July Romantic Travel Guide
|MIRROR YOUR PASSIONS: Alberta's Lake Louise (courtesy, Travel Alberta)|
Alberta's Banff National Park, Canada
The abundance of natural wonders within the confines of this stupendous resource will set your heart on fire with awe. Walk the shoreline of the bluest lake imaginable, Lake Louise (which may mirror the limpid pools of blue in your partner's eyes) and then rest your weary bones and soothe your well-used muscles in luxury at the Rimrock Resort Hotel (800.661.1587; www.rimrockresort.com), whose pristine mountain setting will complete the illusion that you've managed to carve your own bit of paradise in the Canadian Rockies.
Cruise Alaska's Inside Passage
Whether you choose a big ship (Holland America) or an intimate one (M.V. Sikumi), the breathtaking scenery you witness will propel you into nights of magical thinking. From watching frosty glaciers calving to kayaking in Ketchikan to observing humpback whales, the great outdoors will humble you. Cruise majestic waterways and glide deep into the Inside Passage, complimenting all this raw, unfettered nature with the luxuries of cozy staterooms and gourmet meals.
Discover pure wonder at La Sagrada Familia, Antonio Gaudi's modernist cathedral. Explore art without boundaries at foundations devoted to surrealist Salvador Dali and the master Joan Miro. Stroll the cobblestone Gothic Quarter, a maze of medieval streets, and Las Ramblas. And no matter what you think of Picasso's interpretations of women at the legendary Museu Picasso, you'll want to drop inand also pay a visit to the Museu de l'Erotica, with depictions of the Kama Sutra. Grab tapas for lunch, then succumb to an afternoon siestathe mark of civility in Europebefore diving into the epic nightlife, capped with a gastronomic feast of paella just before the clock strikes midnight.
Cruise the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey
Straddle the continents of Asia and Europe with a cruise up and down the 20-mile-long Bosphorous River, which cuts through the heartbut though not the soulof mysterious Istanbul. East meets West here, the way yin greets yang. Contemplate Ottoman Empires rising and falling along these fault lines; imagine the era when Ulysses traveled through; and conjure Constantinople as it was in the 1450s, decades before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Eat Sacher Tortes in Vienna, Austria
Resting in its mythical status since being invented in 1832, this supreme Viennese pastry is best enjoyed from its point of origin: Café Sacher Wien. On one hand it's simply a chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam. But it's really so much more. With every sweet bite, think of the imperial Habsburgs, Beethoven compositions being played around town, performances at the Opera House across the street... The city may illicit illusions, but the torte will complete the fantasy.
You don't have to be Irish to drink in Ireland's electrified sceneryor shoulder up to one if its many country pubs. Take a five-day Causeway Coast tour from Belfast to Londonderry for 12th-century castles, seabirds at Gobbins Cliffs, emerald gardens, stunning harbors, glen upon glen, charming villages, the world's oldest whiskey distillery, windswept beaches, and a completely walled city. By the end of it, you will have romanced the stone and been treated like family.
Beachside Bonfires & Clambakes on Cape Cod National Seashore, MA
Locate a quintessential recipe, score a Seashore permit, and collect your supplies: a shovel to dig the sand pit, rocks to line and surround it, some firewood, a clump of seaweed to cover the ingredients once the rocks are heated and firewood removed, and a tarp to cover up the whole affair. Have plenty of lobsters, steamer clams, corn on the cob, and potatoes for the pit. Be sure to bring buckets of beer and a few romantically-inclined couples. And don't forget to order the perfect summertime sunset.
Swim with Dolphins at Honolulu's Kahala Hotel & Resort, HI
Relearn the art of communication by communing an animal of great compassion and intelligence. The resort's huge natural lagoon houses six Bottlenose dolphins awaiting your encounter. If you think they're trained, wait until you see what they do to you! At dusk, watch the sunset from beneath swaying palms; dine beachside at the fabulous Hoku's; or retreat to a sumptuous oceanfront suite and practice your new communication skills.
Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, MT
Although the ranch is only about 20 miles from Missoula, "secluded" doesn't come close to the images and feelings elicited by this Relais & Chateaux lodge. Soak in a hot tub beneath stars as big as your partner's heart, nap for no reason, or pick up a book and surrender the hours to idle impulses. Then kick back in rustically elegant cedar sleeping cabins, complete with wood-burning fireplaces. Fresh baked cookies (and a stocked mini-bar) await your arrival.
Canoe Bay, Near Chetek and Rice Lake, WI
Two hours east of Minneapolis waits a world unparalleled in the romanticism. It's a 280-acre tract of lakeside luxury where memories will linger long, long after returning home. Cottages are outfitted with utmost comfort in mind; every detail is handled discreetly; candlelit dinners are served at a single seating at 7 p.m. Be as active as you want, or cocoon indoors to your heart's content. Either way, be sure to order breakfast in bed.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication