The Top 5 Romantic European Cities for Valentine’s Day

I can’t think of any yearly celebration that’s quite as divisive as Valentine’s Day. Whilst some love all the romance and passion, others detest the day and see it as a marketing ploy to sell fancy chocolate and pricey roses. Personally, I can take it or leave it. I’m not a fan of the cringey, sickly declarations of love — however, I am a fan of chocolate. But whether you love or loathe the day, it’s the perfect excuse to treat you and your partner to a weekend getaway! Of course, most of us won’t be travelling further than the living room this Valentine’s Day. So this is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the game and start planning a romantic city break for 2022. After the last year, you both deserve it! 

  1. Ljubljana
A cityscape of Ljubljana on a cold, cloudy day.
Image by warpmike from Pixabay

This quaint, picturesque city is one of the most underrated in Europe. There’s a reason that Ljubljana sounds so much like the Slovenian word ‘ljubljena’ — it translates to ‘the beloved’. And anyone who’s been to the city knows how easy it is to fall in love with it. It’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway, as it’s so irresistibly charming. It isn’t a city for rushing — take your time to stroll through the scenic old town, admire the magnificent architecture, and pack yourself a picnic to enjoy at the beautiful Tivoli Park. And don’t forget to bring a padlock with you to Ljubljana’s Bridge of Love (also known as the Butcher’s bridge… which may sound a little less romantic).  

Lake Bled at sunset. The sky is tinged with orange and pink, which is reflected in the water.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Whilst you’re in the area, make sure to pay a visit to Lake Bled. If you don’t, you’ll seriously regret it — this tourist hotspot is even more beautiful in person. Visitors from all over the world come flocking to see this popular European landmark, and it’s easy to see why. Take a stroll around the lake to soak up the gorgeous views, explore the lake by rowboat, and make sure to visit the Church of Mary the Queen, dotted on a small island in the middle of the lake. It’s definitely worth it, as legend says that those who ring the church bell have their wishes come true

  1. Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik cityscape at distance at sunset.
Image by Hrvoje Margaretić from Pixabay

There is something so special about this medieval city. And it’s not just me that thinks that either — more than a million tourists flock there every year, making it the most popular tourist destination in Croatia. Start your trip by visiting the most popular spot in the city — the old town. This little piece of history is what earnt the city its UNESCO World Heritage status, so it’s a definite must see. Setting foot in this area of the city instantly transports you back in time. Make sure to explore the artsy shops and markets to find the best souvenirs. For lunch, opt for one of the many small and charming restaurants nestled away in the narrow side streets. There are so many great things to see and do in the old town. For a full list, check out this article from Culture Trip

A hand holding an almost empty glass of wine, on a long wooden table.
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

If you’re up for trying something different and a bit fancy, why not give wine tasting a go? Croatian wine is loved by everyone who tastes it, from the wine connoisseurs to the people who’d be happy with a bottle of Echo Falls (I’m definitely one of the latter). There are plenty of wine tours available, both in and around the city. If you want to have a bit of adventure too, this sea kayaking and wine tasting tour is one of the most popular, and costs just £31.40. Watching the sun set over the Adriatic sea with a glass of wine in your hand is the perfect way to end your romantic Dubrovnik getaway. 

  1. Lisbon 
A narrow street in Lisbon at sunset.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

I never planned on going to Lisbon, I didn’t really know anything about it. But a last-minute change of plans brought me to the city, and it felt like fate. I landed after being awake for 30 hours thanks to a flight cancellation. My phone was dead, I hadn’t eaten, I was seriously fed up. But after seeing this beautiful city for the first time, my anger melted away. Anyone who’s been there can attest to this. The beautifully bright buildings, the amazing intricate tiles, the cloudless deep blue skies — it’s impossible not to fall in love. Before you do anything in the city, take the time to explore it. Wander around, soak up the atmosphere and admire the amazing views. There really is nowhere else like it. 

