3 Romantic Postcard-Perfect Towns That Need To Be On Your Euro-Trip Itinerary 


The much talked about month for romance is right here and I can't help but think of quaint getaways that will give you a well-deserved break to catch up on some quality time together with your partner. While I agree that Paris and Venice are the most sought after havens for lovers, Eastern Europe has some gems that you may enjoy discovering with your loved one. You'll also end up spending a lot less than what you would if you were trying to woo your sweetheart on the western side of the continent. In 2016, when we were making our itinerary for Europe, we stumbled upon three picturesque towns that made all the warm, fuzzy feelings come right back. So if you want to plan a slightly unusual surprise for your valentine, you could try one of these places.

Credit: Suprita Mitter

Photo of Bratislava, Slovakia by Suprita Mitter

I genuinely believe that Český Krumlov, in southern Bohemia of the Czech Republic, is one of Europe's best keep secrets. Sitting by the Vltava River, the cutesy houses with red brick roofs will remind you of Czech Republic's hottest tourist destination, Prague. This miniature version (it takes less than about 20 minutes to get to just about anywhere in town) is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The meandering river dotted with riverside picnic spots, open-air cafes and bars all built around a 13th-century castle, add to the magical, fairytale-like feel of the place, making it ideal for romance. The feudal town founded in the Middle Ages (from the 5th to the 15th century) underwent transformations in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. It gives you an idea of what a typical well planned medieval town looked like. Český Krumlov has managed to retain the charm of its old streets and also many of its historic buildings including details such as the roof shapes, Renaissance and Baroque (a building style of the era that began in late 16th-century Italy) facades and vaulted spaces.

Top things to see and do: Explore the sprawling courtyards and opulent halls of the stunning Český Krumlov Castle, while a guide tells you about its history, dating back to 1240. You can take a romantic walk in the landscaped gardens around the castle or watch the sunset and savour the stunning views of the city from the top of the castle. Visit the Baroque Theatre inside the castle and get transported to another world. The unique mechanisms for changing the scenes and other decorations were prepared by the Viennese carpenter Lorenz Makh, while the wall paintings, ceiling mural and curtains and wings were created by the Viennese painters Hans Wetschel and Leo Märkl; steal a quiet moment of prayer at the Church of St. Vitus; walk around the historic town centre; enjoy a meal or drink at one of the many cafes by the Vltava River.

How to get there: Český Krumlov is easily accessible from Prague. A roundtrip from New Delhi to Prague will cost you around ₹50,000. A bus ride from Prague to Český Krumlov takes about three hours. The drive is scenic and offers beautiful views of the picturesque countryside. It is a 10-minute walk from the bus station to the centre of town.

Daily budget: Expect to pay around ₹3,800 per day including meals, commute and entertainment.

Best time to visit: Summer (June to August); Temperatures are comfortable during summer at about 13 degrees Celsius at night and 26 degrees Celsius in the day.

Where to stay: Stay in Pension Athanor, a restored, period building, located 300m from the city centre for ₹5,371 per night 0r in the Hotel Peregrin, located 50m from the main square of Český Krumlov. For more options, check here.

It's going to be love at first sight. My first reaction on reaching Bratislava was a deep sigh! Perched by the pretty Danube bend on the Austrian border, Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. Partly flat and partly hilly, the green city boasts of woodlands, forests and vineyards. Whether your partner likes a quiet escape to the jungle or to party the night away, Bratislava provides for both. The pastel-hued old town with its arched windows, narrow lanes and cobble-stoned paths is charming, to say the least. Despite being one of the youngest capitals in Europe, Bratislava has a rich history. Over the centuries, it has had several names including, Possonium (Latin), Pressburg (German), Pozsony (Hungarian), and Prešporok (Slovak). Owing to its location in the heart of Europe, on the bank of the Danube River, it was a centre of trade and a meeting point for different cultures, in medieval Europe.

Polevka Cesnekova. Credit: Suprita Mitter

Photo of 3 Romantic Postcard-Perfect Towns That Need To Be On Your Euro-Trip Itinerary by Suprita Mitter

Pancakes. Credit: Suprita Mitter

Photo of 3 Romantic Postcard-Perfect Towns That Need To Be On Your Euro-Trip Itinerary by Suprita Mitter

Bryndzové Halušky. Credit: Suprita Mitter

Photo of 3 Romantic Postcard-Perfect Towns That Need To Be On Your Euro-Trip Itinerary by Suprita Mitter

