The 15 Most Romantic Cities in Europe: A Guide for Couples

couple standing by scooter in town in europe

7min read

Published 5 October 2023


Is your love language travel? Then cast your love-heart eyes towards Europe because this jam-packed continent brings the romance, one capital city at a time.

With twinkling lights, iconic landmarks, unforgettable sunsets and romantic dinner venues to swoon together at, there are so many romantic cities in Europe, it's hard to capture it all in one blog.

But what kind of wingman would we be if we didn't try? Put your love on top with this couples' guide to the most romantic destinations in Europe.

1. Paris

Ah, Par-eee. The exact magic of Paris is hard to place but since it's famously nicknamed the City of Love, you can't argue. There's certainly an energy about France's capital city. The art, the food, the bohemian spirit. The Eiffel Tower!

It's got pedigree too – lovers have been flocking here for centuries to declare their undying love in one of the world's most romantic destinations. Still, newlyweds descend on the city as one of the most popular honeymoon destinations.

Soak up the aesthetic beauty alongside a lively cultural scene and treat yourselves to all the most romantic experiences like sunsets on the Seine from Pont Neuf, strolling hand-in-hand around Place Dauphine, picnics in lovely gardens.

Leave time for gorging on all the foods like pastries, macarons, champagne, oysters and fromage too.

senior couple laughing and sitting beside river in paris
senior couple laughing and sitting beside river in paris
senior couple laughing and sitting beside river in paris

Paris's most romantic spots:

  • The Eiffel Tower – From up top or down below, the Eiffel Tower is non-negotiable for lovers. A famous spot for proposals.

  • Palace of Versailles – Day trip from Paris to experience the ornate and mindblowing Palace that was home to not one but four King Louis and the infamous Marie Antoinette.

  • The Louvre – What's more romantic than peeking at amazing, world-renowned art in one of the most romantic destinations in Europe with your lover?

  • The Basilica de Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) – Aside from the obvious romance in the name, the Sacre Coeur overlooks one of the best views of Paris.

  • Love Wall at Montmarte – Covered in the words 'I love you' in 250 languages, this art installation is perfect for professing your love without speaking.

  • Banks of the Seine – Sunset walks along the Seine were made for low-key lovers.

2. Rome

Eternal love deserves an Eternal City. Despite the everlasting name, Rome is the perfect romantic destination whether the status is situationship or long-term relationship.

Steal some kisses on the city's most popular kissing spot, the Bridge of Angels (Pont Sant'Angelo); feel the wind in your hair with a Vespa ride round the Colosseum; or share handmade gelato as you wander through ancient streets and laneways.

When to visit: If you want less crowds, then avoid high season (May to September).

couple riding on bike in rome
couple riding on bike in rome
couple riding on bike in rome

Rome's most romantic destinations:

  • Fountain of Love – Nestled next to Rome's most famous fountain, the Fontanella degli Innamorati promises everlasting love and fidelity to those that drink from its crossing streams. (Visitors are encouraged only to take a small sip!)

  • The Spanish Steps – Blame renowned romance poet John Keats for the Spanish Steps popularity with lovers. The poet lived and died in a house (now a museum) at this popular Roman attraction.

  • Pont Sant'Angelo – Lined with 10 angel statues, this ancient roman bridge across the Tiber is a popular spot for popping the question.

  • Piazza Navona – Pretty enough for the perfect romantic getaway snap, Piazza Navona's famous fountains and lively buzz make it a must-do day or night.

  • Villa and Galleria Borghese parks and gardens – The immaculate gardens filled with statues and fountains is great for a stroll before watching the sun set over Piazza de Popolo, and Rome's ancient skyline.

3. Venice

All romantic roads may lead to Rome but in Venice, there are no roads at all. Just gondola rides and the backdrop for a grand romantic getaway. Hop aboard the love boat that is Venice and let the city serenade you just like one of its famous gondoliers.

Float peacefully through the car-free city one romantic day after another, enjoying famous art history, stunning architecture and candle-lit dinners with your one and only.

