With Valentine's Day just up ahead, love is in the air. (Or, at least, blog posts about love are on the Internet.) To prepare for the holiday of romance, I decided to put together a list of some romantic cities to consider visiting in Europe – some of which you may have never even considered before!
Paris, as Audrey Hepburn said, is always a good idea. France's capital is frequently regarded as one one of the most romantic cities in Europe, and with its elegant architecture, wide avenues, and penchant for picnics along the Seine, it's not difficult to understand why.
Things to do on a romantic day out in Paris: Take a stroll down the Champs-Élysées; snap photos in front of Notre Dame Cathedral; wander through the Louvre; enjoy a sunset cruise on the Seine; and see the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night.
When I think of romantic large cities in Europe, Venice almost immediately comes to mind. With its serenading gondoliers, stunning architecture, and network of narrow canals, it's the perfect place to stroll hand-in-hand with your honey.
Things to do on a romantic day out in Venice: Go on a cruise through the canals in a gondola; sip a glass of wine in St. Mark's Square; enjoy a gelato while getting lost in the narrow alleys; and have dinner overlooking the lagoon.
Located on the island of Santorini, the Greek village of Oia is famous for its white-washed buildings, its blue-domed churches, and its incredible sunsets. It therefore ranks up there as one of the most romantic places I've ever been.
Things to do on a romantic day out in Oia: Stroll the cobbled streets and shop for hand-made jewelry; take a cruise out to volcanic hot springs; watch the famous sunset; and book a hotel with an infinity pool that overlooks the sea.
Tucked away in central Slovenia, many people have never heard of Bled. But this small lakeside resort town should definitely be on your radar. Complete with a church on an island and a castle on a hilltop, Bled is like something straight out of a fairy tale.
Things to do on a romantic day out in Bled: Get a view from Bled Castle; take a traditional pletna boat to visit the church on Bled Island; go for a swim; enjoy some famous Bled cream cake while watching the sun set over Lake Bled.
You may know Salzburg as the home of Mozart (or perhaps as the home of “The Sound of Music”), but did you also know that it's a beautiful, romantic city, too? With a castle and mountains and nonstop music, Salzburg would also make for a great romantic getaway.
Things to do on a romantic day out in Salzburg: Stroll through Mirabell Gardens (and try not to burst out into song a la Julie Andrews); explore Hohensalzburg Fortress on the hill; wander the streets of the Old Town; visit Mozart's birth place; and end the evening with a live concert.
The first time I visited Bruges was in July, the height of high season in Europe. The city was hot and packed with tourists – and yet it still managed to charm my socks off. The colorful buildings, the little canals, and (of course) the chocolate made me imagine coming back (perhaps during shoulder season) with a significant other in tow.
Things to do on a romantic day out in Bruges: Take a canal tour; go shopping (and tasting) for chocolates; climb up the Belfry for a view; and share a giant Belgian waffle in Markt Square.
Lastly, I was almost going to include Prague on this list – because it, too, is a beautiful city filled with history and architecture. But a smaller Czech city actually stole my heart more than Prague: Cesky Krumlov. If you want fairy-tale and so-European-it-hurts, then you want to visit Cesky Krumlov.
Things to do on a romantic day out in Cesky Krumlov: Wander through the UNESCO-recognized medieval Old Town; explore the castle and gardens; rent a raft and mosey down the Vltava River; enjoy a traditional Czech dinner on an outdoor terrace next to the river.
There are plenty of other cities that could have made this list. Places like Rome and Vienna and Amsterdam. But I wanted to give you a slightly different take on the “most romantic places in Europe” list. Hopefully I've given you some new cities to consider for future trips with your special someone.
Do you have any romantic places you'd recommend? If so, please let us know in the comments.
Author's Bio: Amanda Williams is a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. She hopes to prove to people that traveling (and especially traveling as a woman) doesn't have to be scary, lonely, or out of anybody's reach. Follow along on her journey on her blog, A Dangerous Business, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
All photos in this post provided by Amanda.