From Paris to Barcelona, and San Francisco to Seville, there’s a city-break destination for every hopeless romantic to enjoy. Whether you are looking to seek out the best romantic restaurants offering culinary delights, or make a trip to explore a city’s historical architecture, this report will hopefully make your trip planning a little easier.
This report ranks popular city-break destinations across both the UK, and the world on a series of factors, including the number of romantic activities for couples, the number of romantic hotels, and the number of romantic restaurants, to reveal the most romantic city breaks.
The most romantic city breaks around the world
1. Paris, France
Romantic City Break Score: 8.87 out of 10
When discussing the most romantic city breaks in the world, Paris is always the first city to come to mind, so it's no surprise to see that Paris, France, tops our list with a score of 8.87 out of 10. Paris’s renaissance art and unique architecture attract couples from across the world, and its historic beauty makes it one of the most romantic cities on earth.
Paris offers 706 romantic hotels (6.7 per km2), and 1,511 romantic restaurants (14.3 per km2). Paris has arguably some of the most luxurious restaurants you can find on a couple’s break, and La Liste named Guy Savoy's restaurant at La Monnaie de Paris as the best restaurant in the world.
2. San Francisco, United States
Romantic City Break Score: 7.59 out of 10
In second is San Francisco, California, with a score of 7.59 out of 10. San Francisco is of course known for its rolling hills, amazing views over the bay, and gorgeous architecture making it perfect for a romantic getaway.
The city is home to 310 romantic activities (2.5 per km2), including a stroll through Golden Gate Park, or a trip in the city’s famous cable cars. The San Francisco Bay Area also has a great selection of day spas and wellness centers, offering couples’ massages and twilight spa sessions.
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Romantic City Break Score: 7.49 out of 10
In third place is Amsterdam, Netherlands, with a score of 7.49 out of 10. Amsterdam is a nature-oriented city, with a beautiful flower environment, known especially for Dutch tulips, making for a vibrant flower display all year round. From quaint canals to historical sights, it is certainly one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe.
The city scored well for its array of romantic restaurants (3.2 per km2), as well as its romantic hotels (1.1 per km2). The city also offers a plethora of romantic activities, including the opportunity to pilot a boat through the canals.
4. Barcelona, Spain
Romantic City Break Score: 7.44 out of 10
In fourth place for our most romantic getaways, is Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona is a stunning city to visit and it is home to some of the most striking architecture you can find, such as the towering Sagrada Familia and the quirky Casa Milà.
Barcelona scored highly for its 591 romantic activities (6.0 per km2), and its array of places to dine, boasting 800 romantic restaurants. Barcelona can also be recognized as a popular destination for couples, regarding its vast Google search volume for romantic things to do (3,180 annual searches).
5. Lisbon, Portugal
Romantic City Break Score: 7.28 out of 10
Lisbon, Portugal, is the fifth city on our list, with a score of 7.28 out of 10. This beautiful Portuguese city is famed for being a city of light, thanks to the immense reflection of the Tagus river, inspiring filmmakers all over the world. The scored particularly well for its couples activities, with 487 (4.9 per km2) attractions to enjoy. From taking a romantic stroll through Alfama’s narrow streets to its historical gardens and picturesque river cruises from the southern harbor.
The city also has a wide selection of romantic restaurants to visit (6.5 per km2), but accommodation is by no means cheap, with a two-night stay costing an average of $1,179 (£968| €1,110) in a romantic-specific hotel.
The most romantic city breaks in the UK
1. Brighton, East Sussex
Romantic City Break Score: 8.00 out of 10
The city of Brighton came in first place for the most romantic UK city break destinations, with a score of 8.00 out of 10. The seaside resort of Brighton is home to Brighton city, which is a popular tourist destination, renowned for its diverse community, vibrant music, and art scene. Brighton has a large LGBTQ+ population, which led to its recognition as the ‘unofficial gay capital of the UK’.
Brighton scored highly for its romantic restaurants with a total of 149 establishments (4.7 per km2), and also its affordability ($295|£242|€278 for a two-night stay).
2. York, North Yorkshire
Romantic City Break Score: 7.69 out of 10
The second place goes to the ancient city of York. The charming buildings and spectacular Gothic cathedral make this city the perfect choice for a romantic break with your other half. The city is also the birthplace of W. H. Auden, who famously penned poems about love, adding to the city's romantic offerings.
The city is home to 55 hotels that are great for couples, which is 1.6 per km2, the second highest on this list. York is furthermore the third highest-rated city for three other factors, its romantic restaurants, activities, and Google search interest.
3. Bath, Somerset
Romantic City Break Score: 7.47 out of 10
Bath ranks in third place, with a score of 7.47 out of 10. Named after its Roman-built bathhouses, Bath has a distinctive culture and cuisine and offers a fabulous range of boutique shopping. It has become a popular choice for fine dining, with inclusive package deals and afternoon tea breaks.
Bath scored high for its couples attractions, with a total of 101 things to do (4.2 per km2), including numerous spas, museums, and beautiful city walks. The city also boasts a wide variety of romantic rooms, with a total of 47 hotels (1.9 per km2).
4. Canterbury, Kent
Romantic City Break Score: 6.95 out of 10
One of the country’s smaller cities comes in fourth, with Canterbury scoring 6.95 out of 10. Canterbury is a cathedral city in Kent and like many of the other high-scoring cities here, it is known for its old-fashioned cobbled streets and beautiful buildings.
The city is home to a series of romantic things to do (2.3 per km2). However, the centerpiece of this city is of course its cathedral, which was founded in 597 A.D. and features magnificent stone carvings and stained-glass windows.
5. Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh
Romantic City Break Score: 6.63 out of 10
Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is another city that perfectly lends itself to romance. The city is home to stunning architecture, beautiful backdrops, and secret spots which make for the perfect date. The imposing castle looming over the city also makes for a perfect photo opportunity.
While its hotels are on the more expensive side, Edinburgh scored highly on almost every other metric, particularly its romantic activities per km2 (2.4) and Google searches (3,220 annual searches).
This research studied the world’s top romantic city-break destinations, using listicle articles ranked on the first SERPs on Google to generate a list of cities. We were then able to find the total area (km2) of each city to get an accurate score against the following factors:
Number of Romantic Activities
TripAdvisor was used to find the total number of activities that were ‘good for couples'.
Number of Romantic Restaurants
TripAdvisor was used to find the total number of ‘romantic’ restaurants.
Number of Romantic Hotels
Booking.com was used to find the total number of ‘romantic’ hotels.
Hotel Cost (For a Two-Night Stay)
Booking.com was used to find the average price for a one-night stay at a romantic hotel on a weekend during December 2022. The figure was multiplied by two to get the price for a two-night stay. The price was in British pounds, which was converted to Euros and US Dollars on 16/12/22.
Annual Searches (Dec 2021 - Nov 2022)
Google Keyword Planner was used to find the approximate number of searches for ‘romantic things to do in *DESTINATION*’ to find the total number of annual searches across the world.
All factors were combined to get an overall normalized score out of ten to find the most romantic city breaks in the world. This was repeated to find the most romantic city breaks in the UK.