Being young and in love on Valentine’s day is a predicament. Netflix and chill doesn’t fly, but the thought of a romantic getaway to Paris likely makes your bank account quiver.
Strike up an incredibly happy medium with a trip to one of these affordable and romantic European cities your loved one’s sure to swoon over.
1. Bruges, Belgium
Combine a fairytale setting with the capital of chocolate and what do you get? This city — known by many from the dark comedy In Bruges — is annually ranked as one of the most romantic cities in the world; so romantic that there’s a Lovers Bridge and a Lake of Love in its confines.
Your wallet will love that two star hotels cost the same as a mid-range dinner in Paris, and better still, you can top off your dinners with locally crafted truffles and pralines as you aimlessly stroll the cobbled streets, canals, and medieval homes.
2. Seville, Spain
It may not be Madrid or Barcelona, but Seville can provide Spanish romance at a fraction of the cost: Dinner for two with appetizers, a main course, wine and a dessert will run you $37 and five star hotels cost less than $100.
As the birthplace of intensely passionate flamenco and the backdrop to operas by Mozart, Rossini, Bizet, love is always in the air(waves) in Seville. Horse-drawn carriages scattered throughout city center offer romantic rides by the Plaza de España, Giralda Tower, and Guadalquivir River. Game of Thrones-loving couples will recognize the Alcázar palace as Dorne from the series.
3. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Another mainstay in Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik’s (aka King’s Landing) stunning sunsets and seaside cafes are set against the clear, blue seas of the Adriatic. Whether you’re walking the city’s medieval walls, sailing its shores or picnicking amidst peacocks and natural beauty on Lokrum Island, this immaculately preserved city will make you fall in lurve all over again.
And though it isn’t the cheapest Balkan city, travel costs average less than $46 a day and you won’t find a more picture perfect place for coastal canoodling.
4. Prague, Czech Republic
This baroque great is already known for beer cheaper than water, but the city’s low prices still afford plenty of romance. A sunrise stroll across Charles Bridge is enough to prove that. But for the saccharine among us, you can also fasten your commitment to the Love Lock Bridge in Malá Strana, take a river cruise, and grab a moonlit view of the stars at Petřín Hill’s astronomical observatory.
Plus, the most popular attractions, like the Prague castle, astronomical clock, and John Lennon Wall, are all free. And if you want a sentimental souvenir to remember the trip by, Czech garnets are far less expensive than diamonds (think: $40 for a ring).
5. Santorini, Greece
Whisk your sweetheart away to this small volcanic island and you’ll see why Santorini’s such a hot honeymoon spot. The white-washed buildings precariously placed upon steep caldera cliffs set the perfect scene for blissful sunbathing, fresh seafood dinners, and picturesque hikes.
For the ultimate in romantic kitsch, head to a beach with sand as red as your heart or exchange mud massages at one of the nearby hot springs.
Hotel prices can reach the stratosphere, but what’s great about Santorini are the budget options with surprisingly similar quality. You can find a four-star deal for less than $40 and keep your average day under $45 if you’re consciously staying on the cheap.
6. Tallinn, Estonia
Don’t get “former Soviet” confused with drab — Tallinn’s medieval charm and modern sophistication make it a great destination for lovers. Between the wooden gazebos in Kissing Hill, secluded benches in Danish King’s Garden, and panoramic views from Toompea Hill’s, you won’t be pressed to find a spot for smooching.
And don’t feel guilty “splurging” on a bouquet at the Old Town Flower Market before dinner at one of the many candle-lit restaurants and cafes; the whole night will only set you back $60. If you happen to visit in winter, you can enjoy ice skating, cozy lighting, and mood music at Uisuplats outdoor rink for less than $10.
The passion doesn’t have to stop on your escape. Take a cue from what your loved one enjoys most on your trips and bring a hint of romantic adventure to everyday life.