Europe is home to some of the most beautiful cities perfect for everyone for any occasion or season, especially for couples. And since the major romantic cities in Europe easily get overcrowded, I asked my friend travel bloggers to list underrated romantic places in Europe that should be on the radar for anyone this year.
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Western and Central Europe
Reims, France – for spoiling yourselves with Champagne
France may be one of the most visited countries globally, but it is almost definitely one of the most romantic destinations in Europe. Paris often gets all the hype, but there are plenty of other romantic cities in France that are underrated, like Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne region.
You can either travel to Reims from Paris as a day trip (2 hours or so by train or bus) or opt to stay there overnight and experience the city during the day and night.
Reims is brimming with charming cafes, cozy eateries, and world-class sights. However, the spotlight comes on the local Champagne houses, making it a perfect place to visit with your partner. You can take one of the Reims Champagne tours or visit them independently by booking in advance. The famous Moët & Chandon Champagne is also in the region – a renowned winery to visit.
In the city of Reims itself, you will find Lanson, the only vineyard in the city offering affordable Champagne tours and tastings for less than 40 Euros per person.
After indulging in delicious Champagne and food, you can take a stroll around the city to discover the Palace of Tau and the Reims Cathedral, two sites recognized by UNESCO World Heritage. The Cathedral is free to enter, but a guided tour costs 8 Euros.
Another thing to do in Reims is to visit the ancient Porte de Mars in the city center. It is a Roman gate that is in ruins but still is an important site for the city.
By Megan Starr
Seville, Spain – the birthplace of Flamenco
Seville surely makes one of the romantic places in Spain. And to put yourself in a romantic mood in Seville, start with a stroll through the ancient Santa Cruz district and gaze up at and take a deep breath of all the flower-bedecked balconies on the white-washed houses. This isn’t Verona, but you could easily imagine your Juliet leaning provocatively on the rail waiting for her Romeo.
From there, continue to the Museum of Fine Arts and pay particular attention to all the portraits of women painted by Seville native Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, who excelled in his portraiture of beautiful women. Many were supposed to be the Madonna, but his models had an unmistakable sensual quality that will continue to invoke your own desires.
In Santa Cruz, pick one intimate bar and stop for a fino sherry and some delicately sliced serrano ham. Splurge a bit on some of the jamón de bellota, the region’s specialty, guaranteed to thrill your tongue.
Finally, finish the evening at the Casa de Memoria, for the most authentic flamenco show available in Spain. This is no flamenco tablao put on for the tourists. This is the real thing on a tiny stage in one small room. And flamenco performed here is undoubtedly the sexiest dance you’ll ever see. If it doesn’t put you in the mood, well, there’s no hope.
And for whatever reason Seville is not in your alley, there are plenty of other romantic cities in Spain you can spend your vacation.
By Travel Past 50
Aveiro, Portugal – the Portuguese Venice
Imagine a city with water channels that extend through the streets, where the shores are full of life, and the sea lurks in the distance. This is Aveiro, easily one of the most romantic European cities.
Water is a permanent presence in this Portuguese coastal city, and that’s what makes it a brilliant place to get to know as a couple.
Start the exploration with a ride onboard the traditional boats, named “moliceiros.” With bright colors and humorous paintings, they travel the channels from end to end, from the time the sun rises until it sets. And what sunsets you can have around here!
But Aveiro is more than its watercourses. It’s also considered the city-museum of Art Nouveau, an architectural style significantly associated with the Belle Époque. Look close and admire the facades of the buildings during your walks. Make sure not to miss a bridge called “Laços de Amizade” (“Friendship Ties”), where you can tie colorful ribbons.
And since you’re cruising the city, don’t forget to treat your other half with a local sweet – the ovos moles made from a mixture of egg yolk, sugar, and water, sold in small hand-painted wooden barrels.
More things to enjoy here include a spa in the salines, tasting oysters on an island in the middle of the Ria de Aveiro, strolling the wooden walkways that accompany it, or taking the hiking trails of the São Jacinto Dunes Nature Reserve.
Matera, Italy – one of the longest continuously inhabited town
With its incredible vistas, cute corners, and the fabulous selection of quaint hotels and restaurants, Matera, in the southern region of Basilicata, is one of the most romantic cities in Italy than you might imagine.
This is one of the world’s oldest cities – people have been living in its Sassi (cave dwellings) for more than 12000 years. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the European Capital of Culture in 2019, in the 1950s, Matera was thought to be the “shame of Italy” for people’s living conditions in the Sassi, which have since seen a significant restoration.
