Today’s guest post is by Oana Molnar.
The words ‘Europe’ and ‘romance’ conjure some very specific images: usually involving the streets of Paris, a Venetian canal or somewhere in Tuscany. And that’s all well and good, provided you have the spare cash available, and don’t mind fulfilling a few clichés. For the rest of us, the continent offers a myriad of opportunities for romance that won’t break the wallet, and might introduce you to a whole new world at the same time.
Here are our five top picks for Europe’s alternative romantic getaways:
Situated on a picturesque bend in the Danube River, Budapest is suitably ancient, suitably cheap and mostly ignored. Partly because it lacks the nightlife of Prague and partly because it’s comparatively far away, Budapest still feels undiscovered: a grand city waiting to fulfill its full potential. And that potential is everywhere – in the cobbled streets of the city’s artistic quarter, in the great fortress solemnly overlooking the valley, in the quietly romantic wrought-iron bridge spanning the river. Known in its heyday as ‘the Paris of Eastern Europe’, Budapest is smaller than its French counterpart but no less beautiful. Visit early in autumn to see the center at its sunny best.
Acres of barren wilderness, ancient cemetery paths, haunted forest and remote granite villages make up this starkly beautiful national park in the Southwest of England; a place of brooding skies and windswept tors. What Devon’s ‘desert’ might lack in wandering canals and bustling boulevards it more than makes up for in secret valleys, half-forgotten stone churches and bleak, existential beauty. Follow ancient trails between the tors, admiring the quiet wonder of it all, or simply huddle up in a cosy village pub with a couple of pints and some local grub. You may just find yourself falling in love with the British countryside all over again.
A tiny old stone city wedged between dramatic mountain peaks and situated at the foot of a tiny inlet, Kotor is like something from a fairy tale. Winding cobbled roads cut lazily up through the town, passing venerable churches and ancient red-roofed homes, until they peter out into stony wilderness. Kotor is a city without cars, a place of secret alleyways and quiet conversations in old stone palazzos; the sort of place where you can get lost for hours on end and it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, cheap flights to the area are making this lost wonder distinctly less ‘lost’ (and distinctly more expensive), but it’s still on just the right side of touristy – and no less enchanting for its recent influx of visitors.
A very tiny village with only 300 permanent inhabitants, this former fishing village is the epitome of a romantic destination. Encircled by amazing mountains, there are many romantic walks a pair can take around its protected and pristine area. The blue beaches next to the village are also extremely clean and there are plenty of yachts or boats that can take you out in the sea to enjoy your holiday away from other couples. The sceneries are breath taking that makes Portofino one of the romantic European alternative getaways.
Napoleon’s birthplace is a wild, unusual place: a vast island that’s both touristy and hidden; a place of tranquil beach resorts and rugged mountain wilderness; a French territory that feels somehow deeply Italian. Bursting with ancient history and filled with hidden graveyards, forgotten villages and acres of woodland, Corsica is one of the few places in Europe where magic and folktales still feel very much alive. A walking tour of the island is highly recommended, as no one single area can do this complex, utterly charming region justice.
Oana is a freelancer trying to get into the blogging sphere and an adventure seeker, traveling one part of the world at time. She enjoys writing and sharing her experiences especially since traveling it’s became a huge part in her life.