Move over Paris. If you’re looking for a new romantic hot spots in Europe here are our suggestions. Enjoy!
I will completely admit that my first visit to Paris lured me into a cozy, romantic trance. I was charmed by the cobblestone streets, buttery rich Blanquette de Veau and joie de vivre that seemed to be a part of each experience. Sure, Paris is the pinnacle by which most measure romance but the City of Lights is not the only Grande Dame in this category.
May I introduce to you three cities that hold their own when it comes to the title of “Most Romantic City in Europe.”
#1 Granada, Spain
Settled in the foothills of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is an exotic and mysterious mix of East and West. Morocco’s influence is evident in the beautiful and intricate architecture of the Granada’s grand buildings and perhaps the jewel in its crown is the Alhambra palace.
The Alhambra means “the red, ” named so for the palace’s sundrenched color. Dating back to the 11th century, it is a palace worthy of its kingly perch overlooking Granada. Pro tip though—if you want to take a tour, arrive early to buy tickets. The line forms fast.
After a day spent taking in the Alhambra’s beauty or the Generalife Gardens, Granada puts on a sultry scene in the evenings. The food scene is a fusion of North African and European influences. Many restaurants offer a Flamenco show while you are sipping on a glass of wine. Or, for the more adventurous, you can watch a show in the gypsy cave of Maria de Canastera.
#2 Santorini, Greece
When you fly into Santorini, you are greeted with a runway that seems to fall into the Aegean Sea. (It doesn’t actually fall into the sea but the view from the plane is pretty dramatic.) So in some ways, Santorini sets the tone for the experience you are bound to have on my favorite of the Cyclades islands.
Santorini is a small island at 28 square miles. This means that with the help of a charming Vespa to cover ground, you can see the island in a weekend. (Not to say you wouldn’t want to stay for longer.)
The great thing about Santorini is that you can make your stay as lazy or adventurous as you want. During the day, take a guided tour of Santorini’s volcano and the Thirassia. Or perhaps head down to Red Beach (named for the red volcanic sand). As the sun goes down, head to the top of Thirassia and watch the sunset. It is a view that you will not soon forget. Santorini is definitely one of the best Greek Islands to visit.
#3 Verona, Italy
Ah, Verona. No doubt you think of Verona and Romeo and Juliet immediately springs to mind. The New York Times made an excellent point last year when they called Verona “one of Italy’s most underrated cities.” I could not agree more.
Begin your stay in Verona with a visit to the Porta Borsari, a glorious example of the gates that used to bear entrance to Europe’s most bejeweled cities. Another example of the city’s beautiful architecture is the Verona ampitheater and Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. Take your time in visiting each one. Their structures are impressive and are best experienced unrushed.
Of course no visit to Verona is complete without a visit to Juliet’s balcony. The house was once owned by the Capello family and though the balcony was added long after Shakespeare penned Romeo and Juliet, it is still nostalgic worthy enough for you to see in person.
As the sun goes down, take a stroll to Piazza delle Erbe, called the heart of Verona. The piazza is a stunning backdrop to enjoy dinner, sip on wine and revisit your favorite parts of Verona.
#4 Ghent, Belgium
Ghent is a lovely medieval city in Belgium’s Flemish province famed for its scenic canals, stunning architecture, and wonderful gastronomy. Enjoy a romantic stroll through the city’s lovely streets or take a boat excursion on the canals.
Don’t miss the beautiful Gravensteen Castle, which offers panoramic views of the city.
#5 Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is known for its stunning architecture, colorful streets, and romantic ambiance. Stroll through the narrow streets of Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, and take in the sights and sounds of this picturesque city. Don’t miss the romantic sunset views from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, a popular lookout point.
#6 Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled is a stunning glacial lake in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, surrounded by mountains and forests. Take a walk around the lake and enjoy the breathtaking views, or take a boat trip to the island in the center of the lake, where you can visit the charming Church of the Assumption.
Enjoy pools with a view of the heavenly landscape of Bled. Sauna heat will warm your body, and a massage will relieve stress.
Oh, and don’t forget to sweeten your love with Bled cream cake.
So, when you’re planning your next romantic getaway, look beyond the usual chooses and consider Europe’s new romantic hot spots instead.