The 7 Most Romantic Cities in Europe
Europe’s cities make for some of the most romantic backdrops imaginable. Streetside cafés, sweeping views, quaint churches, ancient cathedrals, and classical architecture set the scene in most European cities. If you’re looking for the ultimate romantic getaway, be sure to add at least one of these romantic cities to your list.
Romantic cities in Europe
Paris is still one of the most romantic cities in Europe. In spite of its size, popularity, and relative predictability, the French capital still oozes romance around every corner. Perhaps you’re looking to splash out on the ultimate romantic meal on a quiet Parisian boulevard, scale the iconic Eiffel Tower for sunset, or spend a warm evening on the edge of the Seine as the streetlights flicker on. There are few cities that come close to what Paris has to offer to even the most cynical romantic.
Insider tip: Paris’ Pont des Arts bridge – the one with all the love locks – may be under assault from French authorities, but it’s still worth a look.
Venice’s quaint canals, narrow alleyways, and stunning architecture set the perfect scene for any romantic getaway. Venice is also home to the iconic gondolas, and there are surely few activities in the world as romantic as a canal ride for two. These water excursions require deep pockets and are best reserved for very special occasions. The influx of tourists during the peak season may scupper any chances for peace and tranquility. But if you head to Venice in the off-season, chances are you’ll find a secret view, quiet corner, or serene canalside restaurant just for yourselves.
Insider tip: Be sure to hang out on the streets and along the canals after sunset. Many of the day visitors depart, and there’s a new kind of magic that descends on the island at dusk.
If there were a prize for most romantic architecture in Europe, Prague would surely be a top contender. The tone set by the beautiful buildings filters effortlessly onto the streets and into the hearts of the visitors. The “City of a Hundred Spires” may be large, bustling, and packed with camera-wielding tourists, but there are few cities that can match Prague’s quaint medieval atmosphere – particularly as night descends on the Old Town Square.
Insider tip: Charles Bridge is a romantic hotspot, but give it a miss during daylight hours. It’s equally romantic and impressive at night, and comes with fewer tourists to ruin the moment.
The Dutch capital city of Amsterdam may not on first appearances seem to be a romantic haven. But plan it right and you may find yourself falling in love with more than just the city itself. Tranquil canals, fragrant flower stalls, bicycles for two, beautiful parks, and large, inviting museums all set the tone for a perfect romantic getaway.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic and head to Vondelpark – it’s one of the city’s most serene and romantic parks.
Italy knows love and romance, and few cities embody this as well as Florence. If seeing the breathtaking Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore up close doesn’t get your pulse racing, then the sweeping panoramic views of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo should do the trick. There’s a certain electricity on the streets of this beautiful city, and it will follow you throughout your stay.
Insider tip: Florence’s art galleries such as the Uffizi and Accademia are famously romantic. But nothing breaks the mood more than standing in a long queue. A FirenzeCard requires an upfront payment, but it’ll whisk you to the front of museum queues in style.
Budapest’s sparkling Danube has a magic to it that will appeal to almost any kind of traveler. There are dramatic bridges and soaring parliament buildings. Combine it with a walk up to the Fisherman’s Bastion and the quaint streets of Castle Hill, and you’ll see why this is one of Europe’s most romantic cities – especially in the evening.
Insider tip: If you’re looking for a peaceful afternoon picnic, then head to Margaret Island. It’s a tranquil green lung in the middle of the Danube. You can rent tandem bicycles and explore the island at leisure.
Slovenia’s pristine countryside and quaint cities make it an undiscovered gem in the Romantic itinerary. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate option, board the train to Lake Bled. If the deep green forests, turquoise waters, and fairytale castle don’t do the trick, then a gentle row to the famous island perched in the middle surely will.
Insider tip: If you’re a romantic on a budget, take a walk to the far side of the lake and rent a rowboat from there. It’s closer to the island, and significantly cheaper.
Bonus: Europe’s most romantic train journey
There are few modes of travel that are as romantic as a rail journey. Europe’s countryside lends itself perfectly for an escape from reality like no other. For the ultimate romantic throwback, hop aboard the Golden Pass Classic train in Montreux, Switzerland – a painfully romantic lakeside city in itself. Prepare to be whisked through finest Swiss scenery in quite possibly the most opulent and romantic train carriage on the continent.
Insider tip: The Golden Pass scenic train travels all the way to Lucerne and is included in your Eurail Pass.
The truth about most of Europe’s big cities is that the history, culture, and architecture will set the perfect tone for pretty much any trip imaginable. You don’t have to look too far in any city to find romance. If you’re planning the ultimate romantic getaway, pick up a Eurail Global Pass. You’ll be able to tick off the most romantic cities in Europe in a single trip.