Photograph by Barbara Walsh, National Geographic Your Shot
From the National Geographic book Four Seasons of Travel
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, Californiawww.postranchinn.com
Perched on the Big Sur coastline, between the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains and the endless Pacific Ocean horizon, everything but the romance of the present moment is sure to fade away at the Post Ranch Inn. Choose from an array of ocean- or mountain-view accommodations, suites, or private houses, complete with outdoor hiking activities and relaxing spa amenities.
Famous for its breathtaking red-rock landscape, Sedona is a prime spot for a secluded, romantic getaway. Take a sunset hike or horseback ride, or experience Sedona’s rich viticulture with a tour of wine country in Verde Valley. Private canyon cabins, bed-and-breakfasts, and luxurious resorts are sprinkled throughout the area.
Covered Bridges, Vermontwww.visit-vermont.com/romantic-getaways
Known as “kissing bridges” back in the days of horse-and-buggy courtship, covered bridges provided a coveted moment of romantic privacy. A century later, these structures remain historic emblems of craftsmanship and are now a hallmark of picturesque New England. With more than 100 covered bridges, Vermont’s scenic drives are the perfect reason for a bed-and-breakfast getaway.
British Pullman Train, United Kingdomwww.orient-express.com
Step aboard the British Pullman and transport back in time to the golden age travel of the 1920s. The sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the British Pullman celebrates the most romantic day of the year with a Valentine’s Day tour through the British countryside. Featuring an elegant, locally sourced lunch or dinner, passengers enjoy cocktails and Champagne in luxury vintage carriages.
Hotel Kakslauttanen, Saariselkä, Finlandwww.kakslauttanen.fi/en
From the comfort of the Hotel Kakslauttanen’s heated glass igloos, visitors sleep under a million-star canopy and the glowing northern lights. During the day, book a reindeer safari, sample from one of four restaurants, and relax in the world’s largest smoke sauna.
Eiffel Tower, Paris, Francewww.eiffel-tower.com
Forgo the clichés and scale the Eiffel Tower to view fully the expanse of the most romantic city in the world. Stop on the second level for a cup of Parisian coffee and search the horizon for all the city monuments alongside your sweetheart.
The Lover’s Walk (Via Dell’Amore), Cinque Terre, Italywww.cinqueterreriomaggiore.com
On the eastern shore of the Ligurian Sea lies one of Italy’s most enchanting venues, Cinque Terre, comprising five villages etched into the salt-stained cliffs and connected by coastline paths. The pathway between Riomaggiore and Manarola, dubbed Via Dell’Amore, provides breathtaking views of the turquoise sea and niches perfect for a romantic stroll.
Istrian Peninsula, Croatiaen.gral-putovanja.eu
Called the “Croatian Tuscany,” the Istrian landscape abounds with rolling hills and valleys, hilltop villages, and patchwork expanses of wheat fields, vineyards, and olive groves. On February 14, couples will find a backdrop of snowcapped alpine mountains. View it all from above on a hot-air balloon ride.
Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Chinawww.china.org.cn
Choose from dozens of exquisitely designed gardens dating from the 11th to 19th centuries—including the UNESCO World Heritage list–inscribed Lingering Garden and Couple’s Garden Retreat—and wander arm-in-arm along winding paths and across elegant bridges.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnamwww.emeraude-cruises.com
Containing more than 1,600 islands, Ha Long Bay is a vision of astonishing beauty. Book an overnight cruise to watch the islands’ limestone pillars, caves, and arches become steeped in rich oranges and purples at sunset and veiled in an ethereal morning mist at sunrise.
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.