To get the best view of the city, head up to São Jorge Castle. The first version of the castle dates all the way back to the 200 BC, although King Afonso I turned the castle into a Royal Palace in the 11th century. An earthquake destroyed much of the building in the 1700’s, but after being declared a national monument, it was restored in the 1940’s. Not long after, it became a major tourist attraction. As well as admiring the stunning views, take time to explore the castle grounds — there’s so much to see for an entry price of just €10.00. 

Drinking cocktails by the water, watching the sunset.
Cocktails in Lisbon, Portugal

As beautiful as the city is during the day, nothing beats the city at sunset. Head down to the riverside just before the sun starts to set, grab a cocktail (or several), and admire the breath-taking view. If you’d rather be on the water than just admiring it, book yourself a sunset cruise and make a memory that you’ll never forget. 

  1. Bath
A drone shot of Bath crescent on a sunny day. Two hot air balloons are floating in the sky.

Bath isn’t just the one of the most picturesque cities in the UK, but it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. There’s something in the city that suits everyone, so whether you want to splurge on a big shopping trip or have a relaxing, easy weekend, it’s the perfect place for you. To start your trip off with a fun couple activity, hire a rowboat to sail along the Kennet and Avon canal and admire the leafy scenery. After you’ve worked up an appetite, get yourself a picnic and head to the peaceful Royal Victoria park for lunch with a view. 

Of course, no trip to Bath would be complete without a visit to the Roman Baths. This is a must-see for history buffs, as the Baths are considered to be the best-preserved Roman remains in the world. In 45AD, the Romans took advantage of the only hot spring in Britain by using the water to create the bathing complex. It was an important part of their everyday life, as it was used as a social gathering spot. However, the baths stopped being used after Roman withdrawal in the 5th century. Adult tickets range from £17.00 to £21.00 depending on the season, but the price is well worth it for the amazing experience.

Although you can’t swim in the baths due to the poor water quality, you can still experience the natural thermal waters for yourself by visiting Thermae Bath Spa. Take a dip in the rooftop pool (which is always around a toasty 33.5°C) and treat the pair of you to a treatment too. It’s the perfect relaxing experience to round off your trip. 

  1. Paris 
A shot of Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Image by edmondlafoto from Pixabay

Yes, it may sound cliché, but there’s no denying it — Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. After all, it must be called the city of love for a reason. The city is even home to a temple of love! The temple is situated on an island in the middle of Bois de Vincennes, the largest park in Paris. It was constructed in 1778 under the instruction of Queen Marie-Antoinette, to celebrate the love of herself and the King. Legend says that couples who share a kiss in the temple have their love strengthened for each other, so it’s definitely worth a go. Make sure to explore the rest of the park as well and admire the beautiful scenery. 

If your visit ends up being a washout, be sure to visit Studio 28. This art house cinema is one of the best hidden gems in the city. Founded in 1928, the cinema has a reputation for showing some of the best avant-garde films around. Although it was modernised in the 90’s, it has still managed to keep the charm that made it so popular amongst film lovers in the first place. If you’re a film buff, it’s definitely worth a visit as a scene of the critically acclaimed romantic comedy ‘Amélie’ was filmed in the cinema. The cosy atmosphere makes Studio 28 one of the best places to spend a rainy afternoon in Paris. 

Me and Robin visiting Paris together for the first time in November, 2018.
Me and Robin visiting Paris together for the first time in November, 2018.

There are so many amazing things to see and do in Paris, but the best by far is to just wander through the city. Soak up the atmosphere, admire the views and visit the landmarks. Stroll along a few of the city’s most beautiful bridges, sample a selection of the most mouth-watering food and drink the city has to offer, and of course, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Eiffel Tower. You can pay to climb to the top if that’s what you fancy, but I much prefer seeing the tower from the outside to soak up the beauty of it. No matter how many times you’ve seen, it never gets any less beautiful.  

Where is your favourite romantic getaway? Let me know in the comments below!

Published by siobhank96

Hi! I'm Siobhan, thanks for stopping by! My blog, Live To Be Lost, is all about travel and exploration. I believe that you don't have to be on the other side of the world to have an adventure - there's an amazing world waiting for you at your own front door.

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