Marriages are sealed with them, they're part of a traditional greeting or parting and (according to a popular 1960s song) it's how to tell if "he loves you so."
Kisses have captured the imagination of writers, artists and other romantics for centuries, so it's no surprise we want to create some memorable ones of our own. If you're looking for an exotic local to create a memorable moment, Lonely Planet's "Top 10 Places to Steal a Kiss" offers some suggestions.
There's no shortage of scenic places to kiss in the renowned City of Lovers, like on a cruise down the Seine River, on the Eiffel Tower lit up at night or just about anywhere the city's famous skyline serves as a backdrop.
However, Lonely Planet recommends an unusual place to stop for a smooch: the Père Lachaise Cemetery. That's where you find the final resting places of artists, writers and famous lovers like Abelard and Heloise, as well as hundreds of other notable names. Ladies, don't forget your favourite red lipstick to add your mark on Oscar Wilde's grave.
If you're looking for inspiration, head to the Musée Rodin to see Auguste Rodin's famous work, The Kiss. Love is also a popular theme at the Louvre, where you'll find romantic works like Antonio Canova's Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Eros in addition to the scenic Tuileries and Carrousel gardens.
See parisinfo.com for more trip ideas.
Live out the romantic image of two lovers cuddling in a gondola through the canals of Venezia, or tour the city on foot to enjoy the historical architecture and ambiance. It's also home to legendary seducer and scholar Giacomo Casanova, whose prison room can still be seen in the Doge's Palace. You can even climb the Golden Staircase mentioned in his memoirs of his escape from prison.
Other must-see sites include St. Mark's Basilica, the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge. Rumour has it that lovers will enjoy life-long happiness together if they share a kiss while passing under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset.
See Italy Guides for more information.
You've heard the legend but have you thought about its practical applications? Kissing the stone to receive "the gift of the gab" might just help you sweet talk your sweetheart.
But the kiss isn't without its trials because the stone isn't easy to reach. Those who want to attempt the ritual have to climb up to the castle's battlements, lie on their back and lean backwards over the edge to kiss the stone -- upside-down. Luckily, safeguards have been installed and the practice of hanging people upside down by their ankles has been abandoned altogether.
Sounds like too much trouble? The "biggest little village in Ireland" is still worth a look for its scenery and local history -- and it's just a short trip from nearby Cork City.
Check out Discover Ireland for more information.
There's nothing quite like a secluded beach for a romantic embrace. With over 33 islands in this South Pacific nation to choose from, there's plenty of room for a private island escape -- like a stay in a traditional hut on the Biketawa Islet. Make it a New Year's getaway and you'll be one of the first in the world to welcome the New Year with a kiss.
When you're feeling social, there's lots to take in -- including the unique culture and traditions of the island, water sports and fishing and some World War II history.
For more information, visit Kiribatitourism.gov.ki
The largest city in the North African Kingdom of Morocco gets the nod as the place to quote classic film lines and kiss "as if it were the last time". While you won't find Bogie's fictitious café, you will find a rich heritage that blends Arab and European influences. Visit the medina area to see the Hassan II Mosque, and brush up on your haggling skills before you hit the Central Market and the many shops in the city for that unique souvenir.
But kiss with caution: Morocco is a Muslim country and adheres to conservative laws and customs. According to government travel advice, a kiss in a public place may give offense in some parts of the country, and heterosexual relations outside of marriage and homosexuality are illegal.
See VisitMorocco.com for more details.
This hamlet has an appropriate (if unusual) name for those couples seeking some relaxation time together. Located in Germany's Bavaria region, it's a small town of about 11,500 people that used to be a minor capital back in 1050 under the name of Chissingen. Located just outside of Augsburg, it's worth the detour for a kiss on the way to or from Munich.
If odd names strike your fancy, there's also Kissing in Guinea, Love in Saskatchewan, Intercourse, Pennsylvania and Conception Junction, Missouri.
The name is asking for it. Bordering on Orlando, this city is a hub of activity and close to all the popular attractions. Nearby Disney World lures romantics of all ages with the promise of charming princes, towering castles and happy endings. Sandy beaches make a relaxing day trip, and it's a short drive to Port Canaveral where you can hop a cruise to the Bahamas. You can also stick around for local sights and attractions, like the Medieval Life Village and Historic Downtown Kissimmee.
Why go this year? Florida is rolling out the discounts due to economic woes.
Even the website is a bit cheeky: www.visitkissimmee.com.
New York City, NY
Movies like An Affair to Remember and TV shows like Sex and the City have made this city a media darling, but there's some historical precedence for a special embrace. As Lonely Planet points out, Ellis Island was the entry point for immigrants entering the U.S. and was therefore the site of many happy family reunions. Every year, millions of people gather in Times Square on New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop -- and start the year with a smooch. And of course, there's Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photograph of a sailor stealing a kiss with a nurse during the VE Day celebrations.
Other kiss-worthy occasions include a trip to the observation deck at the Empire State Building and a picnic in Central Park's Sheep's Meadow.
(For more information, check NYCgo.com).
How about a kiss of a different kind? Anyone who loves chocolate will undoubtedly enjoy a trip to the "Sweetest Place on Earth". There are many things to do in the area besides enjoy the company's popular chocolate kisses. Take the kids and grandkids to Chocolate World or ZooAmerica, or enjoy a little time to yourself at the Chocolate Spa at the Hershey Resort. Head to the Antique Auto Museum or play a few rounds of golf at one of the Hershey Golf Collection courses.
If you're looking for a sweet Valentine's getaway, the town offers month-long chocolate celebrations every year during the month of February. Some of the events include gourmet dinners with chocolate dessert buffets, chocolate tastings and classes on how to make truffles and chocolate cocktails.
Check out www.hersheypa.com for more events and attractions.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunny beaches, world-famous parties and breathtaking views make this a popular destination for young and young-at-heart lovers. Take a cable car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain, or tour up Corcovado Mountain to see the city at the base of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Head to Samba City for some dancing, or visit the many museums and galleries in the city.
And there's no shortage of reasons to celebrate. While one of the most famous events is the annual Carnaval, New Year's celebrations also bring out locals and travellers alike to celebrate at the Copacabana beach, and this year marks the city's 445th birthday in March. Watch for bonfire festivals on feast days in June, and there are sporting events throughout the year including cycling, boating and the annual marathon.
For more information, see the Brazil Ministry of Tourism website.
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