There are many great things to do in Matera, but if you would like to experience the romantic side of Matera, make sure to enjoy a walk around town and hop on a tuk-tuk that will take you to all the best viewpoints. Head to the Parco della Murgia for the most beautiful sunset views – when the light goes down, the city lights go up, and bells start ringing for a genuinely magic atmosphere.
Make sure to book yourself a room in one of the many hotels in the Sassi – La Dimora di Metello is one of the best and offers fabulous sunset views. For a fantastic dinner, go to Vitantonio Lombardo – a Michelin starred restaurant with top-notch service and delicious food.
By My Adventures Across The World
Ghent, Belgium – country’s oldest, vibrant, and cozy town
Ghent is the perfect weekend getaway for couples wishing to explore one of the lesser-known romantic cities in Europe. Explore the old historical city center by day, go for a walk along the lit-up canals in the evening and enjoy a tasty dinner with candle lights at one of Ghent’s many international restaurants.
There are so many things to do in Ghent. You can rent a two-person kayak or join a boat tour to enjoy the city from the canals, explore Belgium’s tallest Belfry for a fantastic view over the city, or visit one of the many chocolateries and try delicious Belgian pralines.
Ghent is situated in the heart of Europe, only a 30-minute train ride away from the capital of Belgium, Brussels. Once you arrive at the Ghent station, you can easily take a tram line into the old historic city center where there are plenty of hotels to stay in.
Ghent is a beautiful city perfect for a romantic getaway, yet it’s often overlooked by the more popular Bruges and Brussels. But the benefit of being one of the underrated romantic places in Europe is that there are fewer tourists, shorter lines at the attractions, and more space to enjoy this city’s gorgeous scenery.
By Worldwide Walkers
Dinant, Belgium – nestled under the cliff offering striking scenery
Are you looking for romantic cities in Europe far from the hustle-bustle of the big cities and skyscrapers? Dinant, a small Belgian town, can be an ideal destination for you. This charming, quaint city in Wallonia, a French-speaking region, is just a 90-minute from Brussels.
Once you arrive, you will be greeted with an awe-inspiring view of the countryside cottages lined along the Meuse River.
The weather and the surrounding views of Dinant are pretty romantic, and the city offers plenty of things to do for couples. The Citadel of Dinant is one of the most popular tourist attractions of this city, situated on a hill overlooking the picturesque Dinant town and the Meuse River Valley. It was built to protect the city from outsiders. Enjoy a short but steep cable car ride to reach the citadel.
Next, visit the Collegiate Church of Our Lady, popularly known as Dinant Cathedral, built in the Gothic style in the 10th century. The interior of the church is incredible, with stained glass and mosaic windows. To reach it, cross a spectacular bridge, ‘Charles de Gaulle,’ featuring colorful saxophones on both sides of the pedestrian walkaway.
The most romantic way to explore Dinant is to go for a cruise ride on the River Meuse. The boat tour offers an excellent opportunity to explore the picturesque city and its attractions from different angles.
Foodie couples should not miss the chance to try some popular Belgian chocolates and Couque de Dinant, a delicious local biscuit made with wheat and honey.
By Budget Travel Buff
Bruges, Belgium – Europe’s one of the best-preserved cities
Bruges is an enchanting, medieval city located in the Northern part of Belgium. According to many, this is Belgium’s most picturesque city, and it’s easy to understand why. Its beautiful canals and cobblestoned streets make it one dreamy and romantic place in Europe.
The city has a lot to offer, from authentic windmills and numerous museums to canal cruises and the fairytale-like Lovers’ Bridge, also known as the Bonifacius Bridge. Make sure not to miss the ‘Rozenhoedkaai’ while you’re there – Bruges’ most Instagrammable place!
If tasting a country’s delicacies is something you enjoy doing, Bruges is the perfect city for you. There are chocolatiers and waffle stalls on nearly every corner. Curious minds can join a Belgian chocolate workshop and create their own choco bars. On top of that, Brewery De Halve Maan is a place where you can taste the city’s delicious beer.
A nice thing about Belgium is that it’s a tiny country, so Bruges can easily be reached by train from nearly anywhere. Note that the railway station of Bruges is not in the center of the city. So you’ll either have to walk twenty minutes or take the bus to reach the center.
By Laure Wanders
Nuremberg, Germany – for typical Bavarian architecture
The city of Nuremberg is located in the heart of Bavaria and is a beautiful place to visit. Getting to Nuremberg is possible by plane to the city’s international airport. It is also effortless to get there with ICE (intercity express) trains from many European cities.
