In the mood and market for a holiday romance?

Then pay close attention to the insights revealed here by travel experts on how flirting differs around the world. 

They reveal the top ice-breaker in the U.S, the country where flirting is tactile and filled with winks and the spot where lingering eye contact and buttery compliments are the order of the day on the wooing front.

Our love gurus also name the countries where women can expect men to be overtly persistent – and a place where men literally bark like dogs at the opposite sex.

Read on for some handy worldwide lessons in love… 

Woo goes there: MailOnline reached out to travel and romance experts to discover how flirting differs around the world

UK – sharp wit hides simmering passion

Hannah Dorling, cruise travel expert and founder of Love Cruise Ships, is a Brit who has travelled the globe and witnessed many an on-board love affair.

She claims wit leads the way for chatting up in the UK.

She tells MailOnline Travel: ‘British flirting succeeds more through teasing jokes and intellectual sparring than overt displays… sharing private laughs helps intimacy grow.

‘For me, the intrigue is in the subtleties of British flirting. Mastering repartee, ‘inside jokes’, and sensing possibilities underneath… It may look restrained but passions can still simmer below the surface.’

United States – direct and sincere

Noël Wolf is a cultural expert and Babbel Live teacher for the language site Babbel. She says: ‘Americans are noted for being more to-the-point and sincere in their flirting than their fellow anglophones in the UK.’

She notes that asking about someone’s career is the traditional American icebreaker, adding: ‘Americans tend to be less sarcastic than Brits!’

South China – chopstick codes in rice balls

Clarissa Bloom is a relationship expert for ‘stag do experts’ She notes a fun flirting tradition in Southern China: ‘They celebrate the Sisters Meal Festival, their version of Valentine’s. 

‘The women will cook some sticky rice in a range of different colours, then when a guy makes “the move”, they will hand them some rice in a handkerchief. If they unwrap it to find two chopsticks then it means it worked.

‘Just one chopstick means the girl isn’t interested, but as only the guy can see how many chopsticks are in there, it is relatively subtle and less embarrassing if it’s a no.’

In the UK and Australia, friendly banter paves the way for romance, while in the U.S asking people about their work can be the opening salvo for love

Spain  – direct eye contact and plenty of touching 

Michele Massa is a Spanish travel expert and CEO at Ibiza Summer Villas. She speaks of how Spaniards like to keep things tactile: ‘Spaniards are very expressive people and when flirting we tend to show this through direct eye contact and physical touch.’

Sara Rodriguez, founder of Madrid Traveling, agrees: ‘You don’t have to be shy with the “me gustas” (I like you) – we aim to leave no uncertainty about romantic interest.

‘Women especially are bold, leading with smiles and winks… we find clarity sexy – why dance around chemistry when you can feel the fire?’

Canada – a subtle dance

Michael Donovan is a travel expert and the co-founder of

He says: ‘Flirting in Canada tends to be more low-key compared to many parts of the world. Canadians have a reputation for being polite and respectful, and this carries over into romantic pursuits.

‘Overtly sexual comments can be seen as crass. 

‘While Canadian flirting is low-impact, it runs deep. Canadians seek life partners, not conquests. It’s a subtle dance, with communication and egalitarian values driving attraction.’

France – lingering eye contact and buttery compliments

Picking someone up in French is referred to as ‘draguer’ – literally, to dredge. 

Nevertheless, Fiona Spinks, travel expert and publisher of Following Fiona, believes the French have turned flirting into high art: ‘All lingering eye contact, suggestive body language, and buttery compliments about your intelligence or irresistible je ne sais quoi.

‘Leave it to the land of romance to elevate the humble chat-up line to poetic levels with romantic gestures like handwritten notes and intimate invitations.’

In some countries, flirting tends to the overt – looking at you, Italy, France, and Spain – while in more conservative countries such as India and Egypt flirting is more codified and has to be done in wider social circles

India – tradition runs deep

Travel expert Anjali Chawla, founder of Travel Melodies, notes that Indian romantic signals are subtle, with wooers relying on gestures, ‘gentle’ compliments, and finding excuses to interact in social settings. 

She says: ‘Getting too direct or overt with advances typically isn’t appreciated.’ 

