Romantic Destinations and Dining Experiences
The search for romantic destinations takes place every year, especially around early February for the last-minute planners, because of this wonderful day, called Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated right in the middle of February. With that in mind, we put together this list to help you identify the most romantic destinations and dining experiences for you to plan your next romantic rendezvous.
You can’t spell “romance” without “Rome,” otherwise it would just be “anc.” Jokes aside, the capital city of Italy is indeed a very romantic city with its many ancient architectural marvels such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and Hadrian’s Villa alongside more contemporary buildings of beauty like the Trevi Fountain and St. Peter’s Basilica, earning it the title of the Eternal City. Italian food is also quite romantic: an iconic scene in film history involves two dogs sharing a plate of spaghetti which led to an accidental kiss when they swallow opposite ends of the pasta.
Aroma is a Michelin starred luxury rooftop restaurant in Rome with a gorgeous view of the Colosseum. This is arguably one of the most romantic dining experiences one could get while in Rome. As it is often said, when in Rome, do as the Romans do: be romantic!
Hollywood has long romanticised Paris as the city of love and romance, and for good reason! Its culture, from architecture to language to food, revolves around romance. The buildings are all under seven stories, limited by its UNESCO heritage protection to preserve the city’s skylines. Thanks to the city’s small size, one could walk hand-in-hand throughout the city without having to take the impersonal public transportation. French is classified as a romance language—admittedly, this is due to the fact that it is descended from Vulgar Latin which is associated with Rome and not because of any actual romance, but it’s still considered among the most romantic languages in the world! France is known for their wines and champagnes, which is part of most romantic dinners. With over 40,000 restaurants and ten restaurants with three Michelin stars, the Parisian palette is proven to be passionate.
Restaurant Lasserre has a history of almost 80 years as well as a Michelin star. Its unique environment is its mechanical roof which rolls back during good weather to allow the gentle light of the sun and the surrounding atmosphere to permeate the room.
When it comes to romantic destinations in Japan, most people would think of Kyoto as the most romantic city due to its traditional culture and architecture, but for those who have watched the multi-award winning 1995 movie Love Letter by Iwai Shunji (released in the US under the title When I Close My Eyes), Otaru is no doubt the most romantic Japanese city. As such, the Hokkaido Tourism Organisation has recognised this fact and put together a list of the locales featured in the movie. Otaru Canal was completed during the westernisation of Japan in 1923, after an imperial edict established Otaru as an open port for trading with the United States and the United Kingdom. Thus, its historical buildings are more western, especially the stone warehouses which have been converted into bars and restaurants. In the evening, the canal is lit by gas lamps—not electric lights masquerading as gas lamps, but actual gas lamps! This is because gas lamps exude a different atmosphere, and during the winter, the lights are brighter. The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, which runs for about a week every February, illuminates the city with lights and small snow statues, adding to the romantic atmosphere. With all this lined up perfectly during Valentine’s Day, you can never go wrong with a date in Otaru.
As Otaru is a port city, the seafood is incredibly fresh so as not to be missed. Masazushi Zenan is a highly-regarded sushi restaurant in Otaru, overlooking the canal from the second floor. Meals can be ordered ahead of time during reservations for seating to avoid any hassle in communication.
Ljubljana (pronounced “liubliana”) is the capital city of Slovenia. What’s romantic or even interesting about Ljubljana, you ask? You can step foot into a fairytale castle, for one: Ljubljana Castle is a castle complex on Castle Hill, constructed about 900 years ago. It’s been used as a place for weddings and cultural events since the 1990’s. In the cobbled streets of Ljubljana Old Town between the river and the castle, you’ll find historical bridges and a row of 19th century buildings.
While you’re in the Old Town, drop by Gostilna Pri Kolovratu, a restaurant just opposite the historical Ljubljana Cathedral. They have been in business for almost 200 years, and serve traditional Slovenian dishes like slow-cooked veal and Vodnik salad.
This one might be a little extreme in terms of the weather, and Jukkasjärvi (pronounced “yukkasyarvi”) may not seem like a place to be considered among romantic destinations, but if you look past the ice cold veneer, you’ll find plenty of romantic scenery and activity as well. For instance, there’s the ever-impressive Icehotel, a hotel that is constructed entirely out of ice. Boasting to be the first among all others, the Icehotel also features activities such as an ice sculpting class that couples can work together on, as well as a snowmobile experience. At night, there is also the Northern Lights to look forward to, although it is difficult to predict when the Aurora Borealis would actually appear.
The Icehotel Restaurant has a classic five-course meal, most of which is served on ice, which would make for an unforgettable moment between you and your loved one as you dine on either the cured fillet of moose or the pan-fried topside of reindeer.
So, out of all these romantic destinations and dining experiences, which one’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments!
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