Nuremberg is a very pretty city with lots of lovely medieval architecture, many churches, and a castle. The streets through the town are cobbled, and many buildings have timber-framed facias. Nuremberg is an excellent place for a romantic stroll through history, including its stunning old town city walls. For those that love Christmas, this is a perfect place to visit for the festive Christmas markets. Nuremberg is also known as one of the most Christmassy places in Europe.
One of the most romantic places to go is to stroll along the Riverside adorned with restaurants and historic buildings. The other is to go to the Imperial Castle Courtyard and watch the sunset over the city. The views from the top are excellent, with lots of spires from the various churches in the town on the skyline.
Dining out in the old town has many traditional cuisine options at very nice street food vendors. One must-try dish is the local Nuremberg sausage served traditionally in a bun with mustard and sauerkraut (fermented raw cabbage). Beer is massive in Bavaria, and the city’s local Red Beers are a fantastic choice for date night.
Mikulov, Czechia – for wine lovers
Tucked away in the far corners of the Czech Republic‘s South Moravia wine region is the romantic fairy tale village of Mikulov. This tiny little village sits only a few kilometers from Austria’s border, yet it somehow remains one of the untouched hidden gems of Europe. Since it’s off the typical tourist radar, a car is almost essential.
Upon arrival, ditch the car and trade it in for a bike. Spend the day biking the picturesque Mikulov Wine Trail, where it’s possible to stop at stunning chateaus, intimate wine cellars, rolling vineyards, and UNESCO listed palaces. This trail is the best of both worlds, as you’ll pass through tiny villages and the Pálava Protected Landscape Area, which is a unique, hilly, and scenic biosphere reserve. It’s free to enjoy the wine trail, and the wine is coming directly from the suppliers, making the price just right.
In the city, find the main streets lined with cozy little wine bars, serving up wine from vineyards in the surrounding fields. Visit the village’s center-piece chateau, soak in the views from Goat Hill, or climb up to Holy Hill. From here, see how charming little Mikulov looks with its orange roofs sparkling in the sun and the perfect backdrop of the lush green hills. During the weekends and harvest season, knock on the nearby vineyard’s door to experience a truly personalized wine tour.
By Packing up the Pieces
Český Krumlov, Czechia – well-preserved fairy tale castle
One of the less known, non-touristy romantic cities in Europe is Český Krumlov. Many people skip this hidden gem, but actually, it’s perfect for a weekend or two-day getaways. It is located in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, divided by the Vltava River and dominated by its 13th-century castle.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site escaped the bombings in World War II, which is why the old city is so well preserved. Some of the must-see and do here are exploring Český Krumlov Castle and visiting the stunning castle complex; the panoramic views from the painted tower are breathtaking. Don’t forget to admire the majestic Cloak bridge and walk along the river – or go rafting!
With that said, some unique things to do in this beautiful city are soaking yourself or with your partner in the beer bath! So, that alone makes it worth the trip. Then heading out to the Svachovka distillery, watching a Performance at the Baroque Theatre, and if your timing is right, attend the International Music Festival Český Krumlov. This festival runs for about five weeks starting in mid-July and is the longest-running music festival in the Czech Republic.
As it’s not that big, Český Krumlov feels more intimate and is a great starting point for exploring Southern Bohemia. In terms of food expenses, you will find Cesky Kumluv is far cheaper than Prague. Papa’s Living Restaurant and Apotheka Café Bar are highly recommended for restaurants and serve Italian, Czech, and European meals.
Bratislava, Slovakia – a mosaic of a distinguished history
Bratislava may not be at the top of your list of the most romantic places in Europe to visit, but it’s pretty much impossible not to fall in love with its small-town charm. Set along the famous Danube River by the border with Austria and Hungary, Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. The city has an airport, but it’s more often visited alongside a trip to one of its more popular neighboring towns, such as Vienna and Budapest.
You’ll find romance around every corner in Bratislava. There are plenty of romantic things to do, from the city’s romantic Town Hall and fairy-tale castle to its quaint side streets and historic Old Town. You can’t go on a romantic getaway to Bratislava without going for a stroll down the river too!
And that’s not to forget all the many lovely places to eat and drink too. For the ultimate romantic date night, head to the hidden Sky Bar, where you’ll find amazing views of the city and Bratislava Castle. Not only are the views by far the best in Bratislava (they even beat those up the Museum of Arms and Old Town Tower!), but the atmosphere, music, and cocktails are incredible too.
