Romantic Europe: 10 Special Places in My Heart

Reminiscing about romantic places in Europe

What is it about a place that compels us to call it romantic? I guess there are many factors that create a feeling or mood that we describe as such — beauty, history, culture, climate, etc. I also think that it’s not just the place itself that draws us to a place in a warm and personal way. It’s influenced strongly by the particular moment in time and perhaps a particular person. That would be you, Mr. TWS.

If you enjoy reminiscing about past romantic travels and also dreaming about those to come, I hope you’ll like these photos (and links to previous articles) of a few top romantic places in Europe. By no means is this a complete list, so look around the site for more inspiration and stay tuned for future posts when we can travel again. These photos were also posted on Instagram — are you following us there?

Paris, France — A young girl’s dreams come true

You may not be surprised to see that I’ve started my list with Paris. As a high school student in the Chicago area, I held dreams of Paris close to my heart. I was captivated by photos in my French language textbook, especially drawn to one of Luxembourg Gardens. Strolling through these gardens, I’m taken back in my mind to those early desires to see the City of Light.

Seeing Paris for the first time is a dream come true for many travelers, particularly those, like me, who have been inspired by a lifetime of enticements from movies, books and travelogues. But the excitement doesn’t diminish with follow up trips to the City of Light. We can now count four visits, and I’m hoping to go again and again. Visiting Paris is, indeed, always a good idea. — 3 Days in Paris: Best Things to Do

Medici Fountain at Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France

Paris, France

Cassis, France — A scent of romance

“He who has seen Paris and who has not seen Cassis can say … I have seen nothing.” — Frédéric Mistral (1830 – 1914), beloved Provençal poet and Nobel Prize laureate

After just a few hours in this village on the Mediterranean coast, I began to understand. — Cassis by the Sea

Cassis, France -- a charming village on the southern coast of France in Provence

Cassis, France

With a very busy schedule during our visit to Provence, we had only several hours to spend in this beautiful village on the Mediterranean coast of southern France, but I fell in love quickly. If you feel that fragrances enhance romantic moments, you’ll enjoy spending time at L’eau de Cassis Parfumeur Créateur, a family-owned boutique and museum creating fragrances since 1851.

Roses, Spain — Mediterranean magic

Our first sight of the Mediterranean Sea was from our hotel room in Roses, Spain, a seaside town on the Costa Brava of Catalonia. It was every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped.

The view from my balcony at the Hotel & Spa Terraza in Roses overlooked palm trees gently blowing on a breezy day, wide expanses of sandy beach and boats sailing on Roses Bay. — Roses on the Mediterranean

Roses on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain

Roses (Catalonia), Spain

Budapest, Hungary — A sense of intrigue

Budapest is a rich blend of beauty, history, and cultural highlights. I have been sad to leave each time I’ve been there.

… Then it was time to indulge in and experience the intrigue of Budapest, a city that always seemed so seductively remote and unreachable to me. But there I was. It was really happening. — 5 Reasons I Went Back: Budapest Highlights

Budapest, Hungary -- view of the Pest side of the city and Four Seasons Gresham Palace and St. Stephen's Basilica from Castle Hill on the Buda side

Budapest, Hungary

Lake Maggiore — Seductive sunrise

There was definitely something special about Lake Maggiore from the moment we arrived at our villa rental in Lesa until we left four days later. Did it start with the warm welcome we received from our hosts? Was it the natural beauty of the water, islands, and gardens? Was it our special experiences that included a private world-class concert? I think it was a combination of all of those things wrapped up into one magical experience. — Magical Maggiore: Our Stay on the Lake

Sunrise on Lake Maggiore in the Lombardy region of Italy

Sunrise on Lake Maggiore in the Lombardy region of Italy

Rome, Italy — Romance on the Tiber

It’s true. There’s no place like Rome, and I wish I could click my heels to be back there right now. — There’s No Place Like Rome: Instagram Highlights

Ponte Sant'Angelo in Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Asolo, Italy — Literary love

The picture-perfect hilltop town exudes romance with its winding lanes, beautiful villas, galleries, cafes, and fabulous views from its lofty position. In part, this explains why great writers and artists have loved the town and found inspiration here. Robert Browning (for whom a street in the city center is named), Ernest Hemingway, and Henry James are just a few who came to Asolo as frequent visitors or residents. — I Left My Heart in Asolo

View from Queen Cornaro’s Castle of Asolo, Italy.

Asolo, Italy

Venice, Italy — Just like a fairy tale

It’s very easy to get lost in Venice’s maze of narrow alleys, bridges, and squares and those times were some of the highlight of our time there. Just steps away from the main attractions, you can escape the crowds to feel that you’re alone. — Venice: Our Favorite Things

Gondolas on the canal in Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

You may have noticed that the header and bio photos for Traveling with Sweeney are of Venice, too. They were taken from the Ponte dell’Accademia, one of four bridges that spans the Grand Canal.

Middle Rhine Valley — Storybook romance

Our Viking cruise along the Middle Rhine River in Germany provided spectacular vistas of castles and fortresses — pretty, fairytale-like, majestic, imposing, some showing battle scars and effects of old age. … It’s easy to see why the Middle Rhine River Valley was inspiration for the 19th-century writers and artists, including Goethe and Byron. — Castle Cruising from Rüdesheim to Koblenz

Stolzenfels Palace on the Middle Rhine of Germany

Middle Rhine Valley

Lisbon, Portugal — Portuguese love

Do you know the song Portuguese Love written and performed by Teena Marie (1980)? Remembering that song, I had expectations that Portugal would be sultry and romantic. Lisbon did not disappoint.

On a starry winter night in Portugal
Where the ocean kissed the southern shore
There a dream I never thought would come to pass
Came and went like time spent through an hourglass — Portuguese Love, Teena Marie

Surrounded by restaurants and shops, Praça Dom Pedro IV, commonly known as Rossio Square, is the main square of the city and one of its transportation hubs. It was bustling whenever we were there. … I loved spending time there, whether admiring the fountains, people watching, or just passing through. — Prelude to a Cruise: 7 Lisbon Highlights

Fountain in Praça Dom Pedro IV (commonly known as Rossio Square) in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

What are places you’ve visited that bring romance to mind for you?

Just for fun — Do you notice a common element in nine of these picturesque locations? In which photo is it not featured?  Please leave your answer in comments!

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Romantic places in Europe

7 thoughts on “Romantic Europe: 10 Special Places in My Heart

  1. Patti

    Fun post, Catherine and nice to dream of romance especially this year in the time of Covid-19. I agree with your choice of Paris. Several years ago we spent 3 weeks in Paris, during the month of January, and while we were there it snowed. Paris is beautiful already, but Paris under a thick blanket of snow is beyond beautiful and talk about romantic! #traveldreaming

    Water is featured in all but 1 picture. 🙂

  2. noel Morata

    Such beautiful cities and towns that you mention here and many that I have been to, I would love to visit some of the smaller places that inspired you to explore like Asolo and Casis which sound intriguing to visit some day after Covid.

  3. Jackie Smith

    Great trip down Memory Lane — fortunate to have been to several of these cities as well. I so agree about the magic and romance each holds. . .especially the first time you set eyes on it!! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Jeff & Crystal

    This is a fascinating collection of historic cities. Everytime we see one of your European posts, we realize that this is an entire body of sites they we have yet to explore. Thanks for an amazing article to help keep us traveling, even if we are having to do it virtually.

  5. Michele Peterson

    All wonderfully romantic choices! I really loved being in Venice with my husband – we had such a wonderful time getting lost in those atmospheric narrow alleys that would open onto a bright expanse of canal or pretty square.

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