Things to consider: As one of the world's busiest cruise destinations, the small city explodes with visitors when a ship is in port. If you'd prefer to see the sights with less competition, consider booking in the off-season.

couple sitting on steps beside canal in venice
couple sitting on steps beside canal in venice
couple sitting on steps beside canal in venice

Where to feel the love in Venice:

  • The Bridge of Sighs – According to tradition, if you sneak a kiss as you pass under the ornate enclosed bridge you'll be blessed with eternal love.

  • Teatro La Fenice – Experience the soaring awe of live opera at this 18th-century theatre.

  • The Grand Canal – Surrounded by the pastel buildings and grand palaces of this romantic city, the busy waterway hums with energy and day-to-day life.

  • Dorsoduro – Easygoing and eclectic, the university district is home to laid-back eateries, vintage shops and what's known as the Museum Mile.

4. Lisbon

A Portuguese tart to win your heart? Lisbon is all about love with a capital L. Don't just take our word for it: a recent study found that Lisbon ranks as the most romantic capital of Europe thanks to a plethora of romantic restaurants and boutique hotels.

Tack on amazing views, beautiful barrios (neighbourhoods) filled with colourful tiles, cobblestone streets and rich history and you'll be crowing about loving in Lisbon 'til death.

couple drinking on boat in lisbon
couple drinking on boat in lisbon
couple drinking on boat in lisbon

5. Santorini

Perched on the edge of an ancient caldera, Santorini oozes otherworldly romantic vibes. The Greek island honeymoon capital takes sunsets seriously and the brilliant whitewashed resorts and villas clinging to the cliff's edge are perfect love-nest material.

Honeymoon or not, your days can be filled with activities like wine tours, soaks in hot springs (courtesy of the volcanic geography) or sunset sails.

When to go: Beat the crowds by visiting outside of peak season (June to September)!

couple sitting on ledge in santorini
couple sitting on ledge in santorini
couple sitting on ledge in santorini

Santorini's romantic things to do:

  • Have dinner at a restaurant with caldera or sunset views

  • Horseback rides on the beach

  • Sunrise from Skaros Rock

  • Snap a selfie at Heart of Santorini, a heart-like hole in a rock that looks over the caldera

  • Stay in a cave hotel

  • Take a ride in the cable car

6. Brugge

If fairytale dream is your kind of romantic getaway, get lost in Brugge (Bruges). The Belgian city is an over performer in the category of best cosy romantic cities. There's epic Gothic-style architecture and cute cobbled streets, canals and date-worthy restaurants aplenty. It's also one of the best places in the world to get your fix of love's official food: chocolate.

Keen to sample some of the excellent wares that Belgian chocolatiers are known for? Take your choco-love to Steenstraat, where the street is lined with a trove of chocolate shops selling handmade pralines, giandujas and truffles.

couple riding bikes in brugge
couple riding bikes in brugge
couple riding bikes in brugge

Visit these spots to see why Brugge is one of the most romantic cities in Europe...

  • Historic centre of Brugge – There's something about walking through charming old towns that just makes one feel love's buzz.

  • Choco-Story Bruges, The Chocolate Museum – Learn about the mesmerising and delicious history of chocolate (and Belgian chocolate), take part in a workshop or let one of the guides take you through the city's best chocolate shops.

  • Basilica of the Holy Blood – It's reportedly home to a cloth containing the blood of Jesus Christ, but the stunning Roman Catholic church is impressive enough just for its architecture.

  • Minnewaterpark – Home to Lover's Lake and Lover's Bridge, Minnewaterpark is touted as Prague's prettiest park, where the lake is filled with swans and ducks and lush trees fringe the water in summer.

7. Sintra

Castles and palaces mean automatic entry to the most romantic cities in Europe list; Sintra qualifies multiple times over. The whimsical style of architecture found here keeps the vibes high.

Add enchanted forest surrounds, pretty in pastel villas and hotels, beautiful botanic gardens and this resort town outside Lisbon would impress even Cupid himself. Explore the regal, charming town, once home to Portugal's royals, with a day trip from Lisbon or make a few days of it and explore the region.

two cocktails on a table overlooking the ocean
two cocktails on a table overlooking the ocean
two cocktails on a table overlooking the ocean

What to see in Sintra:

  • Quinta da Regaleira – Fairytale grounds enclose this Renaissance-style palace, rated the best thing to do in this popular destination.

  • National Palace of Pena – Splashed in colour and full of various architecture styles, this UNESCO World Heritage site was commissioned by King Ferdinand in 1838.