You can pretty much fit everything you want to see into just one day in Bratislava. However, you can spread your trip across the weekend to enjoy Slovakia’s beautiful countryside. The city is surrounded by romantic vineyards, castles, and forested hiking and cycling trails that are just begging to be explored!
By Faraway Lucy
Basel, Switzerland – country’s most underrated town
Basel is a bit of an insider secret on the tourist trail in Switzerland. Often overlooked for more touristy cities like Interlaken or Zurich, Basel is packed full of romantic cobbled streets, charming, colorful buildings, and traditional restaurants offering all manner of local delicacies.
Basel is easy to reach with its international airport and a central railway station, which is handy if you’re traveling around the country by train. The city is one that you can happily explore on foot, and there are plenty of hotel options in the historic center to choose from. The best things to do in Basel include climbing the tower at Basel Münster for sweeping panoramic views out across the city, and wandering hand in hand around Münsterplatz, admiring the old buildings with their colorful shutters and ancient beams.
On a sunny afternoon, take a romantic boat ride on the Rhine Ferry, a traditional wooden vessel operated using the same rope pulley system that’s been in use for years. Seeing the old town’s architecture from the water is impressive and gives a unique perspective of how the city has developed over time. Keep an eye out for the famous basilisk fountains, too – they’re designed in the shape of this mythical beast as a symbol of the city, and on New Year’s Day each year, some of them spout beer rather than water!
Basel is an excellent place for romantic dinners out too. Several traditional style restaurants serve everything from fondue to wiener schnitzel in old-world settings surrounded by beams and lanterns. For something extraordinary, splash out on a meal at the Walliser Kanne for its unique atmosphere and perfect central location.
By Conversant Traveller
Montreux, Switzerland – for magical lakeshore getaway
Nestled between Lake Geneva and the beautiful Alps, Montreux is one of the perfect romantic destinations in Europe you could wish for. The city is so quaint and beautiful that the legendary band Queen had their own studio and recorded some of their best hits here. Visiting Queen’s studio is also one of the best things to do in Montreux.
Another must-see here is the mesmerizing Chillon Castle. The fortress dates back to the 13th century and is one of the most visited places in all of Switzerland. The castle is located less than 15 minutes away from the town’s center, and you can get there by catching a local bus.
Be sure to take a long romantic walk along the promenade, especially at sunset, as the view of the lake and the mountains in the background is just stunning.
Getting to Montreux is not difficult at all. Switzerland is very well connected, so your best option is to get a train there. The nearest airport is in Geneva, and from there the train ride takes about 1 hour.
An essential thing to know when coming to Montreux is that you are entitled to a free transportation card for your whole stay if you are staying at a hotel. Just ask for it at the reception. This certainly comes in handy when visiting Switzerland, mainly because everything is on the pricier side.
By Bulgarian On The Go
Tromso, Norway – for spotting Northern Lights & Whales
Paris is always a good idea, right? Well, Tromso is called “the Paris of the North,” making it one of the wonderfully romantic cities in Europe to escape. Tromso perfectly blends nature and culture into a wonderfully walkable city, and there’s plenty of adventurous activities perfect for couples in case you are looking for something a bit more unique and active on your couple’s getaway.
Tromso is a great destination any time of year – summers mean midnight sun and neverending sunshine perfect for romantic hikes and fjord cruises, and winter means tons of adventure activities, whale watching, and snowy vistas. Tromso in winter is particularly idyllic for couples as the snow makes for a romantic environment.
Activities for couples include doing a tandem dog-sledding self-driving tour where you and your partner take turns driving the sled, going on a cruise out in the fjords, staying up late to try to spot the Northern lights, admiring the views from the Tromso cable car, and spending the night cuddle under reindeer-pelt covers in an actual ice hotel!
Tromso is a bit far away from the rest of Europe – it is in the Arctic Circle, after all! – but it’s easy enough to get to Tromso by plane. Several flights a day leave from Oslo, and the flight takes 2 hours. There are also direct flights to Tromso from London, Frankfurt, and other European airports.
By Eternal Arrival
Helsinki, Finland – for mesmerizing scenery
Another most romantic city in Europe is definitely Helsinki, the Finnish capital. One of the reasons why it’s so special is that you can visit in summer and winter, and have two completely different experiences – you may even be wondering if you are actually in the same place!
Helsinki in winter is a real frozen wonderland. It snows pretty much every year, and it’s so cold that the snow usually lasts several days, which lends the place a magical feel. There are cozy cafés with fireplaces and fairy lights to hide into when the cold gets too much, but merely wandering in the snow-covered streets of the historic center with your loved one is a great way to spend a day. Since Helsinki is quite north, it gets dark early, but those few hours of sunlight are extraordinary. For something really unforgettable, take a sunrise helicopter flight over the city – there’s no need to wake up early since sunrise is at 9.30 am!
