Looking for a romantic destination can sometimes be a challenge when there are so many places to choose from around the world. Then there's the choice of experiences from watching the sunrise from the top of a mountain to a candlelit dinner in a posh restaurant or a quiet couple spa retreat. As you consider the romantic hot spots, there's no denying the allure of water in creating the mood for love. Here are seven popular destinations by the sea or river to add a splash of romance in your vacation.
A unique heritage of Amsterdam's golden age during the 17th century, the canals are a romantic part of the city's landscape. Flowing around and fanning out from the old city centre, the canals have created some 90 islands and 1,500 bridges that have earned the capital of Netherlands fame as "Venice of the North". Apart from being an easy way to transverse the city, the canals and bridges that cross them provide a beautiful backdrop for pictures and kisses. Many of Amsterdam's events are held on the waters of the canal like parades in the Summer and ice skating during the Winter when the water freezes.
Cruises that ply the canals provide visitors with a view of the city from the water and the chance for plenty of kisses under the bridges. Hotel Pulitzer, which comprises of 25 authentic 17th and 18th century Amsterdam canal houses, offers a private tour of the romantic canals by dusk in it own equally romantic hotel boat. The "Tourist" build in 1909 is a time-capsule of polished teak and brass, carpeted traditionally and adorned with marble, leather and beveled glass. The Boathouse also offers canal cruises, private boat tours and dinner cruises to enjoy Amsterdam from the water.
The canals also serve as homes for residents who live on one of Amsterdam's many houseboats. In fact the city is a houseboat holiday haven with many available for rent to visitors. The barges offer the mix of rich history with the modern comforts of jacuzzis. For more information on Amsterdam's canals, visit the Amsterdam Portal.
Located 3.5 hours northeast of Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, is an area of unrivaled natural beauty and watery serenity that President Ho Chi Minh found it "a wonder that one cannot impart to others". Halong Bay is distinctly characterised by over 1600 islands and islets that form a panoramic seascape of limestone pillars. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 and shortlisted as one of the world's new Seven Natural Wonders.
Once the country's best kept secret, It is now a backdrop for many movies and ranked as the best tourist attraction in Vietnam. Locals profess that you haven't seen Vietnam if you haven't been to Halong Bay. Visitors can witness a different Halong Bay each season, from the sunshine and blue skies of Summer to the misty and mysterious in Winter while cruising the waters. Halong Luxury Junk offers romantic cruises around the bay in traditional Chinese junks or luxury cruise vessels. To appreciate the romantic allure of the Bay, you must see it with your own eyes. For more information, check out Vietnam Tourism.
Bangkok may not be everyone's idea of a romantic location but its waterways can still help set the right mood for love. Classic Barges offers couples the opportunity to enjoy the culture and history of Bangkok away from the noise, crowds and traffic. A trip on their refurbished teak rice barges along the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries provide a moving picture of Bangkok as it changes from skyscrapers to rice paddies, as well as places of interest along the river.
Couples can also travel to Ratchaburi outside Bangkok for a tour of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Traditional long tail boats ferry visitors along narrow river canals where local ply their trade on the water, selling fresh fruits and vegetables, handicraft and cooked food. For more information on Bangkok, check out Tourism Thailand.
World-famous for its sun, sand and surf, Gold Coast offers 70 kilometres of coastal romantic escapes. Couples can enjoy magnificent sunsets over the Pacific Ocean while taking a leisurely stroll or quiet picnic at Main Beach or Mermaid Beach. Couples can also spend private time together by kayaking to secluded islands just minutes off the coast. Australian Kayaking Adventures Tours take you out to the Broadwater where both of you can see abundant wildlife from Turtles, Dolphins, Stingrays, and colourful sub-tropical fish to Whales in the migration months of May-Nov before enjoying breakfast on the beach.
Readers unable to travel to Amsterdam or Venice can still enjoy the romance of canals and waterways in luxury with Gold Coast Gondolas. They offer the comfort of private gondolas with foods of love like champagne and chocolate, gliding through the maze of beautiful canals of Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Isle of Capri by day or shimmering lights by night. To find out more about one of the most romantic places in Australia, check out Gold Coast Tourism.
Victoria Harbour is one of the most romantic areas of Hong Kong especially at dusk when the city's magnificent skyline is painted in hues of orange and pink. It becomes the world-famous harbour light show at night.
This stunning panorama can be experienced from the water onboard the Star Ferry. It's re-created 1920s double-decker 'Shining Star' ferry provide nightly round trips.
Watertours of Hong Kong offer sunset views of Victoria Harbour including the western district, Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter and Wan Chai on-board a Chinese-style boat. For more information on Hong Kong, check out Discover Hong Kong.
View of Langkawi from cable car / Photo by AndyLawson of Flickr
Langkawi conjures up romantic images of tropical days under swaying coconut palms by the Andaman Sea. Malaysia's best-known holiday destination is part of an archipelago of 99 islands and renowned for its natural beauty.
Pulau Payar Marine Park / Photo by bgbirgit14 of Flickr
One of the romantic ways to enjoy the many uninhabited islands up close is to charter a private cruise that takes both of you to secluded beaches for some quiet swimming time and alfresco dining by the beach. Sailing yacht cruises and charters by Crystal Yacht Holidays provide an ideal way to enjoy a glorious Langkawi sunset over cocktails with loved ones. As an official UNESCO World Geopark location, Langkawi also houses a diverse range of flora and fauna. Pulau Payar Marine Park offers excellent diving, rich in marine life and artificial and natural reefs.
Beach wedding at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi / Photo by fylin of Flickr
With a setting of steamy hills, picturesque paddy-fields, sandy beaches, it's easy to see why Langkawi is a popular destination for romance. Four Seasons Resort offers romantic luxury and wedding settings with 91 pavilions and villas cocooned within landscaped greenery and sensational views of sunset off the coast of Tanjong Rhu. For more information on Langkawi, check out Tourism Langkawi.
Couples looking for a romantic houseboat vacation can consider the backwaters of India. One of the best locations to experience this treasure is Kerala where you and your loved one can cruise through beautiful lagoons, lakes and canals fringed by the lush vegetation of Southern India. It is also the site for the famous 400 year old Kerala Boat Races.
Gently lulled by the waves of the river, couples can enjoy some quiet time together while watching scenes of local life unfold in the passing. Karma Kerala operates various houseboats tours that allow couples to enjoy the culture and history along the backwater at popular coastal towns in Kerala. For more information on Kerala, check out Kerala Tourism.