A romantic place doesn’t have to be a city. It can be a beautiful spot where you have gone walking with your other half; the glens of western Scotland; a location where you shared a special moment, perhaps your first kiss; outside the front door of your house - the memory of the day you moved into your first home together; in front of a log fire, with your partner, dressed or undressed, at home or in a country lodge!
But for the most romantic country, it’s hard to beat Italy. I know France has Paris, but for me, Venice is more romantic, with the feeling that you’ve stepped back 200 years. After Venice, you have the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. I have friends who got married there, and I can totally understand why, even if they did have to have their wedding translated! And let’s not forget Juliet’s balcony in Verona - it still oozes romance, even if it is a tad touristy.
I recall being on holiday in Goa in India and taking a 2-night trip away to a more southernly part of the island. As we were so far from civilisation, the sky was unpolluted and was littered with stars. I remember lying in a boat (on land) watching the stars. Idyllic and very romantic.
Brazil or anywhere that practices sexy Latin American dancing. I don’t watch Strictly or Dancing on Ice or any of these reality programmes, but I do appreciate the real thing. I’ve been to Brazil a few times, and the way the Brazilians move is tantalising, sexy and very romantic.
The most romantic tourist attraction for me has to be a castle. And not just because I’m Scottish! If I were to get married, I would like to get married in a castle (not asking much, am I?!). Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland would be a contender. But for me, the most romantic castle has to be Eilean Donan castle, before you cross to the Isle of Skye.
Most romantic restaurant - usually Italian, where the owner or waiter comes and asks you what food you like and then they simply bring you food, without you ordering. Very intimate, very personal. Always small - even better if your other half arranges for a restaurant to close so you are the only two diners, or as has been seen in several movies, the rooftop of a building, done up as a restaurant.
Most romantic outdoor activity - flying across the country in a hot air balloon. I still haven’t done this, and since I’m now pregnant, am not going to be doing it any time soon, but one day! I did want to do this on the Masai Mara, but had a fear of the balloon coming down and being eaten by lions!
Most romantic hotel I’ve stayed in - a French chateau in the Loire Valley. It presided over the tiny village, offered the most amazing meals and had genuine Louis XVI furniture, as well as a four poster waterbed!
Most romantic beach holiday destination - it has to be Bora Bora (I’ve still never been, but am dying to go). Closely followed by the Maldives (I’ve still never been there either!).
Most romantic outdoor vacation - wild camping in Scotland (although I am sure other places would serve equally well). A good stock of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine, a fishing rod (for other half to use - although I did catch 3 fish, too - my first ever attempt), a good book, to sit by the lochside and read until darkness falls, whilst sipping wine, and a half decent tent to safeguard you from the elements. NB: downside: insects and no en suite bathroom! Also, make sure you have plenty of snacks, as if you get rained off, and have to snuggle inside the tent, you can’t use your stove! Pringles and chocolate come in really handy...
But I suppose the bottom line is you can be in the most ‘romantic’ place in the world, but if you’re not there with the right person...
Susan Buchanan is the author of two books, The Dating Game, about a workaholic recruitment consultant, who hasn't had much luck in the love stakes so far, so she decides to join a dating agency for professional people, and Sign of the Times, a contemporary romantic drama based mainly in Scotland and Italy. Susan currently resides in Central Scotland.