Places Not as Romantic as You'd Think
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Romantic destinations require beauty, mystery, and a sense of exclusivity. And if places that lay a claim to romance don’t deliver, the disappointment can be akin to being jilted at the altar. Yet romance is tricky to orchestrate. Some destinations can live up to their reputations as dreamy getaways—it’s just a matter of navigating their hidden hazards. Others face greater obstacles. But the bottom line: with the right partner and a spirit for adventure, almost anywhere can be romantic.
Honeymooners once flocked to this small town outside of Tokyo. While its glory days are long gone, that hasn’t stopped planners from attempting to reinvent Atami as a romantic destination—for lonely single men. These fans of the dating simulation game LovePlus+ come to Atami with their mobile phones to have photos taken at various points around town. In the final image on the screen, the cartoon girlfriend of their dreams appears by their side. Digital-age romance has never seemed so sad.
How to Find the Romance: Take a midweek jaunt to Hakone, an hour from Shinjuku via the Romance Car train (so named because of the loveseat layout). This picturesque town—famous for hot springs, lakes, and gardens—offers plenty of its own photo-ops, including Mount Fuji as a backdrop.
The gondolas that ply Venice’s labyrinthine waterways are now mostly a means to fleece starry-eyed honeymooners out of a quick hundred euros. Unless you’ve had your heart set on it, avoiding those floating tourist traps is easy. But Venice has another dirty little secret. In winter, the Adriatic Sea routinely backs up the ancient plumbing, resulting in a distasteful aroma sure to overwhelm even the most enchanting perfume.
How to Find the Romance: Ditch the crowds on the neighboring island of Giudecca. The view across the canal from the rooftop pool of the Hilton Molino Stuckey Venice Hotel is breathtaking. A breath of fresh air, even.