- Trip Ideas
- Romantic Getaways
Days of wine, orchid petals, and blissful beaches: T+L readers voted on their dreamiest island escapes.
No. 13 St. Bart's
The World’s Most Romantic Islands
No. 13 St. Bart's
Not easy on the pocketbook, this is the island where you go to spoil your love. For a splurge-worthy dinner, you can't beat Jean-Claude Dufour’s Provencal-influenced L’Esprit Salines, overlooking Saline Beach. To sleep like an insider, stay at the cottages of Le Guanahani, dotted with bougainvillea and private pools. And for designer souvenirs (with labels like Lacroix, Versace, or Sonia Rykiel), go to Stephane & Bernard. Or, stop by Ligne St. Barth for locally-sourced cosmetics, like Ouanalao, an eau de toilette featuring Caribbean boxwood and mandarin, and inspired by the island’s former name.
Watching a sunset on Santorini can make you feel like you’re on top of the world—and in a way, you are.
Elphy Theodoropoulou swooned when she witnessed a sunset from the island’s village of Oia. “Amongst hanging houses, and between churches and rooftops, there is a spot high up where people gather to watch,” says the owner of an Athens-based sandal company. “You’re so high up that you can see the world on a curve—and the colors are so picturesque, it will forever be imprinted into your mind.”
It certainly won a spot in the hearts of Travel +Leisure readers, who ranked Santorini as one of the world’s most romantic islands. As part of the magazine’s annual World’s Best Awards survey, readers ranked the various merits of islands and archipelagos around the globe, including natural beauty, activities, dining, and economic value—as well as their potential to make hearts flutter.
Among the top 20 winners, there were, of course, destinations with wide swaths of powdery white sand, swaying palm trees, and natural soundtracks of lapping waves. But each of the winners has a bit of unique flair, too. One produces great wine, while another smolders with volcanic lava. A notable archipelago even features an island that’s shaped like a heart.
Some of readers’ favorite islands have precious few distractions from your one-and-only. Lori Sussle Bonanni was wowed by Harbour Island, in the Bahamas, when she and her husband first visited in 2013. They had rented a golf cart (the island’s main form of transportation) to explore the island: “We parked our cart to head onto an unreal pink-sand beach, and took in the breathtaking view,” says the New York-based marketing consultant. “My husband thought we were trespassing—we weren't—because we were the only people on the beach. It was magical.”