Romantic Capitals of the World

Whether you love it up like the french or get amorous in the tropics, spending your honeymoon at one of the romantic capitals of world will give you an unforgettable kick-start to your life a deux – in part one of two we explore Europe's most loved-up locations.

  • Story by Photo Jody Lidstone/ & Words Caroline Botting

Bruges, Belgium
Dubbed the ‘Venice of the North,’ Bruges place is packed with symbols of love. Even the government promotes passion: The Statue of Lovers is located near the City Hall and honours couples that have been married there.

This is where you and your prince charming can wander the medieval city’s cobbled streets, take a ride on a horse-drawn cart or dreamily watch white swans cruise down its sparkling tree-lined canals.

Spend an afternoon cycling through the countryside, or cuddle up for an unforgettable twilight experience at the Minnewater canalised lake (‘Minne’ is the Dutch term for ‘love’). Finally, soak up the city’s fairytale atmosphere at a charming eatery such as the Flemish Pot, famous for its sweet and savoury pancakes, or dash into the Truffelhuisje to indulge in a creamy morsel or two.

What to pack A healthy appetite. Known for its chocolate, waffles, beer and mussels, be prepared to add to your love handles on this getaway.
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Verona, Italy

Verona is the setting of the world’s most famous love story – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – and of the house said to have belonged to Juliet. Each year, the city receives thousands of letters from brokenhearted souls simply addressed to ‘Juliet, Verona, Italy,’ with resident volunteers responding.

The town is packed with antique squares, frescoed palaces and a wealth of Roman ruins, most impressively the 2000-year-old open-air Roman arena. Gone are the gladiators and medieval executions, here to stay are soul- and heart-warming performances of ballet and music. If you happen to be in town during opera festival in summer, you’ll be able to experience an unforgettable night listening to open-air arias under the starry Veronese sky.

Join the locals at the Piazza Erbe for an aperitivo before dining al fresco at one of the charming restaurants in the ancient city. After your meal, embark on a passeggiata (stroll) and join the sweet nothings of other lovers that echo through the medieval streets. Couples planning their honeymoon in February might consider coinciding it with the annual Verona in Love festival, which is held around Valentine’s Day and involves love-themed concerts, a heart-shaped market, a minute-long community kiss and free entry to historical sites.

What to pack A copy of Dean Martin’s That’s Amore for your Casanova to sing as you wander the cobbled streets and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to set the scene for your dream getaway.
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Paris, France

L’amour! Thousands of honeymooners the world over succumb to the allure of this romantic capital every year. It might be a cliché, but neither of you will forget stealing a kiss at the top of the Eiffel Towel or heading to the Trocadero Gardens that are sprawled out below. Bring a bottle of red, a baguette and some gooey French camembert cheese as you wait for the enchanting moment when the tower lights up for the first ten minutes of every hour after dark.

Take a sunset stroll along the Seine, stopping at the Pont des Arts bridge between the First and Sixth Districts. From here, enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of top city sights such as the Ile de la Cité island in the Seine River, the Notre Dame cathedral and the Louvre museum.

For creative inspiration and a reminder of what the Bohemian artist’s mecca Montmatre used to be like, visit Place du Tertre – have an artist sketch a portrait of you to take home as a honeymoon keepsake. Finally, Paris is flush with beautiful gardens including the lush, private Luxembourg Gardens – the perfect place to steal a French kiss or two.

What to pack A French phrase book. You’ll receive a lot more love from the locals if you attempt to parler the language.
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