29 Oct 6 Travel Inspirations for your European Honeymoon or Romantic Getaway
Are you dreaming of a European honeymoon or romantic getaway but aren’t quite sure where to go? Luckily, Europe truly has something for everyone. World-class cities? Check. Cozy small towns? Check. Delicious food and beverages? Check. Gorgeous landscapes? Check. Island getaways? Check. Plus everything in between! Here are 6 suggestions to spark your travel aspirations:
1. CASTLES OF EUROPE
Suggestion: Loire Valley, France
Perhaps nothing can capture the feeling of romance quite like a majestic castle. Walt Disney knew this and famously drew inspiration from castles such as Segovia Castle in Spain (Snow White) and Neuschwanstein in Germany (Sleeping Beauty).
Castles can be found throughout Europe, but one of my favorite regions is in France’s Loire Valley. Here they are referred to by the French term, château.
The Loire Valley was established during the Renaissance as a retreat destination for Parisian royals and elites. Handed down from generation to generation in many cases, thes echâteaux are still owned by the same families. Lucky for us, many have opened their doors to the public: a pleasure for us and a precious resource for paying to maintain these magnificent works of art.
As you visit the various châteaux in the region, you will see that each one is unique in its architecture and history. Each has a story to share with you that goes beyond the towering turrets and echoing halls.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Château de Chenonceau: Spanning the river, this has my vote for “most romantic chateau.”
Château de Chambord: The largest chateau features amazing views from the outdoor balconies.
Château de Villandry: This features the most magnificent gardens of the Loire Valley.
Château du Clos Lucé: Notable as being where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life, it features a small museum of models based on da Vinci’s ideas.
Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: This less tourist-visited chateau boasts quiet elegance as it appears as it appears to float on the water.
2. ISLAND GETAWAYS
Suggestion: Santorini, Greece
When you think of an island getaway, your first thought is probably not Europe, but it should be. Europe has an abundance of islands to visit, each varying in climate, topography, and culture. There are the small island nations of Malta and Cyprus, the large island nations of Ireland, Iceland, and Great Britain, the island clusters off Croatia, Greece, Spain, Italy, and Scotland, and almost countless more!
If you are envisioning a romantic getaway where you and your loved one are enjoying the romantic seclusion of an island getaway, one of the top destinations is Santorini in Greece. The Greeks are known for having a passion for art and life, and Santorini is proof of this. The island of Santorini is a famous example of the natural beauty that can be found on the Greek islands.
There’s seemingly no end to the number of romantic activities, experiences, and scenic vistas in Santorini. The village of Imerovigli, well known for its sunsets, is called the “Balcony to the Aegean Sea.” You can visit the church here, go hiking, and snorkel in the Red Beach. You might also enjoy boarding a tourist boat to the neighboring uninhabited Greek island of Nea Kameni. Here you can take a scenic hike up to and along the crater of the volcano, relax at the volcanic spa, and enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner with the world-renowned wine from the volcanic vineyard.
Other island getaway suggestions:
Ibiza, Spain: The cobalt blue sea and sparkling sand of Ibiza’s beaches are truly a treat. Staying at the coastal resort of Playa d’en Bossa is as idyllic a vacation as can be imagined.
Capri, Italy: Stay in an upscale hotel, go shopping, and visit the Blue Grotto, where the sea glows blue as sunlight passes through an underwater café. This island is known for its beautiful landscapes. (Activity suggestion: Private Boat Tour for Couples)
3. ROMANTIC RIVER CRUISE
Suggestion: The “Romantic Rhine” Itinerary on Avalon Waterways
Cruising on the rivers is a truly romantic way to experience Europe’s storybook villages and charming towns. With the luxurious amenities offered by the river cruise lines and the simplicity of a hosted itinerary, there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy your loved one’s company. Beautiful scenery can be found on many of the rivers, such as the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Mosel, and Duoro.
Consider Avalon Waterways’ “Romantic Rhine” cruise. The magnificent Rhine, with its castle-dotted banks, is indeed a romantic route. The southbound cruise begins in Amsterdam, stops at five ports in Germany and one port in France and ends in Basel, Switzerland. Avalon offers different excursions in each port, so you can customize your days based on your interests. There is something for everyone—from touring gorgeous cathedrals and castles to exploring historic medieval towns—and all of the local food and beverage tastings in between.
