Long live romance, romance isn’t dead…
“Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, ‘This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.”
Romantic getaways are becoming more popular, couples are taking spa breaks or getting last minute deals to places they may not normally afford to go.
When was the last time you had a romantic getaway?
Mine was to Bulgaria (I know… why Bulgaria?) due to my partner whisking me away to where he was working at the time and we were to stay in a beautiful hotel that looked romantic and extravagant…
It was beautiful.
However, it was also inhabited by the Bulgarian Mafia and the location was unexciting. After one day I realised the chances of romance were zero to none due to the depressing surroundings and ‘The Godfather’ atmosphere. Dodgy looking men in dark suits stood at the end of the corridors of the hotel and they sold black roses in the reception area.
The best part of my three days stay in Bulgaria was the local zoo where the owners appeared to have only one of each type of animal. Literally, the one tiger looked depressed, the rhino may as well have been in with the giraffe the pens were so close and the lonesome brown bear stared disgruntled and not impressed by onlookers at all.
I don’t recommend Bulgaria! (It was funny though)
Let’s take a look at where the top romantic getaways are for 2019:
With its cobbled piazzas, al fresco trattorias and time-weathered Baroque churches, Rome feels like a film set built especially for your very own Italian La La Land (singing selected opera arias is an optional extra). You may not be allowed to wade barefoot into the Trevi Fountain like Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, but there is any number of other scenic backdrops for dalliance and declarations. And the mild weather also helps to stoke those amorous flames.
When in Rome…
It’s difficult to mention Venice without using the word ‘romantic’. From its pastel reflections in quiet canals to its softly plashing gondola oars, and its labyrinthine alleyways where the silence is broken only by the occasional echoing footstep, every inch of Venice oozes romance. The illusion will be shattered from time to time: as you push your way through crowds to cross the Rialto bridge, or join an interminable queue to enter St Mark’s Basilica. But stroll away, venture down a quiet called, and the magic floods back.
The romance of Venice…
Intimate, cheeky and gently alluring, Amsterdam charms and seduces. The old beauty has been doing so for centuries, and knows just what lovers require: tree-lined canals, fairy-lit bridges, gliding swans, buckets of blooms bursting out on almost every street corner. It’s all small-scale and seems just for you – that table for two with a view Rembrandt would recognise; the cosy café where you feel alone in a room of murmurs. Amsterdam deftly delivers the goods.
There’s not just tulips in Amsterdam…
It is an old classic but one that rarely disappoints. Paris is the city of romance per se when it comes to a weekend away en amoureux. Languid walks along the bridge-laced Seine, un café or cocktail on a café pavement terrace, bon vivant dining in candlelit bistros and gastronome temples, a kiss after dark atop the magical light-spangled Eiffel Tower – it is quintessential Parisian moments like this that make France’s seductive, art-rich capital such A-list romance material.
But of course… Paris!
Dubrovnik‘s Old Town takes you back centuries, along cobbled streets lined by noble Baroque stone buildings. Outside the medieval city walls, bathe in the deep blue Adriatic at trendy Banje beach, or catch a taxi-boat to Lokrum islet, with its botanical garden and peacocks. Tour the wineries of Pelješac peninsular to taste velvety red Dingač and eat fresh oysters at Ston. After dark, dine by candlelight at Proto in Dubrovnik’s Old Town or at Orsan overlooking the yachting marina.
The romance of Dubrovnik…
Not for nothing is this compact Renaissance gem one of Italy’s most popular wedding destinations; even Kim Kardashian and Kanye West tied the knot here in May 2014. Surrounded on three sides by a timeless landscape of hills dotted with mellow villas, cypresses and olive groves, Florence offers some of the world’s greatest art treasures, top-class shopping, a vibrant restaurant scene, plenty of opportunity for aimless wandering and an excellent choice of hotels offering rooms with dreamy views. For something a bit different, hire a boat to take you down the Arno at sunset, accompanied by a bottle of bubbly.
Love is in the air in Florence…
Madrid is made for romantic moments. Start by cosying up around noonish with a glass of vermouth at a pavement café in Plaza de la Paja, then spend a decadent afternoon on a tapas crawl around the Austrias neighbourhood, sharing little dishes of sizzling prawns and garlicky mushrooms. As the light starts to fade, head to the astounding Debod Temple, an ancient Egyptian structure that is orientated towards the setting sun, then stroll past the Royal Palace to Las Vistillas to watch the moon come up over the Guadarrama mountains.
