The 16 Most Romantic European City Breaks for 2019

by Telegraph Travel experts, The Telegraph, December 21, 2018

An insider's guide to the most romantic hotels in Europe, including the best for cosy fires, rooftop restaurants, dramatic views, intimate bars, elegant bedrooms and vintage design, in locations including Rome, Venice, Paris, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Florence and Madrid.


With its cobbled piazzas, al fresco trattorias and time-weathered Baroque churches, Rome feels like a film set built especially for your very own Italian La La Land (singing selected opera arias is an optional extra). You may not be allowed to wade barefoot into the Trevi Fountain like Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, but there are any number of other scenic backdrops for dalliance and declarations. And the mild weather also helps to stoke those amorous flames.

Where to stay

La Scelta di Goethe Rome, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

La Scelta di Goethe Suites puts the L in luxury. Moments from where Italian movie director Federico Fellini once lived, and minutes from the Spanish steps, this refined residence houses just two fourth-floor suites, the 'Villa Medici' and the ‘Trinita dei Monti', one of which has a rooftop hot tub. Read expert review. From £1,030per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Boutique Hotel Campo de' Fiori Rome, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

There’s a playful, romantic ambience to this place that makes it perfect for couples who want to be in the heart of old Rome. Just around the corner from the market square (and nightlife hub) that gives the hotel its name, what was once a patchy three-star got a deliciously intimate boutique makeover. Read expert review. From £75per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Rome


It’s difficult to mention Venice without using the word ‘romantic’. From its pastel reflections in quiet canals to its softly plashing gondola oars, and its labyrinthine alleyways where the silence is broken only by the occasional echoing footstep, every inch of Venice oozes romance. The illusion will be shattered from time to time: as you push your way through crowds to cross the Rialto bridge, or join an interminable queue to enter St Mark’s basilica. But stroll away, venture down a quiet calle, and the magic floods back.

Where to stay

PalazzinaG Venice, Veneto, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

The entrance, hidden along an anonymous alley just behind the Palazzo Grassi contemporary art gallery, gives little hint of what lies beyond. The Palazzina extends through to the Grand Canal, with some suites offering sweeping views over that waterway. Relentlessly stylish, Palazzina G veers from darkly intimate – with Philipe Starck’s wild take on the classic Venetian chandelier – in public rooms to clean white lines in bedrooms. Read expert review. From £256per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Oltre il Giardino Venice, Veneto, Italy

7Telegraph expert rating

Tucked away behind a high wall just around the corner from the Frari basilica, the six-room, two-suite Oltre il Giardino looks more country house than Venetian palazzo and boasts that Venetian rarity: a garden. Décor is comfortable-contemporary, with great beds and lovely views over the greenery. Read expert review. From £153per night.

The most romantic hotels in Venice


Intimate, cheeky and gently alluring, Amsterdam charms and seduces. The old beauty has been doing so for centuries, and knows just what lovers require: tree-lined canals, fairy-lit bridges, gliding swans, buckets of blooms bursting out on almost every street corner. It’s all small-scale and seems just for you – that table for two with a view Rembrandt would recognise; the cosy café where you feel alone in a room of murmurs. Amsterdam deftly delivers the goods.

Where to stay 

The Toren Amsterdam, Netherlands

8Telegraph expert rating

A quiet nest of opulence with a lush décor, set across two 17th-century canal houses in convenient location for shopping, dining and sightseeing. Rooms are supremely comfortable, the service is charming, and although there’s no restaurant, there’s an intimate bar-lounge and a spacious garden courtyard. Read expert review. From £115per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

A large, though privately owned, stand-alone hotel that stretches through 25 houses, between two canals. The Pulitzer is in a prime location in the canal belt, close to the Anne Frank House. Gracious service, a garden courtyard and good cuisine add to the mix. Read expert review. From £242per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Amsterdam


It is an old classic but one that rarely disappoints. Paris is the city of romance per se when it comes to a weekend away en amoureux. Languid walks along the bridge-laced Seine, un café or cocktail on a café pavement terrace, bon vivant dining in candlelit bistros and gastronome temples, a kiss after dark atop the magical light-spangled Eiffel Tower – it is quintessential Parisian moments like this that make France’s seductive, art-rich capital such A-list romance material.

