Paris. Venice. New York City. When you think of romantic travel destinations, these are the clichés that come to mind, right? And while I won’t dispute the idyllic views from the top of the Eiffel Tower, or the amorous atmosphere created by the serenade of a gondolier, there’s a special kind of excitement that arises from an unexpected setting. Surprises sow the seeds of passion.
There are countless spots around the world that would provide excellent backdrops for a romance novel. Of the places I’ve visited, here are my top 10 inspirations, in no particular order:
- Stockholm. Stieg Larsson popularized this city as a fictional crime scene when he wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But take a cruise around the islands of the archipelago during the sun-drenched summer months, and it’s easy to envision a love affair taking place on a boat in the Baltic Sea.
- Madrid. Who could avoid getting lucky after midnight tapas and Rioja al fresco?
- The Australian Outback. Take in the sunset as it shines down on Uluru, then camp out under the stars.
- Maui. Okay, maybe this one’s a little cliché. However, picture yourself sipping a Mai Tai, listening to the ocean waves lapping against the shore… when suddenly, a rainbow bursts into view in the sky above. Kinda makes you feel romantic, huh?
- Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. A hike through this canyon is like transporting yourself to a fantasy world. Lush greenery, towering mountains, and a waterfall around every bend.
- Hong Kong. Admittedly, I might be a little biased about this one, since my latest manuscript takes place here, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Few cities have more energy, character, or hidden gems to explore.
- Big Sur. It’s easy to feel on top of the world when you’re driving on the side of a cliff, with nothing around but miles and miles of blue water.
- Machu Picchu. Arriving here before sunrise to peacefully watch the ruins appear through dissipating clouds is one of the more beautiful sights I’ve ever seen in my life.
- Vegas. What happens here, stays here. And what’s more romantic than keeping a secret with your lover?
- Tokyo. There are many things that make Tokyo a romantic destination. But two words describe the best reason of all: love hotel. Perfect for a midday quickie when the passion of the city suddenly overwhelms you!