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7 of the most romantic city breaks in Europe in 2019

Love and kind gestures aren't just for Valentine's Day, they're for every day of the year. But nothing will top whisking your loved one away for a romantic city break in Europe this Valentine's weekend!
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Love is in the air, but it’s more visible in these cities than the rest. Why not brush off those winter cobwebs and whisk your special someone off on an unforgettable romantic city break? We’ve discovered the seven most romantic cities in Europe – as well as some blissfully cheap flights to get you there!

1. Venice, Italy

Venice - Always Romantic

Venice is by far one of the most magical cities in Europe. A weekend in Venice will feel like an escape from reality, with days spent lounging in gondolas, exploring the maze-like canals of the city.

If you get lucky, you might even be treated to live music in your gondola, or a song or two from your entertaining Gondolier! For early risers, a morning stroll around San Marco Square is an incredible experience. Witnessing such a vast space and stunning architecture without all the masses of tourists will make you feel like you are alone in this world. Just the two of you.

The breathtaking architecture is to be seen everywhere you walk in Venice. Walking over tiny bridges and down narrow lanes, or standing in awe at the historic buildings lining the Grand Canal. If you’re looking for quiet romance you will need to escape the main piazzas to places like the nearby island of San Giorgio. Be sure to pick the perfect place to watch the sunset, such as the Giardini Pubblici in Castello or at a local cafe along the promenade in Zattere.

Once the sun sets and all the day-trippers retreat to their cabins, you will start to get a better feel for the real romantic Venice. Ancient buildings illuminated, streets turned into mazes, cafes and restaurants that spill out onto the pavement – Venice becomes a photographer’s dream.

Return flights from Dublin to Venice start from €43*. But if you want to stay in Venice for Valentine’s Day itself the price will increase to €113* return for the weekend.

Tight on money? Here are the top things to do in Venice on a budget.

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2. Paris, France

Seine River and Bateau Mouche in Paris, France

Paris isn’t called “The City of Love” for no reason. And as cliché as it might sound, it really is the most romantic city on earth. If you’re looking to whisk the love of your life away for Valentine’s weekend, what could beat long walks by the Seine? Or soppy selfies at the top of The Eiffel Tower followed by a little shopping on the famed Champs-Élysées?

If this still doesn’t sound magical enough, nothing beats a trip to Montmartre, where every alleyway, every café, and every step taken up to the magnificent Sacré-Cœur will remind you that you’re in a city where dreams were made. Walking around Montmartre at night-time might even transport you into the movie “Midnight in Paris”. Imagine what this district would have been like, teeming with artists and celebrities, all in love with Paris in the twenties!

Spend an afternoon in the Louvre, being mesmerised by the work of the world’s greatest artists. Or go on a day trip to Versailles and spend an hour or two rowing across the Grand Canal to really impress your date. In the mood for a little jazz music? Head to Caveau Des Oubliettes, the best jazz bar is Paris – sure to get you in the mood!

Return flights to Paris from Ireland start from as little as €46 return this February – prices you can’t say non to!

Check out our second-timer’s guide for the best things to do in Paris.

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3. Lisbon, Portugal

If you’re looking for a city rich in culture accompanied by colourful architecture, mouth-watering eateries and sunshine all year round, then Lisbon is the place to go. The Portuguese capital has a hypnotising effect on all visitors, and everyone vows it’s one of the best cities in Europe.

Tram in Lisbon

Hop on Tram 28 for a great introductory tour of the city and be wowed by the views from its many vantage points. Built on seven hills, Lisbon’s appeal is that getting lost here is a necessity rather than a burden. There are colourful buildings to be photographed around every corner and jumping on a tram without knowing where’s it’s going is all part of the adventure.

Bring your loved one to the Time Out Market, where you can indulge in a huge variety of both Portuguese and international cuisine, and they’ll be sure to thank you in a number of ways! For extra brownie points head to a local bakery and bring back some Pastel De Nata (delicious custard tarts) for breakfast in bed. That is sure to charm!

Return flights from Dublin to Lisbon start from €50*.

Check out our guide for the  top 7 things to do in Lisbon before you go.

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4. Rome, Italy

One can’t write a list on the world’s most romantic cities without mentioning Rome. If sharing a piping hot, freshly-made spaghetti while sitting at a candle-lit table outside on a piazza sounds like your type of heaven, then a whirlwind trip to Rome is in order.

