Jessica Wray is a Californian, an over-thinker, a spicy-food lover and a serial expat. She has studied and lived in Latin America, taught English in South Korea, backpacked Asia and now lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow along with her on her blog, Curiosity Travels, as she tackles her mid-twenties all while calling different parts of the world home.
While most people think of tropical beaches when dreaming up romantic destinations, to me there’s nothing more romantic than cosying up with someone to keep warm or enjoying a stroll while snow is falling. This winter grab your special someone and a warm coat for the romantic getaway of a lifetime.
This Dutch city is not all coffee shops and sexy ladies in windows. While Paris gets all the attention for being the place for romance, there’s something about Amsterdam which is almost more charming. Stay in the authentic Jordaan neighbourhood and be swept away by the golden and glowing street lights, the Christmas decorations and the criss-crossing canals.
Amsterdam is also full of cosy pubs and bars. The Dutch even have the word, “gezelligheid” which encompasses that feeling of complete cosiness, or general warm feeling in a place spent with loved ones. These old brown wooden bars are exactly that. The perfect place for romantic dates by candlelight.
This state in southern Germany is a real life fairy-tale. Although beautiful all year round, imagine visiting a castle worthy of inspiring Walt Disney, blanketed in a thick coating of snow. It’s called Neuschwanstein, and feels like it’s straight out of a dream!
When you aren’t visiting castles and the countryside, enjoy some of the region’s Christmas markets. Munich holds one of the country’s best. Hand in hand, stroll the stalls with your crush while sipping on mulled wine and buying authentic handicrafts.
3. New York
The ultimate destination for over the top Christmas spirit and New Year’s Eve extravagance, New York sums up holiday romance with the excitement of a city. Huge Christmas trees light up the plazas and festive decorations line the department stores and streets.
During the day, stroll snowy Central Park or visit a toasty museum to stay warm. At night go ice skating and try out some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. The options are endless in NYC and you’ll never get bored. It could be blistering cold though, so make sure to huddle up, keep each other warm and share a few cups of hot cocoa.
The Czech Republic’s capital couldn’t be more picturesque, and during winter it’s no exception. Stroll across Charles Bridge, take a carriage ride or drink mulled wine at the Christmas market in the main square.
Don’t forget to stroll down Prague’s too-cute-to-be-true Golden Lane inside the castle grounds. This is a 15th century preserved street where many of the castle employees used to live. These days it’s a tourist attraction of colourful houses worth a mini-photo shoot with your love.
Mountain towns and scenery are romantic on their own, but Banff in the Canadian Rockies takes it to a new level. Glistening Lake Louise is a crystal clear spectacle which reflects the towering mountains in the distance.
Enjoy the winter wonderland on a romantic sleigh ride along the frozen Bow River or rent a car and take to the mountain roads for views of the surrounding area.
From the stunning Parliament to the impressive Chain Bridge at night, Budapest doesn’t lack impressive views. Take your loved one on a stroll by the Danube River or on a sunset cruise. You can also book a river cruise with a candle-lit dinner if you are really looking to celebrate. It doesn’t get any more perfect than having a fine meal while staring out toward all the illuminated city buildings.
During the day, head to one of Budapest’s many thermal spring baths to warm up. They aren’t private baths, but you’re in love– no one else will matter anyway.
Rome in the summer has a way of making one of the most romantic cities in the world a crowded sticky mess. The lines are long, the days are hotter than Hades and the prices skyrocket.
In winter, enjoy a quieter, more atmospheric Rome. Visit the sights without the hordes of people. Walk through the winding cobblestone alleys without hearing English spoken at every corner. Sneak into a trattoria for your favourite pasta dish and chat for hours. For a few days, just live like the Romans do and enjoy life within this ancient, magical city.
8. The Alps and Bernina Express
Connecting Chur, Switzerland, and Tirano, Italy, the Bernina Express cuts through some of the most magical winter scenery in the world. With your love by your side, ride the UNESCO railway while passing snow covered forests, towering mountains and expansive glaciers.
Make sure to hop off at Alp Grüm for the incredible views of the Palü Glacier, the Bernina Range, the Bergamasque Alps and all of Valposchiavo. You can also share a bowl of authentic pizzocheri, buckwheat noodles, from the sunny terrace of Alp Grüm Restaurant.
It’s not called both the City of Love and the City of Lights for no reason. In winter, this city shines. Although you’ll have to layer up and prepare for some rainy and misty days, Paris is still a dream even in gloomy weather.
You can stroll the Champs-Elysées adorned by holiday lights or window shop like Parisians do down the city’s grand boulevards. If you start to get too cold, duck into a toasty café for a café au lait or into a museum for some one-on-one time with your favourite works of art.
There’s nothing more magical than seeing the sky light up into a swirling mix of blues, greens and purples overhead. During winter, the other-worldly display of the northern lights within the far reaches of Sweden and Finland is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When you aren’t cosying up together staring into the night sky, explore the snow covered expanses by dog sled. If the two of you can manage a group of energetic huskies through the wide-open wilderness, nothing else will stand in the way of your love.
What’s the most romantic place to go in winter? Let us know in the comments…