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 the city of Verona and Juliet’s balcony is one of the city’s major tourist attractions. Couples and hopeful singles from across the globe flock to take selfies beneath the window, as well as 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 fabulous first century, open air amphiteatre, which is known for the elaborate opera performances it hosts throughout the season.
I’m a huge fan of Spanish cities; they have so much character and are so laid back and atmospheric. Whether it’s leisurely strolling around the fabulously colourful gardens of Buen del Retiro park and pedalling around its lake; catching the latest exhibition at Museo del Prado; watching the sunset at Templo de Debod, or simply watching 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’m a massive fan of the chilled out atmosphere I experienced in Belgium and 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, checking out the permanent Salvador Dali exhibition at the Gallery Xpo, to taking a leisurely canal boat tour, what Bruges lacks in wild nightlife, it more than makes up for in culture and off season serenity.
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
This stunning bohemian spa town is perfect for a getaway at any time of year and, 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’, but that’s just my idea of a good holiday. 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 and there are tours of the local canals, with the lines of colourful houses, that are a must-see for visitors. Tivoli Gardens and the Royal Palace are scenic and serene, and it’s difficult to be stressed out here (which kinda explains the whole ‘happiest place on earth thing’, I think).
If walking ‘aint your thang, you can hire a bike for next to nothing (£3-5) to take you and your SO around the city. Most bikes come with GPS, so there’s little chance of you ending up crossing the Oreseun 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 appreicate whe you’re supposed to be in Denmark