Cities aren’t always the most romantic places – tropical islands tend to trump traffic jams and sunshine always beats smog. But choose wisely and chances are you’ll fall in love all over again, while finding a place in your heart for a certain city.
Explore Washington, DC, the capital city of romance
With all the soapboxing going on in the USA’s capital, you might assume there’s not much time for romance. But Washington, DC is a genteel city of flowery parks, arched bridges, waterfront walks and cosy restaurants, offering lovebirds plenty of options.
On sunny days, purchase supplies at the Wharf’s Taylor Gourmet, then hop the dinghy to Hains Point for a waterside picnic. Watch the sunset from Arlington’s sky-high Observation Deck, then sip wine at Artechouse and play with digital forms and colour in a super-cool interactive room.
Stroll around Seville with your other half
Renowned as Spain’s most romantic city, Seville’s year-round sunshine means you can always be outside – it’s dripping with pretty plazas, jasmine-scented patios and rooftop bars with killer views to kiss to. Try the Hotel Doña Maria terrace bar at sunset, looking onto the Giralda tower.
In summer, nothing can beat a moonlit outdoor concert in the Alcazar palace gardens for romance, while a fun daytime option is to hire a rowing boat on the canal at stunning Plaza de España with its tiled bridges. And who can resist the flaming passion of a live flamenco show?
Make hearts race in the red city of Marrakesh
Magical light, hundreds of romantic riads and an Arabian Nights ambiance make Marrakesh a perfect spot for amorous adventure. Snag a table for two in the nearby Agafay Desert and watch the sun set before tucking in to a candlelit dinner. Wish upon a star before retreating to your tent for the night, waking up for the sunrise.
Enjoy cocktails and castles in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has great restaurants, peaceful gardens and snug pubs. Views stretch out to the Firth of Forth, across to Fife and down through atmospheric alleyways. Above it all, bang in the centre of the city, looms a castle on a crag. Scotland’s strollable capital could hardly fail to set hearts fluttering.
Visitors can admire the views from windswept Arthur’s Seat or the Gothic Scott Monument, or promenade in Princes Street Gardens. Bramble hides beneath a dry cleaners and offers some of the city’s best cocktails and the Old Town is great for atmospheric pubs.
Find love in the air in Vancouver
Vancouverites are at least as in love with the great outdoors as they are with each other. But gooey-eyed locals know exactly how to combine their passions. Hire a tandem from Spokes Bicycle Rentals to scope out picnic spots along the seawall or gaze lovingly at the sunset – and each other – from Stanley Park’s Third Beach.
Rainy day? Commune with the resident lovebirds inside Bloedel Conservatory’s tropical dome or take a couples’ culinary class at Dirty Apron Cooking School. For a grand finale, hop a ferry to Bowen Island, hike up Mount Gardner and pop the question overlooking a heart-stopping ocean panorama.
Take to the water in Paris
A classic city break destination for couples, the romanticised French capital is even more captivating when viewed from the water. From its dock near the Eiffel Tower, celebrated chef Alain Ducasse’s new ‘floating restaurant’ Ducasse sur Seine serves gourmet lunch and dinner menus at white-clothed tables while you glide through Paris’ heart. Canauxrama cruises along charming Canal St-Martin pass through double locks, swing bridges and an underground section.
In the city’s two sprawling forests, recreate a scene from an impressionist painting by hiring a rowboat on Lac Daumesnil in the eastern Bois de Vincennes, or Lac Inférieur in the western Bois de Boulogne.