There's something undeniably glamorous about a city escape – who can resist the romance of wining and dining somewhere with a buzzing atmosphere? With all the essentials for a lavish getaway, Melbourne is great for couples wanting to treat themselves. Inspired? Here's how to spend 48 hours in Victoria's dazzling capital...
Related article: Foodie getaways in the Yarra Valley
Whether you consider yourselves serious gourmands, drink connoisseurs, art-fans or luxury-lovers, you'll find plenty to love about Melbourne.
It's not all swish bars and upscale boutiques here, though. There are also gorgeous beaches and rugged hinterland regions nearby, plus an array of city-central events and festivals to attend throughout the year. However you choose to spend a weekend or short break here, there'll never be a dull moment.
What to do
The beauty of a Melbourne short break is that you can explore a glamorous city, whimsical hinterland and a sun-kissed beach in one weekend.
If you're wanting to acquaint yourselves with the CBD, head along to one of Melbourne's many markets and experience the sights, smells and flavours of this gourmands' haven. For food-trucks and neon lights, check out Welcome to Thornbury in Melbourne's north – good times are pretty much guaranteed here. Held in a grand heritage building, Prahran Market is also definitely worth visiting, as is local-favourite Queen Victoria Market. Feeling a little overwhelmed? There are an array of insightful tours on offer that will literally walk you through Melbourne's cherished markets.
Ready for a little culture? You're in the right place. With outstanding museums and galleries like (the aptly named) Melbourne Museum, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the National Gallery of Victoria all situated in the city's centre, there's plenty to see. Prefer to marvel at Mother Nature? Don't miss the simple pleasure of wandering hand-in-hand through the Royal Botanic Gardens – perfect for romantics.
Of course, couples seeking a little retail therapy will also be in their element in Melbourne. Set your sights for the high-end boutiques of Collins Street, Chapel Street, Bourke Street Mall and the Block Arcade.
Time to venture out? If you're dreaming of escaping to the countryside, hitch a ride on the old-world Puffing Billy and head into the Dandenong Ranges for a day of sight-seeing. Expect lush rainforest, scenic bushland and incredible wildlife. If it's surf and sand you're wanting, catch the tram from Melbourne to St Kilda Beach. A coastal-chic locale that's treasured for its waterfront bars, trendy shopping areas and hip dining spots, it has all the makings of a lovely day-trip. We wouldn't blame you if you wanted to spend a couple of days here!
Where to dine
You're in (arguably) Australia's foodie capital – needless to say, you're spoiled for fabulous dining choices. And discovering it all for yourselves is sure to be a highlight of your Melbourne getaway.
First up, get to know the city's most-loved drink and hit the local cafes for your morning cup of coffee. You'll find almost countless options spread across Melbourne's streets and hidden in its laneways – top options for lattes and a delicious breakfast include Top Paddock, Hardware Société and Rustica Canteen.
Can't resist a sleep-in? Make your way to gourmet hotspots like Little Bourke Street, Flinders Lane and (perhaps Melbourne's most iconic laneway) Degraves Street for a leisurely lunch. For something a little refined, savour exquisite modern-Italian fare at Osteria Illaria or make a day of it and treat yourselves to the Chef Tasting Menu at Shannon Bennett's Vue De Monde (definitely book ahead if you can). After something a little more relaxed? Beloved for their flavour-packed Asian cuisine, Chin Chin Melbourne and Lee Ho Fook are both marvellous choices. Or, settle in at Arbory Bar & Eatery right on the Yarra River for crowd-pleasing dishes and charming views.
One time-honoured tradition couples should definitely indulge in before returning home is sharing high tea at the historic Hopetoun Tea Rooms. With a sweets cabinet that demands to be seen and an enchanting cosy atmosphere, it's a go-to for a reason.
You really can't come to Melbourne without going out for a romantic dinner somewhere with sleek style, plenty of mood-lighting and amazing cuisine. Ticking all those boxes, Attica celebrates the very best in Australian produce and flavours. They specialise in set menus here, so put your faith in the restaurant's talented chefs and prepare to be delightfully surprised. Want more? Kisumé is the place to go for sell-your-soul-for-one-more-bite Japanese fare (spoil yourselves with The Chef's Table experience if you get the chance), while Melbourne icon Flower Drum continues to serve up elevated Chinese cuisine that always impresses.
Lastly, don't miss toasting the occasion at one of the city's many late-night hangouts. Ideal for a nightcap, Juliet Melbourne offers a beautiful outlook, while the quirkiness of vintage-inspired venues like Madame Brussels and Berlin Bar (inspired by Cold War Germany) is sure to win over couples. Or, for a sophisticated evening, don something smart and clink martini glasses at Eau De Vie or Siglo Bar (pictured above). Cin cin!
Thinking of getting away for a romantic escape? Find beautiful Victoria accommodation here...