In summer, it’s the perfect time to enjoy Helsinki’s unique urban nature. There are over 300 islands off the city’s coast, including somewhere you can pitch your tent and spend the night – totally for free! For another unique (and super romantic) experience, head to Nuuksio National Park just outside the city, where you can sleep in unique tents set up high in the trees. It will definitely be a night to remember!
By The Crowded Planet
Copenhagen, Denmark – underrated city for couples
Copenhagen may not be the first city you think of when it comes to romance, but it’s actually one of Europe’s best destinations for couples. The city has an undeniable and often understated beauty. From the old and new architecture to the pastel buildings and cobblestone streets, Copenhagen is stunning.
One of the most beautiful features is the waterfront, seemingly all over the city due to the numerous canals and large scenic harbor. Therefore, the most romantic thing to do here to either rent an electric boat or join a guided tour to enjoy a cruise on the waterways. The most popular boat rentals also have picnic tables to enjoy a bite to eat or a wine bottle while cruising.
Copenhagen is full of green spaces and picnic spots like the popular King’s Garden. Perhaps the most beautiful place in the city is Tivoli Gardens. It’s the old-world amusement park that inspired Walt Disney to create his own.
For a more formal meal of romance, head to one of Copenhagen’s New Nordic restaurants and sample the gourmet food scene. Copenhagen has the most Michelin stars in Scandinavia and more affordable options to try the local cuisines.
Another romantic activity is touring the castles in Copenhagen. Rosenborg Castle is a lovely Renaissance residence that now holds artifacts from throughout Danish history, including the Crowned Jewels. You can also visit Amalienborg Castle, the home of the royal family of Denmark.
By Robe Trotting
Riga, Latvia – a perfect blend of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles
Riga is the crown jewel of Latvia, and it’s no surprise either; it’s absolutely fantastic. There is something incredibly charming and romantic about Riga. It’s filled with cobblestone streets, a beautiful river flowing through the city, quaint coffee shops, and many beautiful sights to see for free. It’s a classic European city, but it’s not over-priced, making it an excellent option for a budget romantic getaway.
Spend your days wandering through the sights, enjoying St Peter’s Church, the House of Black Heads, the Riga Cathedral, and much more. Purchase gifts and local treats at the central market, then stop by a traditional bakery in the heart of the Old Town for a coffee and a chat. A food tour in Riga is a great way to sample local delights and learn more about Latvia’s history.
As the sun goes down, get ready for a romantic evening for two. Wander around the streets, stop at one of the many outdoor bar areas for a drink, and then dine at one of the many great restaurants on offer here. There are some great spots to eat near the Dome Cathedral. Finish off your night with a drink at the Cuban Bar or Labietis. You’ll fall in love with the charm of Riga!
By Dream Big, Travel Far
Tallinn, Estonia – untouched picture-perfect town
Often cited as one of the most romantic cities in Europe, Tallinn is extraordinarily picturesque. The capital of Estonia, Tallinn, is a modern city that still retains a medieval charm. The historical Old Town is in sharp contrast to the city’s thriving business center, complete with trendy hotels and plenty of shopping provisions. Tallinn offers a lively yet relaxed atmosphere with a rich cultural scene – it’s a must for any Europe bucket list.
The medieval Old Town is where Tallinn’s romantic appeal lies. Enter via the impressive Viru Gate, which is surrounded by enticing market stalls and candle-lit restaurants. Inside the Old Town, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back 500 years in time. It’s a truly enchanting place, with winding cobblestone streets, hidden courtyards, and historical buildings. Plus, it’s not too overrun with tourists for somewhere so beautiful, which only adds to its fairytale appeal.
There are plenty of sights to see within Tallinn to keep you and your loved one busy. From luscious parks and fascinating museums to ancient churches, such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St Olaf’s Church. Being located on the coast, Tallinn also boasts sandy beaches, which are particularly inviting during the summer months. For the best views of the stunning cityscape, head to the Kohtuotsa viewing platform on Toompea Hill.
Tallinn is easily accessible by plane, with the city center just a 10-minute drive from the airport. The city is compact enough to be explored within a couple of days, so it’s perfect for a romantic weekend getaway in Europe.
By Pocket Wanderings
Vilnius, Lithuania – for the dreamy, authentic, and intact old town
Vilnius is the charming capital of Lithuania and one of the most underrated cities in Europe. If you seek a city that oozes romance without the capital city price tag, then this is the place for you.
