Being the City of Love, Paris is as romantic as it gets. The neighbourhood of Montmartre, with its cobbled streets, is a charming place to explore hand-in-hand with your lover, sneaking glimpses of the Sacré-Coeur from between hilly vantage points. Visiting the Eiffel Tower come dusk is an absolute must-do, too, all the more beautiful when its sparkling lights dazzle onlookers for a few minutes on the hour – time your romantic moment accordingly.
Rome is famously romantic for its opera, ballet and quaint, hidden cafés. Book a visit to the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and indulge in local gelato during the interval. The Villa Borghese landscape gardens are also a wonderful place to relax with your special someone, while local intimate restaurants abound.
Vilnius, Lithuania is a brilliant destination for lovers – the Baroque architecture of its medieval Old Town provides an inherently romantic backdrop. Plan to visit Verkiai Palace, a Neoclassical landmark – built in the 14th century and reconstructed in the 18th century – that offers picturesque landscapes, including lakes and gardens. Meanwhile, art lovers should drop by the bohemian neighbourhood of Užupis, which is often compared to Montmartre.
Venice tops the polls as Italy’s most romantic city – its gondola rides past historic palazzos are hard to beat. Many of these boat rides even include a serenade for you and your lover. In the evening, find a quiet spot to watch the sun set – the pink-hued sky reflected in the lagoon is quite a sight to behold – before enjoying a canal-side candlelit dinner.
With many tranquil outdoor spots like the Kyoto Botanical Gardens – where you can see cherry blossom trees from March to April – Kyoto is designed to be enjoyed by lovers. A spa day the Japanese way should also be on the itinerary, with many great public onsens (hot springs) on hand – the Tenzan no Yu is recognised as the best in the region.
With a distinct European charm, Quebec City is one of the most romantic destinations in North America. Its Unesco-protected Historic District of Old Quebec, which dates back to the 18th century, is especially romantic with its whimsical architecture, charming boutiques and galleries. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available, and in the winter, couples can bundle up and go ice-skating at Place D’Youville.
Walking into Bruges is like stepping into a real-life fairytale. It is impossible to not think of romance when visiting this magical village, which also boasts a Unesco-protected historical centre – this time dating back to medieval times. Cobblestone streets are lined with picturesque buildings that contain boutiques, chocolate shops and eateries. Stroll along the canals and look for the beautiful swans, or better yet, take a horse-drawn carriage where you and your significant other can enjoy a charming tour through the narrow streets and beautiful squares. For incredible views of the village, climb 366 steps up the Belfry – it’s definitely worth it.
The birthplace of tango, the world’s most intimate dance, Buenos Aires is a place of passion. Visit a colourful area of the city, La Boca, which is exactly where the dance originated – and, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a lesson or two yourself. Once you’re all danced out, meander through its streets to enjoy its beautiful architecture, which spans from Neoclassical to Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
From exploring Marrakech’s fabled markets to relaxing in charming boutique hotels known as riads, Marrakech is a wonderful city for lovers. Its landscape also happens to be breathtaking, with palm trees aplenty, and views of the Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert in the distance.
For couples who love food, markets and history, the Turkish city of Istanbul is a must-visit. From the Hagia Sophia, which has served as a place of worship since the 6th century, to the Topkapi Palace museum – an opulent former home of the Ottoman Sultans – Istanbul is designed for curious duos. Meanwhile, there are many places for a romantic stroll, including the Bosphorus Strait, which separates Europe and Asia, along with the lively Beyoğlu district.