Life & Style

Revealed: The Most Romantic Winter City Breaks

Written by Sarah Caldwell
November 15th, 2022 • 12 min read

After a hectic year, winter city breaks are the perfect pick-me-up with our partners. There is nothing quite like wrapping up warm, exploring a new city and getting into the festive period with the people we love. Winter is one of the most romantic times to travel, with sparkling Christmas markets, snowy scenery, fairytale cobbled streets and, of course, a cosy mug of mulled wine, but which are the most romantic winter cities in the world?

Engagement and wedding experts at Queensmith, have analysed 35 cities, ranking them on factors such as the chance of snowfall, the number of romantic attractions, restaurants and hotels per 100,000, most Instagrammed Christmas markets and divorce rates to reveal the most wonderful romantic city breaks to experience with the one you love this winter.

Top 20 Most Romantic Winter Cities

Rank City Romance Score /50
1 Bath, England 36.05
2 Bruges, Belgium 35.12
3 Edinburgh, Scotland 34.75
4 Krakow, Poland 32.95
5 Prague, Czech Republic 29.93
6 Amsterdam, Netherlands 29.55
7 Zagreb, Croatia 28.93
8 Paris, France 28.91
9 Manchester, England 24.33
10 New York, USA 24.03
11 Budapest, Hungary 23.88
12 Helsinki, Finland 23.64
13 Munich, Germany 23.56
14 Dublin, Ireland 23.55
15 Oslo, Norway 23.03
16 Vienna, Austria 22.87
17 Salzburg, Austria 22.54
18 Warsaw, Poland 22.33
19 Berlin, Germany 22.31
20 London, England 22.14

1. Bath, England - Romance score 36/50

Ranked top as the most romantic winter city break away is the UK beauty spot Bath. With 97 romantic activities per 100,000, you can take a stroll through its quaint streets hand in hand, enjoy a soak in the natural thermal waters of Thermae Bath Spa, browse the shops and cosy up in one of the 28 romantic hotels.

2. Bruges, Belgium - Romance score 35/50

Ranked second place for a romantic winter city break is the quiet little city of Bruges in Belgium. Possibly one of the most adorable, quaint mediaeval cities in Europe, winter in Bruges is charming and magical. The fairytale landscape of this town, with its tranquil canals, intoxicating waffle and chocolate scent, festive Christmas market ambience, and cosy restaurants, is the perfect festive getaway in Europe for you and your partner.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland - Romance score 35/50

In third place came Scotland's capital, Edinburgh. With its stunning historical architecture, romantic walks such as Arthur’s Seat and the hustling Royal Mile with plenty of cute restaurants and bars it’s no surprise that this Scottish city came third. Edinburgh also placed as having the third most picturesque Christmas market with 44,381 posts on Instagram. With the impressive castle as its backdrop- you can’t get much more fairytale-esque than that.

4. Krakow, Poland - Romance score 33/50

Krakow, one of the most popular cities in Poland, both among locals and visitors, ranked fourth in our study. Home to the largest medieval town square in the whole of Europe, Krakow’s Main Square provides an unforgettable romantic experience, strolling around. With short days and cold nights, as well as a 49% chance of snowfall, Krakow provides the perfect excuse for you and your loved one to warm up with mulled wine and indulge in some hearty Polish food, which you can find in abundance at the large Christmas market.

5. Prague, Czech Republic - Romance score 30/50

Bursting with history, culture, gothic, awe-inspiring architecture, and breathtaking views, Prague ranked fifth as a winter city you and your partner should visit this year. With a 42% chance of snowfall, enjoy the white-covered fairytale landscape. Prague is one of the most popular winter getaway destinations ranking fourth overall with 12,700 Google searches from December to January.

Top 10 UK Winter City Breaks

Rank City Romance Score /50
1 Bath, England 36.05
2 Edinburgh, Scotland 34.75
3 Manchester, England 31.10
4 London, England 29.71
5 Belfast, Northern Ireland 25.29
6 Birmingham, England 20.66
7 Bristol, England 18.91
8 Newcastle, England 18.33
9 Leeds, England 17.74
10 Cardiff, Wales 17.31

Most Searched For City Breaks

December to February is the best time for a winter city break, so we wanted to find out which cities are the most searched for across this period of time.