Tradition is key. Anjali continues: ‘With parental involvement commonly playing an important role in the matchmaking process, openly dating multiple potential partners usually isn’t an initially accepted option. Flirting most often occurs within family gatherings and other supervised settings in the early phases. 

‘Long-held power dynamics also provide preference to those with fairer complexions over darker skin tones, though this is slowly evolving more in modern urban areas.’

Italy – persistent

 In Mexico, it’s commonplace to hear wolf whistling or comments shouted aloud

Emily Mendez, psychotherapist and writer for Blog of Tom, notes: ‘Italy has a reputation for amorous, persistent men relentlessly pursuing the objects of their desire. Serenading and poetic overtures are more common flirting tactics [there] than in many other countries.’

Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica – fast-paced and aggressive

In Mexico and South America, flirting can get rather aggressive, according to Clarissa Bloom. 

She says that in Brazil ‘they’re much more fast-paced with their dating and flirting’, adding: ‘It’s common to be close, to dance together and to kiss on a first date in Brazil.’

In Mexico, meanwhile, ‘it’s commonplace to hear wolf whistling or comments shouted aloud’, and in Costa Rica ‘you may hear men make dog barks at you, which is an odd way to show your attraction’.

Egypt – keep it modest

‘[In Egypt] Islamic values play a significant role in shaping social interactions, including flirting,’ according to Mona Gomaa, from Flash Pack’s True Egypt tour. 

She adds: ‘Modesty and respect are highly valued, and overt displays of affection or provocative behaviour are generally frowned upon in public.

‘Unmarried men and women typically do not socialise freely or openly display their interest in one another. Instead, they may seek the help of intermediaries, such as family members or friends.’

Australia – friendly banter

Like their Commonwealth cousins, Australians ‘favour playful banter fueled by humour and confidence’ over pick-up lines, says Rosalind Cuthbertson, a travel expert and co-owner of Frequent Traveller.

She adds: ‘They tease with witty quips, often about cultural touchpoints, showing an ability to charm while gently poking fun.’

Germany and Denmark are both known for an upfront, no-nonsense approach to flirting. Pictured: A couple in Copenhagen

Germany – upfront and punctual

Noel Wolf at Babbel says: ‘Germans are known for being direct, and this can apply in the dating world too. Showing-off or cheesy lines don’t tend to be the preferred style. 

‘Honest communication is appreciated, even if the truth can be a little painful sometimes, so people tend not to beat about the bush.

‘One thing that is important to bear in mind is the importance of punctuality – being fashionably late will not make a good first impression!’

Denmark – talk straight

According to Nicolai Lonne, travel expert and founder of DiveIn, the Danish flirting style is akin to their Teutonic cousins: ‘We have a very direct approach to flirting and dating here in Denmark. For example, we Danes don’t really go in for too much playing hard-to-get or cryptic hints. We value honesty and being upfront about our intentions.


Cultural guru and Babbel Live teacher Noël Wolf offered her linguistic insights into pick-up lines around the world.


‘Pick-up lines are not really popular in France, unless used with a good dose of humour, so use with caution! 

‘One example could be: “Est-ce que ton père est un voleur? Parce qu’il a volé toutes les étoiles du ciel pour les mettre dans tes yeux. / Is your father a thief? Because he stole all the stars in the sky to put them in your eyes.”‘


‘It wouldn’t be amiss to try out a cheesy Italian line or two, such as: “Posso offrirti un caffè per sciogliere il ghiaccio? / Can I offer you a coffee to melt the ice?” or, “Credi nell’amore a prima vista o devo ripassare più tardi? / Do you believe in love at first sight, or do I have to come back later?”‘


‘Though cheesy lines aren’t really popular in Germany, if you want to risk trying one out, you could say, “Ich habe meine Telefonnummer verloren. Kannst du mir deine leihen? / I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?”‘


‘Corny pickup lines exist in Spanish too, where they are known as piropos, though beware that these could be met with an eye-roll rather than the desired outcome of somebody agreeing to go out on a date. 

‘Here’s one you could try: “Quisiera ser joyero para poder apreciar un diamante como tú. / I would like to be a jeweller to be able to appreciate a diamond like you.”‘

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