Europe is widely acclaimed by tourists from all over the world as the most romantic continent. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Latin (or Romance-speaking) countries, in particular in Italy, the cradle of Romanticism (after all the word is derived from Rome).
Here is our selection of Europe’s most romantic places. We have considered many criteria such as the climate, the local cuisine, the friendliness of the people, how cheerful and happy the places makes you feel… but ultimately it is all about finding the ideal spot to share an unforgettable time with the person you love.
1. Amalfi Coast, Italy
With its ideal Mediterranean climate, its amazing natural setting, its colourful houses and ancient Roman heritage, the islands of the Bay of Naples (Capri, Ischia, Procida) and the adjacent Amalfi Coast form one of the world’s most idyllic and enchanting spots. To top it all the area boasts the world’s highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita, making it the perfect location to enjoy a romantic dinner.
2. Stockholm, Sweden
Built in the midst of a vast coastal archipelago, Stockholm is the Nordic Venice, a dignified and harmonious city filled with colorful facades and eye-pleasing monuments.
3. Venice, Italy
Perhaps the world’s most uniquely romantic city, Venice is a place where time seem to have frozen a few centuries ago, when La Serenissima ruled over a maritime empire stretching over the Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean. Nothing can rush the gondolas in the canals of the floating city. The only drawback is that Venice suffers from its popularity and is often overcrowded and rainy in the high season, and a bit too cold in winter.
4. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Known as the jewel of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik was for 450 years the seat of the independent Republic of Ragusa (its Latin name). With its beautifully preserved stone buildings, intact city walls facing a turquoise sea, Dubrovnik is the foremost honyemoon destinations in the Balkans.
5. Santorini, Greece
Few places have caught human imagination like Santorini, the remains of an island destroyed by a huge volcanic explosion at the height of the Minoan civilization. Some have seen in it the location of ancient Atlantis. Nowadays the white houses, windmills and blue domed churches overlooking the collapsed caldera are one of the world’s most photographed panorama and a popular honeymoon destination. Santorini suffers however from its excessive popularity and overcrowding takes a bit of the mood away. The restaurant scene is a bit limited too.
6. Strasbourg, France
Sometimes dubbed “the most beautiful German city”, Strasbourg may now be French, but it has retained its German Renaissance timber-framed houses and crow-stepped gable facades. The city grew on an island on the Ill estuary and is crisscrossed by a number of canals linking the Ill to the Rhine.
7. Rome, Italy
The romantic city par excellence, Rome has all the qualities to enrapture couples in love. It is the land of the dolce vita, where candle-lit restaurants serve excellent food and where narrow, pedestrian cobbled streets are lined with cheerful, multi-colored palaces and grand ancient monuments.
8. London, England
London is Europe’s largest and most vibrant metropolis, a liberal and trendsetting city where anything seems possible. The seat of the world’s most famous monarchy, the former capital of the largest and most cosmopolitan empire that there ever was, London is romantic in many different ways from other places on this page. It is a place to experience, a city with a rich heritage and a unique culture, indescribably amazing in both its traditional and contemporary sides.
9. Lisbon, Portugal
Looking west over the Atlantic Ocean and its former colonial empire, Lisbon has an exotic appeal, a laid-back temperament that entice visitors to saunter about. Its hilly colourful streets, the long pedestrianised walks along the Tagus Estuary, and the cozy and intimate restaurants open till late at night all contribute to the romantic character of Lisbon.
10. Vienna, Austria
Capital of one of the longest-lived empires in history, Vienna is the most elegant and sumptuous of all German-speaking cities, yet also one of the most relaxed thanks to its legendary coffee house culture. Grand neoclassical buildings and Baroque palaces confer Vienna a unique charm and atmosphere. Its romantic character is further enhanced by its association with many great classical composers.