If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to spend a little more time together as a couple, you might be dreaming up ways of squeezing in that quality time. So how about planning a holiday together to start the year on the right foot? Whether you’re longing for a holiday in the sunshine later on in the year, or you fancy one of those romantic weekend breaks right about now, there’s a destination to suit every couple. From the trendy streets of Stockholm to the charming waterways of Venice, here are our top places to go for a romantic city break…
The sun rising over sparkling water, grand buildings lining the waterways, and narrow gondolas leisurely passing beneath bridge after bridge… you’ll certainly have a romantic city break in Venice. This Italian city oozes passion: you’ll have plenty of opportunity for conversation as you stroll around its streets, and if you’re feeling particularly sweet, you can steal kisses in charming old alleyways that lead from the main streets. Drink Bellinis in Venetian bars, enjoy dinner with a table overlooking one the city’s many waterways, and enjoy coffee in a setting as beautiful as Caffè Florian. And for something really atmospheric? Rise early for morning mass at St Mark’s Basilica to hear the choir’s voices ringing around the domes (9am Monday to Saturday).
Have you always dreamt of visiting the Big Apple? Well, it might not have the obvious romanticism of Italy, but it has an energy all of its own, making it a romantic city break you won’t ever forget. Look out of the window as your aeroplane starts its descent for the airport, taking in the scale of the city from above as you see swathes of skyscrapers, streets and boroughs.
Note the Empire State Building, and take some time soaking up the atmosphere as New Yorkers go about their business. Slow things down with a romantic stroll through Central Park (perhaps surprising your other half to a carriage ride), and then spend a couple of hours on paddleboats on Central Park Lake. You might be able to secure last-minute tickets to the New York Ballet at the Lincoln Centre too, and if you’re visiting over the weekend, call into St Maize – a Gatsby-era bar that serves up swing music on Saturday nights.
Ah, the City of Love… Paris is one of those romantic weekend breaks (or somewhere to stay for a little longer, if you prefer) where you could simply stroll from cafe to cafe, lapping up the history and sophistication this location is known for. But, there are plenty of things you can do in addition to taking a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Wander the picture-perfect streets of Montmartre, calling into the Musée de Montmartre to see the famous ‘Kiss’ sculpture by Rodin, and amble through Parisian side streets inhaling the scent of dusty books in Passage Verdeau. Indulge in pastry and wine (you’re in France, after all) and walk it all off with a meander along the River Seine – you can take a night cruise with lights glistening on the river, crossing your fingers for a clear sky to see the moon’s reflection dancing on the water.
If you and your partner love the idea of a city that fuses history with the kind of modern energy you’d expect from an urban area, consider Rome for your romantic city break. Dodge the locals weaving through Rome’s busy streets on scooters, and spend a few hours browsing the rails of luxurious brands in Via Condotti – the most elegant street in Rome. You can window shop the wares in Cartier, Chanel and Prada, or head to Via Borgognona for some glamorous Italian labels. But there are some beautiful Roman landmarks to experience too, such as the Colosseum (an incredible sight when the sun is rising behind it), the Arch of Constantine, the Pantheon and the Roman Forum. Don’t forget to make a wish at the Trevi fountain, and bring slices of pizza to Gianicolo Hill for a mouthwatering picnic with a view.
How about a romantic city break that’s a little bit more about having an adventure out of the ordinary? Reykjavik is Iceland’s icy capital, (average temperatures range from 0°C in winter to 11°C in summer – a great reason to keep close to one another holding gloved hands) and it’s the perfect place to base yourself if you fancy going on tours of the wilderness to see geysers, volcanoes, glaciers and other natural wonders. But there’s plenty to do in the city too. Treat yourselves to a memorable meal in one of Reykjavik’s incredible restaurants (it’s known for its up and coming foodie scene), learn about Iceland’s viking history at the Settlement Exhibition, and marvel at the striking figure carved by the Hallgrímskirkja Church as it towers into the sky. Keep your eyes peeled, too – depending on the time of year, you might be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights… the most romantic activity of all!
Stockholm is one of those places you might never have considered to be a romantic city, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you book yourself a flight to the Swedish capital. Made up of 14 islands connected by over 50 bridges, Stockholm is the perfect spot for city slickers looking for a few days of shopping, eating and wandering. Admire the brightly coloured building on the waterfront, peruse hipster-esque vintage furniture boutiques, and cosy up in a Michelin-starred gastropub in the Old Town (‘Gamla Stan’). For beautiful views, walk the trail on the western part of Isbladskärret between Djurgårdsbrunn Canal and the pump house at the south of Isbladskärret. And for an indoor activity that will make you feel as though you’re part of a romantic fairytale? Explore the Chinese Pavilion in the Drottningholm Palace grounds – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This ancient city is Croatia’s number one tourist attraction, and with good reason: the terracotta rooftops, medieval architecture and glistening Adriatic Ocean make it a true delight. Walk hand in hand over cobblestones for candle-lit dinners in the Old Town’s restaurants, and treat yourself to a Game of Thrones tour (perfect if the pair of you enjoy a boxset marathon when you’re at home). And if you want to get away from the crowds for some time alone, spend a sunny afternoon on St Jakov’s beach (you’ll need to carefully walk down 163 steps to get there), or enjoy a sunset view over the city at the top of Srđ hill.
So, have these romantic city break ideas given you some inspiration for your next holiday together? Do a little more research into these destinations and see what you fancy… romantic weekend breaks or longer stays in a city are the perfect way to enjoy some proper quality time together, making special memories that will only bring you closer.