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Romance heats up in summer, and these destinations guarantee an affair to remember.

Riga, Latvia

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Charming architecture and a lack of tourist hordes make the Latvian capital an alluring alternative to the usual European hot spots. Start by taking a guided tour of the opulent Opera House, then head to Alberta and Streinieku streets to ogle a wealth of perfectly preserved Art Nouveau buildings—there’s even a small museum dedicated to the movement (known as Jugendstil here). While on Alberta, pop into Madam Bonbon, a boudoir-like boutique stocked with chic shoes, fine jewelry, and pretty frocks you won’t find elsewhere, many by Latvian designers. Dine at the city’s most acclaimed restaurant, Vincents, where star chef Martins Ritins works his culinary wizardry: expect decadent dishes like foie gras ravioli and risotto Milanese served with gold leaf. For a more casual but no less memorable dining experience, check out Valtera, a serene, clean-lined restaurant in the old city where chef Valters Zirdzinš uses organic produce to great effect. At the end of the day, retreat to the hip Hotel Bergs, whose sleek, contemporary rooms (some with Art Nouveau fireplaces) hide behind a 19th-century façade.

Best Romantic Summer Getaways

Riga, Latvia

Charming architecture and a lack of tourist hordes make the Latvian capital an alluring alternative to the usual European hot spots. Start by taking a guided tour of the opulent Opera House, then head to Alberta and Streinieku streets to ogle a wealth of perfectly preserved Art Nouveau buildings—there’s even a small museum dedicated to the movement (known as Jugendstil here). While on Alberta, pop into Madam Bonbon, a boudoir-like boutique stocked with chic shoes, fine jewelry, and pretty frocks you won’t find elsewhere, many by Latvian designers. Dine at the city’s most acclaimed restaurant, Vincents, where star chef Martins Ritins works his culinary wizardry: expect decadent dishes like foie gras ravioli and risotto Milanese served with gold leaf. For a more casual but no less memorable dining experience, check out Valtera, a serene, clean-lined restaurant in the old city where chef Valters Zirdzinš uses organic produce to great effect. At the end of the day, retreat to the hip Hotel Bergs, whose sleek, contemporary rooms (some with Art Nouveau fireplaces) hide behind a 19th-century façade.

Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy

Best Romantic Summer Getaways

Imagine sipping Argentina’s finest wines with the snowcapped Andes in the distance. Sailing the fjords of Finland while the midnight sun shines down. Or taking in a live opera under the stars in the high desert of Santa Fe, NM.

These stirring scenarios have one thing in common: a gorgeous backdrop tailor-made for romance. “We’re all starring in the movie of our lives,” declares Susan Moynihan, founder of The Honeymoonist, a boutique travel-planning company for luxurious romance experiences. “And a beautiful setting makes you feel more beautiful—you want a setting that matches your mood.”

Sometimes it’s not just the usual hot spots that hit the spot, though. In compiling our favorite romantic summer getaways¸ we looked further afield than staples like Rome, Bora-Bora, the Greek Islands, and Paris. (Don’t worry, we’ll always have Paris.) We even let another of New York’s boroughs steal our hearts away from perennial favorite Manhattan.

We fell head over heels for places like the Scottish countryside, with its cozy inns and atmospheric landscapes. Summer heralds its sunny season, and all that green outdoors is now accessible to hikers and bikers along the John Muir Way, which cuts past castle ruins, whitewashed farms, and wild beaches.

There’s an added thrill in experiencing a new place together, especially one that still feels truly different. Laos’s royal city of Luang Prabang, for example, moves at a languid pace and woos with its crumbly French colonial architecture and Buddhist temples. It is also, admittedly, hot; seek relief at the infinity pool of La Residence Phou Vao.

Starry-eyed couples can also find such transportive experiences in the U.S. A short flight or ferry ride from Seattle brings you to the San Juan Islands, a rugged archipelago that feels far removed, with its exhilarating natural beauty, farm-to-table cooking, and wildlife spotting (the orcas come out to play in summer).

“Part of the goal for a romantic trip is to get out of your routine and away from everyday stresses and surroundings so you can focus on each other,” says Moynihan. “Going to a destination that is distinct and different from your everyday life helps create that mood and magic.”

Find out where you two can create some magic of your own this summer.

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