Nine alternative romantic city breaks in Europe

Nine alternative romantic city breaks in Europe

If you’ve done Venice and are fully au fait with Paris, your romantic weekends away don’t have to be over…

A romantic break for just the two of you is something that can really help keep long-term love alive, but once you’ve done the usual spots, you might begin to draw a blank.

So here are a few worthy alternative European cities that are perfect for rekindling the spark and broadening your love horizons.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

Famous for its laidback vibe and fairytale streets, Copenhagen is a great location for getting loved up. You should also come away feeling pretty cheerful, as it’s the capital of the happiest country in the world, according to 2016’s World Happiness Report.

After a leisurely rental bike ride, take a boat tour on the canals of Bohemian Christianshavn, with its cobbled streets and nostalgic vibe.

Give your home some ‘hygge’ from the famous Danish design shops and vintage stores in Nansensgade. Then get your glad rags on and treat yourselves to a table at Michelin-starred Noma.

2. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Known as ‘the city of love’ (ljubljena means ‘the beloved’), the best way to explore Ljubljana is by foot or boat, so you get to see the incredible mix of Roman, Italian, Art Nouveau and Baroque architecture, and the many pretty bridges of the Ljubljanica River.

Wander down through the romantic old town and soak up the atmosphere in the cafes. Ride the funicular up to Ljubljana Castle on top of a hill in the middle of the city and enjoy dinner with a view at sunset.

3. Bruges, Belgium

A medieval maze known as ‘the Venice of the North’, Bruges is full of perfectly preserved and stunning architecture. The little cobbled streets and secret passageways also happen to lead to some of the best breweries in the world.

Not a beer fan? Luckily, there’s always the famous Belgian chocolate, which you can wallow in at the Choco-Story Museum, complete with copious free samples along the route. Beer, chocolate and cobbles: sounds like the recipe for a perfect date to us.

4. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is known as the ‘city of spas’, which makes a romantic swim under the stars a must. The Széchenyi Baths, with palatial architecture and hot outdoor thermal springs, is the best location. Hedonists might prefer Lukács Baths for a weekend bath party with laser lights, cocktails and electro music. Or keep it low-key with a romantic stroll at the Vajdahunyad Castle, a magical place which serves as the backdrop to many a classical concert.

5. Palermo, Sicily

The labyrinthine streets and shady piazzas of the capital of Sicily are best explored strolling hand-in-hand, so you have time to take in the dramatic buildings and intricate mosaics. A street food tour will give you a guided introduction to the lively local markets and the chance to sample local delicacies.

Opera and movie buffs won’t want to miss an evening spent at Teatro Massimo, famous location for the third Godfather film. There are boat trips to romantic fishing villages, and private wining and dining on a sunset cruise. We feel a spontaneous dip in the sea is on the cards.

6. Madrid, Spain

If you and your beloved are night owls, the energy and charisma of Madrid may provide your ultimate location for a romantic break. After you’ve taken in some culture at the famous Prado Museum and strolled around Retiro Park and the Botanical Gardens, it’s time to dress up and hit the town.

Start with tapas in the La Latina district, where you can sample an amazing assortment of dishes in all the different bars, washed down with a glass of cava, then head to a flamenco dinner and show. After that, it’s dancing ’til dawn in one of the city’s many famous nightclubs.

7. Reykjavik, Iceland

From smooching under the Northern lights to whale-spotting on a boat trip, or exploring glaciers, fjords and geysers, Reykjavik is a never-a-dull-moment location for any couple whose relationship needs a kickstart or a re-boot.

Rent a car so you can explore the dramatic scenery, and don’t miss the Snæfellsjökull glacier where twilight turns the world different shades of pink, orange, gold and purple. Ideal for lovebirds, take some hot chocolate and a blanket and canoodle under the midnight sun.

8. Tallinn, Estonia

For the most romantic break in Europe, visit the picture-postcard-pretty capital of Estonia. It's best visited in winter, when temperatures drop well below zero, the Christmas market creates a magical vibe and the sea turns to ice.

Take a stroll through the medieval World Heritage-listed Old Town, along the cobblestone streets and across the charming courtyards, or around one of the pretty parks that dot the city.

Check out one of the Old Town’s many candlelit cafes and restaurants before you retire to your four-poster bed in the classical grandeur of the Telegraaf Hotel, with its grand marble floors and weighty drapes – a truly unique place to stay.

9. Verona, Italy

What’s good for Romeo and Juliet is good enough for us, and there are balconies and courtyards a-plenty among the winding cobbled streets and narrow passageways of Verona. There’s also gelato worth queuing for, and open-air opera at the Arena Di Verona, where the audience light candles and bask in the drama under a blanket of stars.

After aperitivo in one of the cosy bars, you can tuck into some amazing Veronese cuisine at the Osteria Giulietta e Romeo. Take some grinning selfies on Juliet's balcony at Casi de Giulietta, then try to find the Pozzo dell’Amore (The Lovers’ Well), where you can hold hands and make a secret wish.

Packing tip: A change in climate can trigger dandruff, so don’t forget to pack a bottle of Head and Shoulders to keep your hair dandruff free and beautifully soft and shiny.

Do you have a favourite romantic destination? Share your travel dreams in the comments section below.

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Invictus1 29/10/2017

Madrid is beautiful for a short break away It's a pity the weather was awful but we still enjoyed ourselves

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