10 yr. Anniversary Trip/ First European Vacation- Where to go?

My husband and I will be married 10 years in Sept 2010. We are trying to decide what special trip we should take. He went to Spain in High School, but I have never been to Europe. We want to go somewhere unique and romantic. I have been racking my brain, but can only think of the sterotypical romantic places (i.e., Paris, Venice). We are willing to spend around $5K for about a week. Neither of us speak a foreign language and a trip to the beach is out of the question (I am very have VERY fair skin and burn easily). Please help!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12675 posts

There is a reason that Paris, Venice are stereotypical romantic places -- BECAUSE THEY ARE !! Don't fight it. You could add Florence, and maybe Seville in Spain. You need a good introduction and Paris is it. Try it, you will like it.

Posted by Mike
Seattle, WA, USA
492 posts

Paris and Venice are both wonderful places. As are parts of many other countries in Europe. Sept is a great month to travel. For a first trip, I'd probably pick Paris, but since you're planning a week, do a day trip or two out of the city (not that Paris can't occupy you for a solid week!).

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8721 posts


Venice is nice, but very expensive and I would be bored after 3 or 4 days myself.

You can find cute little character hotels for under 100 euros a night, and eat well and simply in Paris , plus there is more then enough to do , and many side trips you can do yourself in a day.

Venice would be a nice add on, but with only a week I wouldn't bother. Don't forget flying to Europe entails jet lag for most of us,, so the first day or so you are just readjusting your body clock.. for less then 10 days I think its best to stay put in one place and daytrip.

Posted by Jessica
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
3 posts

Ok, you guys may have convinced me... :) I'll look into Paris. Thank you all for your help!

Posted by Steven
Ottawa, Ontario,, Canada
521 posts

Hi Jessica,

There are just so many wonderful things to see and do in Europe, but it is a very personal thing to decide where you want to go and what you want to see.

If you are up to it, I would have to recommend that you take a look at purchasing some of Rick Steves' Travel DVDs, and watch them to see which areas spark your interest. You can get all of his travel shows for $99.95. It was a real help for letting me decide where I wanted to go.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3036 posts

Jessica, I have to give you a different suggesstion- and not only because my husband and I found Paris to be - well ugly, dirty and rude. We love the highlands of Scotland. Beautiful gardens, castles, ruins, and lovely "wild"/natural areas. Inverness is a great place for a week. Lots of day trips and things to explore. The other place we find very romantic is Salzburg. Again, lots of day trips, great history, lovley architecture, and things to do. What are your interests? That can help determine if a destination is right for the 2 of you. If you love 'nature' Paris, Rome or London might not be the best choice. If you hate being out in the "wild" then the highlands won't work. Do you like museums? Want to see castles? Find historical details entertaining or boring? I second the suggesstion to watch some of Rick's shows/videos and other travel shows. Maybe do another post asking what specifically, people find romantic about their favorite place?

Posted by Jessica
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
3 posts

What excellent suggestions! I love history and being out in nature, but my husband is more of a city guy. Either way, one of us is going to have to compromise!

Posted by Russ
2213 posts

Venice - romantic but also overrun.

Paris - NOT NOT NOT ronantic in my book, but there are so many that disagree with me that I'll recuse myself.

I'd suggest this. Spend 4 nights in Paris. Then spend 3 nights in the Venice of the North - Bruges, Belgium. Very romantic, very old-world, (and very good beer.) Finish off with 3 nights in Germany's Rhine Valley - a stay at Auf Schoenburg Castle in Oberwesel is as romantic as it gets:


And spend some time trying the wine, cruising the rivers, etc. in the Rhine and nearby Mosel Valleys.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1260 posts

Split your time so you both get some of your favourite locations --4 days Paris (the most romantic city ever, IMHO especially if you stay in the 5th arrondisement near Notre Dame), 4 days Scotland or vice-versa. For Scotland, base yourself in the Inverness area where there are loads of day trips available. I would want a car for the Inverness portion, but I believe there are day trip tours available to Culloden/ Clava Cairns, Loch Ness, maybe Skye. I know there is a day trip tour (a VERY long day trip) to the Orkneys. Inverness has several good restaurants. If you can get a hotel on Ness Bank, it is a pleasant location.

Posted by Thomas
Snyder, Texas
504 posts

Oh -- GO TO PARIS! Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars. Once you have been, you will give the same advice. Save Venice for another trip. It's great too, but it's not PARIS.

