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Fall In Love In The Most Romantic Great Escapes On The Planet

There are some places that make us want to fall in love.

Travel

There are some places that make us want to fall in love. Whether it is a colorful sunset, casting an alluring glow upon your love, or just the addition of live trumpets and horns while dining in the South; regardless, feeling moonstruck is something we all look forward to.

So, whether you wish to spark a flame with a new lover, rekindle a flame with a longtime love, travel with your beloved for a short romantic break, or go on the quintessential honeymoon after your wedding, here are the most romantic travel destinations, worldwide, to set the right mood.

1.Hawaii (Maui, Kauai)

Best Time to Visit Hawaii: Spring to Fall

Kauai is notorious for its enchanting sunsets, postcard-perfect coastlines, laid-back surfer towns, and fewer tourist crowds than other Hawaiian isles; it is the idyllic choice for the outdoorsy couple looking to embrace the Aloha spirit. Kauai is a favorite for couples who want to get away from the crowds and enjoy secluded, natural beaches.

Make sure to check out: The food trucks and bohemian boutiques. Enjoy a picnic on Hanakapi'ai Beach and a couple's massage at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa or the St. Regis Princeville Resort. In addition, get your heart racing with a hike along the Kalalau Trail and have your breath taken away by the views of the Na Pali Coast's inspiring green cliffs.

2.Quebec City, Canada

Best Time to Visit Quebec City, Canada: Winter to Fall

For the overly warm-blooded couples, visiting Quebec City in the Winter could be the ideal place for a cozy winter getaway. A charming French-Canadian city, Quebec is full of snow-covered streets, romantic restaurants, and plenty of fireplaces to cuddle up to. Nevertheless, if you cannot take the cold, fear not, Quebec City is still a romantic destination for you. In the Spring, visit Quebec to enjoy the jazz bars, trendy shops, and kayaking/canoeing tours.

Make sure to check out: The music and drinks at the local jazz bars. Visit the Musee de la civilisation, Montmorency Falls, Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec, and the St. Lawrence River. Also, make sure to go to the ice skating rinks and take kayaking and canoeing tours.

3.Charleston, South Carolina

Best Time to Visit Charleston, South Carolina: Spring to Fall

With Spanish-moss draped strolls, horse-drawn carriage rides, antebellum char, and a thriving culinary scene, there are more than a few draws for romantics to Charleston, South Carolina. Take your partner to have a memorable barbeque meal and enjoy the historically rich architecture. Once you're done, don't forget to stop by the local places for a bubbly evening filled with wine, cheese, and soulful, live jazz.

Make sure to check out: The much talked-about Husk restaurant in Charleston. Linger over an intimate meal at Peninsula Grill and take a low country walking tour to appreciate the city's history-steeped beauty.

4.Buenos Aires, Argentina

Radiating passion, Buenos Aires is a beautiful, multicultural city that is the birthplace of the tango: the dance of lovers. Perfect for a romantic vacation, Buenos Aires' historic architecture, beautiful gardens, and boulevards lined with trees for a romantic stroll are great ways to show your romantic partner a good time.

Make sure to check out: The Puerto Madero for an evening stroll. Take a helicopter ride over the city, enjoy a picnic in the La Costanera Ecological Park or a tango lesson or two, dine al fresco in the Palermo Viejo neighborhood, and watch a Tango show or opera.

5.Bruges, Belgium

Best Time to Travel to Bruges, Belgium: Spring to Fall

Bruges is a city consisting of magnificent medieval buildings, pretty canals, and picturesque streets that look straight out of your childhood fairy tale books. Cobblestone streets are lined with scenic buildings housing boutiques, chocolate shops, and eateries offering exquisite fare. Through its amazing food, vast history, rich cultural heritage, warm people, and "magical" villages, Bruges makes for a romantic escape.

Make sure to check out: The Old Town and cycle around with your boo to explore the parks and cafes surrounded by a canal. Share some world-renowned Belgian Waffles. Visit the Basilica, Salvador Dali Exhibition, Windmills, Groeninge Museum, Ice Sculpture Festival, the River in Antwerp, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

6.Paris, France

Best Time to Visit to Paris, France: Spring and Fall (cheapest in Winter)

Paris is an exquisitely beautiful city to discover on your own; though, it is even better when you're accompanied by your significant other, mainly because the city exudes romance. From sidewalk cafes perfect for getting cozy to some of the world's most passionate art, Paris is synonymous with romance and you'd be remiss if you left it out.

Make sure to check out: The neighborhood of Montmartre, with its cobblestone streets, is a charming place to explore and witness breathtaking views of the city below. Naturally, there is the Eiffel Tower, which is even more awe-inspiring at night, when it sparkles. Also, check out the renowned art at both the Musee du Louvre, and the Musee d'Orsday and take a nightly stroll along the Seine or the striking Pont Alexandre III.

7.Santorini, Greece

Best Time to Visit to Santorini, Greece: Spring to Late Fall

With its iconic blue-domed churches, whitewashed buildings, and magnificent cliff-side vistas, there is no wonder why Santorini draws tourists from across the globe. The romantic charm and serene vibes of the striking island of Santorini has made it a popular choice for a romantic getaway. While here, take your love to admire the magical sunsets, marvel at beautiful Grecian buildings, and enjoy tastings at top-notch wineries.

