For the 50+ Traveler

Ah, the month of romance is upon us. February is a chance to rekindle the romance, express love for one another, or perhaps say, “I love you,” for the very first time. For many, Europe has always inspired romance. Love is in the air, it’s in the art, it’s in the streets and markets of the biggest cities, and in the picturesque small towns and villages. Here is a look at seven of the most romantic small towns in Europe.

Manarola, Italy

This charming and romantic town is part of the famed Cinque Terre villages. Manarola is built into a rocky cliff, more than 200 feet above the Mediterranean Sea. The village is made up of multicolored homes and buildings, making it one of the most picturesque villages in Italy. Down below the tiny harbor, you’ll find a piazza with charming boutiques, shops, and an abundance of seafood restaurants. The town is at its most romantic while sipping chianti from a veranda, watching the sunset.

A canal in Colmar, France.

Colmar, France

Canal cities are just so romantic. Colmar, nestled near the borders of Germany and Switzerland, is one such place. The charm of the colorful medieval waterside buildings along the flower-lined canals was the inspiration for the village setting in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. You’ll feel like you’re in a romantic fairytale as you wander the meandering cobblestone streets. Find yourself a cute boutique or cafe selling chocolate or wine and just soak in the ambiance.

Quaint streets of Bibury, England.

Bibury, England

The fairy-tale-like romance of this picturesque English village is evident at first glance. Famous for its “honey-colored stone cottages” dotting the Cotswold countryside, Bibury (pronounced bye-burry) is located in Gloucestershire, about 80 miles west of London. Poet William Morris once described Bibury as “the most beautiful village in England” and was where Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Stardust (2007) were filmed. The village is cut by the Coln River, which lends to the charm, and is where you’ll find the legendary Bibury Trout Farm and Arlington Row, the famous line of cottages dating back to the 17th century. You can even stay overnight in one of them, 9 Arlington Row.

Hot air balloons in Goreme, Turkey.

Goreme, Turkey

Located in one of Turkey’s most popular regions for tourism, Goreme is a sleepy little town, but it can reawaken romance for anyone. The best way to reach Goreme is to fly. You can catch flights from Istanbul to the neighboring towns of Kayseri and Nevsehir.

Among the best ideas for your romantic getaway include enjoying the sunset at Red Rose Valley, where you can enjoy the rugged and strange rock formations surrounding the city. Plan a Turkish tea date at Anatolian Kitchen. Hot air ballooning has become the romantic passion of this town. Either viewing the balloons rising during sunrise or sunset or enjoying a couples ride, it's the magical way to experience the area.

The town of Giethoorn in the Netherlands.

Giethoorn, Netherlands

There is nothing more romantic than a slow, quiet cruise down a quaint canal in one of the most romantic towns in the Netherlands. Known as the “Venice of Holland,” Giethoorn is found in the Overijssel province and is home to just 3,000 people. It’s another storybook-like town, where the canal cuts gently through a village of thatched-roof homes, beautiful gardens, and crisscrossed with more than 150 bridges. While a boat is the most charming and romantic way to see Giethoorn, it’s also a wonderful walking or biking town. On foot or on wheels, you’ll find amazing shopping, local artists, and plenty of restaurants and cafes.

Sunset over Portree, Scotland.

Portree, Scotland

The village of Portee is located on the east side of the Isle of Skye, which is known as the “most romantic place you’ve never heard of.” The 2nd-century village is one of 20 small villages on the island. Here you’ll find a certain tranquility combined with the island's rugged landscape. It’s also become a very popular place to propose marriage! After a romantic meal at Portree’s best restaurant, Dulse and Brose, you could be off to Talisker Beach, Old Man of Storr, or The Fairy Pools to pop the big question.

The town of Cochem, Germany.

Cochem, Germany

Located in the heart of the romantic Moselle Valley, this enchanting river village is known for its landscapes, wine, and holiday celebration. The romance is found in the awesome spectacle of the looming medieval castle of Reichsburg, which overlooks Cochem, as well as the time-transporting reenactments, medieval markets, plays, and food that welcome you along the town’s promenade. Here you’ll find fairytale houses, charming boutiques, and several wine shops featuring the area's famous bottles.

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