This city has so many great sights to see including, the unique cobblestone streets of the Republic of Uzupis, the beautiful university botanical gardens (which is a perfect spot for a romantic picnic), Gediminas Castle Tower, St Annes Church, and so much more!
One of the best activities for couples is to take a trip to the Trakai Island Castle, rent a boat for a couple of Euros and ride around the island with amazing views on the peaceful lake. This is an even better activity when taken at sunset!
After experiencing a beautiful sunset, you can head to the Raddison Blu to climb to their rooftop bar for a fantastic view of Vilnius at night combined with a cocktail. Then head to the old town and wander the cobblestone streets to find an authentic Lithuainain restaurant for dinner. Make sure you try some local classics such as Cold Beetroot Soup, Cepelinai, and potato pancakes.
If you enjoy music and a fun-filled atmosphere, then you’ll be pleased to hear that Vilnius has a wide range of brilliant bars. The Dirty Rabbit is a great place to visit for a drink and some fun!
By Dream Big, Travel Far
Eastern Europe and the Balkans
Wroclaw, Poland – the city of bridges and islands
Wroclaw is a little-known Polish city compared to its famous neighbor Krakow, but it also has many attractions, fun things to do, and unique places to stay. Moreover, it is a perfect destination for a romantic trip.
A must-visit place for couples is Tumski Bridge, which connects Piasek Island with Tumski Island. This bridge is known in Wroclaw as the Bridge of Love due to thousands of locks hanging on it. There is a tradition for lovers and newlyweds in Wroclaw to hang a padlock on this bridge and throw the keys into the Odra River’s waters. It symbolizes the continuity of their relationship and eternal love.
Another romantic place in Wroclaw is “Mostek Pokutnic,” or Penitent Bridge, a viewpoint and a perfect place for sunset kisses.
The Penitent Bridge is a link between two towers of St. Mary Magdalen’s Church constructed in the 15th century. Although to enjoy panoramic views of the city from the bridge, you need to climb 247 winding steps in one of the towers.
From these 45-meter towers, you can see the Wroclaw Market Square, the roofs, the Garrison Church, and Grunwaldzki Square. The advantage of this popular observation deck is that it is open all year round.
The city’s panoramas and the place’s atmosphere are so mesmerizing that it has become a favorite place in the town for declarations of love and even marriage proposals.
Wroclaw is full of atmospheric cafes and restaurants perfect for dates. One of the most romantic cafes is Domek nad fosą, where visitors sit on a wooden platform above the river, a medieval city moat. In this idyllic place, you and your loved one can enjoy the view of the river, greenery and listen to birdsong while sipping Aperol Spritz.
By The Alternative Travel Guide
Ljubljana, Slovenia – the ‘green city’ of Europe
Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital city and most underrated when it comes to major eastern European countries. Ljubljana brings in the best of medieval world charm, greenery, culinary, and wine – all together packaged in a compact city.
It is also a very walkable city; this is where you can walk hand in hand with your loved one and explore all it has the offer. Start at the stunning Prešernov trg Square, and take in the beautiful architecture of the pinkish Franciscan Church, art nouveau buildings, and structures surrounding it.
The lovely Ljubljanica River flows through the city, and a sightseeing cruise is a great way to explore the highlights romantically and a must-include activity of your Ljubljana itinerary.
Food brings people together, and Ljubljana does that in style. The Central Market is the prime spot to try out local delicacies, especially during the ‘Friday Open Market’ event, where world-class chefs bring forth their signature dishes for visitors to enjoy.
If you prefer romantic dining, head to any of the restaurants by the river embankment, and enjoy a cool breeze by the river.
While wandering the old town, it is impossible to miss the gorgeous Ljubljana Castle and the many bridges built over the river. Dragon Bridge and the Triple Bridge are the most famous photo spots in town.
For accommodation, consider staying at the Grand Union Hotel, it is a 4-star hotel, perfect for Ljubljana’s weekend visit.
By To Some Place New
Cluj-Napoca, Romania – a budget-friendly weekend getaway in Transylvania
The Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca is located in the Transylvania region of the country. It is easily accessible for a short getaway via its international airport or on overnight trains from Central Europe. Cluj-Napoca happens to be one of the cheaper destinations and one of the underrated romantic cities in Europe, mainly for dining out and excellent accommodation.
The city center has many historic buildings, cobbled side streets, and town squares to explore. This includes lots of unique churches and cathedrals to explore as well as exciting museums on Transylvanian history. Cluj has many parks and gardens, the most romantic being central park with its stunning architecture and posh eateries like Carrousel Restaurant.
