View of San Juan from a Historic Fort

10 of the Most Romantic Places in Europe

Pick one of these romantic destinations in Europe and take your partner on a trip to remember.




Looking for the most romantic places in Europe to visit with your partner or even for your honeymoon? Take a cruise to these breathtaking European destinations in Italy, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Belgium, Montenegro or Sweden. Here you'll find some of the top things to do in Europe for couples. Relax, go on an adventure, or admire stunning natural beauty and fascinating cities in these memorable romantic European getaways.





1. Bruges, Zeebrugge

Belgium Zeebrugge Belgian Chocolate

The fairy-tale city of Bruges (Brugge in Flemish) is one of the most romantic European getaways. It's just a short shuttle ride from the Zeebrugge port to this picturesque, cobbled-lane town. Bruges is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Try to visit outside the busy summer months for the best views of the many beautiful canals, bridges and historic buildings.

Visit the 83-meters-high Belfry of Bruges, built around 1240 and possessing a 47-bell carillon. After ascending the 366 steps, you'll be awarded a spectacular view. Then enjoy some mussels, served with Belgian fries and mayonnaise, or some sweet Belgian waffles. You can also sit down for a coffee or tea on the lively and photogenic market square, watch a street performance or stroll the market for some authentic Belgian chocolate.

And why not learn about the history of chocolate at Choco-Story, Bruges' chocolate museum? It's located in a magnificent 16th-century building. You can watch chocolate being made and, of course, stock up on supplies. Back at Zeebrugge, relax at the beach or stroll around the marina.



2. Seville, Cadiz

Spain Seville Cadiz Cathedral Gothic Church

Disembark at Cádiz and take some time to get to know this attractive Spanish city. It is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC. The old town is one of the most romantic places in Europe. Join the sun-worshippers and have a dip in the Atlantic, then enjoy a meal for two from a terrace overlooking the ocean.

Seville is just a short trip away. This vibrant capital of Spain's Andalusia, located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, is one of the top European city trips for couples. Stroll around the large medieval center or rent a bicycle then enter the Seville Cathedral, one of the world's largest Gothic churches, and see the tomb of Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus. Climb the minaret of La Giralda for a breathtaking view of this wonderful city.

Be sure to also visit the Alcázar Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has a mixture of architectural styles and a beautiful old garden. Admire the impressive Plaza de España in the lush Parque de Maria Luisa from a painted ceramic bench then sample mouthwatering tapas in the bars of Santa Cruz and join the locals in celebrating at one of the many festivals.



3. Venice, Italy

Italy Venice Waterway Gondolas

Probably one of the best European honeymoon destinations, this northern Italian city will take your breath away.

To avoid crowds, visit outside the busy summer season or stay a little further from the action. There are many other stunning and less crowded islands to choose from in the Venetian lagoon such as Murano, where local artisans create marvelous hand-blown glassworks; Burano, known for its handmade lace products; and Torcello, where sheep outnumber the human residents. You can discover the lagoon from your own kayak or take the Vaporetto waterbus around the islands.

In the heart of Venice, don't miss the outstanding Basilica San Marco, which has Byzantine architecture and golden mosaics, on the impressive Piazza San Marco. For an awe-inspiring view over the City of Bridges and its surroundings, take the elevator to the top of the Campanile bell tower, then stroll around the stunning narrow backstreets and sit down for a delicious, intimate Venetian meal of seafood from the lagoon or cicheti (Venetian tapas).



4. Visby, Sweden

Sweden Visby Old Town Rose Bush

Visit Visby a small Swedish town on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, south of Stockholm. One of Scandinavia's best-preserved medieval towns is also among the most romantic places in Europe. It was a busy trading spot during the Viking Age and today, it's a popular summer destination for locals.

Discover the photogenic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site with pastel cottages that are adorned with roses. You'll also find ruined Gothic churches and the 13th-century Visby Cathedral. Stroll along the impressive, roughly-3.5-kilometer-long City Wall with its more than 30 towers, many gates, and surrounding moats. In the excellent Gotland Museum, you can learn about the region's history.

On the central Stora Torget, you'll find the grand medieval ruins of the St. Karin church with its high arches. There are also many cafes and restaurants around the square as well as shops and galleries that sell glasswork, pottery and wool products.

You can rent a bicycle to explore the surrounding countryside or visit the fascinating Tofta Viking Village, a 10th-century settlement. Bake some Viking bread, throw an ax, and shoot bows and arrows. Also, don't miss the giant Rauks, natural limestone pillars on the gorgeous little island of Fårö, which is located north of Gotland.



5. Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal Lisbon Torre de Belem Sunset

The Portuguese capital Lisbon is among the best European honeymoon destinations. Get to know the elegant city by strolling over the postcard-perfect cobbled alleyways and stop at the miradouros on the hilltops such as Castelo de São Jorge, Portas do Sol and Santa Luzia. These terraces give you breathtaking views over the City of Seven Hills and the sea. You can also ride the Santa Justa Lift between Baixa and Bairro Alto to reach another stunning viewpoint.

Visit the tomb of explorer Vasco de Gama in the Jerónimos Monastery in the attractive Belém quarter and take a look at the lovely Torre de Belem, a 16th-century fort. In between, have some bacalhau (dried and salted codfish) with a glass of Portuguese wine or a pasteis de nata, an egg tart.

If you have the time, take a train to Sintra, another romantic Portuguese town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you'll find colorful palaces, extravagant mansions and the ruins of an ancient castle hidden between pine-covered hills.

