Travel Ten: Top Ten Romantic Cities in the World

Only a month left to Valentine's – that ever controversial date, 14 February, marked to celebrate romance. Some cherish the day and spend it in romantic activities from dinner dates to picnics in the park, while others see is as commercial gimmickry invented to ensure we throw our hard earned cash into over-priced flowers, chocolate and teddy bears. Some make outrageous plans to pop the question to take their relationship to the next level, while others find it the perfect date to end their commitment and jump back into the dating pool. There are still some, single and somber, who mark the date as non-Valentine and enjoy activities with other single friends, or at home drowning their sorrows into the glass of Jack and comfort-eating.

If you are loved up and in favour of a day to celebrate all things romantic, however, you have exactly a month left to book that weekend away and treat your loved one to a romantic getaway. Here are our top romantic destinations around the world.


Paris, France


No other city revels in its romantic cred like Paris with its picture perfect bridges over River Seine and outdoor cafes. While romance in Paris may strike you as a cliché, let’s not forget clichés exist for a reason. Enjoy continental breakfast at one of the many outdoor cafes (Weather permitting as you don’t want it to rain on your love parade), stroll amidst the floral idyll of the 61-acre Luxembourg Garden and toast the sunset from atop Montmartre.


Venice, Italy


Venice is made for romantic hideaways, with its labyrinthine canals, mysterious passageways and an air of romance in every square meter. Where else can you take a gondola ride in the afternoon, have a romantic dinner in the evening and take a stroll through through Piazza San Marco? a local legend that says lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge of Sighs as the bells of the Companile di San Marco begin to toll. Worth a try, right?


Bruges, Belgium


Looking for canals without the crowds? Then skip Venice and head straight to Bruges where you can enjoy a boat ride through the canals, take leisurely strolls down narrow streets, explore the Food and Flower Market. For a more upbeat experience, you can cycle along the canals to the historic village of Damme or take a horse drawn carriage from Market Square.


Budapest, Hungary


Made of Buda and Pest, two halves of the city on either side of the River Danube, the Hungarian capital offers plenty of old school charm and character for lovers exploring the capital. Its rich cultural heritage and beautiful architecture have earned the city the its reputation as the ‘Paris of Eastern Europe’. Take a stroll down the narrow streets, head over Margaret Island on Danube and remember to take a thermal dip at one of the city’s many bathhouses.


Vienna, Austria


Rich in culture and arts, one of the most historic cities of Europe offers a magnificent backdrop to romance. Nowhere else will you feel more adult and sophisticated than taking in the sights and sounds of the Austrian capital on a romantic getaway.


Istanbul, Turkey


Political disputes and corruption claims of the recent weeks may not make Istanbul sound so romantic but the city where East meets West has played home to three empires and host to numerous love affairs. If it is good enough for Solomon the Magnificient and his concubine-come-queen… Make sure to take a boat tour on the Bosphorus to take in the spectacular scenery and book dinner at one of the city’s many top restaurants.


Marrakech, Morocco


Surrounded by the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, this old imperial city spells charm and romance in every corner of its labyrinthine souks and romantic riads (Traditional guest houses). A sensual city with all its colours, scents and spices, Marrakech is bound to make the perfect backdrop for your romantic getaway. Why not take a horse ride with your significant other through the dunes of Palmeraie at the foot of the Atlas Mountains to experience the exotic Marrakech?


Dubrovnik, Croatia


George Bernard Shaw, who visited the city in 1929, said, “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik, because the beauty there will leave anyone breathless.” And more and more couples who are keen to see “heaven on earth” are heading to the Croatian capital. With ancient churches, majestic palaces and marble-paved streets, the city carved into the limestone cliffs overlooking the cerulean waters of the Adriatic offers a sublime romantic getaway.


Bath, England


The isle of England may not look the most romantic place in the world, especially for those of us who live there the whole year round but it offers some quaint gems and what is more, more privacy. Why not head to Bath famed for its thermal baths for a romantic retreat at the home of some of the world’s most natural spas? Any city hat includes a “Places to Propose” section on its official website must know a thing or two about romance after all. Our favourite has to be the top of Beckford's Tower which you can reach after a climb up the 154-step spiral stairway. Once you've taken in the glorious views of Bath, you can soak weary muscles and enjoy a rooftop swim in the natural waters of the Thermae Bath Spa.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


If Paris is romance, Rio must be sex citified. While end of February sees world’s most famed carnival turn the city into a 24-hour-party-pad, if you go before you can still feel the excitement building up but also see some of the greatest landmarks in the world – Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain; Copacabana and Ipanema beaches; Sugar Loaf mountain – at your leisure.