~ Five Favourite Romantic Settings ~


by Hannah Fielding

I was born in a house overlooking the Mediterranean, and from an early age I would gaze out at the azure sea and dream of the lands that lay beyond. My yearning for travel never diminished, and over the years I have visited many countries to drink in their cultures and customs and architecture and beautiful scenery. It is no surprise, then, that when I sit down to put pen to paper the stories that flow out are set in some of the most romantic settings I have encountered, from Kenya (setting for my first novel, Burning Embers, whose inspiration was the Kenyan sunset/sunrise), to Spain, Italy and Egypt (settings for my upcoming books).

What is it about a place that heightens the romantic sensibility? Of course, if you are with your soulmate, you can find romance any time, any place – an airport lounge, a subway train, a doctor’s waiting room; any location can become the backdrop for a tender moment. And yet there are some places, I have found, that seem to embody the very essence of romance. You breathe in the air and at once you become misty-eyed and smiling. Where you were tired, you are energised. Where you were jaded, you are full of faith. Where you were defensive, you are melting and open. Where you were caught up in the stress and routines of daily life, you are free and lost in the sensations of living, and loving, life.

The following places are romantic settings that I count among my favourites.

1.      Venice, Italy: Gondolas and serenades, fine wine and delicious food, sublime architecture and artworks, and all around, lovers lost in each other. Home to world-famous lover Casanova, of course. Take the lift to the top of St Mark’s Campanile bell tower and you’ll have the most breathtaking view over red rooftops and the Venetian lagoon to the mountains beyond.

2.      The River Thames, Oxford, England: A punt on the river on a lazy summer’s afternoon, cooled by the dark waters combed by green water weeds, gazing up at the spires of the city and daydreaming of all the famous Oxonians who’ve looked upon the vista, from John Donne to Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Christopher Wren to Oscar Wilde, Percy Bysshe Shelley to Lewis Carroll… the list is long and inspiring.

3.      Aswan, Egypt: A felucca trip on the Nile at sunset is a most romantic and soothing experience. I love to take lunch at the Old Cataract Hotel: built on a granite promontory in the Nubian Desert on the banks of the Nile, this dark pink edifice in the style of Belle Époque villas of the nineteenth century has retained all the beauty and splendour of yesteryears. (For those of you who watch Agatha Christie films, the hotel is the setting for Death on the Nile.)

4.      Le Mont St Michel, Normandy, France: A place of wild beauty, full of ghosts of thousands of years of history. The views across to France are spectacular. A place to escape from civilisation (the island’s population is just 44) and enjoy a leisurely picnic.

5.      Cadiz la Joyosa, Spain: A white and blue town of pale domes and spires that sings and breathes of the sea. Sip a sangria, share a paella and watch the beautiful flamenco dancers perform their age-hold dance of seduction and passion. Que romántico!

What about you? Which settings would you add to the list? What places, for you, make the world fall away so all that is left is you and the person you love? City, park, beach, countryside? Hot, cold, rainy, arid? Europe, America, Africa, Asia, Australia? What’s the perfect backdrop for a moment with the love of your life?

Please comment with name and email address for a chance to win a paperback copy of BURNING EMBERS (open internationally).


No Responses

  1. I’ve not travelled out of the US, except for a trip to Canada back in 2003. However, for me the most romantic place I’ve ever been to was Maui. With the ocean breezes, the pineapple showers, the scent of tuba-roses and the ocean clinging to the air….that is my happy place and will always remain the most romantic place I’ve ever been to. Of course, we were only there once, in 2005 for our honeymoon!

    The rain forests, the mountains made from volcanoes, walks along the beaches, walks along Front Street in Lahaina at any hour…driving through twisting, winding roads and hairpin turns….the food, the drinks, the luau, the people…breathtaking even now as I think about it. Very fond memories indeed!

    But I agree, when you’re with your soul mate, even the grocery store can be romantic.

    Suzan Tisdale

  2. Lovely photos. Funny that you have water in so many of your romantic locations because I think of fire—candles, a fireplace, even a campfire. I hadn’t thought about that connection before.

    celestejones215 at rocketmail.com

  3. I loved your photos. I love le Mont St. Michel. It is definitely a romantic place. I also love the pink sand beaches in Bermuda, and Montmartre in Paris. All very romantic places.

  4. Speaking as someone who lived in Italy for 3 years, Venice is the hot summer…I’ll pass. *g* My favorite romantic place? The Isle of Capri off of bella Napoli, Italia.

    hlholston at zoho.com

  5. Thanks for the awesome hop and giveaways! This is so much fun! Thank you! My favorite thing about romance is the romance. lol I love the characters, the plots, the HEA’s, the love. I love it all!

  6. My setting would be a log cabin with a big roaring fire. The weather is blizzard like and there would be no getting out any time soon. Big cozy couch, soft rug, lots of pillows. Wine, candles, music. *sighs*
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

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