Romance is a deeply personal expression of love. It means different things to different couples.
While some define a stroll on the local beach as romantic, others may turn to having a glamorous city break in a foreign land. With this in mind, we have selected the 10 most romantic destinations in Europe – every place in our list is perfect for loved-up couples. If you are a hopeless romantic who is keen to surprise your significant other with a magical holiday, this is the list for you.
10) Bled, Slovenia
Set in the foothills of the mighty Julian Alps, the resort town of Bled is heart-meltingly beautiful. Like a pearl resting on a glazed surface, the island that sits in the middle of the emerald-green Bled Lake is a must-see. Hire a pletna (traditional wooden boat) to the island and climb up the 99 stone steps to reach the Assumption of Mary Church and its “wishing bell”. Legend has it, listening to the church bell and ringing it yourself will make your wish come true. Next to the church is a bell tower which houses a beautifully restored pendulum clock. For an even better view of the lake, stop by the 12th century clifftop Bled Castle and enjoy a fantastic meal by the large windows. The view, the food and the service are all first-class.
9) Prague, Czech Republic
Away from the stag strips and basement bars, the “City of a Hundred Spires” exudes an irresistible charm for romantics. Its winding cobbled streets, statue-studded Charles Bridge and magnificent buildings from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era are primed for loved-up couples to visit, arm in arm. There is also a popular poem in Czech which starts “Late evening, on the first of May, the twilit May, the time of love…”, so on 1 May kissing your significant other under the blossoming cherry trees on Petrín Hill will guarantee your love to bloom forever.
8) Toledo, Spain
On first impression, Toledo can appear chaotic with its houses stacked closely together nonchalantly, but as you walk deeper and deeper into a labyrinth of cobbled streets, you will discover unrivalled cultural wealth in this old walled city. This is a place where Arabs, Jewish and Christians lived together for centuries. They left behind stunning monuments as well as a whimsical atmosphere which crosses time and space. Past, present and future all rolls into a singularity – this is a romantic experience you’ll never forget.
7) Dordogne, France
The winding river, the soft-green rolling hills, medieval châteauxs, and postcard-perfect villages of the Dordogne valley have long been a favourite destination for couples who have mellow souls. Head to the charming Beynac-et-Cazenac and enjoy spectacular French food and wine in one of the straw-colour stone cottages. Buy truffle and foie gras from the market in Sarlat. Rest in a magnificent château. Or simply find a quiet spot by the Dordogne river, let the sun kiss your skin and together watch the world float by. Dordogne is as blissful as love itself.
6) Copenhagen, Denmark
The capital of the happiest country on Earth, Copenhagen is effortlessly romantic and very ‘lagom’ (pronounced ‘lar-gohm’) which means to say it’s ‘just the right amount of everything’. Pay a visit to Cupid at the Thorvaldsen Museum. Enjoy a quiet stroll along the waterfront. Experience the city’s sophisticated café culture with a cup of hot coffee and some mouth-watering pastries. Take it all in, one step at a time, and you will soon realise the perfect dosage of romance has already synchronised with your pace.
5) Isle of Skye, Scotland
A land of Norse legend, the Isle of Skye impresses all who visit her with otherworldly scenes that appear almost straight from a Tolkien epic. The jagged mountain ranges, vast lochs and dramatic waterfalls make this unspoilt terrain a romantic destination without any glamour or pretense. Put on your hiking shoes and head to the Old Man of Storr. Go for a wild swim at the Fairy Pools. After experiencing the magic of Skye, you will realise romance has a supernatural facet too.
4) Fussen, Germany
At the end of the 400km (249 miles) theme-route Romantic Road (Romantische Straße), you will arrive in Füssen and be spellbound by the fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle, half expecting Prince Charming to arrive on horseback at any second. If this castle looks familiar to you, that’s because Disney based the designs for its Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, California on the Neuschwanstein. Visit the castle and create your own chapter of a fairy-tale story here amidst the magnificent Bavarian Alps.
3) Lapland, Finland
If your utopia is riding a snowmobile into the wild and watching the aurora borealis (northern lights) dance across the night sky, then Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region, is the place for you and your loved one. Once you have enough of luminous green and blue hues flowing above you, you can retreat back to a cosy and intimate log cabin complete with sauna and crackling log fire. The outside world is a distant memory and you only have eyes for each other.
2) Cinque Terre, Italy
The Cinque Terre region is arguably the most charming destination in the Italian Riviera; its five colourful fishing villages boast cute terrace buildings that seemingly defy gravity, bravely clinging to the rugged cliff-faces. Head to Manarola, perhaps the oldest town in the Cinque Terre, for a photo that will make your friends envy. Don’t forget to take a stroll on The Way of Love (Via dell’Amore) with your loved one. If the perfect setting doesn’t put you in the mood, the local wine Sciacchetrà certainly will.
1) Santorini, Greece
Your heart will likely skip a beat when you stand before these classy white-washed buildings with blue domed roofs in Santorini, with Aegean Sea below you and the glare of the sun flickering above you. This is the place of romance for countless couples. While most people unwind at Fira, head to Oia for a lovely beach retreat. You’ll need to take over 200 steps to reach the Ammoudi bay – but expect soft sands, warm blue waters and plenty of sunshine. With one of the world’s most romantic destinations as your backdrop, you’ll feel loved, contented, and incredibly happy. Such is the magic of romance!