Top 6 Romatic Getaways Around the World
the Queen Mary 2 to a French Kissing Festival, Claddagh
rings to Crusaders' castles,
here are ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine's top picks for
romance in the stone streets of Europe.
gestures run the gamut from gas-station teddy bears
to grandiose diamonds and golden cuff links. Each February,
the dilemma returns. How to say it: With flowers? A
carefully scripted, marketing-group-approved, mass-manufactured
card? Maybe even chocolate body paint?
Drop the bon-bon box and get out of Dodge. Cupid's arrows
fly faster on vacation: a principle of passion confirmed
by "Roman Holiday," "Shirley Valentine"
and "Before Sunrise".
spring boasts bargain airfares, lower room rates and
balmy breezes across the pond. Alone or accompanied,
what better time to kindle a new spark in the Old World?
Looking for love
Savor schnapps and sparks on Austria's Kitzsteinhorn
glacier. An Alpine village - a scene straight off a
hot cocoa packet - hosts a SpeedDater package tour.
Singles meet-and-greet in a series of three-minute encounters,
then hit the slopes.
not quite love at first sight, a pairing's potential
is obvious immediately, say scientists. "It's almost
a self-fulfilling prophecy. We make a prediction about
what kind of relationship we could have with a person
and that helps determine how much effort we are willing
to put into developing a relationship," explains
University of Minnesota professor Artemio Ramirez.
British-based company trumpets encouraging statistics:
half its clients go on dates, 200 couples bloom each
week and 20 engagements clinch every month. The long-weekend
tours - which also matchmake in the French Alps, Barcelona
and Ibiza - include three-star accommodation and airport
and other no-frills airlines sweeten the deal with roundtrips
under $100 via London.
for six days
Lounge on a liner across the Atlantic, cruising from
the Statue of Liberty to Southampton, England, on the
Queen Mary 2. Cunard's new flagship is the largest passenger
vessel ever, a golden-era echo of crystal, claret and
and tuxes. Champagne and caviar. Sea breezes and sweeping
staircases. Promenade like a princess aboard the QM2.
This floating pleasure palace includes five pools, a
cabaret, casino, basketball court, spa, planetarium
and virtual reality golf course, plus Oxford University
lectures and performances by the Royal Academy of Dramatic
A rebellious clergyman inspired our hearty holiday.
The emperor Aurelius - discouraging early Christians
- martyred the first bishop of Terni, Italy, in 273
A.D. Valentine died, but his legend survived and evolved:
he became the much-mourned patron of lovers.
claim he secretly conducted marriages, despite an imperial
ban. Cast into prison for this impertinence, he fell
for the jailer's daughter - and cured her blindness.
His farewell note concluded "from your Valentine,"
sparking a tradition spun into paper and lace castles
by the Victorians.
prefer a more florid version of the story: the good
bishop bestowed a blossom on two young visitors, who
grew enamored and made a famously happy match. So many
hopefuls followed suit, he dedicated a day to blessing
still boasts the bishop's bones, along with the majestic
Marmore cascade, Europe's largest waterfall. Nearby
Narni, a medieval maze atop a crag, makes a better base
for exploring Umbria.
Todi, Gubbio, Spoleto, Orvieto and Assisi, the splendid
home of St Francis, crown the region's attractions.
The "green heart of Italy" is famous for dry
white wines, Perugia's hazlenut-chocolate "kisses"
(baci) and musky truffles (tartufo), said to spark sexual
appetites. An hour-long train trip links Rome and Terni
from Ferrovie dello Stato.
Valentine, like many saints, is hot property. European
towns squabble over relics like fishwives - and body-snatchings
abound. Despite Terni's tenacity, a Provençal
village argues that his earthly remains saved its vineyards
in 1868 and still rest in peace there.
being a relative term, of course. Over 800 costumed
celebrants parade his relics through the winding, medieval
streets - named after famous lovers - on Valentine's
weekend. A ball, fancy-dress competition, street fair
and open-air concerts round out this "Festo di
Poutoun" (Festival of the Kiss) in Rouquemare,
an ancient Rhone port near Avignon, France. Ryanair
flies into Nimes Garon, the nearest airport, which has
bus connections and a Hertz outlet.
of the ring
Two hands clasp a crowned heart on the famous Claddagh
ring, celebrating love and friendship. The symbol's
story is lost, but its charming birthplace remains:
a fishing village just outside Galway in western Ireland.
Cobbled streets, seaside sunsets and, jewelry stores
make this a sweet retreat (not to mention some of the
world's best oysters, those classic aphrodisiacs).
down local mollusks with a creamy pint of Guinness at
Moran's Oyster Cottage, a thatched cottage on Galway
Then spy limestone cliffs, wild flowers and bottle-nosed
dolphins on the swooping coastal road from Galway to
County Clare, one of the Automotive Association's top
ten drives in Europe. Budget Car Rental
has rental offices in Dublin and Galway (linked by a
three-hour train journey).
The Galway Airport is 6km from the city center,
serviced by Logan Air
and Aer Arann.
with a view
Follow in Brad Pitt's footsteps (sans battle skirt,
perhaps) on the idyllic Mediterranean island where the
star filmed "Troy". Malta, a new EU acquisition,
enchants visitors with turquoise seas, silver domes
and sun-bleached, sandstone streets.
Valletta, the country's capital and World Heritage site,
was the height of Crusader chic - and remains an
option for destination weddings.
packages often prove cheaper than the average $40,000
urban-American celebration and honeymoon. Thomas Cook
offers Maltese nuptial deals that include the officiant,
bouquet, one-tier cake, candlelit dinner and government
Air Malta flies to 40 European capitals and partners
with Delta, Northwest and Virgin Atlantic for smooth
If You Go...
23 Manor Place
Phone: (845) 838-5600
Phone: (800) 7-CUNARD
Ferrovie Dello Stato
Piazza della Croce Rossa, 1
Phone: ++33 139 38 38 38
Galway County Coucil
Phone: +353 (0)91 509000
Morans Oyster Cottage
Phone: +353 91 796113
Budget Car Rental Ireland
Phone: +353 (0) 9066227711
Phone: 00 353 91 7555 69
Phone: 0844 800 2855
Phone: +353 1 844 7700
Valletta VLI 1170
Phone: (356) 22915000