Rank City Google Searches
1 New York 32,800
2 Amsterdam 21,600
3 Paris 19,100
4 Prague 12,700
5 Dublin 12,700
6 London 11,200
7 Krakow 10,100
8 Budapest 10,100
9 Berlin 8,500
10 Edinburgh 8,400

The most popular destination over winter was New York with 32,800 Google searches over the months December to February. The city boasts plenty of holiday activities for couples like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, light festivals, and several holiday markets.

In second place was Amsterdam with 21,600 Google searches from December to February. The colder months are a magical time to visit the Dutch capital, think of cosy nights, hearty food, and twinkly lights over the canals. With an abundance of luxurious hotels, romantic restaurants and scenic spots for loved-up moments it’s not surprising that it is so highly searched throughout winter.

It’s no surprise that the French capital, Paris made an appearance in the top three, ranking third popular over winter. Paris, the city of love, makes a perfect romantic getaway any time of the year, but winter in Paris is particularly romantic with several Christmas markets, festive lights and beautiful landmarks. You could climb the twinkling Eiffel Tower with your loved one and take in all the sights.

The Most Picturesque Christmas Markets

Christmas markets are a staple part of the festive season, there is no better way to get into the holiday spirit. Whether in the UK or overseas, it’s the time cities and towns transform into magical winter wonderlands, known for mulled wine, fairy lights, roasted chestnuts, stalls selling unique Christmas decorations and fun rides. Whether in the UK or overseas, Christmas markets make a great day-date, or night idea so we’ve analysed the Instagram hashtags of Christmas markets to discover which are the most picturesque!

Rank City Christmas Market Hashtag Hashtags
1 Zagreb, Croatia #adventuzagrebu 70,384
2 Manchester, England #manchesterchristmasmarkets 54,364
3 Edinburgh, Scotland #edinburghchristmasmarket 44,381
4 London, England #winterwonderlandlondon 32,470
5 Krakow, Poland #staremiastowarszawa 31,941
6 Bath, England #bathchristmasmarket 29,346
7 Helsinki, Finland #tuomaanmarkkinat 22,280
8 Strasbourg, France #capitaledenoel 21,096
9 Birmingham, England #birminghamchristmasmarket 16,883
10 Vienna, Austria #viennachristmasmarket 15,133

In first place, and perhaps surprisingly so, was Advent in Zagreb which takes place in Croatia. Known for its blue seas and glorious sunshine the country doesn’t normally come to mind when you think of Christmas, but with 70,384 posts using the hashtag #adventuzagrebu, it tops the list as the most photographed Christmas market. Zagreb's Advent offers a rich cultural and entertaining experience with a multitude of events during which the Croatian capital lives in a special atmosphere.

Advent in Zagreb will take place between 26th November 20th 2022 - 7th January 2023.

In second place is one situated right here in the UK, and it isn’t London’s Winter Wonderland! The most picturesque Christmas market in the UK and the 2nd most photographed in Europe was in fact Manchester Christmas market with 54,364 posts on Instagram including #manchesterchristmasmarkets.

This year Manchester Christmas Markets will launch on Thursday, November 10th, 2022 and will then be open every day until Thursday, December 22nd 2023.

In third place was another popular UK Christmas market in Edinburgh. Surrounded by stunning architecture and with the castle in the not-so-distant background, it is no surprise there are 44,381 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #edinburghchristmasmarket making it the third most picturesque in Europe.

Opening on Friday 25th November 2022 until the 3rd January 2023 you can enjoy a series of fun, free festive events including a Nativity Carol Concert and Santa Fun Run.

Whether you are staying in the UK or venturing off on a winter city break, the festive season makes for many romantic moments which are sure to warm your heart and make for a gorgeous proposal opportunity. If you are thinking of popping the question this winter, take a look at our selection of ready-to-wear classic design engagement rings or create a unique ring of your own - our diamond engagement ring experts are on hand to help you create your ring, your way. We’re here to help you make some beautiful memories.


  • 35 cities from around the world were ranked by the following factors, giving each city a score out of 10 on each factor before adding them up to give a total.

  • The number of global Google searches for “[city] break” between December 2021 and February 2022 using Google Ads Keyword Planner.

  • Romantic hotels, attractions and restaurants were gathered from Tripadvisor, listed as being ‘romantic’, calculated per 100,000 people.

  • Chance of snowfall: calculated as snowy days between December to February, taking an average from and dividing by 30.

  • We analysed the number of posts using the Instagram hashtags of the Christmas market in each city to discover which ones are the most picturesque

  • Number of divorces in each country, calculated per 1,000 people. The divorce rates were taken from 2019, pre-pandemic.


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