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Hostel Rules and Regulations – Don’t Be THAT Traveller

The Society Hotel private dorm bed with curtains in a hostel

Looking for tips on how to handle hostel dorm etiquette? While hostels are a cheap form of accommodation, making a budget stretch further, they are not a replacement for home!

Learn how to avoid treating 8-bed dorms like private bedrooms with the following advice from seasoned backpackers.

In this guide, fellow travel fans have put together a list of hotels rules and regulations to help everyone sleep better at night. 

You may also be interested in finding out how we saved £20K to travel – click for our strategy, and how to plan for long-term travel.

What is a Hostel?

Hostels are an economical form of accommodation which comes after camping and couchsurfing in the international hierarchy of budget travel sleeping arrangements.

They usually offer some form of social setting whether that be a bar, garden or rooftop seating area, or even a swimming pool in warmer climates.

Hostels are a great place to meet new travel buddies because there usually is an element of organised fun through quizzes, pub crawls, themed nights and even cultural activities like city walking tours.  

Hostel bedroom at Taquile Island Homestay in Peru

What is a Hostel Like?

Contrary to belief, hostels are not just for party backpackers.

They come in all shapes and sizes from dives to rooms fit for divas. Sleeping arrangements differ depending on the hostel.

Some offer private rooms with private bathrooms, others have private rooms with shared bathing facilities.

There’s even hostels with outdoor sleeping options (in Budapest).

Most hostels have dorm rooms in common.

Green decorated HI Hostel private room Boston Massachusetts

What is a Dorm Room?

Forget North American sorority dorms and think more Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sleeping arrangements and you are halfway there.

Jokes aside, dorm rooms are rooms with beds which are usually in bunk form (one up/one down) to save space.

You can expect anything from a 2-bed bunk to 16-bed and the price of a hostel stay gets less the more beds in the room.

There should be a locker for you to place your belongings.

They sassier hostels have lockers big enough for your 60l backpacks.

Hostels are cosy, which means making friends is pretty easy.

The more modern dorms have privacy curtains, alternatively, opt for the bottom bunk and hang up a large scarf or flag.

The Society Hotel private dorm bed with curtains

Are Hostels Safe?

Hostels are only as safe as you prepare for them to be.

Just because someone carries a backpack like you it doesn’t mean they are not an opportunist.

This doesn’t mean every traveller is a thief, you just have your wits about you and be wise.

Don’t leave out anything you want to keep from going walkies and be cautious when charging electronics.

Charge a capacitor battery pack like our reliable Anker US / UK and use that to charge on the go.

Consider investing in a PacSafe net US / UK for keeping gear safe.

We travelled with it through the Americas (North, Central, South) and Europe and came home target-free.

To use, pack a day bag full of your expensive kit and passport then close it.

Place the bag in the PacSafe net before closing tight, wrap the wire around something non-moveable like a bed frame and then clip the padlock (TSA approved comes recommended) closed with the bag securely attached to the frame.

Now cover with a scarf.

Most hostel buildings have security call features at their front door to avoid anyone walking in and out.

You can read individual hostel reviews on the likes of Hostelworld which will help you also make a decision about each one.

PacSafe Net Travel Safety

Hostel Rules and Regulations

So now that we’ve covered the basics of backpacker accommodation lets move on with the tips for staying in a hostel.

Whether you are staying in a hostel for the first time or you’ve racked up the party hostel passport stamps, there’s a takeaway for everyone.

Hostel Dorm Security

Staying in a dorm requires a few quick checks.

Take two seconds to memorise the code for the door, or try your key in the lock to make sure it works – even if it’s open when you arrive.

That door is the only security you and your fellow travellers have and it’s really important that you keep it secure.

Even if valuables are in lockers inside the rooms, most locker padlocks can easily be picked.

So, make sure you always, always lock the door when you go out – that’s just good hostel manners.

By Danni Lawson |  Live in 10 countries

Granted, a dorm is never going to be as quiet as a private room.

Yet, a lot can be done to ensure the peaceful coexistence of all guests.