Where to stay

Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Paris, France

8Telegraph expert rating

Le Royal Monceau Raffles is a contemporary take on the ultra-luxe palace-grade hotel, with Philippe Starck-designed décor and fusion food offerings from Nobu Matsuhisa, as well as rotating art exhibits and a stylish 'concept store'. Read expert review. From £760per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Le Pavillon de la Reine Paris, France

8Telegraph expert rating

Paris locations don’t get more picturesque or charming than this. The hotel is located in an aristocratic mansion off the stunning Place des Vosges, the gorgeous symmetrical centrepiece of the Marais district. The 17th-century mansion, constructed under Henry IV, sits in its own private garden courtyard. The on-site Spa de la Reine has a hammam and hot tub. Read expert review. From £286per night. Check availability. Rates provided by 

The most romantic hotels in Paris


Dubrovnik's Old Town takes you back centuries, along cobbled streets lined by noble Baroque stone buildings. Outside the medieval city walls, bathe in the deep blue Adriatic at trendy Banje beach, or catch a taxi-boat to Lokrum islet, with its botanical garden and peacocks. Tour the wineries of Pelješac peninsular to taste velvety red Dingač and eat fresh oysters at Ston. After dark, dine by candlelight at Proto in Dubrovnik's Old Town or at Orsan overlooking the yachting marina.

Where to stay

Villa Dubrovnik Dubrovnik, Croatia

9Telegraph expert rating

Sophisticated but relaxed, this five-star contemporary retreat is built into a cliff, overlooking the turquoise Adriatic towards Dubrovnik's city walls. The 56 rooms and suites have private sea-view terraces. There's a spa with an indoor pool, a beach with white parasols, and a gourmet restaurant. Read expert review. From £272per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith.

St. Joseph's Dubrovnik, Croatia

9Telegraph expert rating

This lovely boutique hotel, set in a beautifully restored 16th-century stone building in Dubrovnik’s picturesque old town, attracts discerning couples on a romantic city break. It's a chic but unpretentious retreat, offering sightseeing and a measure of independence (each suite has a kitchenette). Read expert reviewCheck availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Dubrovnik


Not for nothing is this compact Renaissance gem one of Italy’s most popular wedding destinations; even Kim Kardashian and Kanye West tied the knot here in May 2014. Surrounded on three side by a timeless landscape of hills dotted with mellow villas, cypresses and olive groves, Florence offers some of the world’s greatest art treasures, top-class shopping, a vibrant restaurant scene, plenty of opportunity for aimless wandering and an excellent choice of hotels offering rooms with dreamy views. For something a bit different, hire a boat to take you down the Arno at sunset, accompanied by a bottle of bubbly.

Where to stay

Villa Cora Florence, Tuscany, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

A fantasy world of immaculately-restored luxury, Villa Cora is an outstanding hotel offering a superb facilities, impeccable service and a best-of-both-worlds location. The lovely garden and pool are a calm, cool refuge after a hot, sticky day in central Florence. Read expert review. From £252per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith.

AdAstra Florence, Tuscany, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

AdAstra is set in the largest private garden ‘intra moenia’ (between walls) in Europe. Inspired by the concept of a Parisian hotel particulier, this boutique hotel has the feel of an aristocratic private apartment which is not far from the truth – the Marchese Torrigiani lives on the ground floor. Three rooms have direct access onto the terrace and all have claw-foot bathtubs in the room. Read expert review. From £128per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Florence


Madrid is made for romantic moments. Start by cosying up around noonish with a glass of vermouth at a pavement café in Plaza de la Paja, then spend a decadent afternoon on a tapas crawl around the Austrias neighbourhood, sharing little dishes of sizzling prawns and garlicky mushrooms. As the light starts to fade, head to the astounding Debod Temple, an ancient Egyptian structure that is orientated towards the setting sun, then stroll past the Royal Palace to Las Vistillas to watch the moon come up over the Guadarrama mountains.

