You can’t help but to feel love in the air when summer arrives; the warmth of the sun kissing your skin and the refreshing coolness of an ice-cold drink as you sit relaxing with someone you cherish, watching the world go by. So far, 2017 hasn’t quite brought us the romantic summer ambience many of us were expecting: more the “Big Chill” than “Summer Loving”. So, if you are desperate to find warmer climes, where you can relax and enjoy each other’s company, check out our favourite locations for a romantic summer break.
We know it’s a cliché, but when it comes to romantic city breaks, it’s practically a crime not to consider Venice. Gondolas, stunning architecture, classical music and bridges – what could be more romantic? The beauty of this magical city is reflected back to tourists, locals and lovers alike from the dark cyan waters of Venice Lagoon. Spend a day or so taking in some of Venice’s must-see sights, including Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale and San Giorgio Maggiore, where you will glide back in time, despite the bustle of people. However, it is in the hidden backstreets of Venice that you will find real romance. Here, you will discover an unpretentious beauty and passion that has lasted for centuries – and which will thaw even the most frigid heart. Tucked away from the bustle of tourists, you will discover local churches laced with exquisite marbles, as well as many vestiges of Venice’s artistic patterns in various states of repair: your own, secret side to Venice that you can treasure forever.
Of course, once you have had your fill of art and architecture, you can indulge in food that is simply divine before completing the evening as all sweethearts should: with a moonlit gondola ride down one of the canals.
There is something about the Mediterranean that makes it so conducive to love and passion. Maybe it is the climate, maybe it’s the fiery passion with which the Spanish and Italians are credited, but nothing says “romance” quite like a trip to Barcelona. Art and beauty are at the centre of everything in Barcelona. Barely a building is left unadorned; like jewellery, buildings have stunning wrought iron balustrades, or beautiful carvings, which instantly elevate them from mere shells to things of beauty.
The vivid, brilliant loveliness of Barcelona is in no small part down to Gaudi’s influence – rich mosaics and undulating patterns seem to swoop and swirl around the city. Barcelona’s beach is often overlooked, but worth a couple of hours of soaking up the sun: its vast golden sands overlooking the azure Mediterranean making it the ideal place to totally relax on a busy trip. Of course, you should visit the must-sees such as Parc Guell, La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and the Olympic Park, but make sure you spend some time ambling around the city itself. Walk, chat, look up and behold the stunning architecture; stop for coffee and watch the world go by for a while. Order some of the best tapas in the world, drink wine, and enjoy each moment of perfection.
When it comes to passion and romance, Rome has it in bucket loads. Somehow, the centre of an ancient empire famous for its bloodthirst and violence has become synonymous (literally) with romance. Yet it is not hard to understand why. Despite the barbaric pursuits that took place in the Colosseum and beyond, the ancient structures bear an evocative ambience. Partly, perhaps, thanks to films such as “Gladiator”, when in Rome you can almost see red-cloaked soldiers marching through the Pantheon. You feel as though, if you are very quiet, you could literally hear the footsteps of time.
The Vatican fills you with a difference sense of awe – with its scale, beauty and tranquillity, despite the thousands of visitors. But it is in its winding cobbled streets and many fountained piazzas that you are likely to discover the true romance of Rome. Among the ancient, sun-warmed buildings, you can sit, relax, eat pizza and drink Italian wine as the world buzzes around you, leaving you secure and warm in a private cocoon of warmth and romance.
If you fancy something a little more exotic when it comes to a romantic city break, then Marrakech may be the city for you. The gold-encrusted, spice-scented, palm-tree-lined city is crammed with palaces, colours and an opulence that will leave you dizzy, joyful, and ready to explore more. Marrakech holds such a rich history that, at every turn, you will be greeted by breathtakingly beautiful examples of art and architecture, each sight overlaid with the warmth of the North African sun and the mouth-watering scents of Moroccan cooking. Visit souks where you can see a vivid array of wares on offer, from fresh produce to local crafts, clothes and precious metals. Explore some of the world’s finest examples of Islamic architecture, including the Koutaubia Minaret and the Ali ben Youssef Medersa. At the end of the day, find a restaurant where you can eat al fresco on a balmy evening, sun-kissed and relaxed, as you enjoy fruit and spice-encrusted dishes that will, forever more, remind you of your romantic break in Marrakech.
The truth is that romance is in the hearts of the beholders. However, a trip to some of the world’s more evocative, romantic and aesthetically pleasing locations can help to fuel that romance and help you to create memories that, maybe, you will cherish forever. Sometimes a holiday is something that you can’t afford not to have – no matter who you go with. So, whether you are planning a romantic break for two, a trip with family or friends, or you fancy going solo and discovering the world on your own terms, start planning now – life is too short to wait.