marrakech

From the housebound infancy of a new love to the “let’s go on a mini-break” stage, deciding to go on holiday with your new fling/thing/future ring is only half of it. Nailing down a destination that’s romantic without being cringe and active enough that you don’t get bored but equally don’t find yourself zip-lining across a canyon (getting stuck halfway and having to claw yourself back while your other half watches – happened to a friend) is no mean feat. These European sweethearts are perfect for a testing-the-water getaway that hopefully doesn’t go from mini-break to actual break.

Lisbon, Portugal

Oozing history (almost every corner fosters a castle or a UNESCO World Heritage Site), this European city is something of a catchall for new couples. A stone’s throw from both seaside resorts and wineries, it’s a great choice for those working on a variety of budgets. Popular with young creatives – and the nouveau riche (the Fassbenders have recently set-up shop here) – it’s easy to be romanced by this city. With a burgeoning contemporary food scene and inbuilt cardio thanks to the city’s hilly landscape it’s hard to find fault with this weekend escape. When you’ve had your fill of pastel de natas (traditional custard tarts), romantic tram rides and photo-worthy vistas, rent a car and head west for the seaside town of Cascais.

Dublin, Ireland

What Dublin lacks in sex appeal it more than makes up for in charm. Make like literary greats Joyce and Heaney and wax lyrical about your new love in sonnet form – or deliver a more succinct message via tweet in the city’s Silicon Docks. With copious restaurants showcasing the country’s bounty and casual pints waiting at every corner, plan out your evening but leave your afternoon free to ramble. With this walkable city centre at your disposal, wander past Georgian terraces and loiter a while in the city centres open green spaces stretching from Portobello to Parnell Square. This one is a good option for the less committal.

Marrakech, Morocco

A ochre- and rose-hued hive of activity, Marrakech is a winning choice for a first trip away. Indulge in a hammam before bartering for treasures in the kaleidoscopic souks or escape the hurly-burly of the medina all together in favour of pastures new. For adventurous couples, the Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert and coastal town of Essaouira are all but a drive away. Once you’ve returned to the city, tuck into citrus-y tajine in a chic cushion-filled restaurant before heading back to base. When it comes to sleeping, holidaymakers can choose from centuries-old palaces turned boutique hotels or luxury tents erected in desert landscapes. You’ll get brownie points for booking a room at the jewel-hued El Fenn.

Barcelona, Spain

Whether hitting the beach, following in Gaudí’s footsteps or bar hopping, Barcelona is effectively the anti-argument holiday destination. With so many options, even the pickiest of partners are sure to be satiated by the mere choice in this city. An urban beach town, art haven and a food mecca, where else can you surf in the morning, take in surrealist buildings in the afternoon and eat the best tapas of your life before 5PM? The only fear, of course, is you’ll fall more in love with the city than each other.

Vienna, Austria

Paint yourself cultured in seductive Vienna, the former imperial city that spoils it’s visitors with a never-ending wealth of things to do and see. A bravado move worth making, a trip to this artisan city, with winding lanes, time-honoured palaces and airs by Mozart chiming in the background,  is sure to make for some not so subtle wooing. With copious amounts of sachertorte, masterpiece-filled museums and imperial architecture a plenty, plus some of the plushest hotels in Europe, we’re willing to wager that you’ll leave the city humming.

Seville, Spain

What’s a heated Flamenco dance among more-than friends? A disarming sort of city, romance is perpetually in the air in Seville – or is that the heady scent of blossom on the city’s 14,000 orange trees? It’s historic centre is an intoxicating mix of periods comprising of Mudéjar palaces, baroque churches and winding medieval lanes, sure to entice those who visit and the tasty regional food is top notch. Remembering this the home of tapas –  if you can learn to share your food, your relationship will go the distance.

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