Rent a vespa and ferry your special someone through narrow streets and hidden alleyways, escaping reality for a few days and pretending you have a starring role in a Rom-Com! Watch the sun set behind the striking St Peter’s Basilica (one of the top 10 things to do in Rome) following a day walking around the best of Rome’s museums and art galleries.

Take in panoramic views of the city from the top of the Spanish Steps, while sipping on some good Italian wine or a strong coffee or two. If spending nights in cosy bars down secret alleyways and days admiring scenes of love painted by the world’s greatest artists isn’t romantic enough, head to Da Vittorio Pizzeria, where they can serve up a classic Italian pizza in the shape of a heart. Our hearts are beating faster just at the though of it! 

For more great places to eat, read up on Rome’s best restaurants.

Return flights from Dublin to Rome this Valentine’s Day start from €106* for the weekend.

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5. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Canals in Amsterdam

What could be more romantic than cycling along the canals of Amsterdam on a tandem bike? Especially when this is followed by a rich, hot chocolate in one of the cities many famous coffee shops! There are definitely two very distinct sides to this eclectic city, with accommodation and activity options to suit all tastes.

You could spend the weekend partying hard in Amsterdam’s world-famous clubs, dancing until sunrise and spending the days nursing your hangover with some Dutch comfort food. Or simply keep the hangover at bay by paying the Heineken Experience a visit. Those that club together, stay together…right?!

If you’re both more interested in culture, keeping calm and returning home feeling rejuvenated rather than broken (and broke!), then days museum-hopping and nights spent eating romantic meals for two overlooking bridges that have been magically lit up with fairy lights might be a better option. If you’re feeling adventurous, then a dinner cruise on one of Amsterdam’s many canals is an experience to remember. At €60 per person, it hopefully won’t break the bank. You can also opt for the cheaper, and slightly less romantic, pizza cruise for just €39 per person, drinks included!

If you’re tight on money but keen to get away, there are lots of cheap flights to Amsterdam for a Valentine’s getaway. Return flights from Dublin start from just €89* for a long Valentine’s weekend.

Got the winter blues? We’ve got  10 places where you are guaranteed to find sunshine if you fancy escaping another Irish winter.

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6. Barcelona, Spain

Beautiful Barcelona

The language, the food, the culture… Spain is always a good idea and no Spanish city begins to compare with the allure of Barcelona. Exploring this exciting city with the one you love will create memories to last a lifetime. From getting lost on the beguiling streets of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) to finding treasures in old vintage shops – or whiling the evening away in a cocktail bar or chic café overlooking the ocean.

If you’re hoping to encourage the love of your life to display their love in public, make your way to the “street of the kiss”. Carrer dels Petons, if nothing else, will be a great photo opportunity! Finally, try to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise. Or, if that seems like too much work, go for sundowners by the beach. An over-sized glass of sangria is the perfect way to start the night!

Return flights from Ireland to Barcelona start from just €82 for a Valentine’s Day weekend in 2019.

Find cheap flights to Barcelona Hotels in Barcelona

7. Budapest, Hungary

Amigos en Budapest, Hungría

A tale of two cities divided by the mighty Danube. Budapest is one of the most enchanting cities in Europe, as well as being the cultural and historic capital of Hungary. Be it long night time strolls along the river, a visit to the city’s famous Buda Castle or the Buda Hills, there is always time for romance in Budapest.

A night cruise down the Danube is a must, and with prices starting from just €16 it’s an absolute steal. One of the biggest attractions in Budapest are the thermal baths to be found all over the city, where you can bathe together outdoors with your special someone. If you’re lucky enough to be staying in one of the luxury hotels, this will be more of a private experience. Otherwise, you can make use of one of the many public baths around the city, such as the Szechenyi or Gellert Baths.

The city is always alive with music, so whether its jazz or indie that gets your feet tapping, look out for the concerts happening during your visit.

Return flights to Budapest from Dublin start from €116* per person for a Valentine’s long weekend in 2019.

From booking flights to fine dining: find out how to save cash on holiday with Skyscanner’s money saving travel tips and secrets.

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*Updated December 2018. Flight prices quoted are for return journeys from Ireland. Prices correct at time of publication. Prices indicative and subject to availability.

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