‘Warning: this post does NOT include Paris. Sorry, just thought I’d get that out there from the start. As great as Paris is, it’s just way too much of a cliche for me to include. I like something just a little bit different…’
Who needs Rome when you can have Romeo? See what I did there? The iconic star-crossed lovers from the Shakespearean tragedy were from Verona and Juliet’s balcony is one of the major romantic tourist attractions. Couples and hopeful singles from across the globe flock to take selfies beneath the window throughout the year. In addition, they inscribing their names in the surrounding stone work (you won’t get arrested, honestly). It’s a bit like carving your initials on a padlock and chaining it to Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris. But better.
The balcony is not the only romantic spot in the Tuscan city however, as there’s also the open air amphitheatre, which is known for the elaborate opera performances it hosts.
I’m a huge fan of Spanish cities. They have so much character and are generally laid back and atmospheric. Leisurely strolling around the fabulously colourful gardens of Buen del Retiro park and pedalling around its lake is a pretty romantic way to spend a day. Catching the latest exhibition at Museo del Prado and watching the sunset at Templo de Debod is a must. Or, simply watch the world go by with tapas and red wine at an outdoor cafe in Plaza Major. Madrid has so much to offer for fans of history, culture and romance.
I love the chilled out atmosphere I experienced in Belgium. This, when combined with the beauty and history of Bruges, makes it the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Bruges has a lot to offer visitors who want to take things slowly and unwind. From wandering around the historic centre to checking out the Salvador Dali exhibition at Gallery Xpo, what Bruges lacks in nightlife, it more than makes up for in culture.
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
This stunning bohemian spa town is perfect for a getaway at any time of year. Despite its size, has so much to see and do. Personally, I would highly recommend going to the Grandhotel Pupp and re-enacting scenes from James Bond’s ‘Casino Royale’. Scenes from the movie were filmed in the hotel, so dinner and a cocktail or two in the hotel bar is always going to have romantic, if not slightly dangerous, edge.
This city consistently rates as one of the happiest places on earth, so it’s safe to say the Danes are on to something good. The cobbled streets of Christianshavn are wonderful for a leisurely stroll. There are also plenty of tours of the local canals, with the lines of colourful houses. Tivoli Gardens and the Royal Palace are scenic and serene, and it’s difficult to be stressed out here. I guess this kinda explains the whole ‘happiest place on earth thing’…
If walking ‘ain’t your thang, you can hire a bike for next to nothing (£3-5). This will allow you to take your SO around the city. Most bikes come with GPS, so there’s little chance of you ending up crossing the Oresund and discovering yourself in Sweden if you have no sense of direction*.
What are your favourite European destinations for a romantic getaway?
* Sweden is also very romantic, but it’s a little harder to appreciate when you’re supposed to be in Denmark