European Cities to Explore for Fun and Romance

Venice, Italy — La Serenissima

Known as “La Serenissima” (the very serene), Venice’s waters sparkle in the daytime and at night. It was the setting for the 1980s film “A Little Romance,” where the teenaged lovers race to kiss under the legendary Bridge of Sighs and guaranty themselves a lifetime filled with love. The bridge does not have an entirely romantic origin, however, since prisoners used to walk across it en route to their imprisonment. Romantic poet Byron gave the bridge its nickname since he figured the prisoners would sigh at the beauty of a Venice they would no longer be able to see from their cells.

Though gondola rides with a gondolier singing corny Italian songs smack of a tourist trap, the rides are still a popular proposal or honeymoon venue. Just roaming the city’s streets and canals at dawn or dusk, when it is deserted and at its most peaceful, its waters overflow with romance.

Paris, France – City of Lights

A list of romantic cities wouldn’t be complete without Paris. The possibilities abound such as taking a ride together on the Seine in the Bateaux Mouches walking under the Eiffel Tower under the moonlight, indulging in a picnic lunch of French wine and cheese in the gardens of the Tuileries, or visiting the Rodin Museum, where the artist sculpted his muse and lover, Camille Claudel.

Paris has inspired many famous lover affairs, like the one between novelists Henry Miller and AnaïsNin and has been the setting for countless movies and books. The British movie “An Education” used the dramatic backdrop of Paris as the setting for the romantic adventure of its ill-fated couple, who visit some of the city’s most iconic sites.

Edinburgh, Scotland and London, England – the Caledonian Sleeper

There’s something inexplicably romantic about an overnight train in a tiny cabin with teeny bunk beds. The compartments are little cabins built for two, with a locking door. Morning arrivals are greeted with a friendly wake up know and a hot cup of tea. The Caledonian Sleeper runs in both directions between London and Edinburgh, and tickets can easily be purchased online. Reservations are essential, and there are discounts for advance bookings.

Istanbul, Turkey – Topkapi Palace

Modern travelers to Istanbul can enjoy the art and architecture of Topkapi Palace, including its magnificent tile work and its views of the Bosphorus River. There is a restaurant on site where a nice meal can be enjoyed overlooking the water. Ponder the palace’s erotic history during a tour of the harem, where the sultan lived with his family and concubines. Sixteenth century resident Sultan Murat III had 112 children, so the palace walls have seen a lot of loving.