4. SMALL TOWN CHARMS
Suggestion: Bruges, Belgium
There’s just something about a small town, or city, that evokes a tranquil and charming feeling. Often well preserved, such places feel like they still inhabit a bygone era. For this reason, they make for a wonderful honeymoon and romantic getaway destinations.
The city of Bruges, just outside of Brussels in Belgium, attracts lovebirds with its picturesque canals, cobbled streets, and medieval architecture. Bruges rose to prominence in the 14th century due to its strategic location as a merchant city. It is well preserved and boasts plenty of historic and cultural sights in addition to romantic activities. Enjoy a cruise along the canals, share a kiss on Lovers Bridge, and rent a bike to follow the canal out to the neighboring town of Damme.
For fantastic views over the city, climb the belfry in the center of town. Back on the ground, consider the highly enjoyable guided bike tour with Quasimundo. Art lovers will be delighted to hear that Flemish art is on display at the Groeningmuseum and there’s a Michelangelo sculpture—a small Madonna and Child—on view in the Church of Our Lady. And of course, no trip to Belgium would be complete without sampling the local beer, chocolate, and frites (the original “French fries”). De Halve Maan Brewery offers guided tours of their brewery and a relaxing beer garden. For chocolate, I recommend Dumon Chocolatier, and for unique chocolate varieties, The Chocolate Line (go ahead and try the “Havana” and tell me what you think!).
Other romantic small towns worth considering:
Colmar, France has a blend of French and German architecture. With its clear waters, clean hills, and breath-taking scenery, it is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.
Dubrovnik, Croatia is nicknamed “The Pearl of the Adriatic,” and for good reason. In addition to its beautiful seaside location and warm weather, Dubrovnik has a monastery, a lovely beach, and a pristine main street (the Stradun).
Hallstatt, Austria is a quaint mountain town located along the extremely picturesque Lake Hallstatt in the Austrian Alps. It’s perfect for nature lovers in search of a romantic retreat.
5. REGAL AND ROMANTIC CITIES
Suggestion: Paris, France
Romantic getaways don’t have to be limited to just small and intimate locales. There’s plenty of romance to be found in Europe’s grand cities too. Large cities offer world-class restaurants, hotels, museums, art, and entertainment, such as, London, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Munich, Florence, and Barcelona.
There’s one city that has become synonymous with romance, and that is Paris (“The City of Lights”). Enjoy the famous art in the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, or the Musée de l’Orangerie. See the iconic landmarks, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacré-Cœur, and the Arc de Triomphe. Stroll hand-in-hand in one of the graveled walkways in the Jardin des Tuileries or Jardin du Luxembourg. For entertainment, you can see an opera at the gorgeous Palais Garnier Opera House, or for something a little different, check out a show at Moulin Rouge.
Proposing in Paris? Try the quiet banks of the Seine on Ile Saint-Louis.
6. ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT
Suggestion: Club Med’s Cefalu Resort in Sicily, Italy
Many newlyweds flock to the islands of the Caribbean to experience the stress-free pampering of an all-inclusive resort. But did you know that, while harder to find, there are a few options available at seaside destinations in Europe?
One such option is Club Med’s Cefalu Resort in Sicily. This resort sits atop a rugged cliff overlooking the breathtaking Cefalù Bay. This 5-star, all-inclusive resort features luxurious modern rooms and mini villas, or rather, “villetas” built into the rock. Amenities include gourmet meals at one of the three resort restaurants, land and water activities, nighttime entertainment, bars and lounges, a spectacular pool, and access to onsite spa treatments. If you’re looking for a pampered honeymoon or romantic getaway, this unique resort is calling your name.
PLANNING A ROMANTIC VACATION OR HONEYMOON?
If you’re dreaming about a romantic vacation or honeymoon in Europe, any of these suggestions could easily be the perfect spot for you. This is not the definitive list. There are many more fantastic options in Europe, more than I could ever fit in a blog. If you’re looking for that perfect romantic getaway, I offer a variety of travel planning services designed to your personal needs to ensure a memorable experience. To download a sample itinerary, click here.
Not sure where to start? Contact me for a free, no-obligation 20-minute consultation, and I’ll be happy to discuss how I can help!