Credit: Suprita Mitter

Photo of Český Krumlov, Czechia by Suprita Mitter

Credit: Ramón Cutanda López

Photo of Esztergom, Hungary by Suprita Mitter

Top things to see and do: Head to the Bratislava Castle standing atop a rocky hill directly above the river Danube, in the center of Bratislava; enjoy a breathtaking view of Bratislava and parts of Hungary and Austria from the castle as you listen to stories about the castle's glory days and how it is an integral part of both Hungary and Germany's heritage, owing to its connections with the Hapsburg monarchy; Enjoy an early morning jog along the river, hire a bicycle and follow the river bike route to the largest water sports park on the Danube; Visit the lone surviving gate of the St. Michael's Tower (of the original four gates that were gateways for entering the fortified medieval city); visit the Bratislava City Museum for a glimpse into stories from the past; sample a delicious Slovakian meal (one of the most delectable cuisines I've sampled in Eastern Europe) featuring the polevka cesnekova (garlic soup served in a large bread bowl) and bryndzové halušky (one of the national dishes in Slovakia made of potato and a soft sheep cheese sprinkled with cooked bits of bacon) and pancakes.

How to get there: Flying from New Delhi to MR Stefanik Bratislava International Airport, will cost you ₹62,064. The airport is half an hour away by bus from the centre of the town. Another option is the Vienna International Airport (₹44,684 from New Delhi), which is located only 50km from Bratislava. You can take a shuttle bus line to Bratislava from the airport which will cost ₹400 .

Daily budget: Expect to pay about ₹4,873 per day including meals, commute and entertainment.

Best time to visit: Bratislava is one of the warmest and driest places in Slovakia. Temperatures are mild from the end of March to May and September to October.

Where to stay: Stay right in the heart of Bratislava at Hotel Elisabeth Old Town, located in the close vicinity to Bratislava city centre and a few steps away from the Elisabeth Church, for ₹3,223 per night or the vintage, 1930s Hotel Tatra located about 300m from the Old Town and the Presidential Palace, for ₹5,252 a night. For more options, check here.

Another jewel on the Danube bend, Esztergom is located in northern Hungary, 46km northwest of the capital Budapest. If you and your partner enjoy history and art, head to this quaint city. Esztergom plays an important role in Hungary's history. It was the birth and coronation place of the first Hungarian king, St. Stephen, as well as the capital of Hungary until the 13th century. It is the seat of the Hungarian Catholic Church and home to the Basilica of Esztergom, the third largest church in Europe. Even though a majority of the city's architectural heritage has a religious context, you don't really have to be into religion or history to be able to enjoy it. It's the kind of place that also offers a picturesque rural landscape for leisurely walks and just lingering longer to soak in the daily lives of those around.

Credit: Probal Mitter

Photo of 3 Romantic Postcard-Perfect Towns That Need To Be On Your Euro-Trip Itinerary by Suprita Mitter

Credit: Probal Mitter

Photo of 3 Romantic Postcard-Perfect Towns That Need To Be On Your Euro-Trip Itinerary by Suprita Mitter

Top things to see and do: Walk in the steps of Pope John Paul II who visited the Esztergom Basilica, the largest basilica in Hungary, in 1991 and appreciate the Neo-Classicist style in which the Basilica was built; experience European royalty at the reconstructed remains of the former royal palace founded by Prince Géza, the father of King St. Stephen and check out the museum inside to see an interesting collection of artefacts from the medieval period; head to Víziváros, or Watertown, built on the banks of the Danube which is home to several baroque churches, old city walls and Turkish bastions; sample the most delicious Tokaji wine (local wine from the Tokaj wine region in Hungary) at the Wine Museum located in the Esztergom primate's cellar system. (Make sure you pick up a bottle. It can be difficult to find one at the duty free stores, sometimes).

How to get there: Fly to Budapest. Flights from New Delhi to Budapest will cost about ₹43,721 for a round trip. From Budapest, buses are the easiest way to get to Esztergom. Take the bus that travels through a town called Dorog to Esztergom. The journey takes about 75 minutes. In Hungary, bus fares are determined by the kilometres of the route. The ride from Budapest to Esztergom should cost you around ₹675.

Daily budget: Expect to pay around ₹4,300 per day, including meals, transport and entertainment.

Best time to visit: The best time of the year to visit Esztergom for warm-weather activities is from late May to mid September.

Where to stay: Stay in Hotel Bellevue, 5km from Esztergom and enjoy panoramic views of the Danube Bend at ₹6,646 or choose a room in the quaint Szent Anna Panzió, located right next to the St. Anne Church at ₹3,554. For more options check here.

Have you been to any of these towns, or any other pretty, lesser-known ones in Eastern Europe? Write on Tripoto and tell us your story. If you've just started planning that exciting holiday to Eastern Europe, check out our handcrafted itinerary here.