Ian Allen

Travel + Leisure readers rate which cities stoke their romantic fires. Cupid, take note.

No. 13 Santa Barbara, CA

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Thanks to its near-perfect climate (hovering around 70 degrees) and idyllic landscape (tucked between the palm-fringed sands of the Pacific and the Santa Ynez Mountains) this SoCal paradise beckons couples all year round. While away the days lingering at the beach, kayaking alongside sea lions, or hiking Los Padres National Forest. Wine lovers can’t miss Santa Ynez Valley’s world-renowned vineyards.

Don’t Miss: Brunch at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, where the fittingly named Bella Vista restaurant offers a lavish buffet in a romantic garden with sea views.

World's Best Cities for Romance

No. 13 Santa Barbara, CA

Thanks to its near-perfect climate (hovering around 70 degrees) and idyllic landscape (tucked between the palm-fringed sands of the Pacific and the Santa Ynez Mountains) this SoCal paradise beckons couples all year round. While away the days lingering at the beach, kayaking alongside sea lions, or hiking Los Padres National Forest. Wine lovers can’t miss Santa Ynez Valley’s world-renowned vineyards.

Don’t Miss: Brunch at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, where the fittingly named Bella Vista restaurant offers a lavish buffet in a romantic garden with sea views.

Ian Allen

World's Best Cities for Romance

“Everything seems sexier in Paris—the grand buildings, the beautiful Parisians, the language, the food,” muses Alison Drew, a New York-based lawyer who lived in the City of Light and recently returned with her husband for an unforgettable romantic escape. “Just walking around makes you want to be in love.”

Paris has proved itself irresistible to T+L readers as well, who again rated it No. 1 for romance in the latest World’s Best Awards survey. For some cities, setting the stage for love seems second nature. (We challenge anyone to dispute Venice's swoony siren call.)

Cities less synonymous with romance also ranked high in the 18th-annual awards. Take fairy-tale Prague (No. 16), which basks in picture-perfect Old Europe charm right down to its hilltop castle. Farther south on Croatia’s rocky coast, historic Dubrovnik (No. 20) features a captivating old town and sublime views of the Adriatic.

But with Valentine’s Day just around the bend, you don’t have to travel beyond North America to find that perfect romantic getaway. California’s quaint seaside village of Carmel (No. 3) might be your ideal setting, with storybook cottages, sheep meadows, and rugged coastal views. Or if you prefer cozying up by the fire at a sumptuous B&B, look no further than Quebec City, Canada (No. 6), or Savannah, GA (No. 12), two cities where historic ambience makes for memorable sense of place.

Be it a gorgeous cityscape, an overflow of culture, or pastries that make your heart sing, the world’s most romantic cities offer plenty to love, whether you’ve found a match or are merely looking to let some sparks fly.

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