  • Restaurante Azenhas do Mar – Seafood is everywhere in Portugal but eating it fresh right next to the sea ranks as a pretty spesh romantic date.

8. Prague

Looking for a romantic trip filled with charm and culture? Medieval city Prague says Czech mate with Baroque architecture, Bohemian culture and artistic heritage.

This beautiful city is an art-lover's dream with plenty of fairytale enchantment to top it all off.

couple walking across bridge in prague
couple walking across bridge in prague
couple walking across bridge in prague

Most romantic things to do in Prague:

  • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the charming Old Town, Prague's most famous and romantic place.

  • Have a candlelit dinner at one of Prague's 26 Michelin-starred restaurants.

  • Try local wine at an open-air wine terrace, surrounded by tangled vines, only 40 minutes walk from Old Town.

  • Visit the Romantic poets in Vyšehrad to see why Prague is one of the most romantic destinations in Europe.

  • Dress up to enjoy a night of opera at Prague National Theatre.

9. Nice

Glitz and glam finds its love match in the French Riviera city of Nice. One of the best spots for a romantic getaway, it's a glittering jewel on the Cote d'Azur that sets the scene very nicely for your couple holiday.

Romantic walks along the shimmering beach, wine tasting, yachting and fine dining... this is the place to see what romance looks like for the 1%, even just for a little while.

When to visit: Summer is best for the full French Riviera experience but it will also be the busiest time. Try for a shoulder season to take advantage of the good weather with slightly less people.

seaside town in nice france
seaside town in nice france
seaside town in nice france

Romantic things to do in Nice:

  • Visit lush paradise Castle Hill for views over the Riviera

  • Take a sunset cruise.

  • Wander the grounds of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a pink-hued villa with views of the Mediterranean.

  • Stroll the seven-kilometre Promenade de Anglais, finishing with dinner by the sea.

10. Salzburg

It's home to strudel, the birth place of Mozart and was the backdrop to Sound of Music. But Salzburg is one of Europe's best romantic destinations in its own right, although Vienna usually hogs the limelight.

Whether you just want to chill and enjoy the beauty of this city or prefer to pack your itinerary, Salzburg will bring the mood and the activities.

couple hiking next to lake
couple hiking next to lake
couple hiking next to lake

Romantic activities in Salzburg:

  • Hop on a hot air balloon ride over picturesque Salzburg Lake District.

  • Eat all the cakes and pastries at one of the many bakeries or cafes in the city or take them to go for a picnic.

  • Just walk, taking in beautiful parks and majestic architecture everywhere you go.

  • Row a boat in Jägersee Lake, with the awe-inspiring backdrop of snow-capped mountains in the background.

11. Seville

Spanish culture is considered one of the most passionate in the world and its cities live up to the hot and heavy reputation. And Seville certainly brings the heat. In fact, it's the warmest city in Continental Europe!

Aside from amazing architecture, great dining and rich culture, Seville's interesting history makes it one of the most underrated Spanish cities.

canal running through city of seville
canal running through city of seville
canal running through city of seville

Swooniest spots in Seville:

  • Parque María Luisa – Seville's most famous and popular park is great for romantic walks or picnics through the gardens and various pavilions and museums.

  • Torre Del Oro – A relic of Seville's Moorish past, the Golden Tower sits on Guadalquivir River and is a lovely spot for a romantic walk.

  • AIRE Sevilla – Housed in a Mudéjar-style palace, the Arab baths are stunning and soak-worthy.

12. Budapest

The twin cities of Buda and Pest may be most famous for backpacking revelry (a round of palinka in a ruin bar, anyone?) and European river cruises. But the Hungarian city gives romance a red-hot go too. There's charm, stunning scenery, excellent hotels and delicious food tucked into every nook, with a generous side of fun if you want it.

Want to feel the love for less? Budapest is one of Europe's most affordable romantic getaways with plenty of budget-friendly options.

couple holding hands and walking through square in budapest
couple holding hands and walking through square in budapest
couple holding hands and walking through square in budapest

Budapest's best spots to visit on a romantic getaway:

  • Love food and architecture? Visit restored Neo-Gothic wonder Central Market Hall to share a stacked langos and marvel at the scale of the building.

