When you say romantic weekend getaways in Europe, people immediately picture Paris, Italy or maybe London. You imagine strolls along the Seine in Paris, gelato in Venice and cool neighbourhoods in London. All of the above are of course great romantic destinations, but what if you want something a bit different?
Working full-time means limited holidays and I’m always looking for short European weekend breaks. I enjoy solo travel but whenever possible I love to bring my partner along. We’ve been to some lovely romantic places in Europe and I can’t wait to share some great romantic weekend destinations that you might not have considered. When I search for a romantic weekend getaway I usually look for great food, a slower pace of life and maybe some cute cobbled streets for good measure. In this post I’ve mixed quiet Scottish getaways, picturesque medieval streets and bigger cities with bucket loads of personality.
LAKE Of MENTEITH, Scotland
I’d never even heard of Lake of Menteith before I got invited to a wedding there. Situated about 25 minutes from Stirling by car, Lake of Menteith is Scotland’s only natural lake. Nestled among forests and hills, this is the perfect place to disconnect for a weekend. Few places can compete with the beauty of Scottish countryside and Lake of Menteith offers a relaxing weekend break in the UK. Spend your romantic weekend getaway hiking in nature, watching sunsets over the lake and exploring the wine dinners at Lake Hotel. Simply put, reconnect to the simple things in life; conversation, nature and great food.
Lake Hotel won an award for the most romantic hotel in Scotland in 2017 so definitely have a look there. However, we actually stayed in a lakeside chalet owned by Lochend Chalets, which I would warmly recommend. We woke up to beautiful lake views and fell asleep watching the moon (I know, I know, it’s getting cheesy. Just have a look for yourself).
Picture the setting of Beauty and the Beast. Now apply that to real life (minus the Stockholm syndrome) and you have Colmar. This beautiful French town with its pastel-coloured and half-timbered houses is quite a Pinterest sensation and provides the perfect backdrop to a romantic weekend getaway in Europe. I really enjoyed the Christmas market as a cosy winter getaway, but can imagine that Colmar is equally stunning in summer.
Stroll along gorgeous canals in Petite Venise and take in the slower pace of life. Not only is Colmar beautiful, it comes with some pretty awesome local wine too. The Alsace region is famous for wines, such as Riesling, and what candlelit dinner can call itself candlelit without some fine wine? If Colmar isn’t enough, head for a romantic day trip to neighbouring villages such as Eguisheim. These villages are even more quaint and relaxed (yes, it’s possible) than Colmar. If you want to ensure you sample enough wine, you could also try a wine tasting session together in Eguisheim. I’ve only tried the wine from Pierre-Henri Ginglinger, but the tourist office website has a list of wineries in the area so take your pick.
The latest trendy word is ‘hygge’, which is Danish for having a cosy and relaxing time with friends and loved ones. Experience hygge for yourself during a romantic weekend getaway in Copenhagen. Start your weekend by relaxing in one of Copenhagen’s cafés. I would recommend The Living Room where you can cuddle up in a bohemian stone-clad basement (a lot nicer than it sounds!). After your hygge time, make sure you pop over to see Nyhavn; an area whose colourful houses have become synonymous with Copenhagen.
Continue your romantic weekend at Tivoli, the second oldest amusement park in the world. I don’t know about you, but I love amusement parks and we always celebrate our anniversary in one. Tivoli is beautiful and some people only visit to experience the grounds, without trying the rides. If you can handle the cold and only want to see the grounds, I would recommend going in wintertime when Tivoli puts on their Christmas displays. Finally, for an off the beaten path Copenhagen experience, climb Vor Frelsers Kirke together. At the top you can enjoy an incredible view of Copenhagen, but just make sure you don’t look down. If you do, you can always bond over the feelings of vertigo.
Famous for its art noveau buildings, Riga is a Baltic gem that I can’t recommend enough for a romantic weekend escape. Latvia’s capital is perfect for a festive winter break but I can only imagine how lovely it must be in summertime. The beauty of Riga, however, is the affordability which means you can indulge for a weekend. The food scene is incredible; choose to spend your romantic getaway exploring medieval cuisine at Rozengrals or opt for fine dining at Kolonade. Whilst we didn’t go, my local friend also recommended Garage and Vest for great places to eat and drink. I suggest that you afterwards spend the evening sipping cocktails whilst cuddled up in the brilliant sky bar Skyline.
Those more culturally inclined (or those who just want to give opera a go, aka me) should end their weekend in Riga’s opulent opera house. Nothing feels more sophisticated than enjoying an evening of talented musical performances together. That pretty much summarises Riga; high quality of food and entertainment at a fraction of the cost. Go. Now.
When you say romantic weekend getaway in York I picture a slightly grey and cold day where you go for a Sunday roast in a warm pub. Perhaps you can hear the rain smattering against the window whilst you eat. We had a lovely Sunday roast in Sutlers and I would definitely recommend the place. It’s on a small street close to the Shambles.
For the rest of your weekend stay in York, I suggest you take in the historical surroundings. York Minster is obviously a popular tourist destination, but it seriously deserves it. Another popular attraction that’s worth a visit is the Shambles, which is one of the best preserved medieval streets in the world. Go for a stroll along the street and transport yourself back in time. To avoid the crowds, you should do this very early or late in the day. Also make sure you go for a walk along the York city walls. We walked the whole wall in about an hour and you get some wonderful views of the city and York Minster along the way. Just make sure you bring an umbrella, you’re in England after all.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration for your next European weekend break and please let me know in the comments if you have been to any of the places mentioned!