Take a culture trip to Madrid with a loved one…
Barcelona is a seductive place, with something to woo everyone. Stroll along the beach at sunset and duck into a tangle of shadowy lamplit streets to find that perfect little bar for a sundowner. Pick up some jamón ibérico and a bottle of the local red for a picnic in one of the leafy gardens around the city. And if the occasion calls for haute cuisine unveiled by gloved waiters, Barcelona will rise to it.
Attractions for couples in love in Barcelona…
Lisbon is a city of seduction and mystery. Narrow streets, long shadows, lantern light on cobbles, moonlight dancing over the gilded domes which punctuate the skyline. Dawn sweeps in on the Atlantic breeze, painting the city’s red roofs, pink; signalling an end to the nights where Moorish streets echo with the soulful strains of fado. You can lose yourself in Lisbon, throw caution to the wind, be swept off your feet… fall in love.
From Lisbon with love…
There’s a touch of the fairytale to Copenhagen: here a mermaid and a star-shaped fortress, there a spire of intertwined dragons’ tails, everywhere quaint cobbled streets and pretty painted townhouses. It’s tailor-made for loved-up strolls along lakes and canals and snuggled-up people-watching, cocooned in blankets at pavement cafés. Plus it’s full of cosy, candlelit bars and restaurants, often hidden away off the main streets, so you feel as if you’ve stumbled across your own little secret.
Try 48 hours of romance in Copenhagen…
With some of the most uniquely dramatic landscapes in Europe – if not the world – there’s no denying Iceland’s inherent allure. Its diminutive capital, home to just 150,000 souls, has contrastively romantic feel, with its village-esque atmosphere, colourful houses and peaceful vistas that span both sea and mountains. Come in winter and you can cuddle up in a hot tub and watch the northern lights; in summer you can stroll around the city’s lake and through its atmospheric neighbourhoods.
Relight your fire in Reykjavik…
While it’s well known for its tumultuous past, rough edges and boisterous nightlife, Berlin can also be a surprisingly gentle and romantic city. Criss-crossed by tree-lined rivers and canals, dotted with gorgeous parks and surrounded by pretty lakes, it’s ideal for springtime strolls and summertime picnics. In the colder months, abundant candlelit cafés and bars provide ideal settings for an intimate tête-à-tête, while the world-famous Christmas markets provide oodles of charm during December.
Find each other again in Berlin…
Romance is at the core of Budapest’s being. The Danube runs through the city’s heart, its bridges shining with thousands of lights at night. A palace lords over one bank, giving way to green hills behind, while on the other are broad squares and atmospheric cafés. And everywhere boulevards and promenades, for this is a place made for gentle strolls.
Some romantic things to do in Berlin…
Lose yourself in this tiny medieval city. Stay awhile: Bruges reveals its charms fully only to those who do – and has a host of pampering hotels and B&Bs to help cast the spell. By day, the small museums offer scintillating art. Atmospheric cafés, artisan chocolatiers and convivial pubs alert the taste buds – before dinner at one of Bruges’s astonishingly good restaurants. Then walk back along the canals, where the Gothic spires shimmer on the still water.
Find romantic spots in Bruges…
Prague is often referred to as one of Europe’s most romantic cities – and for good reason. Set on both sides of the winding Vltava River, its preserved 17th and 18th-century architecture, elegant palaces and gardens, and snaking cobbled lanes often make visitors feel they’ve stepped into a historic film set. Seen from the vantage point of Prague Castle or Letna Park, the city of spires still has as much power to take one’s breath away as ever.
A romantic break in Prague…
Spine-tingling flamenco, winding flower-filled alleys, sunset boat rides past floodlit Moorish towers… Seville is always romantic, but thanks to its mild winter, you can even relish tapas and sherry at sun-drenched outdoor terraces in February. Wander through gardens vibrant with bougainvillaea catching jasmine-scented air – it would be churlish not to sneak a secret kiss on a tiled bench in a hidden corner. And who can resist a horse and carriage ride through the ancient streets?
They don’t just do great oranges in Seville…
What a wonderful selection of romantic destinations – we hope you find one that is perfect for you and your partner
In the words of Nat King Cole, ‘Let there be love.’