As another poster commented, the Scottish highlands are wonderful too. We loved driving and see it all. But once again -- PARIS.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5640 posts

I vote for Paris! I love it there and I think it is VERY romantic! If you want to add another place I second the idea for Bruges. Although I am sure Scotland is lovely, it is not all that easy to get from Paris to Scotland. You could fly into Brussels - train to Bruges - stay there a couple of nights - train to Paris - fly home from Paris. Or the other way around of course. In Paris you could rent an apartment. I rented a fantastic one bedroom in the Latin Quarter (5th) with a view of Notre Dame. Apartments can be less expensive than hotels and have a lot more room to spread out. Hotel rooms there are extremely small. If you would like more information about the apartment feel free to PM me. Have a fantastic trip and happy anniversary. We will be celebrating our 25th in Sept. 2010 and we plan to go to Italy. We haven't been there yet so I am very excited about that!

Posted by Karin
Laguna Woods, Ca
33 posts

Hello Jessica, Paris get's my vote. I grew up in a beautiful city in Germany. Unfortunately it is not on RS radar. But that is beside the point. I have traveled the world and my 2 favorite cities are 1) Paris and 2)the big apple(NYC). Have a wonderful time and send me a private message, if you like more info. Enjoy and Bon Voyage, Karin

Posted by Mark
Henson, Florida, USA
466 posts

Jessica I am an Italy freak and even I will have to vote Paris on this one!!!! Rome is very romantic as well but I will have to say to to PARIS the city of love!!!! Have fun and happy travels.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1260 posts

To fly Paris to Edinburgh or vice-versa, easyjet.com is about 32 euros one way. We haven't tried it yet, but plan to use it next summer.

Posted by Janet
Seattle, USA
120 posts

Another suggestion: How about going to a local travel store and leafing through coffee-table books of Paris, the highlands of Scotland, or other places that might catch your fancy. Do some browsing on travel Web sites, look at photos. Or check out travel DVDs from your local library. Then ask: From your perusing, are there any places that make your heart leap, that capture your imagination? Are there any places you've longed to go to for a while now (seen from a movie, or read about in a book) that might bear looking into?

For me, that longed-for place was Tuscany. And while I do find Paris rather romantic, and Venice kind of so, I find Tuscany far more romantic - mainly because it speaks to me in a way the other places don't.

Posted by Jill
Boulder, USA
659 posts

Jessica, As you can see you will get many different oppinions. I'm another one who has been to Paris twice, but it's just not my cup of tea. My 27 y/o daughter is on her honeymoon and just left Paris yesterday. She's in Beaune now, and it sounds as if they were glad to get out of paris she said to "somewhere where we can relax."

I think everyone has different tastes - including places they enjoy visiting. I have 2 suggestions. 1. Buy either Ricks Europe through the Back door or The best of Europe. You can spend a few hours perusing, and get a good idea of what might be your cup of tea. 2. Brugges...it's not a big city, but it's not too small either and it in my opinion is VERY romantic. It's actually close enough to Paris that you could do both.

Posted by Janis
Grapevine, TX, USA
873 posts

Paris & Bruges would be a great trip -- two very different energy levels. Paris with its high energy level, and Bruges with its very laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. Bruges is so very beautiful --and what fantastic Belgian chocolate!!
However, we just spent time in Santorini in April, and it was breathtakingly beatiful and romantic. Our terrace was so private and had unobstructed views of the Aegean and both ends of the crescent-shaped island. Gorgeous, peaceful, romantic, etc.etc.
Tough decision!

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3036 posts

The more I have thought about your post, the more I have to recommend Salzburg. We went there for our 30th anniversary. Loved it! If you want to splurge, stay at the Goldener Hirsch. It is in Old Town. Lovely city! Great countryside. Lots to do. And should be absolutely beautiful in Sept. (We have been in July/Aug. and Nov/Dec).

Posted by Maryann
near NY, NJ, USA
445 posts

I concur......Paris for a week! With your budget you could afford a nice hotel and I do recommend staying in the 6th-St. Germain des Pres. From there you can walk to almost everything, take evening stolls along the Seine and so on.I say spend the whole week there as there is lots to do and you can do it at a leisurely pace having lots of time for sitting at cafes. etc.
One hotel is the Hotel Madison right smack in the middle of St. Germain and within a few blocks of the Seine as well as lots of good shopping including a wondeful Monoprix practically around the corner.
Walk to the D'orsay Musseum, the Rodin Museum and Garden(one of my favorite places), the Invalides anad in the other direction cross the Seine on the Pont des Arts (pedestians only) pausing to take in the fabulous views,and you are at the Louvre and the Tuileries gardens. If you go father down the seine on the left bank, you can cross over to the Ile de la
CIte and visit Sainte-Chapelle..a four star
attraction that always knocks my socks off..it is a gem anad then to Notre Dame. Walk behind Nortre Dame
(there is a pleasant park area), cross the bridge to
the Ile St-Louis and stroll around this most pleasant island, stopping for ice ceam at the famous
Bertillion. There are some nice shops and restaurants here. Another favorite place to eat
is the Brasserie des Iles (forget the exact name) but it is aright to the left as you come across the bridge from Notre Dame. Being a brasserie, you can just order one dish and don't have to have a full meal. It is closed in August.

