Lovers lock lips across the globe on a daily basis, and with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, romance is on almost everyone’s radar. But there are a few international smooches that have been intensified, and even defined by their settings.
Here are the top 10 locations that have played host to some of the world’s most iconic kisses. (The featured image, above, is by peasap.) If you’d like to propose, check out our Top 10 most romantic places to pop the question.
Buckingham Palace, London, England
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Prince William and Catherine Middleton sealed their nuptials with not one, but two smooches on the Buckingham Palace balcony in front of a group of more than 500,000 onlookers. The kisses followed the couple’s elaborate ceremony at Westminster Abbey. After a quick first kiss, the cheering crowd convinced the Prince to go in for a second (and longer) smooch.
The only attendee who didn’t seem impressed was three-year-old bridesmaid Grace van Cutsem, who frowned and covered her ears to block out the noise of the crowd. The balcony also served as the setting for an earlier royal post-wedding peck between Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.
Halona Cove, Oahu, Hawaii
Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity
Halona Cove, a small beach close to Hanauma Bay on the southeastern shore of Oahu, played host to the memorable lip lock between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the 1953 film From Here to Eternity. The actors, who portray First Sergeant Milton Warden and Karen Holmes in the movie – lovers involved in an adulterous relationship – are featured consumed by their kiss while rolling around in the waves of the Hawaiian beach.
If you’re looking to recreate this love scene, come prepared with shoes and an adventurous spirit. The ocean currents here are strong and visitors have to hike down to the beach from the west side of the Halona Blowhole overlook, climbing over slippery, steep cliffs to reach the romantic hideaway.
Times Square, New York, NY
Victory-over-Japan Day kiss
This kiss amid the post-war daytime commotion of Times Square has stolen the hearts of hopeless romantics around the world. The true story behind the featured kissers – Navy quartermaster George Mendonsa and dental assistant Greta Zimmer – isn’t exactly one of romance, but more of impulsive celebration. Yet, that doesn’t seem to steal any thunder from this patriotic peck – an image of all-American love that offered an extreme contrast to the violence of war.
The kissers almost appear to press the pause button on the energy of the Big Apple. The photo was originally captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945 – the day Japan surrendered, effectively ending World War II.
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
At the Belvedere Palace Museum in Vienna, Austria, rests what is often considered to be the best painting – and perhaps the best fictional kiss – in the world: Gustav Klimt’s, The Kiss. Klimt created the piece in the early 1900s, embellishing the embrace with gold leaf, a trademark of his work during that time. There, in Austria’s capital – “The City of Dreams” – these two-dimensional lovers seem to become one, as the male kisses the female on the cheek.
The building where the painting is housed was completed in 1723 and features many other attractions aside from the museum including gardens, a chapel, stables and even a bistro – plenty of places to steal a kiss or two with your three-dimensional lover.
Rodin, The Kiss, The Rodin Museum
Grab votre amant and head to Paris to see this kiss interrupted – a sculpture by artist Auguste Rodin also appropriately titled The Kiss. The romantic work of art is on display in The Rodin Museum (Le Musée Rodin), which features a rose garden on its grounds. The piece depicts an almost-kiss between two literary secret lovers, Francesca and Paolo, originally portrayed in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.
As the story goes, the couple was about to exchange a first kiss when Paolo was killed by Francesca’s husband – who was also his older brother. After residing in Luxembourg during the late 1800s, the marble sculpture was moved to Paris in the early 1900s.
Romeo and Juliet
A balcony situated in Verona, Italy, is the setting where Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare’s two star-crossed lovers – stole a kiss and sweet words behind the backs of their feuding families. There is an actual balcony here that’s widely thought to be the imagined setting for perhaps the best known scene from this love story.
In reality, the balcony is part of a former inn called Casa i Giulietta, or Juliet’s House, where the Cappello family used to live; the Cappellos are the supposed inspiration for the Capulets in Shakespeare’s tale.
Real-life lovers have wed on the balcony and visitors often leave notes or sticky items on the wall of the house. A bronze statue of Juliet also stands in the courtyard below.
Scott Jones and Alex Thomas, “The Kissing Couple” during the riots in Vancouver following the Stanley Cup finals
As the dust settled following the riots that took place in Vancouver after the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, a photo began circulating of Australian Scott Jones and his Canadian girlfriend Alex Thomas kissing in the street amid the chaos of the night. The kiss from Jones was meant to comfort a distraught Thomas after the pair got caught up in police activity as the city’s streets were being cleared.
Unbeknownst to Jones and Thomas, their intimate moment was captured on camera and almost immediately emerged as a moment of love against the backdrop of a tumultuous night in Vancouver.
Longest kiss ever recorded
If the length of a kiss is any indication of good love, then Nontawat Jaroegenasornsin and his partner Thanakorn Sittiamthong have something great. Last Valentine’s Day, the couple executed the longest continuous kiss ever recorded at a competition in Pattaya, Thailand, breaking the previous Guinness World Record by more than four hours.
The beachfront resort town would seem to be a perfect setting for romance, but this make-out marathon, which lasted for 50 hours, 25 minutes and one second, featured decidedly unromantic side-by-side, lips-still-locked bathroom breaks and meals (consumed via straw).
Robert Doisneau, The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville
This 1950 photo of a couple kissing outside the Hotel de Ville in Paris has often stood out as the epitome of Parisian romance. Taken by French photographer Robert Doisneau, the image features Francoise Bornet and Jacques Carteaud locked in a casual, yet sensual kiss outside the hotel.
Known for depicting everyday life in Paris in his photos, Doisneau has admitted to staging this particular kiss after seeing the couple’s actual kiss moments beforehand, but Bornet maintains the emotion behind the kiss was real even if the photo was a reenactment. Ooh la la!
Bowen, Queensland, Australia
Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in Australia
There’s more than one memorable lip-lock between Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in the 2008 film Australia (which was shot entirely on location in Australia). The steamy kisses between the English aristocrat (Kidman) and the rough-and-tough stockman (Jackman) are amplified by the Australian scenery.
One of the primary filming locations, Bowen, is located on the northeast coast of Australia and is known for its successful farming industry – a perfect setting for this World War II-era story and the untamed love scenes that unfold.
Have we missed one? Let us know via Twitter or leave a comment, below. Where have you enjoyed your iconic kiss?