Dining out has many restaurants in the main square overlooking the cathedral or the nicely decorated side streets. Most eateries serve traditional local cuisine to suit most tastes. Try at least one of the local specialty soups.
There are often live music events or festivals in Unirii Square or near Cluj Arena, the local football ground, for nighttime fun. The Romanian National Opera in the city is one of Romania’s biggest national opera and ballet companies. The venue also hosts theatre performances for visitors to enjoy.
Kastoria, Greece – lakeside town & home to 200 species of birds
The city of Kastoria in Northern Greece is one of the scenic romantic cities in Europe for a weekend getaway. It is situated on a peninsula on the western shore of Lake Orestiada, with mountains surrounding the city.
It is fun to walk around the lake, starting on the southern side. The lake is tranquil, with fishers and 200 species of birds. The Dragon’s Cave has seven underground lakes with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites.
If you are feeling energetic, walk up to Agios Athanasios viewpoint to enjoy the stunning view. There are more than 60 Byzantine churches to visit, the largest freshwater aquarium in the Balkans, and the Fur Centre that tell the fur trade history.
A boat trip on the lake is perfect for couples to enjoy. There are romantic restaurants for dinner, including Palia Poli (‘Old Town’), a waterfront mansion with a terrace where diners can enjoy the lake’s frogs sound. Ta Kymata is a beautiful fish restaurant and a lakeside deck, and the menu features fish from the lake and the Aegean.
There are a few ways to travel to Kastoria. It is 575km away from Athens, and the fastest way is on a domestic flight that takes just under 50 min. Alternatively, you can drive there in less than 4 hours. From Thessaloniki, Kastoria is only 140 km, so you can drive for 3 hours or take the bus.
By Greece Travel Ideas
Heraklion, Greece – low-key urban capital of Crete
Heraklion on the island of Crete is often overlooked for its more apparent neighbors like Chania and Rethymno. This fascinating city and Crete’s capital offers some lovely corners to explore and is perfect for a romantic break away.
Wander through the streets here to find yourself at the Lion fountain (Morosini fountain), erected in the Venetian era.
Heraklion’s unique archaeological site, one of the oldest known cities in Europe, is just outside and perfect for a walk through. Stop in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to see some of the treasures they found at Knossos. Take a walk by the seafront and spot some of the edgy street art seen in the backstreets here.
The city has a great cafe culture, so it’s the perfect place to stop for a coffee and watch the world go back. Stop at one of the many bakeries for some loukoumades (Greek doughnuts) or orange-infused biscuits for some of that Mediterranean warmth the Greeks achieve so well in their pastries and baked goods.
As for the accommodation, some of the great family resorts in Crete are in and around Heraklion, so it’s the perfect place to stay and soak up the history, culture, and beauty of Crete and this beautiful city.
By Family Hotel Expert
Ohrid, Macedonia – a sublime town on the edge of a serene lake
The laid back city of Ohrid, North Macedonia, is both perfectly relaxing and packed with activities. It’s also perfect for couples of a budget since it’s located in the generally cheap Balkans region. Whether you’re seeking romantic natural landscapes or charming historical European architecture, Ohrid truly has it all.
This small city lies along the side of Lake Ohrid itself, making the location both a natural and historic UNESCO world heritage site! The lake is 34km wide, giving ample hiking opportunities, one of the most laid back being the Ohrid boardwalk and subsequent pathways that wind around the woodlands and lake.
The Church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo is a fantastic, aesthetic spot serving up the mesh of nature and history all from one vantage point. This is a lovely place to watch the sunset too. Other historical architecture includes Plaosnik, Samuel Fortress, and the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid, dating back to 200BC.
If it’s warm enough, you can swim in the lake from one of the city beaches or go hiking in Galicica National Park. Alternatively, enjoy one of the many boat trips out on the lake, with Sveti Naum Monastery being the most famous.
By Cassie the Hag
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina – for an alluring East-meets-West vibe
Sarajevo is one of the prettiest yet very underrated romantic cities in Europe. Filled with the Austro-Hungarian, Ottomans, and Yugoslavian remnants, Sarajevo will delight any couple looking for an offbeat romantic getaway in Europe.
Enjoy a lovely walk hand in hand at Sarajevo’s primary market, Baščaršija. Join a walking tour to learn about the Ottomans’ history and check off all the prime attractions.
