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7 romantic city breaks in Europe

Love is all you need, but whisking your sweetheart away to Paris, Barcelona or Lisbon will probably earn you a few brownie points. Here are seven places in Europe to take your lover for a romantic city break, whether it's Valentine's Day, or you just fancy treating that someone special.

If you’re looking for city break ideas then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up the best romantic city breaks in Europe including tips on what there is to do:

  • Paris
  • Lisbon
  • Copenhagen
  • Palermo
  • Rome
  • Barcelona
  • Pisa

1. Paris

Paris, said the timelessly lovely Audrey Hepburn, “is always a good idea”. If you’re stuck for where to take your beau, you can’t beat the city of a thousand loved-up selfie opportunities. Yes, it is cliché, but don’t be so cool – share a snog as the sun sets over the Seine, indulge in a PDA under the Eiffel Tower, or, if you really want to impress your sweetheart, take them to Montmartre. Conjure the spirit of Amélie and rent a scooter (€69 for one day). Afterwards, head to the Wall of Love in Place des Abbesses, right next to the Abbesses Metro stop. A work of art by Frédéric Baron, it’s over 600 tiles imprinted with the words ‘I love you’ in all the languages of the world. The best couple photo opp ever created. If you want more unique things to do, we’ve got 10 local recommendations for Paris here.

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![Paris, Pont des Arts, dusk]

2. Lisbon

Ah, Lisbon. City of gothic cathedrals, stately museums, ancient monasteries and even more heavenly pastries. This Portuguese beauty tempts those who’ve skipped on their porridge with the morning waft of bread from its fadistas and seduces the sweet-toothed with the tiny oven-baked egg tarts dusted with cinnamon known as pastéis de belém, created to perfection at Antiga Confeitaria (opposite the Jardim de Belém). But of course, music is the egg tart of love, so let the soulful fado, with its traditional Portuguese melodies, play long into the night. Cosy up on a café terrace along the wide open Tejo estuary for extra romantic points.

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![Lisbon at sunset]

3. Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the happiest city in the world, at least according to October 2013’s World Happiness Report, so you’re odds-on for a loving time. Take a boat tour on the canals of Christianshavn, a maritime area full of cobbled, nostalgic charm, and see how they practice free love at hippie haven and autonomous eco community, Christiania. If your partner has been moaning about their sore feet, leave them speechless by announcing that you’ve reserved a table at Noma, consistently awarded the title of world’s best restaurant. Once you’ve nibbled on the Michelin-starred treats like sea urchin and hazelnuts and lingered over the chocolate and egg liqueur, you’ll soon forget the world outside (and hopefully the bill, which starts at just under £200 for the full tasting menu). Travelling on a slightly smaller budget? We’ve got your covered with our guide to seeing Copenhagen on a shoestring.

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![Canal view at night, Copenhagen]

4. Palermo

If Paris, Rome and the like are too obvious for a romantic city break, show your imagination by picking Palermo, ‘capital’ of Sicily. Resist whistling the theme from The Godfather as it likely won’t impress your partner, but do visit the Vucciria and Ballarò markets, go to Monreale and admire the beautiful mosaics of the Dome and walk along the beach of Mondello to admire the wintery sunset. You can even do as the locals do and head up Monte Pellegrino with a romantic picnic in hand – although if you don’t fancy the climb, it’s just a nine mile drive or a 30 minute bus ride from the city to those panoramic Sicilian views.
For more on what to see and do in Palermo, check out this article.

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![Palermo, dusk, town view]

5. Rome

Eternal love could bloom in the Eternal City if you sweep them off their feet on the Spanish steps, take them in your arms by the Trevi Fountain etc, etc. Or ditch the clichés and stroll hand-in-hand through Villa Pamphili Park in the leafy Monteverde neighbourhood, west of Trastevere (Tram line 8), with its heart-melting views over the city. Whatever your budget, whether you’re a princess or a lowly lad, a ‘Roman holiday’ is an ideal last minute weekend away. So be Audrey and Greg Peck and live it up at the gob-smackingly gorgeous but good value Grand Hotel Del Gianicolo next to Pamphili. Read more on Italy’s hopelessly romantic destinations with our guide .

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![Rome, forum, ruins]

6. Barcelona

If you don’t get lost in love, you’re likely to get lost in the beguiling streets of the Barri Gòtic, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. Hopefully you won’t end up arguing about who’s fault it is, but instead get happily confused amongst all the vintage shops, cocktail bars and cafés. In the nearby Raval district, don’t miss the ‘street of the kiss’, Carrer dels Petons. Legend says that men sentenced to death gave a final farewell to their wives here. Hopefully your romance is of a more lasting kind, so seal it with a trip to cosy Casa Xica in Poble-Sec, where the imaginative menu blending Catalan with Far Eastern flavours is guaranteed to impress. Find more hidden gems in this busy city with our local’s guide to Barcelona.

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Barcelona Park Guell

7. The Italian Riviera (nearest airport: Pisa)

Finally, if cities aren’t your thing, how about villages? The Cinque Terre, literally ‘five lands’ and less literally, five villages – Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso, Riomaggiore and Manarola – all tumble into the Med on the cliffs of Liguria. Visit outside of peak summer months and you’ll have all those sea views to yourself as you toast your love over a plate of fresh anchovies, straight from the sea. If you want to stroll hand-in-hand for five hours, take the scenic Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) which connects the five villages. You’ll have a hearty appetite after all that exercise so stop at the Vertical Bar in Riomaggiore for drinks, tapas-style eats and a warm welcome.

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View of Cinque Terre, Italy

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