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11th January 2022
Looking to take your loved one on a romantic European getaway in 2023 but not sure where to go? Perhaps our article on the most romantic destinations the continent can offer for couples will help. In it, we recommend our top five cities for lovers, along with a handy four-day get-away guide for each:
It’s impossible to make a list of ‘Europe’s most romantic cities’ and not write Paris at the top. Candlelit restaurants, pavement cafes, the curved bridges across the Seine, the art, the food… yep, Paris has more than a little going for it. It’s known as the city of lovers, after all.
Sip a glass of bubbly at the top of the Eiffel Tower together. Naturally, there’s a champagne bar right there. Before that, though, take a wander around the streets of Montmartre. The lovely hilly winding lanes and cobbled streets were once the home of the city’s famous authors, poets and philosophers.
Still on a walking theme, spend a day strolling hand in hand along the famously romantic River Seine, stopping off at the various cafes and restaurants along the way for a glass of wine, coffee, cocktail, nibbles etc. Or, if you’d like a more substantial meal, treat yourself to dinner at one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants.
Spend a day outside the city by taking a trip to the romantic Loire Valley. There you’ll find numerous fairy tale chateaux and wineries where you can sample their most delicious wares. Alternatively, head for Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, where there’s a beautiful Abbey to explore, which you can also complete in a day’s excursion.
A city of sunshine, orange blossom and mediaeval, Moorish architecture, Seville in Southern Spain is undeniably beautiful. And where beauty sits, romance does too. But not just romance – also passion. Seville is famous for its Flamenco shows and bars.
Spend a day checking out the lovely old town of Santa Cruz. Make sure you book an evening show at The Casa de Flamenco. This is an open courtyard in a palatial residence with such excellent acoustics it’s possible to enjoy the mournful Spanish guitar and spectacular dance without microphones or amplifiers. The following day take an open-top horse-drawn carriage tour around the city.
Take a boat cruise down the peaceful, wide Guadalquivir River – Spain’s second longest. This mirror-like waterway becomes a beautiful golden shade at sunset and, an hour later, joins the Atlantic Ocean near Sanlucar de Barrameda. Disembark and wander around this lovely old town, famous for its seafood restaurants.
Spend a lazy afternoon admiring the architecture of the Plaza de España – where there is an alcove for each Spanish province. This is one of the country’s most famous squares, in which both Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia were filmed.
A city with more than 400 bridges spanning its beautiful Renaissance-inspired architecture and, of course, narrow canals frequented by loved-up couples and singing gondoliers - Venice is nothing if not romantic.
Take a gondolier cruise around the narrow waterways. It’s a must-do if you visit Venice. Campo San Barnaba and San Polo are the best (i.e. least touristy) areas to head for. Just make sure you enjoy a smooch under the 400-year-old Bridge of Sighs. According to Venetian folk tales, kiss underneath it, and you’ll find both happiness and eternal love. In other words, it’d be daft not to.
Afterwards, share a bottle of wine in a pavement café, and you have a day full of selfies that you’ll forever revisit. Another addition to your romantic itinerary in this beautiful city is to visit the opera. The Musica a Palazzo takes place against a candlelight backdrop with the music in three different rooms. The audience is small - less than 100 people – ensuring intimacy and an amazing atmosphere.
Enjoy a Bellini or two at Hotel Cipriani. Sitting on the nearby isle of Giudecca (just a little boat ride from St Mark’s Square), the Hotel’s Gabbiano Bar will serve you a mix of prosecco and peach puree while you can look back at beautiful Venice.
A stunning seaside city, Split in Croatia has 1700 years of history to discover amidst a mediaeval backdrop and gorgeous natural scenery. The largest city on the Adriatic coast, it’s also host to a beautiful beach and abundant nature reserves nearby, i.e. lots of opportunities for romantic picnics.
Wander hand-in-hand through the Old Town and check out the many fine examples of 12th-century mediaeval forts and the stunning Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic-style architecture.
Enjoy a romantic meal in Pjaca (People's Square), which sits west of Diocletian’s Palace. The centre of Split community for more than 500 years now, it’s full of street cafes, restaurants, bars and – essentially – life. So, perfect for people-watching. And, if you both get fed up watching people, clock the surrounding stunning Gothic buildings.
A lovely evening activity is to embark on one of the city’s kayak sunset tours, where you can enjoy the stunning sight while listening to the waves lapping against the shoreline. Another romantic destination to watch the sun disappear into the horizon is from the top of Marjan Hill, where you can spot the mesmerising Dalmatian Islands falling into twilight. Take a bottle of bubbly with you, and you’re all set for a romantic sundown smooch.
All four romantic destinations we’ve mentioned can be accessed via flights from Stansted Airport. The best, easiest and by far the most comfortable way to get to the airport via public transport is with the Stansted Express train.
You can book tickets in advance on our website, where you’ll also find a timetable and a list of live flight information. That way you’ll be able to avoid the inevitable queues. It’s now easier than ever, thanks to the Stansted Express app, where you can download your e-ticket and simply present it at the barrier.
Now all you have to do is sit back, relax and let Stansted Express help you have a stress-free start to your trip.