Stroll arm-in-arm along tree-lined boulevards, watch the world go by from pavement cafés, or enjoy warm romantic evenings under a glimmering moon. Book a break à deux in one of these atmospheric cities suggested by British Airways Holidays and make summer 2017 a summer you’ll never forget.
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Canals, gondolas and a labyrinth of medieval alleyways help to make Venice one of the most romantic cities in the world. You have to see the sights, of course, and St Mark's Basilica
and the Doge's Palace
(for example) are certainly worth the trouble, but couples may also want to head for the quieter parts of town. Venice is one of those places where turning every corner seems to reveal another beautiful bridge or evocative square. Meander aimlessly, hand-in-hand, through the atmospheric Cannaregio area, or stop off for a glass of wine at one of the city’s many cosy bacaro bars.You can eat like locals at a bacaro too, but for a romantic meal try homely La Zucca
, which offers seasonal Venetian dishes and tables by a pretty canal. The Gritti Palace
is a majestic hotel with incredible views over the Grand Canal, and – on the Gritti Terrace – a wonderful space to relax, dine, and watch the gondolas drift by.
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From the sensuous architecture of Gaudi to the leafy, historic streets of the old town, Barcelona might have been built with couples in mind. Romance will blossom at the Parc del Laberint d'Horta
, a stunning garden just outside the city centre, while couples can dress to impress at the chic boutiques of the trendy Gracia neighbourhood. To find an intimate meal, avoid touristy areas like Las Ramblas and dive into Barcelona’s historic heart. Try El Pla
, a cosy restaurant in the city’s stunning gothic district serving excellent local produce. Wonderful Catalan cuisine can also be found at Hotel Arts Barcelona
, which also offers some of the most comfortable rooms and spectacular views in the city.
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Palaces, palm groves and ancient, sun-kissed walls; Marrakech offers romance with a distinctly Arabian Nights feel. It is a magical, hypnotic place, where you can take a horse-drawn carriage through the desert at sunset, or enjoy dining by candlelight at a rooftop restaurant with mesmerising views over the old city and distant, snow-capped Atlas Mountains.For shopping, head for the maze of colourful markets in the Medina, or Souk Cherifia for boutique fashions. In fact you can find pretty much anything in Marrakech, and exploring the labyrinthine alleyways of souks (tiny shops) is an adventure in itself. It’s hungry work though, so head for Al Fassia
when you’re finished for traditional Moroccan dishes of salads, tagines and pastille. There are few more romantic hotels in Marrakech than Kenzi Club Agdal Medina
, nestling in the shade of silver olive groves. All rooms have personal balconies or terraces, with stunning views over the mountains.
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It’s hard not to fall in love with the Portuguese capital, with its bright, bold colours, hidden courtyards and incredible lookout spots offering panoramic views over the city. Get lost in the maze of stunning streets in the historic Alfama district, or amble through the awe-inspiring cloisters of Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
, a 16th-century monastery and Lisbon’s most beautiful building.For old-school romance, take a ride on one of the city’s retro trams, or on the neo-Gothic Elevador de Santa Justa
, a vertical street lift. For a truly memorable memento, dip into the eccentric old stores that line Baixa’s beautiful backstreets.The Corinthia Hotel
makes a wonderful base for exploring the city (the excellent Gulbenkian Museum
is a short walk away) and offers both stunning views and, in its restaurant Sete Colinas
, wonderful local seafood. Another highly recommended restaurant for Portuguese tapas is Grapes & Bites
in Bairro Alto.
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The ancient Croatian city of Dubrovnik is beautiful, lively and effortlessly romantic. Couples can get in the mood by taking the cable car to the top of Srđ hill, with its panoramic views over the old city and the breathtakingly blue Adriatic Sea, or popping into one of the city’s many quaint cafés. Dubrovnik is one of the best preserved mediaeval cities in the world, and there is a warren of cobbled streets and charming squares to get happily lost in. Head for Buža, a bar built into Dubrovnik’s cliffs, to sip elegant cocktails while the sun sets over the sea. Couples will love the spa at the Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik
hotel, as well as the hotel’s celebrated Azzur Fish Restaurant. Then again, delicious fish is something of a speciality in this port city. Try Orsan
, overlooking the marina, which serves great fresh seafood in a relaxed, intimate atmosphere.
Inspired to plan a romantic break? If you’re thinking of booking a city escape just for two, you should know that British Airways Holidays takes the stress out of planning, booking and going on holiday, from start to finish. British Airways Holidays never forgets that your holiday is something you never forget.