Make sure to check out: The Venetian Castle in Akrotiri, along with the La Ponta Tower. Hold hands and, together, experience the thrill of cliff jumping at Amoudi Bay. Spend a relaxing day on Kamari Beach, hike the active volcano in Nea Kameni, escape to the Red Beach, explore the Atlantis Books in Oia, party like the Greeks at Enigma, and travel above the beautiful island from a helicopter. In Santorini, your romantic options are never-ending.

8.Venice, Italy

Best Time to Visit to Venice, Italy: Mid-Spring and Early to Mid-Fall

Venice is an Italian city perfect for lovers. Whether on a honeymoon trip or simply a romantic getaway to express your love, Venice is undoubtedly the perfect romantic destination. From a dinner date with a beautiful view of the Grand Canal to experiencing the popular gondola ride, there are a limitless amount of adventures you and your romantic partner can endure.

Make sure to check out: The Teatro La Fenice and watch Opera like you never have before. Enjoy a cuddlesome gondola ride and Vaporetto ride. Visit the Dorsoduro shop, the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge, the San Giorgio Maggiore, the Alberoni Beach, and the Restaurant Terrazza Danieli.

9.Rome, Italy

Best Time to Visit Rome, Italy: Fall to Spring

Brimming with old-world charm, Rome stands as one of the most romantic cities to travel in the world. Hand in hand, take your romantic partner wandering along the streets to take in all the beautiful architecture. In Rome, you have art, history, food, and win culture at your fingertips; all you have to do is reach out and grab it.

Make sure to check out: The Eternal City offers a cinematic backdrop with its instantly recognizable landmarks, from the Pantheon to the Colosseum to the Roman Forum to the Trevi Fountain. Also, leave some time to thoroughly explore the Borghese Gallery, Borghese Gardens, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, and the rendezvous restaurant "The Library" with your loved one.

10. Kyoto, Japan

Best Time to Visit to Kyoto, Japan: Spring

Kyoto is one of the most romantic destinations to explore with your special someone. Have a romantic boat ride along Kyoto's cherry blossom-lined along the Okazaki Canal. With tranquil destinations brimming with astonishing beauty around every corner, it's hard to pass up this romantic city.

Make sure to check out: The Gardens are often some of the loveliest areas to experience such as the Kyoto Botanical Gardens. The Kyoto Botanical Gardens feature cherry blossom trees — ideal viewing time is in the Spring — flowers, opens spaces great for having a relaxing picnic, a greenhouse, incredible temples, and relaxing public baths. Afterwards, make your way to Gion, which houses willow-flanked roads and gorgeous stories tea houses. Check into the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto and you'll have the ideal accommodations, framed by the Higashiyama mountain range.

11.Koh Tao, Thailand

Best Time to Visit Koh Tao, Thailand: Winter

Koh Tao is a tranquil place for nature-loving couples who are looking for a relaxed romantic vacation on a stunning island. The rich and diverse marine life of Koh Tao has been one of the leading factors for drawing beach lovers from across the world. This tiny island in Thailand is known for its world-class scuba diving opportunities and spectacular sunsets.

Make sure to check out: The remarkable sunsets from lantern-lit restaurants that line the beach. Go sunset swimming at Sairee beach and island hopping to neighboring islands like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Watch the sunset at Mango Bay Viewpoint. Enjoy a romantic dinner at Thaita Italian Restaurant, Blue Heaven, The Gallery Restaurant, and Eagle View; plus, be sure to check out their many romantic resorts.

12. Srinagar, India

Best Time to Visit to Srinagar, India: Spring to Late Fall

Known as "Paradise on Earth," Srinagar is stunningly beautiful and downright romantic. From the arc of green mountains with snow caps to the placid water bodies, to the colorful floating gardens, to the array of houseboats and shikaras in Dal Lake in Srinagar, Srinagar makes for a surreal scenery that every couple would want to enjoy.

Make sure to check out: The houseboats in Srinagar. Plus, take a shikara ride in Dal Lake, meander through the royal Mughal gardens — Nishat Bagh, Chashme Shahi, and Shalimar Bagh — with your beloved.

13.Cape Town, South Africa

Best Time to Visit Cape Town, South Africa: Fall to Spring

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful and most romantic cities in the world. Having stunning scenery, endless small adventures, gorgeous beaches, and cosmopolitan culture, Cape Town makes the perfect place for a romantic destination.

Make sure to check out: The hiking trails on Table Mountain. Enjoy romantic strolls on the white sandy beaches and vintages cars at Franschhoek Motor Museum, taste the finest wines at Cape Winelands, and take a cable-car ride over to the neighboring cities.

14.Marrakech, Morocco

Best Time to Visit to Marrakech, Morocco: Spring and Fall

With vast stretches of the Sahara Desert on one side and the mighty Atlas Mountain peaks on the other, Marrakech is a city that provides a unique setting for a romantic vacation. From exploring the markets to watching snake charmers to taking refuge in charming boutique hotels, known as riads, Marrakech is wonderful for lovers to travel together. The breathtaking landscape has palm trees, and the aforementioned view of the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains.

Make sure to check out: The Majorelle Garden. In addition, make sure to visit Jemaa el-Fnaa public square, intricately designed Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, and take a horse or camel ride through the dunes of Palmeraie.

Featured image by Shutterstock

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Originally published on February 5, 2019

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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