A great Valentine’s Day has as much to do with where you spend it as it does with the person you share it with.
Here’s a list of a few of our favorite romantic movies of all time — and the cities that made them sing:
- Vienna, Austria: Before Sunrise (1995)
Two strangers (one French, one American) meet on a train…and jump off in Vienna to spend the night walking around the city. Ever think about a person you met long ago, but never gave a chance? This movie captures that “two ships passing in the night” feeling, and makes us wonder about what could have been — or what could be, if we have the guts to follow our hearts.
- Mumbai, India: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
This crowd-pleaser — about three kids from the Juhu slums in Mumbai who walk down very different life paths after being separated — shows us that sometimes good things (like love) come to those who wait, and despite great odds.
- New York City, USA: When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The film that famously asks, “Can men and women be friends?” proves that sometimes your best friend can be someone you used to hate — and can even end up being the love of your life. “I’ll have what she’s having.”
- Paris, France: Amelie (2001)
When a shy waitress begins helping the people around her find happiness, she comes to find that she deserves it herself. A good lesson to learn indeed. Plus, the whimsical, brightly colored Parisian world created by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet will make you want to book a plane ticket, stat.
- Tokyo, Japan: Lost in Translation (2003)
Two Americans meet by chance in a Tokyo hotel — one a washed up actor in the midst of a midlife crisis, the other a young wife in the midst of a quarter-life crisis — and form a special friendship (love takes many forms) that takes them to the pulsating streets of this uber-modern city and leaves them (and us) forever changed.
- Budapest, Hungary: The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
The inspiration for 1998’s You’ve Got Mail, this quirky film centers around two co-workers who fight like cats and dogs in real life, but who are (unbeknownst to them) pen pals embarking on an anonymous epistolary romance. This is a movie that challenges us to give people the benefit of the doubt — and to open ourselves up to the possibility of love.
- London, England: My Fair Lady (1964)
Audrey Hepburn shines as Eliza Doolittle — and Edwardian London provides the perfect backdrop for this delectable musical confection about a rags-to-riches (and May-December) romance. A direct predecessor to Pretty Woman.
- Casablanca, Morocco: Casablanca (1942)
This bittersweet love story — about a cynical, bar-owning American expat, his long-thought-lost Norwegian lover, and their love-hate relationship — proves that sometimes love means letting go. Just try to listen to “As Time Goes By” without tearing up.
Check out Traveler’s Valentine’s Day quiz to test your amour mettle.
- Nat Geo Expeditions