5 great romantic break destinations in Europe

Need some quality ‘couple time’? These are the places to visit...

Is the humdrum routine of everyday life sapping the zing from your relationship? Do you need some quality ‘couple time’? A weekend away could be just what the love doctor ordered.

Quidco Discover checks out five destinations perfect for a quick dose of European romance.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a vibrant cosmopolitan city blessed with diverse and interesting architecture, a broad white sand beach, excellent seafood restaurants, and excellent shopping.

Don’t miss Gaudi’s magical neo-Gothic architecture sprinkled throughout the city, but particularly the fairytale-like Park Güell. Here you can cuddle up and enjoy the sunset from a curvy, colourful mosaic bench with spectacular panoramic views of the city.

A visit to La Sagrada Familia is the ‘must do’ of all Barcelona’s ‘must do’s’. Probably Gaudi’s most famous design, the cathedral is still under construction after 100 years of work, but it is a truly magnificent sight. Brave the queues and go inside if you have time…the interior is just as stunning.

If you like to stretch your legs but worry you have limited time see the sights, take a guided bicycle tour. This is a wonderful way to explore lesser visited areas such as El Raval, which offers a youthful, artistic and edgy contrast to Barcelona’s more polished urban centre.

Venice, Italy

Arguably one of the world’s most romantic cities, Venice is a lovers’ paradise. Elegantly beautiful, the city is built on more than 100 islands linked by bridges and separated by a myriad of canals.

If money is no object, splash out on a ride around the canals on one of the city’s iconic traditional gondolas. If that doesn’t float your boat, you could take a ferry across the lagoon for wonderful waterside views of the city from one of the islands. For example, it’s just a short hop to Murano Island for access to beautiful glass sculptures, art galleries and hand-made jewellery studios.

Another way to explore is to simply wander the canals until you’re lost and enjoy discovering your surroundings. Avoid the inevitable argument over directions and maps by taking a water taxi back to where you started. Don’t miss Piazza San Marco, one of the grandest squares in Europe, which will have you sighing over its majestic architecture.

While there are some wonderful places to eat out in Venice, it pays to avoid the ubiquitous ‘menu turistico’ as these are generally overpriced and a bit on the dull side. For a more authentic local experience, head for a traditional wine bar, known as barcaro, or if you’re self-catering, try the Rialto market near the famous Rialto Bridge, for delicious fresh seafood and vegetables.

Majorca, Balearic Islands

The largest of the Balearic Islands, Majorca is perfect for an indulgent, laid-back break, with innumerable picturesque bays and sleepy rural villages to explore.
If you’re keen to blow off some steam, the island is great for cycling, with easy to challenging terrain, quiet roads, stunning coastal routes and plenty of professional cycle hire shops around.

For a lively night out head for Magaluf’s bass-pumping night spots or try Palma’s trendy waterfront cocktail bars. If you’re up for a shopping trip, splash your cash in the chic boutiques of Avenida Jaume III in Palma.

When it’s time to kick off your shoes and relax you’ll be spoilt for choice because beaches are definitely what Majorca does best. At Sa Coma you’ll find a mile-long stretch of feather-soft white sand, a tree-lined promenade and intimate restaurants perfect for a romantic rendezvous.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

With its quaint cobbled Old Town, terracotta tiled buildings and sun-bleached squares, the walled city of Dubrovnik is called the “Jewel of the Adriatic” with good reason.

To get your bearings in this wonderful World Heritage Site, take a walk around the ancient fortifications and get a view of the city – it’s well worth getting an audioguide for historical context.

Then spend the evening with a ‘sundowner’ cocktail or two overlooking the Adriatic from a bar on or near the wall. 

Feeling energetic? Try a half day sea kayaking tour out to Lokrum Island, or walk along the coast half an hour to the locals’ favourite beach Vlaha Bukovca. If you have a head for heights, don’t forget to try the Mt Srdj cablecar for more magnificent views of the city and sea.

Dubrovnik is a fantastic place to do some island hopping. You can join a sailing tour at the marina or even take a rental car and ferry hop from island to island. Give yourself a couple of extra days to make your way down the coast and back.

Nice, France

Capital of the Cote d’Azur region of France, Nice is a chic playground for the rich and beautiful. Enjoying a massive 300 days of sunshine a year Nice is also the perfect year-round citybreak destination.

For an enjoyable day out, take a walk arm in arm along the waterfront Promenade des Anglais, explore the marinas filled with luxury yachts, then have a glass of wine and watch the world go by from a sunny cafe terrace.

If you’re an art lover, the Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain features a range of impressive pop art including works by Lichtenstein and Warhol, as well as lovely views of Vieux Nice from the rooftop garden.

For a romantic surprise, take your beloved to the Cours Saleya Market and buy them a bouquet of flowers (on Mondays this becomes an antique market instead).

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Andrew Allen / Editor

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