Where to stay

Only You Boutique Hotel Madrid Madrid, Spain

8Telegraph expert rating

For those seeking one of the coolest places to stay in the city, you can’t go wrong here. The hotel is in a charming former palace that dates back to the 19th century, all arched windows, Juliette balconies, window shutters and awnings. The original central courtyard is now a quadruple-height lobby. Read expert review. From £149per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques Madrid, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

Serious luxury has come to Madrid with this five-star hotel in a lavishly remodelled palace. Superb service, luxe materials, outstanding food and soothing design combine to create a secret haven in the heart of the city. A great choice for a special occasion or treat. Read expert review. From £229per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Madrid


Barcelona is a seductive place, with something to woo everyone. Stroll along the beach at sunset and duck into a tangle of shadowy lamplit streets to find that perfect little bar for a sundowner. Pick up some jamón ibérico and a bottle of the local red for a picnic in one of the leafy gardens around the city. And if the occasion calls for haute cuisine unveiled by gloved waiters, Barcelona will rise to it.

Where to stay

The Wittmore Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

8Telegraph expert rating

Decked out like an affairsy Mayfair club, with dim lighting, a blaze in the hearth and an adults-only, 'no photos' policy, the Wittmore feels incredibly private, though the ground-floor bar and dining area, along with the rooftop terrace, are very much designed for mingling. Read expert review. From £186per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Soho House Barcelona Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

One imagines this is how it feels to be at an all-weekend party in the staffed country seat of a particularly fabulous pal – luxurious, decadent and just wickedly good fun. From the bewitching rooftop pool down to the Cowshed spa, every whim is catered for. Read expert review. From £230per night.

The most romantic hotels in Barcelona


Lisbon is a city of seduction and mystery. Narrow streets, long shadows, lantern light on cobbles, moonlight dancing over the gilded domes which punctuate the skyline. Dawn sweeps in on the Atlantic breeze, painting the city’s red roofs, pink; signalling an end to the nights where Moorish streets echo with the soulful strains of fado. You can lose yourself in Lisbon, throw caution to the wind, be swept off your feet... fall in love.

Where to stay

Santiago de Alfama Lisbon, Portugal

9Telegraph expert rating

Located in the oldest part of the capital, Santiago de Alfama's 19 rooms are all different whilst celebrating the best of Portugal, from the modern art on the walls to the Claus Porto soaps in the bathrooms. An atmospheric café spills out onto the cobbled street. Read expert review. From £141per night. Check availability. Rates provided by 

Palacio Belmonte Lisbon, Portugal

9Telegraph expert rating

This tranquil palace dates back to the 15th century, and houses just 10 suites. In each, windows are thrown open with bird song carried in on the breeze, warm marble lies underfoot and private terraces overlook Lisbon. In the lush gardens, a black marble pool lies under cascading pink bougainvillea. Read expert review. From £440per night. 

The most romantic hotels in Lisbon


There’s a touch of the fairytale to Copenhagen: here a mermaid and a star-shaped fortress, there a spire of intertwined dragons’ tails, everywhere quaint cobbled streets and pretty painted townhouses. It’s tailor-made for loved-up strolls along lakes and canals and snuggled-up people-watching, cocooned in blankets at pavement cafés. Plus it’s full of cosy, candlelit bars and restaurants, often hidden away off the main streets, so you feel as if you’ve stumbled across your own little secret.

