Let the sangria flow, the tapa keep coming, and take a deep breath and smell the orange blossom in the air – welcome to Seville. Not only is this Spanish city romantic, it’s seductive too, tempting couples to throw caution to the wind and indulge all their senses.
Gasp at the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, touch the beautiful 16th-century iron gates at the entrance of the city’s bullring, and listen out for the sound of Carmen – Bizet’s famous opera was set in Seville’s former tobacco factory. As the evening falls, lose yourselves in the narrow streets and squares – some of the best restaurants and bars are hidden there.
For more ideas, see www.spain.info/en
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Novelist Jane Austen set two of her books in historic Bath and lived in the city for over five years, so there’s no better place for a weekend of good old-fashioned romance. View Jane’s family home in Sydney Place or stroll along Gravel Walk, where Captain Wentworth proposed to Anne in Persuasion.
If you prefer something a little more energetic, the National Trust’s Skyline Walk is a six-mile circular trail - which passes through several kissing gates – offering spectacular vistas. Then relax, perhaps in the Thermae Bath Spa rooftop pool or on a horse-drawn carriage through the city’s Georgian streets.
For more ideas, see www.visitbath.co.uk
Rome, Venice, Verona – Italy boasts a long list of romantic cities perfect for a weekend break. However, Florence, with its abundance of beautiful Renaissance art and architecture, wins first prize for couples courting culture.
No visit is complete without getting up close to Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery. And gaze in wonder at Michelangelo’s marvel that is the 14ft marble statue of David, found at the Accademia. Then enjoy time alone in the peaceful Boboli Gardens before joining the crowds again at Piazzale Michelangelo. A
s the sun sets over the city, lasting memories will be made.
For more ideas, see www.firenzeturismo.it/en
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You can’t fail to fall in love with Edinburgh. A magnificent castle dominates its skyline, an extinct volcano - Arthur’s Seat - provides stunning views and a proper hill walk in the heart of the city, and the touching tale of a little Skye terrier named Bobby proves a dog’s devotion never dies.
Want a good excuse to hold hands? Edinburgh, home of body snatchers Burke and Hare, has haunted alleyways and spooky underground vaults aplenty, and ghost tours too. Or pop to the zoo and see one of the city’s most famous couples - Tian Tian and Yang Guang, the UK’s only two giant pandas.
For more ideas, see www.visitscotland.com/edinburgh
Arrive in Lisbon and be charmed by a laid-back city that seems made for couples who simply want to stroll down leafy avenues and sit in pretty plazas, perhaps listening to some Fado music. For a fun - and often bumpy - tour of the Portuguese capital, jump on Tram 28 as it meanders through the windy streets, stopping off to scoff a local custard tart.
A trip to Belem Tower should be on your itinerary too, as well as a day trip to picturesque Sintra, a 40-minute train journey away. Lavish colourful palaces and a Moorish castle perch in the hills – go on, star in your own romantic fairytale.
For more ideas, see www.visitlisboa.com
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If you think stargazing together is romantic, imagine if you witnessed the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, lighting up the night sky on a weekend away.
You can fly to Iceland’s capital in just over three hours, and many tour companies will whisk you from Reykjavik to the nearby pitch black countryside to wait for a display. Next morning, bathe in the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon spa, before joining the half-day Golden Circle excursion which takes in the impressive Gullfoss waterfall.
Keep your fingers crossed it’s a sunny day - rainbows make the setting even more magical.
For more ideas, see www.visitreykjavik.is
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No list of romantic city breaks would be complete without mentioning Paris, easily accessible from the UK by train and plane. And every loving couple needs to tick off all the iconic sights.
However, why not be driven around in a classic Citroen 2CV – pop in to the Rodin Museum, sculptor of The Kiss. Then up the romance at the top of the Eiffel Tower with a glass of pink bubbly, purchased from the Champagne Bar. Fancy a tango in Paris? If the weather is fine, make your way to the banks of the Port Saint-Bernard where dance enthusiasts gather to tango the night away.
For more ideas, see www.en.parisinfo.com
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Stratford upon Avon
Yes, we know it’s not a city, but in 2016 the market town commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.
And as Romeo and Juliet, the world famous tragedy about young star-crossed lovers, was penned by the Bard, we thought we could give the place of his birth (and death) a special mention. Exciting events are taking place throughout the year, so after reciting all the Shakespeare quotes you can remember, saunter down to the river Avon and enjoy a picnic on the grassy banks.
Then set off to the Tudor courtship exhibition, currently on show at the cottage and gardens of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway.
For more ideas, visit www.discover-stratford.com
On a budget? See our cheap and free date ideas for couples on a budget
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