Cities aren’t always the most romantic places – tropical islands tend to trump traffic jams and sunshine always beats smog. But choose wisely and chances are you’ll fall in love all over again, while finding a place in your heart for a certain city.
Our Lonely Planet Locals have shared all their best moves when it comes to courting in their hometowns. So what are you waiting for? Sweep your partner off their feet on one of these romantic city breaks.
Explore Washington, DC, the capital city of romance
With all the soapboxing going on in the USA’s capital, you might assume there’s not much time for romance. But Washington, DC is a genteel city of flowery parks, arched bridges, waterfront walks and cosy restaurants, offering lovebirds plenty of options.
On sunny days, purchase supplies at the Wharf’s Taylor Gourmet, then hop the dinghy to Hains Point for a waterside picnic. Watch the sunset from Arlington’s sky-high Observation Deck, then sip wine at Artechouse and play with digital forms and colour in a super-cool interactive room.
Splash the cash: Book dinner for two at the ultra-romantic Inn at Little Washington just outside the city.
Cheap date? Stroll hand-in-hand at dusk around the National Mall, as white marble monuments begin to glow in the dwindling light.
Lonely Planet Local Barbara Noe Kennedy is a freelance writer focusing on destinations, art, culture, food and adventure around the world. Follow her on Twitter @BNKennedy10.
Stroll around Seville with your media naranja (other half)
Renowned as Spain’s most romantic city, Seville’s year-round sunshine means you can always be outside – it’s dripping with pretty plazas, jasmine-scented patios and rooftop bars with killer views to kiss to. Try the Hotel Doña Maria terrace bar at sunset, looking onto the Giralda tower.
In summer, nothing can beat a moonlit outdoor concert in the Alcazar palace gardens for romance, while a fun daytime option is to hire a rowing boat on the canal at stunning Plaza de España with its tiled bridges. And who can resist the flaming passion of a live flamenco show?
Splash the cash: Hire an electric boat, complete with bar, for your own private river trip.
Cheap date? Rise up above the rooftops at Las Setas for the best panoramic vistas in town.
Lonely Planet Local Fiona Flores Watson met her media naranja in Seville. She lives there with him and their children, and is still as enamoured as ever by its charms. Follow her on Instagram @seville_writer.
Make hearts race in the red city of Marrakesh
Magical light, hundreds of romantic riads and an Arabian Nightsambiance make Marrakesh a perfect spot for amorous adventure. Snag a table for two in the nearby Agafay Desert and watch the sun set before tucking in to a candlelit dinner. Wish upon a star before retreating to your tent for the night, waking up for the sunrise.
Glamping not your style? Choose a luxury riad and plan an early-morning wake up call to watch the first rays illuminate the Atlas Mountains during a hot-air balloon ride organised by Ciel d’Afrique.
Splash the cash: Try a couple’s hammam treatment at the Royal Mansour. This spot is owned by the king of Morocco, so you know you’ll be treated like royalty.
Cheap date? Pick out some fresh-cut flowers at the marché aux fleurs (flower market) before asking the florist to whip them up into a bouquet, which shouldn’t set you back more than Dh100 (USD $11).
Lonely Planet Local Mandy Sinclair is a Marrakesh-based writer and owner of Tasting Marrakech food and cultural tours. Follow her on Instagram @MandyinMorocco.
Enjoy cocktails and castles in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has great restaurants, peaceful gardens and snug pubs. Views stretch out to the Firth of Forth, across to Fife and down through atmospheric alleyways. Above it all, bang in the centre of the city, looms a castle on a crag. Scotland’s strollable capital could hardly fail to set hearts fluttering.
Visitors can admire the views from windswept Arthur’s Seat or the Gothic Scott Monument, or promenade in Princes Street Gardens. Bramble hides beneath a dry cleaners and offers some of the city’s best cocktails and the Old Town is great for atmospheric pubs.