  • Enjoy the hourly show at the Music Fountain on Margaret Island, before taking a walk through the expansive park filled with blooms, forests and crumbling stone relics.

  • Cruise on the Danube as the sun sets and the lights of Parliament and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge twinkle to life.

  • Check out the view over both Buda and Pest from Fisherman's Bastion.

13. Tuscany

It's not a city, but you can't write a list of the most romantic places in Europe and not include Tuscany.

Capital Florence is widely considered one of the most romantic cities in Europe, so you'll find plenty if you stay there. But if you're into a more Under the Tuscan Sun-style experience, filled with sunshine, quaint little villas tucked into old vineyards and wine while you woo, then head for the hills.

Check out the Chianti villages Greve, Val d’Orcia, Bulghera or Lucca for a full Tuscan experience. If you want to soar to new heights, book a hot air balloon ride at sunset or sunrise (finishing with champagne for full brownie points).

couple riding bike down hill in tuscany
couple riding bike down hill in tuscany
couple riding bike down hill in tuscany

14. Istanbul

Only half of this romantic destination is in Europe, but the entire city brings the romance. Known as Constantinople until the 1930s, the enigmatic city once lay at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, with the continent split by the busy Bosphorous Strait.

Thanks to its rich history at the crossroads of important trade routes, Istanbul's melting-pot cosmopolitan cool means its brimming with bars, bath houses, restaurants, temples, museums and ancient sites from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires.

view of building in istanbul surrounded by trees
view of building in istanbul surrounded by trees
view of building in istanbul surrounded by trees

Romance in Istanbul:

  • Enjoy a couple's Turkish bath and spa experience at one of the many famous bath houses around.

  • Visit Hagia Sophia to see the colourful, large-scale mosaics.

  • Tour Topkapi Palace for a snippet of daily life during the Ottoman Empire.

  • Take a sunset cruise with dinner along the Golden Horn. You, the golden horn at golden hour, what's not to love?

15. London

London needs no introduction as one of the biggest, most thrilling cities in the world. And while it might sit in the shadows of other romantic destinations in Europe, it's a surprising contender for romantic trips.

Filled with parks, famous landmarks, galleries galore, so much shopping and excellent dining from high-end to more laidback, London wears its heart on its sleeve to make you fall further in love.

couple sightseeing in london
couple sightseeing in london
couple sightseeing in london

Where to go for London loving:

  • Kensington Palace – Regal and royal, Kensington Palace's grounds are worth peeking at.

  • Notting Hill – Filled with pastel buildings, quaint charm and plenty of cafes and bars.

  • Gordon's Wine Bar – Toast your love at London's oldest wine bar.

  • Columbia Road Flower Market – Let the love bloom while wandering this pretty as a picture open-air market in Bethnal Green.

Planning a honeymoon in Europe? Here's what to consider...

What kinds of activities do you want to do?

Europe almost has it all, from beautiful beaches to beautiful cities and amazing romantic towns nestled in rolling green hills. If you're keen on the beach, the best romantic destinations will be the likes of Santorini, Nice, Seville and Lisbon where you'll find a mixture of experiences.

The Greek Islands never disappoint when it comes to a sun-filled and hazy romantic escape.

When do you want to go?

As with any great destination, the travel can be great year round. While winter isn't always the most popular time to visit Europe's best romantic destinations, it has the upside of less crowds and a bonus cosiness that's perfect for wooing your lover.

There's Christmas-themed markets, quiet snow-filled streets and the comforting smells of roasting chestnuts to warm the cockles.

Spring is particularly romantic thanks to blooming flowers and the feeling of fresh starts is in the air.

Don't mind waiting around in queues and sharing your personal space, as long as you're with your one-and-only? Then say hello to a Euro summer!

Remember that European summers can be very hot though so prepare yourself accordingly.

How much do you want to spend?

The average cost of a honeymoon in Europe ranges anywhere between $10,000 to $40,000, so planning is important.

Naturally, off-season will be cheaper as will some of the less popular honeymoon destinations.

If you're not feeling the budget squeeze, then Paris, Rome, Venice and London are regularly voted the most romantic places in Europe splash that cash if you can!

Ready to visit a romantic city? Check out our European holiday deals here!

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