by Tom McCloughlin
Sometimes you just need to get away from it all with your loved one and fly away for a few nights of new experiences in a new city. Many cities lay claim to being the most romantic city in the world and indeed there are many contenders with plenty of places offering all the ingredients for an enchanting romantic break. Here we have selected three of our favourites
1. Athens, Greece
Athens is a city bursting with culture and countless things to see and do. Most of the sights can be visited on foot enabling you to stroll everywhere hand in hand with your partner whilst soaking up the sights and culture that oozes all around you. For a truly romantic stroll take the two and a half mile pedestrianized Archaeological Promenade that links all of the major attractions that Athens has to offer, including the mighty Acropolis.
There are plenty of opportunities to tantalise the taste buds in Athens. The Plaka district is home to many quaint rustic tavernas serving traditional Greek fare and the Gazi district has a fantastic selection of more modern Greek cuisine. Bars Psirriarea and Kolonaki has some fantastic lounge bars perfect for resting the tired legs and enjoying a tipple or two.
Nearby beaches in Glyfada and Voullagment offer an opportunity to escape the rush of the city and roll out a towel and relax in the sunshine. For even more relaxation head to one of the Greek spas overlooking the Athenian Riviera for some treatments.
2. Valletta, Malta
Valletta, the smallest capital city in Europe is also perhaps the most underrated, though that may soon change now it has been awarded the prestigious European Capital of Culture 2018.
With a history dating back 7000 years and much of the city resembling an open air museum, with medieval baroque architecture, beautiful palaces and stunning churches, it is not hard to see how Valletta can be a romantic place.
Days can be spent winding your way around the gorgeous cobbled streets that are packed full of charm and never overcrowded. For added romance take a horse and carriage ride around the main sites including the City Gate, Fort Elmo.
A cruise on a dghasja (a small wooden boat) will enable you to appreciate the stunning city from the sea and explore the nearby walled city of Birgu where you can soak up even more history before returning to Valletta’s beautiful harbour for sunset cocktails. As the night draws in, there are many wonderful places to sample some of Malta’s gastronomic delights that take influence from Italian and Arabic cooking.
3. Marrakech, Morocco
Marrkakech is a city that is perfect for a romantic break at any time of the year due to it’s great annual climate. The city has a captivating personality that visitors have fallen in love with for many years.
The old city, or the Medina is UNESCO World Heritage site and the perfect place to begin your exploration. A winding maze stacked high with everything you can imagine and plenty of places to grab a fresh mint tea and really absorb the atmosphere. Once you have found your way out of the Medina head to Jardin Majorelle, where the beautiful gardens are a calming haven away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby streets
Diminish any stress or tight muscles and soothe your body in one of the Hammams that caters for couples. Relax with a soothing orange-blossom oil massage or go for a full body scrub to really feel invigorated.
As the sunsets in Marrakech, the city is even more beautiful with the changing colours making the Medina look even more enchanting. Sunset is best appreciated with cocktails on the roof of an ancient 18th century riad where you can gaze at the majestic Atlas Mountains in the distance.