I could go on and on! But I cannot think of a more romantic place to celebrate anniversary and also to be your first place to visit in Europe. But make your plans soon so you have time to research as much as possible. Happy Anniversary.

Posted by Elaine
Landstuhl, Germany
626 posts

Jessica, I personally would go to some of the hill towns of Tuscany. You could spend a day or 2 in Florence to do some big city sightseeing, and then drive around and see the smaller towns-San Gimigiano (sp?), Cortona, Siena are all beautiful. Look in Rick's Italy book-he has these and others listed. I've only been to Paris with other females and 1 couple, but I don't think that's more romantic than the hilltowns of Italy! E-mail me for more info if you want.

Posted by MLR
Hotlanta, GA, USA
53 posts

I also vote for Paris! The architecture is very feminine, the Seine river runs right down the middle of it & of course, the food is fabulous which is why it's considered "romantic". It is also a great spot if you want to take various day tours outside the city. The gardens of Versailles are beautiful, as is the view of the city from Montmarte. It's definitely a great anniversary spot!! :)

Posted by Peter
York, PA
178 posts

If you go to Paris, rent an apartment in a neighborhood outside of the touristy city center. We rented an apartment at Place des Abbesses in Montmartre in May and loved it so much we are going back to the apartment in February. We were just a few minutes by Metro away from any of the city sights and we could food-shop in the local markets like a Parisian.

Posted by margaret
156 posts

Every major city in the world has something unique but PARIS is definitely what springs to mind for romance. Its also a great walking city even in the rain.....

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5381 posts

Paris is a wonderful, great city, but honestly, the overwhelming pervasive smell of urine almost every where we went, sort of put me off, so that loses points for me in the "romantic city" list. (I never see this talked about on here, so maybe my nose is just sensitive?)

Perhaps I prefer the smaller places for a romantic feel. Being in a chalet down in the alps, a small town along the Rhein, a little cottage along the beach in Sweden, or an old town like Bayeux. Anyplace along a beach or in the mountains is more romantic to me than a big city.

Posted by Gabrielle
Toronto, Canada
28 posts

I was just in Geneva a few weeks ago and both myself and my non-romantic travel partner commented that it would be a really nice city to visit with a romantic significant other. You could also take a side trip to Lausanne and Montreux, Bern, Luzern or any of the towns in the Lauterbrunnen valley. I think Switzerland is romantic overall!
We were also in Venice and it's true...it's very romantic and I can't wait to return with a 'romantic partner' in the future!

Posted by Nancy
Costa Mesa
37 posts

Hello Jessica,

Wow - what fun - the world is indeed your oyster!! Hmm.. well, here is my two cents for what it is worth. First off, I would recommend going to ONE country only - with only a week you want to maximize your time on vacation and not on transportation. Since you've not been to Europe before I would suggest starting with a larger city - London would be a wonderful choice as would Paris - both are VERY tourist friendly and both are extremely easy to get around since both have excellent public transportation systems.
Since you like the country and your husband likes the city, you could, for example, do London for 3 days and then rent a car and take a little trip through the Cotswolds (very charming and relaxing) or take the train north to the Lake District - very scenic and lots of great "hill walking!".
With Paris you could spend 3 days in Paris and then head either to Normandy (if you have any interest in the WW!!) or head down to Provence - lovely countryside and also very relaxing.
Also consider the time of year you are going - definitely check out the Rick Steve's videos to get an idea of what these areas are like and go from there!!

Good luck and enjoy the planning!!

Posted by Lisa
Beautiful Austin TX
582 posts

If you don't want Paris and Venice, and that's your right, I suggest Salzburg Austria. It's a smaller town and easy to get around there. The place has so much charm! I know someone who took their honeymoon there.
I enjoyed Salzburg so much, and would love to go back someday!
Have fun no matter where you decide to go!

Posted by Diana
Spokane, Washington, USA
4 posts

We stayed on Rue Cler (in Rick's book) and loved it. Paris was incredibly romantic and I want to go back but without our teenage son! Depends on what you want to do during the daytimes- we loved Rome (food, antiquity) and London (sites, theatre)

Posted by Harriett & Todd
Concord, N.C., USA
33 posts

I recommend London if you don't speak another language. User-friendly public transportation, the lack of a language barrier, the theater shows, and the always reserved-but-friendly British people make London an easier first trip abroad. London felt safe at all hours, even with small children. London itself is not unique, but it contains many unique things. Even after 3 trips (and 1 trip to Paris) my husband and I still find plenty to do and see in London.