Travel can be a real make-or-break when it comes to relationships, particularly as things are just starting out.
A big factor in whether the romantic mini-break goes well is your choice of destination.
We asked LGBTQ travel experts for their suggestions on some of the European destinations that should give your romantic mini-break a head start.
While it may have a slightly undeserved reputation for being a bit dull, Zurich is actually perfect for a romantic mini-break. It’s a beautiful city, you can walk everywhere, there’s great cafes, bars, and restaurants, and if the weather is warm you can go swimming in the river or head out to explore the lake.
“I’ve always loved Zurich. The first time I arrived by train, I was taken by the city’s lakeside beauty, as well as how the city managed to meld old with new, providing a striking yet eye-pleasing contrast around every corner. — Matt Skallerud, I Love Gay Travel
The South of France is often seen as a summer-only destination, but there’s a lot more to the riviera than just film festivals and yachts.
“I love Nice because of it’s truly harmonious blend of international cultures living together as one vibrant community.” — Jameson Farn, Experience the French Riviera
Explore the ancient and beautiful Alhambra, which defines the city-scape of Granada. You can stay at a hotel inside the Alhambra complex and explore once all the tourists have left. Head into town for a flamenco experience, and share some great Spanish food.
“It’s hard not to find romance in Granada — the city is as soulful as Seville, but made that much more magical thanks to the Alhambra. Illuminated with golden lights at night, the palace’s stunning exterior towers above visitors enjoying a nightcap on one of the city’s charming plazas. I also love wandering the Albaycín, the old Moorish quarter of the city, and getting lost in a sensory experience that compares only to the souks of Marrakech. One other tip — treat yourself and your partner to an afternoon at the Hammam Al Andalus — the pools are incredibly romantic and the body scrubs are divine.” — Krystin Arneson, We Are KOG.
“I love Granada because it contains all the Spanish fire and passion with a unique mysticism and beauty — the atmosphere and emotion is almost palpable, and unparalleled.” — Stuart Lewis, Travelscoop
Ideal in summer where you can catch ferries across to the different islands in the fjord, sit in the sun, and feast on the freshest seafood and some crisp white wine.
“I love overlooking Helsinki’s fast-paced life from its many rooftop bars: a relaxing experience to admire the beauty of its green surroundings.” — Sergio Scardia, Italy Gay Travels
Beaches on the doorstep, drinking in the streets, and you can soak up the colonial heritage of this unassuming but proud and fiery country. Explore the twisted streets of the old city, kick your night off with beers in Bairro Alto, or explore the ruins of the old Castelo de Sao Jorge.
One of my favourite parts of the city was when we’d walk up a narrow road uphill to where some of the best restaurants and bars were located, all with an incredible view of the harbour and central Lisbon. — Matt Skallerud, I Love Gay Travel
Lisbon has the perfect sunset — I love watching the sun setting down into the sea, while sipping a beer and tasting some bacalao. What’s more romantic than that? — Sergio Scardia, Italy Gay Travels
San Sebastian, Spain
Renowned for its iconic beach, San Sebastian is the perfect option for a weekend romantic getaway.
“What makes San Sebastian romantic? It’s beautiful, it smells of the ocean, it sounds like peace, and it has thousands of flavours. It’s a French city in Spain, with a lot of Basque character. The city’s beauty, food, and daily life is blessed by Saint Sebastian — the gay saint — so it’s a special place to spend time with someone you love. In San Sebastian, the time moves at the rhythm of jazz, with the light of cinema, and the taste of land and sea — it’s like a door to paradise on Earth, the perfect place to get in love, make peace with your partner, or go deeper in your relationship.” — Aitor Delgado, Ernesto Delgado Tours.
If they were ever looking for a city to be on a postcard of old-world Europe then Bruges would have to be in the running — old stone houses, meandering canals, a timeless sense of belonging to a different era. They’re famous for chocolate here, and there are plenty of cafes where you can take a break and feast on the best hot chocolate and sugar coated waffles.
“Bruges reminds me of Venice — getting lost in its small little alleys and canals make me feel lost in time.” — Sergio Scardia, Italy Gay Travels