Sarah RodriguesSat, 13 February 2021, 3:40 pm
On the eve of the most romantic day in the calendar, we take a look at eight places around the world where love is always in the air.
The Empire State Building, NYC
This distinctive, 102-storey Art Deco building has punctuated the Manhattan skyline for 90 years and featured in romantic films from An Affair to Remember to King Kong.
Avoid the crowds by heading to the observation decks, located on the 86th and 102nd floors, either early or late to take in a view extending beyond the Financial District to the Statue of Liberty. In the summer months, a saxophonist ups the romance, playing from 9pm, Thursday–Saturday.
The Trevi Fountain, Rome
Spoken, Rome is the first syllable of romance – and, despite the crowds, it’s a city easy to fall in love with. The travertine confection of the Trevi Fountain, startlingly white above its blue waters, is best visited soon after sunrise if you want relative solitude.
Stand with your back to the water and simultaneously toss coins over your shoulders to guarantee your return. Romance lacking? Toss two coins and you’ll not only return, but find love into the bargain.
Cape Byron Lighthouse
From here, Australia’s most easterly point, catch the first rays of sunrise as dawn breaks over the Pacific. The lighthouse is reached via a circular 4km walking track, which takes about 1–3 hours; those preferring a shorter walk can pick up access at various points.
Between June and October, you may sight the annual whale migration; alternatively you may spot one of Australia’s venomous snakes or spiders – bound to earn you some “You’re my hero/ine” points.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris
So associated with Paris is l’amour that it’s no wonder its most recognisable landmark sees so many proposals. Head to the champagne bar at the very top, or dine at the Michelin-starred Jules Verne restaurant on the 2nd floor; alternatively, watch the hourly light show from the Trocadero Gardens.
Swerve the seven-year itch by taking a tip from La Tour herself: every seven years, she gets a makeover with a fresh coat of 60 tons of paint. The next one in 2022 will have a golden hue, ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
The ultimate gesture of endless love, this gleaming white mausoleum was built in the 17th century by the order of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to mourn the death of his favourite wife. If you want to tour the tomb complex, the only way to avoid the crowds is to arrive soon after sunrise, but for romance, you might be better to head to the Mehtab Bagh Garden across the river; from here, you can watch sunset tint the structure pink.
Juliet’s Balcony, Verona, Italy
Whatever your view of successful romance, there’s no denying that Shakespeare’s tale of ‘star-cross’d lovers’ has resonated through the centuries. The stone balcony on which the tragic heroine allegedly stood, warbling for her Romeo, can be found jutting from a 13th century house known as Casa di Giulietta and, predictably, attracts any number of lovers. For a €6 entry fee, you can even stand on the balcony – just be aware that it was added to the building in the 1930s.
The Yorkshire Moors, England
Both metaphor and backdrop for Heathcliff and Cathy’s immutable passion (and the epic Kate Bush song that Emily Brontё’s story inspired) the ‘wily, windy moors’ of Yorkshire provide an irresistible landscape for wild, windswept romance. Spend long days wandering the glorious expanses of heather and hills, before returning to any of the area’s blissful accommodations, which range from rustic cottages and corn mills, to luxury manor houses, cosy treehouses and quirky geodomes.
Oia, Santorini, Greece
It’s fairly evident that the combination of island life and a sky-smearing sunset provides a setting more than conducive to romance, whether fleeting or not. The view that this village offers over the nearby Santorini volcano may also be said to stir passion – after all, what’s love without an eruption or two? Of course, the white walls of the island blaze beautifully as the sun goes down and draw the crowds – to avoid these, book accommodation with a vantage point.