If you’re in search of an urban romantic escape, this guide to some of the most enchanting cities around the globe is for you. While Paris is renowned as the epitome of romance and a must-visit (of course it is on our list!), we have also included lesser-known cities that have the potential to create unforgettable moments for you and your partner. Whether you’re seeking cityscapes and vibrant nightlife or rugged coasts and serene countryside, you can find a destination on this list that satisfies your unique passions. Add these dream romantic cities to your list and turn your time away with the one you love into the trip of a lifetime.
Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe, Budapest features enchanting medieval and Art Nouveau buildings, an elaborate Opera House, romantic restaurants with live gypsy music performances, chic bars and atmospheric cafés serving almost-too-gorgeous-to-eat pastries.
Dubbed the Paris of the East, Budapest has the classic charms you’d expect – cobbled alleys, old-world street-lamps and winding waterways – plus thriving arts and nightlife scenes. An unforgettable experience here? Soak your troubles away in the thermal Széchenyi Baths, surrounded by the canary-coloured exterior of a Neo-baroque palace. Budapest is seriously one of the most under-rated romantic cities in the world – but, word is getting out, so be quick!
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Paris, often referred to as the City of Light and the City of Love, is undeniably one of the most romantic cities in the world. Walking along the picturesque River Seine, especially at night when the Eiffel Tower is illuminated, creates a magical and romantic atmosphere. Indulging in escargot and savouring a bottle of exquisite French wine by candlelight is a truly delightful experience. And finding a quiet spot along the Canal for a moment of tranquility is the epitome of romantic clichés. Paris truly embodies the essence of love and is a perfect destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Read our comprehensive travel guide to Paris (especially for couples!) and start planning your Paris holiday or honeymoon today.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, USA
The USA is full of dreamy cities, but if you’re looking for a destination that’s quieter than New York City and Los Angeles, make your way to California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea. About an hour south of San Jose, the small coastal city is utterly whimsical and scenic: think redwood forests, rows of vineyards, craggy cliffs and quaint cottages. The beaches are also beautifully uncrowded and are where you’ll see a picture-perfect sunset.
Foodies will love Carmel-by-the-Sea’s dining scene, with an array of stylish bistros, restaurants, cafés and boutique wineries in the region, while nature-lovers will be surprised and delighted to spot sea otters and seals relaxing by the water’s edge.
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When it comes to postcard-ready architecture, Florence is one of Italy’s best offerings. Situated in the nation’s north, the city is a place of terracotta rooftops, impressive cathedrals, sun-drenched city squares and incredible bridges. Seriously, you have to check out the Ponte Vecchio bridge if visiting Florence, which features rows of shops suspended over the Arno River.
Famous for its fashion houses and art collections (be sure to see Michelangelo’s David here), Florence is also perfect for couples who just want to relax and eat their way around the city. Of course, Florence’s restaurants and trattoria serve the very best in Italian cuisine, while the Mercato Centrale indoor market is fantastic for sampling artisan produce and traditional sweets.
Related article: The Ultimate Travel Guide for Couples Visiting Italy
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia has to be one of the world’s most jaw-droppingly, heartbreakingly beautiful regions and its capital, Victoria, looks just too pretty to be real. Situated on the southern end of Vancouver Island, the city is famous for its parklands – so pack some comfy shoes and walk through the shockingly green grounds of the Butchart Gardens and the Japanese Abkhazi Garden.
As if Victoria wasn’t fairytale-like enough, its also where you’ll find an elegant castle – the sort where you wouldn’t be surprised to see a dragon hanging around just casually. Built between 1887 and 1890 by a wealthy Scottish entrepreneur, Craigdarroch Castle overlooks the city and boasts exquisite architecture and perfectly manicured gardens. Join one of the Castle’s tours or explore the historic site for yourselves.
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A hub of eclectic buildings and fascinating culture, Barcelona in north-eastern Spain is like nowhere else on earth. Like most world-class destinations, the city has a spectacular foodie scene (bar-hopping and feasting on tapas is a must-do here), but it’s the unique architecture that really makes it stand out.
Synonymous with Barcelona, the Spanish artist GaudÍ has well and truly left his mark on the city, making it brilliant to explore on foot. One of the best examples of this is Park Güell in the Collserola foothills (about 20 minutes from the city’s centre). An architectural park where houses, fountains and walkways are decorated with technicolour mosaic tiles, it’s also where you’ll get a clear view all the way out to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Make sure you also visit the other-worldly La Sagrada Familia church (also designed by GaudÍ) and the straight-from-a-storybook fountain at Parc de la Ciutadella.
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Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, is known for its charming atmosphere and stunning views. With various restaurants, peaceful gardens, and cozy pubs, visitors can enjoy the best Scottish hospitality. The city offers breathtaking vistas of the Firth of Forth, Fife, and picturesque alleyways. Dominating the cityscape is the iconic Edinburgh Castle, perched on a crag in the city’s heart. Explorers can take in the panoramic views from Arthur’s Seat or the Gothic Scott Monument or take a leisurely stroll through Princes Street Gardens. The Old Town is a must-visit for its atmospheric pubs. Edinburgh also offers plenty of free attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.
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Savannah, Georgia, exudes a magical charm. Its historic antebellum buildings and majestic oak trees adorned with Spanish moss create a quaint and enchanting atmosphere, complete with intriguing ghost stories. The city’s squares are adorned with vibrant azaleas, statues, and benches, including the famous spot where Forrest Gump shared his wisdom about life’s unpredictability. Savannah has a rich history as a smuggling post for pirates. But today, its cobbled River Street is filled with delightful candy stores offering homemade saltwater taffy and pralines and lively bars and restaurants serving delicious regional cuisine like buttery biscuits, fresh-caught shrimp, and sweet tea. The city also boasts charming handcrafted leather shops, apothecaries, and even a honey store, showcasing why it is known as the “hostess city of the south” and lives up to its sweet reputation.
When it comes to romantic cities in Asia, Kyoto in Japan may not be the first that comes to mind. However, those who have experienced its enchanting atmosphere can attest to its romantic charm. With its preserved geisha district of Gion and the serene Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), Kyoto offers a captivating and history-rich experience. The city is filled with old townhouses, picturesque streets, shrines, temples, and other historical sites, creating a calming and romantic ambience. Couples can also enjoy the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, known for its otherworldly beauty, and the blooming cherry blossoms in spring, symbolising love. Kyoto truly offers a unique and romantic setting for couples to explore and enjoy.
While India may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of romantic cities, Udaipur is considered by many who have experienced its magic to be one of the most romantic places in Asia. Its stunning waterfront setting and seven sparkling lakes provide a dreamy backdrop for breathtaking sunsets. The city is home the Taj Lake Palace – a magnificent marble hotel built in the 1740s in the middle of Lake Pichola. Despite India’s reputation for being a bustling and adventurous country, Udaipur offers a chance to escape the chaos and immerse oneself in a romantic and serene atmosphere. From picturesque views of the lake at sunset to the mesmerising City Palace, Udaipur showcases the beauty and charm of India. The city’s architecture, dating back to the 1500s, adds to its allure, making it a truly enchanting destination.
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