The best four romantic cities in Europe
There’s something about European cities, an essence that brings forth a sense of passion and romance that’s unmatched elsewhere in the world. Castles, ancient ruins, narrow, winding streets, cosy restaurants and river cruises: they all lead to walking hand in hand and thoughts of togetherness. To help you plan a romantic city break on the continent, we’re playing Cupid and sharing a few of our favourite destinations. Inspiration, we think, as places of interest for you to express your undying love.
The City of a Thousand Spires, Prague, deserves mention on any list of romantic destinations in Europe for its beauty alone. But it also has its own official day for celebrating love. While most of the world gets by with Valentine’s Day, Praguers also celebrate Lovers’ Day on 1 May every year. Couples of all ages congregate on Petrin Hill to lay flowers at the feet of the statue of Karel Hynek Mácha, author of the poem Máj. The poem is the most well-known piece of romantic literature in the Czech Republic and recounts the tragic story of two young lovers, a contemplation of romance, beauty and youth.
If you can’t visit in time to join the Lovers’ Day celebrations, head up to one of the restaurants on Petrin Hill for an intimate dinner and gorgeous views of Prague Castle for a truly enchanting evening.
If a literary figure as famous for passionate romance as Lord Byron describes a place as the Pearl of the Adriatic, it must be a good destination for those in love. While in recent years Dubrovnik might be more recognised as the site of vicious courtly intrigue thanks to Game of Thrones, it remains a dazzlingly beautiful city to explore. The Old Town of Dubrovnik, with its elegant maze of stairs and cobbled streets, is perfect for a stroll with your beloved, while walking the city walls gives a sublime view of the exquisite Dalmatian Coast.
Dinner or drinks at one of the Old Town’s rooftop restaurants is a joy that’s best shared.
When choosing a romantic city in Italy, the choice often comes down to two contenders: Rome and Venice. Tricky, as they’re both incredible destinations for a romantic getaway. But Venice, after all, did produce one of the most notorious lovers in history: Casanova. The very nature of Venice lends itself to holding hands as you explore winding waterways and hidden squares. It’s a place of impossibilities and gorgeous absurdity made manifest: a city that seems to float on water. Once you’ve seen something so irrational in the flesh, how could you not believe in love?
Escape the hustle and bustle of St Mark’s and sweep your sweetheart away on a gondola ride along one of Venice’s quieter canals.
It’s a cliché that Paris is romantic, but clichés often exist for good reason. To pin down exactly what makes it so is a Herculean task. The gorgeous architecture and backdrop of the photogenic Eiffel Tower, the sense of history and culture, and the passion of the Parisians – contagious to visitors – all contribute. Paris will seduce you. At first, the sights, the sounds, even the very air will make you bond with the city. And as you and your partner plumb its depths, you’ll uncover secrets and eccentricities that will make your affection for the city bloom and your love blossom.
A candlelit dinner cruise along the Seine seldom fails to set passions aflame.
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