If you’re one of those people dreaming of a romantic getaway in Europe with your significant other, you’re in good company. The idea of winding cobblestone streets, dreamy landscapes, and beautiful architecture is the stuff dreams are made of, but they can be particularly harsh on the pocket. Because Europe is a huge continent with a lot of wonderful places to visit, picking your destination can be both a challenging and exciting task.
If you’re travelling with a significant other on a budget, it’s best to first consider what you like doing together and what kind of views you would like to see. Does he like the Scottish highlands and revel in the natural beauty of the surroundings? If she’s a culture buff, maybe she’d appreciate going around Paris more, what with its Louvre museum and a treasure trove of other cultural places. If he likes history, then there can be nothing more romantic than going to one of the cradles of civilization: Greece.
Here are just some of budget travelers’ top picks for romantic destinations in Europe.
1. Paris, France. Is there any city in the world more romantic than the City of Love? It has acquired a reputation for being an expensive city, but this is definitely not one place you’d want to skip. With delicious wine, sumptuous cuisine, the latest in fashion, and culture all around, it’s going to be hard to know where to start. If you’re looking to save some money, opt for a romantic sunset viewing experience by the Seine. Pack a picnic basket to go and you’re all set.
2. London, England. Just across the other side of the ocean from Paris is another world-class city, London. Know where to go and stay and you’d still be having a grand time even in one of Europe’s most expensive cities. There are decent hostels with good rates even for a traveling couple, plus you get to have your pick of culture thanks to state-run museums, which are free for access.
3. Bruges, Belgium. Old world charm, meet traveling couple. Just avoid the busiest summer months and you’ll find decent rates at hotels and lodgings, allowing you the freedom to explore this medieval city at your own leisure. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere here before you embark on the next leg of your European adventure.
4. Madrid, Spain. It’s a hard call to pick just one city in Spain — the entire country is picturesque, and other cities like Barcelona and Granada are just as good — but the capital has got almost everything you need from this very cultural and exciting country. Think of Madrid and you think of tapas and beer and a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Soak up culture in the day and have a relaxing siesta in the late afternoon; party all night and fall in love with the night life, partying, and of course, that sultry Spanish language.
5. Athens, Greece. If you’re looking to take a trip down history and memory lane, nothing can beat the allure of Greece. Athens used to be one of Europe’s centers of civilization, and you can still see many of these tourist attractions well preserved. Plus, Athens is a good jump off point to other points of interest in Greece, not least of which is Santorini, popular for its blue domed houses nearby the sea.
In truth, almost all cities in Europe are accessible for anyone. You just need to be smart about choosing where to stay, where to go, and when to go. Here are some general tips to consider when traveling on a budget:
1. Consider the season. Peak season means more travelers jostling for rooms and lodging. This means businesses can drive up their prices. You won’t get to enjoy Europe as much when you’re counting money and struggling to see the views along with hordes of tourists.
2. Choose the right accommodation for your needs. If you’re planning to be out most of the day, you won’t really need a top of the line hotel. A decent backpackers’ hostel will do just fine. But do choose one that’s near public transport systems or near where you intend to spend most of your time.
3. Be smart about food shopping. If you’re trying to save money, you may opt for supermarket bought meals every now and then. But do visit the local food stalls and bakeries for cheaper eats than in tourist trap restaurants.
4. Plan your trips and itineraries well, and get transport passes. Save time and money by mapping and planning out where you want to go. Pre-bought train tickets can also save you a hefty amount in discounts.
5. Take advantage of anything free. Free museum admission? Walking tours? Sign up! It’s a great way to see the city for free.
A romantic getaway in Europe is entirely possible by following these tips. Be smart and plan carefully, but remember to enjoy the moment. You’ve got a beautiful continent to explore and a loved one at your side after all; cherish that.