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Romantic Destinations

By February 26, 2024No Comments

Two people underwater in scuba suits approach coral life.

Romance under the sea at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. –The Florida Keys and Key West

Stateside romance any time of the year in the southern Florida Keys

There’s barely a low season in the Florida Keys, a string of islands stretching for 125 miles off Florida’s southwest tip. Flanked by the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, the archipelago lures travelers with its natural wonders, romantic beaches, and casual seafood shacks. It feels blissfully like the Caribbean, yet you don’t need a passport to explore.

From Key Largo (an hour’s drive south of Miami) down to Key West, the 110-mile Overseas Highway and its 42 bridges lead travelers to the islands’ classic roadside attractions, lush parks (on land and water), and myriad water sports. The weather stays sunny and warm year-round, and a packed calendar of festivals, events, and other diversions means there’s always something to celebrate in the Keys. Contact Santa Barbara Travel Bureau for insight into the most romantic resorts and activities.

Kiteboarding off the coast of Marathon.

Get romantic on Little Palm Island

Surrounded by mangroves and palm-lined white-sand beaches on Little Torch Key in the Lower Keys, the 30-room Little Palm Island Resort and Spa offers a secluded escape for unwinding. The resort’s house rules – no phones, screens, or anyone under the age of 18 – make it feel like a total refuge. Settle into one of the thatched-roof bungalows (each with a private firepit, an outdoor shower and copper tub, and four-poster beds) for a true romantic escape.  No distractions allow for total focus on self-love, or with that special someone.Medieval buildings sit on a lush green hillside surrounded by a winding road in Croatia's Istria region.

Motovun, one of Istria’s fairytale-esque hilltop villages.  –Istria Tourist BoardThe Heart-Shaped Peninsula

Time loses all meaning in Istria, the heart-shaped peninsula in Croatia overlooking the Adriatic Sea. While it’s small enough to drive across in a couple of hours, it’s easy to spend a few days getting (purposefully) lost in Istria’s charming towns, hillside vineyards, and fairy-tale ports.

With origins dating to the Roman Empire, Istria is packed with history: After World War I, the then Austro-Hungarian peninsula became part of Italy – many of its residents still speak Italian today. After World War II, the region joined the former Yugoslavia until 1991, when it pledged its allegiance to the Republic of Croatia. Those centuries of influence anchor Istria’s abiding appeal – it’s a place where history meets luxury and surf marries turf. Travelers can spend a day inland, exploring ancient villages where olive-tree-clad hills give way to truffle-laden oak forests, and the next day lounge on a sunny beach, staring out at the azure-colored sea. The City of Love

A highlight of romantic destinations must of course include Paris! The city of love is full of beautiful landmarks that include the Notre-Dame cathedral, slated to reopen at the end of 2024 after a five-year closure. Secure tickets ASAP (SB Travel can help), then make plans to toast to love at Cravan, Moët Hennessy’s debut cocktail bar, spread across four floors inside a renovated seventeenth-century building in the Saint-Germain neighborhood. Later, settle in at Créatures, the lofty summer-only restaurant atop the Galeries Lafayette, where TikTok-famous chef of the moment Julien Sebbag prepares flaky croissants and vegetarian sharing plates alongside championship-worthy views of the city.

Steps from the most romantic Opéra in the world where Fantom of the Opera originated, Kimpton St Honoré’s 1917 art nouveau facade is an appetizer for the elegant style found inside its 149 rooms. Take refuge from the street-level madness at the hotel’s Sequoia rooftop bar. Book with Santa Barbara Travel Bureau to receive a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, and a $100 dining credit.  

Eiffel Tower at Night