12 of the most romantic cities in Europe

By Photobox on 10 January 2024

Looking for a romantic European city break for a unique Valentine’s Day escape? Dive into our selection of Europe’s 12 most enchanting cities and get ready for an unforgettable romantic adventure bursting with love.

Christmas festivities are a distant memory, and summer plans are on the horizon. With many European destinations just an hour or two flight away, beat the winter blues by whisking away your loved one to a dreamy European city break. We’ve handpicked 12 romantic cities in Europe that are just oozing with romance. So pack your camera, book a place to stay and get on your way.

The most romantic cities in Europe

Whether your romance flourishes in historic streets, cosy taverns, or amidst breathtaking landscapes, Europe’s cities offer an array of incredible settings for your kind of romance. From the iconic canals of Venice to the steaming thermal baths of Iceland, find the city that resonates with your love story.

1. Venice, Italy

Venice is a timeless romantic city in Europe but offers more than its famed gondolas and canals. Though, of course, Venice’s labyrinth of canals sets the stage for unforgettable moments, take some time to wander through its picturesque alleyways, discover the majestic views from its ancient bridges, and enjoy a serene day trip to the colourful Burano island.

Our top Venice city break tip: Looking to escape the crowds? Experience a hidden gem, the Dorsoduro district, for a quieter, more local side of Venice, rich in art, culture and fantastic local food.

2. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is always a good idea. Spend the days exploring old, colourful neighbourhoods that resonate with the melancholic tunes of Fado, and enjoy Lisbon’s world-famous restaurant terraces that make for a perfect romantic evening under the stars. Better yet, even in the heart of winter, the city is a welcome winter break with pleasantly mild temperatures.

Our top Lisbon city break tip: Ride the iconic vintage Tram 28 through the city’s most picturesque streets, a journey guaranteed to deliver amazing photo opportunities.

3. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s fairytale architecture and vibrant history make it a haven for lovers, both young and old. Explore the Old Town Square, wander through the Baroque gardens of Malá Strana, and feel the romantic aura under the shadow of Prague Castle. The city’s blend of history and beauty creates a magical atmosphere that’s hard to beat.

Our top Prague city break tip: Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the Vltava River, offering a different perspective of Prague’s majestic skyline.

4. Vienna, Austria

Vienna’s imperial grandeur and rich cultural heritage offer the perfect backdrop for a romantic European city break. Visit the majestic Schönbrunn Palace, wander through the historic streets of Innere Stadt, and revel in the city’s classical music heritage. Vienna’s elegant coffee houses and vibrant arts scene add to its romantic allure.

Our top Vienna city break tip: Looking to amp up the fairytale vibes? Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the Ringstrasse, enveloped in the city’s imperial charm.

5. Rome, Italy

From hidden piazzas to ancient ruins, Rome offers endless opportunities for romantic exploration. Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine in a cosy trattoria and wander through the ancient city streets, stopping for gelato and embracing the Dolce Vita. Rome remains an enchanting destination throughout the year, with February offering mild temperatures ideal for exploring its storied streets.

Our top Rome city break tip: Visit Rome’s lesser-known but seriously enchanting Monti neighbourhood, steeped in bohemian charm with its vintage shops and artisanal eateries.

6. Ghent, Belgium

Ghent’s medieval architecture and serene canals have long been a romantic destination for couples seeking for a peaceful European city break. This charming Flemish city, with its quaint streets and historical landmarks like the Old St Elizabeth Beguinage, is perfect for those seeking an enchanting getaway with minimal crowds and maximum romance.

Our top Ghent city break tip: Take a twilight walk around Gravensteen Castle, where the ancient stones and waterways come alive under the evening light.

7. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, is a treasure trove of romantic experiences. Its fairytale-like bridges, scenic river views, vibrant cafe culture and a castle overlooking the city make it an idyllic destination for a romantic weekend break.

Our top Ljubljana city break tip: An escape to the idyllic Lake Bled for a romantic day out is a Ljublijana must-do. Enjoy a scenic walk, a tranquil boat ride, or simply relax with a coffee and traditional pastry, all set against the backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

8. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest instantly charms with its stunning Danube River views and iconic thermal baths. Spend a day exploring the city: wander across the Chain Bridge, discover the enchanting Buda Castle and immerse in the city’s famous thermal baths for a relaxing experience. For a touch of nature, Margaret Island provides a peaceful retreat with its beautiful paths.

Our top Budapest city break tip: Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion at sunset for a breathtaking panorama of the city, then complete the perfect evening with a Danube River cruise that offers a spectacular view of the city lights.

9. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik’s allure lies in its ancient city walls and mesmerising Adriatic Sea views. Meander through its iconic Old Town, enjoy fresh seafood and absorb the romantic atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s stunning architecture and seaside charm make it a lover’s paradise.

Our top Dubrovnik city break tip: For a unique experience, take the cable car up to Mount Srđ at dusk and watch the city light up, with the sea shimmering under the moonlight.

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

With its historic charm and scenic landscapes, Edinburgh is a perfect romantic destination. The city’s rich history, stunning architecture, and the famous Edinburgh Castle set against the backdrop of the Scottish hills create a unique, mystical setting. Explore the Old Town’s cobbled streets and enjoy cosy moments in traditional Scottish pubs.

Our top Edinburgh city break tip: Climb up to Arthur’s Seat for a panoramic view of the city, especially magical at sunrise or sunset, offering a quiet spot away from the city bustle.

11. Reykjavic, Iceland

Reykjavik, known for its dramatic landscapes and wild charm, offers a blend of adventure and romance. The city is a gateway to breathtaking natural wonders like the Northern Lights, the Blue Lagoon, and the Golden Circle. Its relatively compact size makes it perfect for intimate explorations or mini-road trips.

Our top Reykjavik city break tip: Embrace the Icelandic tradition of relaxing in a geothermal pool together, especially enchanting under the aurora borealis, if you’re lucky. The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most well-known thermal attraction – remember to book well in advance!

12. Paris, France

No list of the most romantic cities in Europe would be complete without Paris, the undisputed city of love. Spend a dreamy weekend savouring croissants and café au lait in a quaint café, strolling hand in hand along the Seine, or marvelling at the treasures in the Louvre. The city’s blend of unrivalled culture, iconic landmarks, and culinary excellence creates the perfect setting for a loved-up getaway.

Our top Paris city break tip: Enjoy a picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens or a boat ride on the Seine River, offering unique views of the city’s historic landmarks.

Are you already dreaming of being whisked off your feet? Share this blog on social media using the icons below… your special someone might just take the hint. And once you’ve visited your favourite romantic destination, make sure to keep the memories forever in a beautiful travel photo book.