I don't know if it's the Valentine's Day spirit or because Spring is around the corner, but now seems like the perfect time to plan a trip for two to the world's most romantic location: Europe, of course! There, you'll find quiet, gloriously gorgeous corners in which to cuddle with your sweetie while savoring amazing views and cultures. These are my favorite locales to visit when Michael and I need a little “us” time away from the desk. I've compiled my top nine most romantic cities in Europe for couples.
It was hard to nail down just nine romantic cities in Europe but living here helped me narrow it down. Many might point to France as the most romantic country in Europe and while I don't disagree, there are plenty romantic destinations that will steal your heart and make you fall even more in love with your significant other. Here are the most romantic places to travel in Europe.
Nine of the Most Romantic Cities in Europe for Couples
Eze, The French Riviera
I think the word “romance” should be spelled “Cote d'Azure,” because there's nowhere along this coast that doesn't inspire the best kind of love. Couples can dance the night away in Europe's most glamorous cafes, then watch the sunrise from the beach at Plage Keller. Monet and Picasso both lived here, and their impressionist masterpieces continue to mesmerize the patrons of museums stretching from Marique to Monaco. And who doesn't love to dine amidst the splendor of a 15th-century castle overlooking the Mediterranean? Be careful, though; the view from the stone city of Eze may totally distract your attention from the amazing food you're eating. Wake up in splendor in a gypsy caravan in Mougins and have a chef prepared meal! Check out my French Riviera Itinerary.
Okay, it was hard to gaze into Michael's eyes because I was so distracted by the passing gondolas, the glitterati sauntering past the cafe, and the sensational seafood I was eating at our little Osteria in Venice. This city offers one-of-a-kind romantic opportunities for lovers of all ages. Gondolas delight, whether you're sitting back in one and watching the ancient architecture slide by or you're just listening to passing oars gently tickling the Mediterranean waters. The Rialto Bridge Market offers produce, meats and seafood, and the miles of pathways and bridges that connect its many islands provide lushly green parks and quiet close corners for picnics during evening strolls. Check out my Italy itinerary here.
It doesn't take long for you to discover why the Greeks are considered the fathers of our modern, wine-loving, beach-basking, romantic culture. Santorini's breathtaking vistas and eons of history are best savored in the company of its equally epic volcanic-soil wines. The blue-shuttered, whitewashed homes in the town of Oia compete comfortably with the ancient art in its museums, and it's the only place I know where you can spend the night in a luxuriously appointed cave house. Sailing along its beaches or cruising on a scooter through its narrow streets offers plenty of opportunity for both snuggles and romantic adventures.
If beaches aren't your thing, then perhaps the Swiss Alps will stimulate your romantic senses. Winter or summer, this quintessential Swiss town offers the perfect views and activities for couples to share. Zermatt's amenities are unmatched, and lording over everything is the Matterhorn, the world's most iconic peak. Check out my full guide to Zermatt.
In summer, you can hike, hang glide and even ski on or below the mountain, although the cable cars that traverse the slopes offer the same views without all that effort. In winter, however, Zermatt is considered one of the world's best ski resorts (even for non-skiers), and Hotel Cervo offers ski-in and ski-out access. Its car-less village encourages chatting with fellow strollers, even if they don't speak the same language. And, along with the fine dining and dancing venues, the cafes, bars and restaurants boast locally made cheeses and meats that aren't found anywhere else in the world. Sharing these memories when you get home will return you and your honey to the romance you enjoyed in Zermatt.
Another romance hot-spot is Ireland, but for vastly different reasons. The Emerald Isle's expansive vistas are dotted with ancient castles and unexplained mysteries just waiting for discovery. Imagine you and yours gazing out at the sea, the wind whipping through your hair as you watch for a Viking longship to pierce the horizon. Magical, prehistoric ruins still effuse their mystical aura, and the cobbled streets of Medieval towns take you into shops that are hundreds of years old. The cosmopolitan cities, however, are completely 21st century. Here, you can enjoy a pint of world-renowned Guinness beer while pondering your next romantic excursion. Check out my one week guide to Ireland here.
The ultimate romance, however, flows from Copenhagen's “hygge,” its sense of warmth and togetherness. Hygge is central to the Danish culture, which is all about feeling cozy, the perfect activity and excuse for cuddling. It starts with atmosphere, and most of the eateries and cafes provide the perfect setting to define the hygge glow, no matter what they are serving. Old-town Copenhagen is awash in hygge, with its cobblestone streets, centuries-old architecture and delightful canals. I personally think a canal boat cruise is the most romantic way to see the city; you'll see all its classic sites – the Opera House, Christiansborg Palace and the ultimate fairytale princess, the Little Mermaid – while nestled in the arms of your best friend.
For a truly steamy encounter, head to the indoor gardens at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen's premier museum. Check out my top to-do's in Copenhagen.
San Sebastián, Spain
For a true culinary experience head to the place with the most Michelin star restaurants, right? San Sebastián is known for its decadent food, but the golden beaches aren't bad either. Warm sand, crystal blue water, and views that rival the best beaches across Europe. After basking in the sun, walk the cobblestone streets or move hand-in-hand down the bayfront promenade for sunset. Then drop in any restaurant for delicious “pintxos” also known as tapas. You really can't have a bad meal, or bad time, in San Sebastián.
Nechschwanstein Castle, Germany
Is there anything more romantic than a castle? Nope! But one that inspired Disney really takes the cake. I love visiting the castle in wintertime for a snow-covered landscape andquiet, romantic vibe. You can opt to take a horse and carriage up to the castle or walk up the path. There's also a great view of the town from the castle and a cafe for a warm drink. Check out my full guide to the Neuschwanstein castle here.
I just can't have a guide for the most romantic cities in Europe without including the city of love, Paris. It's quintessential Europe with astounding architecture, great food, and a tower that sparkles each night. Paris immediately grabbed my own heart when i visited for the first time, and it never ceases to inspire a sense of wonderment in me. Walking down the River Seine with a loved one while violin music is playing softly and the smell of French food wafts through the air might just be the closest to heaven we get. Here's the essential guide to Paris.
I'm all aglow just thinking of the next trek to romance that I'll share with Michael. Perhaps I'll see you and your sweetheart at one of these most romantic destinations! What do you think is the most romantic city in Europe?