Bora-Bora seduces couples with visions of overwater bungalows above a turquoise lagoon. But that’s not all: the island offers coral reefs and, should you need backup, the St. Regis romance concierge (duties have included spelling “Marry Me” in coconut husks on the beach).
The Tahitian island has certainly captured the hearts of Travel + Leisure readers, who voted Bora-Bora the No. 1 island for romance, a new category in this year’s World’s Best Awards survey. Spin the globe, and you’re bound to land by one of the top romantic islands. From the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, they share the powerful ingredient of fantasy. There’s nothing like escaping to an island with your loved one to bring out starry eyes in the most jaded traveler.
Related: 50 Best Romantic Getaways 2010
Consider the Hawaiian island of Kauai, whose dramatic scenery—primeval rainforest, photo-ready waterfalls—has enough film credits to rival those of an A-list actor, including The Descendants, Avatar, and the steamy noir Body Heat.
“People see an island on screen, and they want that fantasy,” says Worldview Travel’s Adam Rog, citing the influence of movies and books on romantic getaways. Celebrities also raise an island’s profile, as is true of St. Bart’s, a white-sand favorite in the French West Indies, and Mustique, part of the Grenadines, a Caribbean island chain where Mick Jagger owns a villa.
And the secret is out about the more accessible Puerto Rican island of Vieques (No. 9), with a significant National Wildlife refuge—protecting sea turtles, lagoons, and mangroves—and a dreamy bioluminescent bay. The eco mind-set carries through at the intimate Hix Island House, which recently opened its solar-powered six-room Casa Solaris.
Even couples who get antsy after an hour at the beach or recoil from outdoor adventures can find plenty of diversions on islands like Santorini (No. 3), where there are extraordinary wines to taste and archaeological sites to explore. As ever with romance, a little mystery goes a long way.
Discover the getaway escape that’s right for you two castaways among these top islands for romance. —Christine Ciarmello