Ahead of International Kissing Day (July 6), blogging couples, including Love & Compass and Nomadic Boys pick the most romantic travel experiences, from unforgettable camping spots to mountaintop sunrises
Check out: World's 8 most romantic cities
Great Wall of China (Dreamstime)
Few places draw as much intrigue for travellers as the Great Wall of China. This 8800km-long barrier stretches through mountains and desert, and has become synonymous with the world’s most populous nation.
We chose to visit a lesser-known section and took along our camping gear. After hiking along the wall, we found a restored watch tower and pitched our tent for the night. In contrast to the overcrowded sections close to Beijing, here we were on our own.
As the sun started to set, we were treated to one of the most spectacular sunsets we’ve ever witnessed. Surrounded by tranquil forest, we sat on the edge of the wall and watched the sky come alive. To be alone on one of history’s most famous structures as night fell was definitely one of our favourite romantic travel experiences.
Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland (Dreamstime)
Hunting the Northern Lights in Finland was one of the most romantic experiences we’ve ever had. It wasn’t an easy trip and we had to plan a lot, but when we arrived there, it was magical.
Visiting Lapland is a lifetime experience that every couple should have. Being in the wild, appreciating nature and sipping hot wine around the fireplace is definitely an aphrodisiac to any relationship.
The scenery in Finland is outstanding. You can book a little cottage up in the hills surrounded by trees and snow. It was our 11th dating anniversary and we couldn’t have chosen a better place to celebrate. Even the cold weather helped us to be together all the time.
Elephants in the Chobe River (Dreamstime)
One of our top romantic experiences was a ‘sundowner’ boat ride along the Chobe River in Botswana. As our day of game drives and activities came to a close, we took a private boat ride along the river.
As the sun descended, we shared a bottle of chilled South African wine and watched the elephants and other animals take their last drink of the day.
The silence of Chobe Game Lodge’s electric boat made it feel like we just floated across the river, as the deep shades of red and orange in the sky reflected in the mirror-still water. In this moment, the beauty and peacefulness of the world was almost overwhelming, as was being able to share all this with the person you love.
Couple dancing tango in Argentina (Dreamstime)
One of our most recent favourite romantic experiences was dancing tango together in a queer milonga (dancehall) in Buenos Aires.
At its inception in the 1880s, tango was danced between two men, but very quickly the concept of same sex tango dancing got lost, until 2002, when it became fashionable again with queer tango schools popping up across Argentina. This speaks volumes in a country with such strong influence from the Catholic Church. It also shows how incredibly gay-friendly it is. Argentina was the first country in Latin America to legalise gay marriage in July 2010 (and the 10th in the world), which included full adoption rights.
Our queer tango class in Buenos Aires was one of our favourite memories from our travels in Argentina. It is not only a wonderful way to express the passion and fire with your same sex partner, but once you get into it, it’s extremely romantic. It’s like you've been transported back into another era.
Sunrise from Mount Batur (Dreamstime)
Our favourite romantic travel experience was definitely the sunrise at the top of Mount Batur in Bali. In the morning at 3 o’clock, we started the two hours of trekking and arrived totally sweaty and exhausted at the top. We bought a warm tea, ate some bananas and waited for the big moment.
At round 5:30am, the sunrise started. It was like a huge blast. At 1600 metres in altitude, we saw the fog over the ground and the slowly rising sun on the horizon. It was an amazing and magical experience we will never forget.
At this moment, we realised how small we are and how huge the world is. We embraced for several minutes and enjoyed every second of this stunning view. If you go to Bali, you should definitely do this.
Village in the Douro Valley (Dreamstime)
Twisting and turning through Portugal, from the city of Porto to the Spanish border, the Douro Valley makes for an enchanting getaway in Western Europe. The sun-soaked region is most famous for producing wine for hundreds of years, an attribute that earned it UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001, making it not only dazzle with its incredible natural beauty but with it’s world class viniculture too.
I’d recommend spending a romantic week driving the Douro, hopping from winery to winery. Stop off at the route’s famous viewpoints, such as Casal de Loivos, which overlooks the town of Pinhão, or São Salvador do Mundo, where you can gaze down on the river flowing lazily beneath you.
Hikes across the region take you through the sloping vineyards and over the undulating mountains, helping to create more unique and blissful memories with the one you love.
Salto Sapo waterfall (Two Monkeys Travel)
We recently discovered our most romantic travel experience on a trip to what is currently described as one of the most dangerous countries in the world to travel: Venezuela.
As we climbed up the slope and scaled the rocks alongside the Salto Sapo waterfall in Canaima, the media warnings and travel advisories couldn’t have been further from our minds. We climbed behind the powerful torrent of water rushing down to the rocks below and stared in stunned silence at the intense orange glow cast across everything.
The river water is a rich, deep red, acquired from the roots of plants and trees that live along its edges. As the setting sun reached our eyeline, it shone straight through the wall of water, illuminating the cave behind with a red-orange light.
Balloons in Cappadocia at sunrise (Dreamstime)
We’ve had many romantic travel experiences, but I think one of the most incredible and memorable would be taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Gliding in a balloon through the skies over one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world, witnessing the beautiful sunrise, along with more than 80 other balloons in the air, and landing with a Champagne toast is definitely high up there on the romantic scale, even if you are sharing the balloon with new friends.
Dave and Deb soaking up Santorini (The Planet D)
One of our favourite romantic places is Santorini in Greece. Santorini was made for romance, with cave hotels lining the cliffs of the caldera and scenic terraces looking over the Aegean Sea. It’s the perfect retreat for couples to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Book a room in a luxurious cave suite complete with your own plunge pool. Indulge in champagne as you sit by infinity pools that look as if they are falling into the sea, and order breakfast on your private balcony. Imagine sipping coffee as you gaze over the blue and white washed buildings Santorini is famous for, while eating fresh Greek yogurt smothered in honey in your own private retreat.
The towns of Oia, Imerovigli and Fira are also good for romantic strolls, and with long sandy beaches like Perrisa, Perivolos and Kamari, you have all the outdoors and sunshine you could want.
Sunrise at Phu Chi Fa mountain (Dreamstime)
Imagine climbing to the top of a mountain in Thailand before dawn, settling in above the clouds and staring out into the darkness, and just waiting. Then, as you’re standing together as a couple, the sun starts to break through the cloud cover and the mountain landscape that is revealed takes your breath away.
That was the experience we had while climbing Phu Chi Fa mountain in Northern Thailand. It was there, on the border of Thailand and Laos, that we had one of the most romantic moments together as the sun rose and cast a rainbow of colours across the sky. We just leaned into one another to look down at the stunning view below.
Main image: Dawn balloon ride over Cappadocia, Turkey (Dreamstime)