Golden Lane. Other places to visit are 1351-built and 520 metre long Charles Bridge, The Clementinum and the National Library, The Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock, St. Vitus Cathedral, Municipal House, Prague Zoo, The Jewish Quarter, and The National Gallery.
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Isle of Sky, Scotland
Known for rugged landscapes, picturesque fishing villages and medieval castles, it is connected to Scotland by a bridge. Take a stroll through the Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, or get your fill of waterfalls and pools at The Fairy Pools in the icy water of Allt Coir a’Mhadaidh. 25-minute away is the island of Raasay which is a perfect place for adrenaline junkies with series activities like rock-climbing, cliff jumping, abseiling; kayaking will let you explore Raasay’s coastline and neighbouring islands. Other must see places are The Skye Museum of Island Life, Sea Eagles, Portree, Dun Beag near Struan.
If international is not where you want to go, closer home, the backwaters of Kerala are a perfect romantic gateway. Landscaped with palm-lined beaches, God’s own country boosts of several attractions (apart from a ride through the canals and rivers in a gondola). Take a quick trip to the Western Ghats lined with tea, coffee and spice plantations, swaying dreamily to the rhythms of the inviting breeze. Kerala’s National Parks like Eravikulam and Periyar, Wayanad and other sanctuaries, are home to elephants, langur monkeys and tigers. Feast your eyes on the sunset (or sunrise if you an early riser) with your beloved at Fort Kochi. No trip to Kerala is complete without a visit to its famous temples like Guruvayur Temple, Vadakkunnathan Temple, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple and several others.