So, you’re in the market to woo your beloved this Valentine’s Day, but heart-shaped helium balloons and a shoddy box of Milk Tray just won’t cut it. Where in the world can you visit where romance is a given? We’ve got you covered with this list of the most romantic cities in the world.
In a city so beautiful even Metro signs make you swoon, it’s no wonder Paris is crowned Most Romantic City in The World time and time again. Whether you’re smooching beneath the Eiffel Tower, sauntering along the Seine, or cycling to a picnic in Luxembourg Gardens with a basket full of buttery pastries from Boulangerie Utopie, Paris can’t fail to make you say ‘ooh la la’. Meet bookish types at Shakespeare & Co, or head to the 10th and 11th arrondissements to rub shoulders (and maybe more) with Parisian singles.
2. Buenos Aires
Nowhere is better for passion than the steamy streets of Argentina’s capital. Take a Tango class at La Catedral or head to La Boca to watch the best dancers in action. Buenos Aires is ideal for serial daters with bargain budgets. Enjoy a slap up dinner for two for around £25 at Manolo’s and then – if you can still move – go in search of eligible porteños at Fiesta Plop, the best gay night in town, with some of the most imaginative party themes!
Falling in amore in Rome is guaranteed, and that’s just with the gelato! Explore Rome’s highlights; the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, just don’t forget to wish for everlasting love at the Trevi Fountain. Watch the sunset with a glass of prosecco, before heading in search of some of that good old-fashioned debauchery Caesar and his mates did so well in Campo de’Fiori or Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere. The rooftop bar at Hotel Cesàri is one of Rome’s best-kept secrets. While it may not fit the typical backpacker budget, for a special treat pop in for one drink.
With the Sahara Desert to one side and the Atlas Mountains to the other, Marrakech’s romantic backdrop makes it one of the most popular cities for couples to visit. Get lost while shopping for treasures in the city’s souks around Djemaa en-Fna and fill up on mint-tea to ease those pesky butterflies you get in your stomach looking at your beau. Marvel at the Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Mosque, and the Saadian Tombs. If you want to take your lover on a journey they’ll never forget, enjoy a hot air balloon flight or camel ride through the dunes of Palmaraie – an oasis just outside the city.
5. New York City
Step into your favourite romantic comedy on the streets of NYC. Get as close to Cloud 9 as possible at the top of the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Centre. See works of art at the Guggenheim or the MOMA, fall in love on Broadway or snuggle up close on the Staten Island ferry. Visit Brooklyn Bridge at dusk, just when the lights of the Manhattan skyline start twinkling. Enjoy happy hour drinks at Vu Rooftop Bar or Cantina in Manhattan, or Berry Park in Greenpoint.
Intimate candlelit restaurants and hidden corners perfect for stolen kisses make Venice one of the best cities for couples to visit. Rise early to beat the crowds around the Bridge of Sighs and the Grand Canal and to watch the morning light play over the city’s pastel piazzas and palazzos. If you want to be serenaded with sonatas, the quieter canals of San Polo are the cheapest place for a gondola ride.
With balconies of colourful buildings overflowing with fragrant flowers and the sound of music trickling from every doorway, Cartagena is an intoxicating place. Hit the beach in the day, enjoy sundown at the old city walls or with a horse-drawn coche ride. When night falls, sip some aguardiente and enjoy live music at Café Havana before hitting up Quiebra-Canto, the original and best salsa party in town.
A city known for its lace has to be sexy, right? Right! Bruges is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. If your knees don’t go weak at the words ‘UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site’ – maybe they will after a few Belgian beers at Charlie Rockets or Bauhaus Bar. Explore the Medieval city streets by foot or boat, feed each other handmade local chocolates, visit the ‘Lake of Love’, or head up the 366-steps of The Belfry for spectacular views.
9. Dubrovnik, Croatia
For some Game of Thrones roleplay overlooking the Adriatic Sea, head to Dubrovnik – a romantic dream come true. Every way you turn there are ocean views, Baroque mansions and steamy squares perfect for long, boozy lunches. Rent kayaks to explore hidden coves, perfect for skinny dipping. Walk the Old Town walls for the best views of the city and try to locate Buza Bar at sunset.
10. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Forget Prague, forget Budapest – Ljubljana is the new kid on the romance block. This charming (and bargain) city is overlooked by its very own fairytale castle and divided in two by the beautiful Ljubljanica River, which is lined with cafés and bars and cross-crossed by many a selfie-worthy bridge.
About the author:
Amy Baker is the author of Miss-Adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking Around South America, and founder of The Riff Raff, a writers’ community that supports aspiring writers and champions debut authors. You can follow Amy on Twitter here.