Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and what better way to fall in love or reignite that spark than by going someplace new. This Valentine’s Day, grab your lover’s hand and traipse down European boulevards and cosy alleyways where romance is around every corner.
These romantic cities are a match made in heaven for loved-up travellers. From vintage street lights casting a pale glow on medieval nooks to buzzy flamenco bars to sunset boat cruises, these romantic destinations will be the perfect backdrop for your upcoming couples getaway. And if nothing else, you’re guaranteed to fall head over heels in love with a new city!
A city filled with passion and beauty
Let’s start south in Seville at AIRE Ancient Baths. This elegant spa is housed in a historic Mudéjar-style palace. Enjoy timeless luxury inspired by traditional ancient Roman, Greek and Turkish rituals. From a candlelit subterranean cavern to a rooftop pool with views over the Giralda bell tower, your love trip will start off right.
Take a balmy evening walk along the Guadalquivir river from Torre del Oro towards Puente de Isabel II enjoying the blend of Moorish and Gothic architecture along the way. Head to the Abades Triana for panoramic river views and modern Andalusian cuisine. Slow-food chef Elías del Toro fuses innovative techniques with classic Southern Spanish flavours in dishes such as cod with olive emulsion, capers and orange cubes. The massive wine list—more than 500 bottles!—includes many sparkling varieties so pop open that Dom Perignon to celebrate.
To ignite your passion this Valentine’s Day, catch an emotional flamenco show at Teatro Flamenco Sevilla. The red velvet curtain-draped theatre also offers steamy dance courses for couples who want to pick up new moves.
If you’re thinking of popping the question, the fountain at Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes is the perfect spot for proposals. In lush Parque María Luisa you can rent a rowboat and bring a bottle of Champagne to set the mood, or if you’re Star Wars fans, go to Plaza de España where Star Wars: Episode II–Attack of the Clones was filmed for your own unforgettable scene.
Walk in Casanova’s footsteps
Let’s stay south and draw inspiration from history’s most famous lover. Follow womaniser Giacomo Girolamo Casanova’s escapades around Venice by enjoying a romantic pasta or seafood dinner at Do Spade, one of the oldest Osteri in Venice. The 600-year-old spot sits near the majestic Rialto Bridge spanning the Grand Canal where Casanova would woo his lovers.
Venice is all about getting lost in labyrinth-like streets lining the canals (all 177 of them) and at some point, you need to head onto the water. Jump on a motorboat to cross the lagoon to Murano or Burano, nearby islands known for their textiles and glass, respectively. And yes, a gondola ride is for tourists only, but there is nothing more romantic, especially after the sun sets when fewer tourists are on the water.
There are plenty of places to ask someone to marry you in Venice. But if your partner is a book lover, make your way to Libreria Acqua Alta. This quirky little bookstore is a bibliophile’s dream with tomes piled high on shelves and even in the courtyard. The added bonus? You can cuddle with one of the resident felines.
We’ll always have Paris
It’s not possible to write about the most romantic destinations without including the French capital. Paris, with its narrow alleyways, buzzing squares, scenic boulevards and regal parks is tailor-made for lovers. “The City of Love” is filled with chic arrondissements but the most romantic is the cobble-stoned hilltop neighbourhood of Butte-aux-Cailles. Here, old-fashioned street lamps meet pastel houses and quaint bistros. Filled with Art Nouveau elegance, gourmet shops and lush rooftops, this village-like oasis has become a favourite for artists and is the perfect spot to meander hand-in-hand.
Housed in a pink Montmartre maisonette, La Maison Rose is about as romantic as it gets. Classic French farm-to-table cuisine meets Italian cucina povera in the form of seasonal, locally sourced sharing plates. Catalan painter Ramon Pichot bought the house in 1905 and used it as a studio hosting guests such as Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso. His wife later decided to paint the facade pink and turn it into a restaurant.
No city is more popular for proposals than Paris. If you want to avoid clichés such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, opt for a romantic Seine picnic or head to Jardin du Luxembourg’s secluded Medici Fountain.
For artsy couples, Musée de l’Orangerie with its tapestry-sized ethereal Monet Nymphéas paintings would make a swoon-worthy backdrop to the big moment. Ambitious partners can head outside of the city to Versailles’ marble Temple of Love. The neo-classical garden folly ordered by Marie-Antoinette will be the grand finale of your love tour.