With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it is that time of year again when romantic city breaks seem to become a must-do. As much as Paris, Rome and Venice are solid choices for your V-day getaway, there’s always an option to be more alternative with a less renowned European destination. So why not mix it up and avoid the cliches this year?
Budapest has a lot to offer for a city break; from adorable indoor markets to the Liberty Statue and even a very active nightlife. One of the most romantic spots can be found on an early morning hike to the Liberty Statue, where the entire city is visible from this incredible vantage point. Luckily it’ll be February when you go and the heat won’t be as crippling as the summer season.
The endless streets are filled with incredible little restaurants and cafes which serves a variety of traditional Hungarian food that is sure to expand your taste buds and open your horizons. Plus many restaurants include a guitarist or an acoustic singer to create a romantic ambiance at dinner. The nightlife never ends in Budapest and the most well-known club, Instant, stays open until gone 6am. If you’re a couple who loves a good night out and lots of dancing then this is a superb destination for you.
Amsterdam is infamously not romantic and seen by many as a prime hen/stag do destination rather than a getaway spot with your better half. But I’m here to tell you otherwise. Granted, it’s certainly a prime hen/stag do spot but there is also a lot of overshadowed romance in Amsterdam.
The endless canals make for a lovely walk whether you go day or night, or if walking is not your thing then canal cruises are always a great option to set the mood. The city is full of candle-lit restaurants that can actually have an alternative tone other than seedy – plus this setting is super snug on a cold February day.
Amsterdam is also a cultural high point in Europe – no pun intended. The Van Gogh Museum is definitely one that all art lovers must check out, with four floors of his work and an overview of his artistic progress throughout his career that is so mesmerising. Or if art isn’t your thing then have no fear, Amsterdam has the dungeons, Madam Tussauds and several other museums – Even a sex museum to spice up the trip!
Prague, Czech Republic
When I think back to my time in Prague I can’t help but think of it as ‘goth couple heaven’. The architecture from the 13th-16th century is powerful as it dominates the scenery. Plus the layout of little alleys with uneven structures and winding pathways makes the entire city feel like an eerie maze. It only gets better once you stroll along the river Vltava at night and see the grand Prague Castle lit up in the distance.
Prague has a great ice bar that you can visit if drinking out of cups of ice and sitting on an ice throne sounds fun to you. There are also river cruises which are entertaining, especially the night ones where the drinks are flowing. You can then tour the castle and the entire city centre to learn more about the history and legends of Prague. This is usually free but it’s always appreciated to tip the tour leader who earns only what you give them.
Another touristy thing to do in Prague is to watch the astronomical clock tick on the hour. This structure was built in the medieval period and impressively still works to this day. In fairness, once you’ve seen it you’re probably not going to be massively impressed but it’s still one to check off the bucket list. You can also pay to climb up to the top of the clock tower to see an incredible view of the entire city.
The Slovakian capital is a wonderful place to visit and is just the most adorable setting for a romantic getaway. Please ignore the misrepresentation given to this idyllic place in the infamous Hostel horror film franchise. You probably won’t be brutally murdered!
The little town square is almost split between ‘old’ and ‘new’ – although both parts hold a pleasantly outdated atmosphere, which is nothing quite like the modern capitals of London and New York. If you want to go somewhere even more unique, then why not check out the famous blue church in Bratislava. It is a beautiful pastel colour all over and has been renamed ‘The Smurf Church’ by many tourists.
Bratislava is full of lovely little parks and cute cafes, so you’ll have no problem finding a perfect setting for a cosy afternoon. There’s a big added bonus to the city because it comes with great history that will captivate you completely. This includes an impressive white castle on the hill which looms in the distance over everything. Maybe you could even listen to a bit of Ed whilst watching the sunset over this castle with your special somebody.
There are many interesting folk tales and legends in Bratislava which the locals like to signify with their statues. One of which includes the ‘Lazy Worker Statue.’ According to legend if a young woman sits on top of the statue’s head, her fertility will increase greatly and she will become pregnant (Hence why I am hovering above it). But hey if that is your getaway goal this V-day then give it a try.
Vienna is a cultural melting pot of grand architecture, captivating scenes, incredible art, and surreal music. There is an endless list of things to do in Vienna and you probably won’t be able to do everything in a one time trip – but hey that just gives you a good excuse to come back.
In the city of Mozart, it’s no surprise that almost every night there is brilliant performances of classical music, operas and traditional shows going on. It’s something a little different and something you probably won’t be able to do back at home, so why the hell not give it a try, even if classical music isn’t your thing.
Of course, there are also several museums and art galleries that fill the city of Vienna, and you would have a hard time getting through them all. At least this means there is a lot of choices, so pick your favourites and run with it. For the best buildings to see, I would definitely recommend visiting Schonbrunn Palace, Hofburg, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Belvedere. Expect a very full and very cultural trip to Vienna that you won’t be forgetting for a long time. It’s a city that will add extra class to your budding romance.
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