Prague, Venice and Paris are all fine and well as far as amorous getaways in Europe go, but sometimes, you want to impress your sweetheart with the unknown, the off the beaten path for a little romance. When you want a quiet city in Europe that still oozes romance, Europe can deliver some surprises.
Get ready for plenty of hand-in-hand strolls in these romantic cities in Europe you’ve probably never encountered with your sweetheart.
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Set up in the south of the Czech Republic, Český Krumlov hides away as one of the most picturesque towns in all of Europe. Considered a Prague in miniature, Český Krumlov is decidedly less popular, lending couples an idyllic spot to hide away for the weekend. Small and walkable, you can take romantic strolls throughout the city’s mazelike alleyways. In between strolls, Český Krumlov impresses with medieval style pubs to pop into and quaint shops to peruse. Deemed a Unesco World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov features other romantic touches to make your sweetheart swoon like its castle lording above the Vltava River, an old town square and plenty of Renaissance and baroque marvels.
Perched atop a steep promontory at the joining of two deep river gorges, Cuenca has a flair for the dramatics by its mere positioning alone. Set up in east-central Spain, the Unesco World Heritage city was originally laid out by the Moors in a defensive position and later conquered by the Castilians in the 12th century. You and your loved one can roam its narrow streets seemingly teetering precariously on a hilltop or visit its famous Casas Colgadas, otherwise known as the Hanging Houses, dramatically suspended from sheer cliffs overlooking the Huécar River. In addition, Cuenca dazzles with its Gothic and Renaissance palaces and quiet plazas to grab a drink. Art lovers can also rejoice on a visit to Cuenca. The city boasts more art museums per capita than any other place in central Spain.
Believed to be the oldest town in Denmark, Ribe isn’t Copenhagen but its quaint nature makes for a quieter getaway than the big city. With a history that can be traced back more than 1300 years, Ribe relishes in its old age, best seen throughout its crooked cobblestone thoroughfares and half-timbered 16th century houses. Also home to the oldest cathedral in Denmark, the historic community boasts more than 100 structures registered by the National Trust. Once an important trading center during the Viking era, Ribe still manages to hold on to the cute. The city continues to uphold the adorable tradition of a town watchman who makes his rounds of Ribe by lantern light.
While you could impress your sweetheart with a box of candy this Valentine’s Day, you could instead bring a box of brightly colored candies to life by visiting Bosa. Located on the island of Sardinia, Bosa is easily one of the island’s most attractive towns, known for its pastel buildings stacked up on a steep hillside. The candy-colored confection leads up to a castle built in 1200 to defend Sardinia’s Western coast. Only an hour from the city of Alghero, the Phoenicians established Bosa while the Romans saw the settlement thrive. You’ll be bewitched by Bosa’s 19th-century tanneries, palm tree lined riverfront and Sa Costa district with its maze of narrow streets and every color of the rainbow buildings.
Tucked in between mountains and sea on the island of Crete in Greece, Chania was once the capital of the island. While it might not have the fame of capital city status, Chania doesn’t need the accolade. The elegant city clouds in a labyrinth of atmospheric streets and buildings from the Venetian-Turkish era. Easily one of Greece’s most attractive cities, Chania is loaded with distinctive restaurants and boutique hotels to take your special someone. While it can be touristy in the summer months, Chania’s sunset promenade along the harbor is a must-stroll from couples looking for a little romance.
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