International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
Like they say, it is all in the lips – so pucker up for everything from passion to cinematic history at these super-smoochy destinations.
Our "pecking order", so to speak, would be incomplete without the City of Lights and Love. Heck, we could come up with a separate list just featuring places to pucker up in Paris. Without besmirching other classic Parisian smooching spots, our favourite is Père Lachaise Cemetery - the final resting place of some of history's most passionate people. Steal a kiss at the apocryphal tombs of lovelorn Abelard and Heloise, and swing by Oscar Wilde's grave to add your mark to the mosaic of fading lipstick ovals left by other admirers.
Those seeking the "gift of the gab" flock to Blarney Castle, near Cork, to get intimate with a celebrated chunk of bluestone. It is uncertain how the tradition began but, according to legend, those who make the effort will be rewarded with uncanny eloquence and the ability to flatter even the surliest characters. To kiss the stone, visitors must lie on their rear, arch their head back into a deep crevice and kiss the stone upside down while gripping two iron railings.
Island destinations always make for a great romantic getaway, but this tiny nation of rugged atolls offers something extra. Kiribati's 33 isles are in the cerulean waters of the South Pacific, just west of the international dateline, making it the first place in the world to welcome the new day. If you ring in the New Year on one of Kiribati's Line Islands, you and your beloved could be the first people on earth to steal a kiss.
New York City, USA
The history of New York is filled with memorable kisses. From 1892 through to 1954 Ellis Island was the main entry point for immigrants coming to the US. During its prime, the checkpoint employees dubbed a baluster "the kissing post", as it was here that freshly minted Americans would reunite with their long-estranged families and loved ones. In 1973 the gritty metropolis was also home to Messrs Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, founders of the rock band KISS.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
'Tall and tan and young and lovely' pretty much describes every frolicking sunlover on scintillating Ipanema beach. Antonio Carlos Jobim, a native of Rio, captured that universal longing for tropical beachside romance when he wrote the sultry "The Girl from Ipanema". Listening to this bittersweet bossa nova will make you want to pack your bags and head to Brazil, where a kiss on both cheeks comes with every friendly "hello".
The charming canals of Venice have been synonymous with romance since long before Shakespeare and the Renaissance. Local legend maintains that lovers will find eternal happiness if they share a kiss while passing beneath the Bridge of Sighs on a sunset gondola ride. Rather unromantically, the bridge's name came about because it connected a courtroom and a prison, and criminals would often sigh as they took a final look at the beautiful city before being locked away.
"Kiss me, kiss me as if it were the last time" was one of Ingrid Bergman's indelible phrases in the celebrated movie Casablanca, which forever gave the Moroccan metropolis a certain je ne sais quoi. Although Humphrey Bogart's smoky Café Americain was a Hollywood invention, there are plenty of hectic hangouts to use as a backdrop for your own re-enactment. Gaze into your lover's eyes and whisper "we'll always have Paris" (then go to the top of this list!).