Where to stay

71 Nyhavn Hotel Copenhagen, Denmark

8Telegraph expert rating

It’s in prime waterfront position, on the corner where photogenic Nyhavn (departure point for sightseeing boat tours) meets the harbour. All bedrooms come with great, gnarly old beams, Carpe Diem beds and lovely toiletries Read expert review. From £180per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Hotel CPH LIVING Copenhagen, Denmark

7Telegraph expert rating

There is nowhere else quite like this in Copenhagen – and you won’t find anything closer to the water. A floating 12-bedroom hotel, converted from an old German barge, it’s permanently moored in the city centre and makes an unusual, relaxing place to stay. Read expert review. From £105per night. Check availability. Rates provided by 

The most romantic hotels in Copenhagen


With some of the most uniquely dramatic landscapes in Europe - if not the world - there’s no denying Iceland’s inherent allure. Its diminutive capital, home to just 150,000 souls, has contrastively romantic feel, with its village-esque atmosphere, colourful houses and peaceful vistas that span both sea and mountains. Come in winter and you can cuddle up in a hot tub and watch the northern lights; in summer you can stroll around the city’s lake and through its atmospheric neighbourhoods.

Where to stay

101 Hotel Reykjavik, Iceland

9Telegraph expert rating

One of Reykjavik’s first-ever boutique hotels is still one of its best. It offers unapologetically chic interiors, a futuristic restaurant and bar, and its own collection of contemporary art. There’s also an on-site spa with a steam bath, plunge pool and hot tub. Read expert review. From £266per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre Reykjavik, Iceland

8Telegraph expert rating

This self-billed 'lifestyle hotel' offers a brilliantly central location, dapper and well-appointed rooms inside a historic building, and chic public areas. The interior has been renovated with nods to local design, food and culture: there’s Icelandic Omnom chocolate for sale, water filtered by Icelandic lava, and a library specialising in Icelandic literature. Read expert review. From £150per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic Reykjavik hotels


While it’s well known for its tumultuous past, rough edges and boisterous nightlife, Berlin can also be a surprisingly gentle and romantic city. Criss-crossed by tree-lined rivers and canals, dotted with gorgeous parks and surrounded by pretty lakes, it’s ideal for springtime strolls and summertime picnics. In the colder months, abundant candelit cafés and bars provide ideal settings for an intimate intimate tête-à-tête, while the world-famous Christmas markets provide oodles of charm during December.

Where to stay

The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin Berlin, Germany

9Telegraph expert rating

The hotel’s distinctive skyscraper-style building fits perfectly into Potsdamer Platz’s NYC-esque cityscape but the interiors are classic Old Europe, with baroque chandeliers, marble staircases and Art Deco furnishings lending an aura of monied refinement throughout. With plush, well-equipped rooms, a fantastic French-themed brasserie, two elegant bars and an expansive spa, it lacks for, well, pretty much nothing. Read expert review. From £163per night. Check availability. Rates provided by 

Hotel Zoo Berlin Berlin, Germany

9Telegraph expert rating

This place mixes top-notch style with splashes of pre-war nostalgia. And thanks to some savvy aesthetic positioning that lands precisely between glam and bling, it's amenable to everyone from young clubbers to couples. Don't miss the convivial, speakeasy-themed bar. Read expert review. From £137per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Berlin


Romance is at the core of Budapest’s being. The Danube runs through the city’s heart, its bridges shining with thousands of lights at night. A palace lords over one bank, giving way to green hills behind, while on the other are broad squares and atmospheric cafés. And everywhere boulevards and promenades, for this is a place made for gentle strolls. 

