A birthday treat, a milestone anniversary, a second honeymoon or just to remind that special someone how much you care – there could be lots of reasons why you’re planning the perfect romantic getaway. To help you on your way, here’s our suggestions to sweep a loved one off their feet. However, instead of picking just one destination for a special trip, cross your heart to visit them all.
No question, the Italians know how to do romance. Think Rome, Venice, Verona, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Garda – a country boasting some of the most beautiful scenery, extraordinary cultural heritage be it history, art or food and of course what is considered one of the world’s most romantic languages to boot. With ingredients like that, you just can’t fail to feel the love. Florence, a Renaissance treasure and Tuscan capital, ticks all the boxes. Everywhere you look there are fine examples of art and architecture, from Botticelli’s beautiful Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery to Michelangelo’s marvellous marble statue of David, found at the Accademia – book tickets online in advance to avoid the queues.
Enjoy an intimate meal for two near the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno river, as featured in the classic love story A Room with a View. Or enjoy a romantic stroll in the peaceful and pretty Boboli Gardens. Then as night falls, head to Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sun set over the city. That’s amore!
An alluring mix of contemporary and tradition, laid-back Lisbon is rising up the romantic rankings. This understated Portuguese capital, with its stunning coastal location, has a fascinating seductive charm, weaving through its leafy avenues and picturesque plazas. Lose yourself in the city’s tangle of cobbled streets, listening out for the melancholic heartfelt sound of fado hanging in the air to really stir your emotions. For views to take your breath away head for the Belém Tower and don’t miss the exquisite Monastery of Jerónimos, an outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Site .
Get cosy on a bumpy tram ride across town. The number 28 is the best way to explore the historic twisting lanes, characterful bars and restaurants clad with colourful ceramic tiles – hop out at the cathedral for a photo-stop and perhaps seek out a local bakery to sample a freshly-made pastel de nata, a heavenly traditional custard tart. An hour’s journey outside the city is picturesque Sintra, described by Byron as a ‘glorious Eden’, where you’ll find a hilltop Moorish castle and colourful fairy-tale palace, complete with turrets, domes, gargoyles and a lavish ballroom.
Explore Lisbon on a 3 night tour extension available to book with our Douro, Porto & Salamanca cruise; wander the charming cobbled streets of the Alfama on our guided tour, visit the ancient Jeronimos Monastery before browsing the artworks of the city’s fine selection of galleries or the Baixa district’s elegant shops.
Say it with flowers, or chocolate! When you visit Bruges, one of the most romantic cities in Europe, you can say it with both. In March and April, the springtime carpet of daffodils adorning the landscape in front of Bruges’ tranquil béguinage is simply spectacular, as are the willow trees overhanging the network of canals as you wander the cobbled paths. An atmospheric boat trip through the quaint UNESCO World Heritage Centre is a must too and as for indulging in a whole spectrum of Belgian chocolate, the Choco-Story museum is open all-year round, as are numerous shops that can help satisfy any sweet desires.
Be sure to visit Minnewater Park; at its heart lies the tranquil Lake of Love. According to legend, if you walk over the park bridge with your partner and share a kiss, your love will be eternal.
Fall in love with this picture-perfect city on our Bruges, Medieval Flanders, Amsterdam & the Dutch Bulbfields cruise, as you stroll the cobbled canal paths, admiring the exquisite medieval buildings whilst the melodic chimes from the Belfry ring out across the rooftops.
No list of the most romantic cities in Europe will be complete with mentioning Paris, the French capital where good old-fashion romance still reigns supreme. A city renowned for the finer things in life, sophisticated and beautiful, Paris is a city you can’t help but adore. The architecture, atmosphere, food and wine all contribute to making this destination ideal for a special occasion, as well as an easy glamorous getaway.
Visit the Musée Rodin to see the world-famous marble nude sculpture, The Kiss. Then head to the Champagne Bar at the top of the iconic Eiffel Tower and toast your relationship with a glass of bubbly. And if you fancy a tango in Paris, hold hands and head to the banks of the Port Saint-Bernard where dance enthusiasts mingle by the water’s edge to twirl the night away.
For a slice of la vie en rose, immerse yourself in the magic of Paris on our Paris tour or Seine, Paris & Normandy cruise – stroll the Left Bank or the tranquil Tuileries Gardens, ponder the exhibits of the stylish Pompidou Centre or window-shop along the smart arcaded Rue de Rivoli.
Bucharest might not be an immediate thought when it comes to romance, but we beg to differ so hear us out. There’s something alluring about cities once mysteriously shrouded by the former Iron Curtain and the dynamic Romanian capital still has a seductive fascination. Dotted amongst the utilitarian architectural legacy of Communist rule here, you’ll discover this vibrant city’s lovely tree-lined boulevards and elegant belle-époque villas – echoes of the hedonistic 1900s ‘golden age’ when it earned the nickname ‘Little Paris’ so it does have an unofficial link to the romance capital of the world. Once you’ve experienced Ceausescu’s colossal concrete extravagance, the astonishing Palace of the Parliament and the Athenaeum with its impressive Baroque architecture, there are some atmospheric little squares to wander through, pretty gardens and beautiful churches to admire, before seeking out a cosy restaurant to sample some hearty traditional fare.
Discover this Eastern European gem on our Budapest to the Black Sea cruise. Unearth the mysteries of this lively city on a guided tour, hearing the echoes of its fascinating past as you wander the atmospheric streets of its old town.
If music be the food of love then Vienna, the world’s most musical city is surely a must for a romantic getaway. This grand imperial gem of Central Europe has a wealth of imposing cathedrals, aristocratic palaces, and ornate architecture to marvel at, then a magnitude of resplendent cafés to tuck up in and watch the world go by over tea and a slice of Sachertorte. Visit the impressive Hofburg, one of the biggest palace complexes in the world, housing the snow-white graceful Lippizaner horses of the Spanish riding school, ride the famous Ferris wheel for panoramic views or stroll the lovely gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace in the footsteps of the Habsburgs. Take a fairy-tale horse-driven carriage ride through the elegant streets, lined with grand baroque facades, the joyful music of the great romantic composers filling the air, surely a recipe for love.
Vienna awaits on our Danube cruises. Learn more about this beautiful capital on a guided tour taking in its showcase buildings and there’s time to explore its world-class museums, fine galleries and genteel cafés.
There’s nothing like a bit of stargazing in a dark night’s sky to set the tone for romance, so a tour to Iceland, taking in Reykjavík, will be a dream come true. You may even get to witness a memorable multicoloured light show courtesy of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Iceland’s capital, one of the most unique cities in Europe, is just a three-hour flight away from the UK and it’s a magical, mystical destination that will set your heart on fire.
Rich in natural wonders, visit the Blue Lagoon spa and bathe in the warm, restorative waters of the geothermal spa while you relax and unwind. Witness the golden cascading water at Gullfoss – on a sunny day, look out for a heavenly rainbow above. For a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a dolphin and humpback or minke whale, you’ll need to take to the water on a wonderful boat trip in search of these magnificent creatures.