At night, celebrate together with your partner in the lively bars of the Lisbon quarter Bairro Alto.



6. Zadar, Croatia

Croatia Zadar Solar Panel Light Show

This charming Croatian town on the Dalmatian Coast doesn't get as crowded as Split and Dubrovnik further south, making it one of the better romantic European getaways. Enter the old city's Venetian gates and stroll around the monumental Roman Forum. Have a coffee at Narodni Trg (People's Square).

Then listen to the world's only Sea Organ — the waves create beautiful melodies through the underwater pipes. It was created by local architect Nikola Bašić. He also made the nearby Sun Salutation, a large circle with glass plates that create a light show and collect energy. In addition, you should sample some seafood fresh from the Adriatic such as calamari and cuttlefish ink risotto.

From Zadar, you can take a ferry to the surrounding islands like Kornati or Pag (Pag is also connected by a bridge) or visit one of the several spectacular national parks. The most popular (and with reason) is Plitvice Lakes, where you can hike around stunning turquoise lakes, forested hills and many waterfalls. In the Krka National Park, there are many waterfalls to admire as well and the mountainous Paklenica National Park is also terrific.



7. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland Reykjavik Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa

Iceland's quirky and creative capital is one of the best European honeymoon destinations. Soon after arriving in the town center, you'll see the remarkable Hallgrimskirkja church, which dominates the skyline. The roughly-75-meter spire, which you can now reach with an elevator, gives you a good view of the capital and its impressive surroundings. You can listen to the organist perform on the vast 5,275-pipe organ and admire the Expressionist-style architecture.

If you'd like to learn more about Iceland's history, head to the Settlement Exhibition, which is built around a Viking longhouse, and the Saga Museum in the Old Harbour can tell you even more.

You can admire the graffiti and public art or go inside to the art museums and galleries such as the Reykjavík Art Museum and the National Gallery. You can also go shopping for some cutting-edge designer items. In between, sample some Icelandic cuisine or have a drink in one of the trendy cafes.

If you're looking to relax, unwind in the world-famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa surrounded by volcanic mountains. Luxuriate in the hot water with your partner and pamper yourselves with mud masks and massages. Icelandic nightlife is justly famous for its many great festivals, DJs and bands.

Also, try to schedule some time to travel to the countryside, which has awe-inspiring snow-topped mountains, fjords, valleys and glaciers.



8. Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor Montenegro Castle During Sunset

This gorgeous small town, situated in the small country of Montenegro, is one of the most romantic places in Europe. When disembarking from your ship, you'll be impressed by the view of the surrounding mountains, the medieval houses with their orange rooftops and the majestic forts.

Go through the Sea Gate, dating back to the 16th century, to enter the delightful Old Town. Stroll around the narrow maze of cobblestoned streets with lines of laundry, marvel at the Venetian palaces and sit down for a coffee. You can also look inside the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas or the Cathedral of St. Tryphon.

Climb up the path along the serpentine wall to St. John's Fortress on the hilltop, which was built in the ninth century. An hour's walk will take you to stunning, photogenic views of the town and bay. Descend while the sun sets and pick a terrace to enjoy a black risotto dish (a local favorite made of seafood and rice that gets its color from squid ink) with some local wine or beer. Then follow live music to its source for a night to remember.



9. Inverness/Loch Ness, Scotland

Scotland Inverness Loch Ness Castle

A trip to the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands on the northeast coast is among the top things to do in Europe for couples. The town is said to be founded by King David in the 12th century, but most of the current houses were built after 1822.

The broad and shallow River Ness runs through the town to the sea starting from Loch Ness Lake. One of the highlights in Inverness is a pleasant stroll along the river to the Ness Islands. On the way, you'll see the 18th-century Old High Church and the Inverness Castle. The small islands, which are a popular picnic spot, are linked by graceful Victorian footbridges.

Next, take a cruise to the lake in search of legendary sea monster Nessie of Loch Ness. You can also explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle, which date from the 13th to the 16th centuries and overlook the lake.

If you have time, discover a bit more of the surrounding Scottish Highlands such as the fairytale-style Dunrobin Castle, which dates back the early 1300s and which has a museum and Versailles-inspired gardens. The 14th-century Cawdor Castle inspired Shakespeare, who set one of the murder scenes from Macbeth there.

And of course, sampling some fine single-malt Scotch whisky (Scottish spelling) with its distinctive smoky, peaty aromas is a must.



10. Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia Tallinn Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Estonia's photogenic capital is another of the most romantic places in Europe and also among the best European honeymoon destinations. The city, which is situated on the Baltic Sea opposite Helsinki, was established in the Middle Ages. Today it's a compact and green city and an exciting mix of old and new.

For a great view of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, hike up Toompea Hill, then stroll around the Old Town, where you'll find fairytale castles, narrow passageways, medieval houses and ancient churches. Admire the mosaics and icons at the Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and have a look at the pink Riigikogu parliament house.

In the charming medieval Raekoja plats (Town Hall Square), visit a trendy café or a cozy cellar restaurant. Estonian food mixes Baltic and Russian influences and you can expect to find dishes like pickled herring and buckwheat blinis with whitefish roe, red onion and sour cream.

Then head to the coastline, where attractive promenades and sandy beaches await you at Kakumae. In addition, you'll find the Olympic Yachting Centre, left over from the 1980 Olympics, at Pirita.

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