Where to stay

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, Hungary

8Telegraph expert rating

The Four Seasons sets the benchmark for luxury hotels in Budapest. It oozes quality from every pore – whether you’re approaching its grand exterior from the city’s landmark bridge, entering the lobby with its stained glass and marble, or padding the thick carpets of the corridors. Read expert review. From £319per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Baltazár Budapest Budapest, Hungary

7Telegraph expert rating

This small hotel of just 11 rooms is owned by the Zsidai family, who have been leading restaurateurs in the city for more than 30 years. As you’d expect, its restaurant is top drawer, and the hotel has a colour, character and attention to design detail that makes it very special. Read expert review. From £84per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Budapest


Lose yourself in this tiny medieval city. Stay awhile: Bruges reveals its charms fully only to those who do – and has a host of pampering hotels and B&Bs to help cast the spell. By day, the small museums offer scintillating art. Atmospheric cafés, artisan chocolatiers and convivial pubs alert the tastebuds – before dinner at one of Bruges’s astonishingly good restaurants. Then walk back along the canals, where the Gothic spires shimmer on the still water.

Where to stay

Côté Canal and Huyze Hertsberge Bruges, Belgium

8Telegraph expert rating

Grand, spacious and relaxed, this luxury b&b feels a bit like a rambling country house – except it is in a prime and privileged location in central Bruges, with a garden overlooking the city’s prettiest stretch of canal. While the accommodation could rank as four-star, the focus is on warm and engaging hospitality. Read expert review. From £162per night.

Guesthouse Bonifacius Bruges, Belgium

9Telegraph expert rating

This is a fabulous place to stay: a medieval and 16th-century house, overlooking a canal, exquisitely decorated and equipped to the standard of a top luxury hotel. The label 'bed and breakfast' does not do it justice: 'Maison d’Hôte de Charme' gets nearer the mark. This exceptional quality is reflected in the price. Read expert review. From £172per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Bruges


Prague is often referred to as one of Europe’s most romantic cities - and for good reason. Set on both sides of the winding Vltava river, its preserved 17th and 18th century architecture, elegant palaces and gardens, and snaking cobbled lanes often make visitors feel they’ve stepped into a historic film set. Seen from the vantage point of Prague Castle or Letna Park, the city of spires still has as much power to take one’s breath away as ever.

Where to stay

Golden Well Hotel Prague, Czech Republic

9Telegraph expert rating

With just 19 romantic rooms, the Golden Well (U Zlaté Studné) is an intimate and refined option for a memorable stay in Prague. The interior is sophisticated, there's a seriously top-notch restaurant with stellar views over the city, and service is pristine and personal throughout. Read expert review. From £190per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Four Seasons Hotel Prague Prague, Czech Republic

9Telegraph expert rating

Prague's Four Seasons is one of the city's plushest and best-located hotels, with a blend of styles from different eras which lend plenty of character to the interior and rooms. Décor and furnishings are a mix of classic and contemporary, service is impeccable throughout and there's a swish spa and relaxation pool. Read expert review. From £239per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels in Prague


Spine-tingling flamenco, winding flower-filled alleys, sunset boat rides past floodlit Moorish towers… Seville is always romantic, but thanks to its mild winter, you can even relish tapas and sherry at sun-drenched outdoor terraces in February. Wander through gardens vibrant with bougainvillea, catching jasmine-scented air – it would be churlish not to sneak a secret kiss on a tiled bench in a hidden corner. And who can resist a horse and carriage ride through the ancient streets?

Where to stay

Casa del Poeta Seville, Andalucia, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

So discreet it doesn’t even have a sign, this restored 17th-century mansion hidden down a tiny alley in Santa Cruz offers service worthy of a five-star establishment, plus nightly live guitar performances, a superbly-stocked bar, and a large roof terrace with cathedral views. Read expert review. From £130per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Legado Alcázar Seville, Andalucia, Spain

8Telegraph expert rating

This small, stylish hotel overlooks the Alcazar’s lush birdsong-filled gardens. Built into the palace’s wall, the space combines ingeniously-preserved historic features – an Arabic well, 17th-century pottery jars, original ceramic tiling – with outstanding contemporary décor. Read expert review. From £100per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

The most romantic hotels Seville 


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