One of the essential items to add to your couple’s Sarajevo itinerary is to enjoy a hearty feast with delicious cevapi, pies, and the famous Bosnian coffee. Most authentic restaurants and cafes are located in the old town and inside the market. This is also great to buy some local art and souvenirs for your loved one.
As part of your walking tour, don’t forget to drop by the Ferhadija Pedestrian Street and sight Sarajevo roses in memory of those who lost their lives during the 1992 Siege. Alternatively, book a spot on a guided war tour.
Those couples, who love history and culture, will enjoy the Sarajevo War Tunnel and Museum, along with a tour of the abandoned Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track. This activity will easily take half a day.
And in the evening, finish the day in Sarajevo by soaking in the sunset together at the Yellow Fortress. To access the fortress is entirely free, and the views from up there are priceless.
By To Some Place New
Kotor, Montenegro – medieval maze of Venetian palaces, churches, and museums
Montenegro is a small country in the Balkans filled with rugged mountains, medieval villages, and remote beaches along the Adriatic.
Kotor is a town found on the Bay of Kotor, a 20-minute drive from Tivat airport or a 1:30 hour drive from Podgorica airport.
Kotor Old Town, a pedestrian-only zone, is a beautiful and romantic part of Kotor’s larger town. Fortified walls surround this lovely medieval city built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the old town features winding cobblestone paths, medieval architecture, and historical monuments.
Hotels, restaurants, and stores are scattered throughout the city within the medieval architecture. One of the best things to do is to stroll together along the cobblestone paths, find a restaurant tucked away in a small plaza, sit outside with a glass of wine, and people watch.
Enormous mountains surrounding the Bay of Kotor, which in many places simply dive at vertical angles into the Adriatic Sea, gives the city a surrealistic landscape. And after wandering in Kotor Old Town, consider walking along the seashore admiring the beautiful scenery.
By Go Far Grow Close
Sighnaghi, Georgia – the city of love
Sighnaghi, a small town in Georgia, is locally known as the city of love. The reason is the city’s town hall where couples in love can come to marry at any time of the day and year. But that is not the only reason why Sighnaghi is one of the most romantic cities in Europe.
Sighnaghi also happens to be located in Kakheti, the scenic wine region of Georgia. Furthermore, it has a picturesque location on top of a hill overlooking the Alazani valley and the Caucasus mountains’ snow-capped peaks.
Couples can enjoy romantic panorama viewpoints and gentle strolls in the cobbled stone streets of its historic center with the remains of the old fortress walls. Although Sighnaghi is still an off the beaten path destination in Europe, its popularity is rising. Therefore, there is a good selection of boutique hotels for the two of you and excellent restaurants.
Sighnaghi’s Pheasant Tears is among the best restaurants in Georgia, and it’s the perfect place for a candlelight dinner. Pheasant Tears is also a winery that offers excellent wine tastings where you can try the local wine. You can also find the famous wines from Kakheti at Sighnaghi’s local market sold in reused plastic bottles.
Sighnaghi is the perfect gateway to explore more of Kakheti. It is a scenic region full of ancient churches, monasteries, and wineries to see how the wine is produced. It also makes for a great stop on your way to Azerbaijan, as Sighnaghi is midway between Tbilisi and the lovely Azeri town of Sheki.
By Backpack Adventures
Lviv, Ukraine – least Soviet and authentic European city
Lviv, one of the best places to visit in Ukraine, is also a charming city and one of the perfect weekend romantic destinations in Europe. The town is picture-perfect and winding, filled with cobbled lanes made for wandering around while holding hands.
Lviv has plenty of interesting attractions and sights for you to explore. It is known for its distinctive coffee culture and culinary scene, and you can enjoy numerous cafes and restaurants with unique themes and interiors. Many of them offer an intimate atmosphere, perfect for gazing into each other’s eyes over a shared meal. If you are looking for something edgier, head to Masoch Cafe, named after the Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch, who was born in Lviv and invented masochism. You can expect some bizarre things in this cafe but visiting this place might be an exciting start to the evening.
Alternatively, if you are more into cultural events, see a play in the stunning Opera House – the tickets are relatively cheap (starting at a few dollars). The shows are excellent.
Lviv is also known for its beautiful interiors that are a perfect scenery for couple’s pictures. The most popular one is the House of Scientists with the winding wooden stair; you will likely meet the newly-weds having their photoshoot.
Getting to Lviv shouldn’t be a problem. The local airport offers connections to numerous destinations all over Europe, including low-cost flights. The city is affordable, so you don’t need to spend a lot to have a somehow luxurious and romantic trip.
By My Wanderlust
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