One of the unspoken yet basic rules in hostel dorms should be that of keeping the level of noise to a minimum.

Those checking out in the early hours should always make sure to pack their bags the night before, while nobody is asleep and preferably before 10 or 11 pm.

By doing that, they will keep noise levels at a minimum while everyone in the dorm is asleep.

It’s a simple, yet very nice gesture that doesn’t require that much effort and that goes a long way into making sure that even the most crowded of spaces becomes an oasis of peace.

By Claudia Tavani | My Adventures Across The World

Hammocks | Costeno Beach Surf Camp Ecolodge, Colombia

Do Not Turn On The Lights Between 11pm-8am

One of the most annoying things a traveller who is staying in a dorm room can do is to be inconsiderate when they switch on the light after 11 pm, especially when someone is already asleep.

Be polite, some people have an early flight and want their beauty sleep as much as possible or the ones who come home late from a party will surely not appreciate the bright light too early either.

If you need to do something, you can use the torch of your phone. It’s just a simple but nice act.

By Mary | A Mary Road

Bright bedroom in Cruz de los Andes Bedroom

Put Your Phone On Silent

One of the best things you can do for the people in your hostel dorm room is to silence your phone

. I have shared rooms with too many travellers who believe that everyone around them needs to know when they receive a text message or phone call, but it really just makes the rest of us stir crazy.

It is understood that if you’re waiting on an important call, you turn your phone on loudly so you don’t miss it.

But, if you’re casually texting, it can be done in silence (this includes turning off keyboard sounds on phones).

In addition, it is also rude to have a conversation on your phone late at night or early in the morning inside a dorm room.

Most hostels have a social space or living area where you can take care of these matters – your bed is not the place to do it.

By Megan | Meganstarr

Person on video call. Phone

How To Deal With Snoring in Hostels

We get it, you’ve had a hard night on the sauce and you are prone to a little open mouth, blocked nose snoring action but, it really is not fair on anyone else in the room.

Many of your dorm friends might be getting up a 3 am for a hike so your freight train breathing is going to ruin their paid excursion.

Some tips include, try moving the snorer if you know them.

Reddit recommends throwing M&Ms at the perpetrator.

Pack and use earplugs or consider a headphone headband.

Complain and request a new room.

If you are the guilty party, consider a private room in a hostel.

La Paz Bolivia hostel bar

Invest In Headphones

Listening to music and watching movies are great ways to pass time in the evenings or on a lazy day, but not everyone in a hostel dorm will want to listen at the same time.

Especially at night when others are sleeping, hostel guests should do what they can to avoid disturbing others – including sounds from phones and laptops.

Trying to fall asleep to the sound of gunfire in an action movie or a blend of three different people’s music at the same time is annoying and will surely draw complaints from light sleepers and people who like peace and quiet.

Popping in a pair of headphones is an easy way to keep dormmates from holding a grudge.

They don’t need to be expensive noise-cancelling headphones – cheap earbuds will do the trick so music or movies can be played all night if necessary.

By Kris | Nomad by Trade

Earphones, plant and laptop keyboard on pink background

Sharing Is Not Caring

Hostels can be a bit intimidating for first-timers but they are fun and inexpensive.

One of the downsides of staying in a hostel is the fact that some people can be disrespectful and clueless.

Paying for a shared space doesn’t mean everyone has the right to do what they want.

Asking yourself these questions:

Do I enjoy the aroma of dead-rat smelling shoes wafting around with the aircon-breeze while I’m contemplating life?

Do I want to see a naked lady changing bloody sanitary products while I’m thinking of what food to eat next?

The answer is always no!

Most hostels have shoe racks outside of dorm rooms.

Use it.

Girls, there is a toilet just 5 metres away from your bed, insert there.

It only takes a minute to spare someone from a life of tampon trauma.

Be a hero and do your ladies’ business privately.

By Christine Rogador | The Travelling Pinoys

Walking Boots Review Ragata Boots

Save Your Smells

Dorm bedrooms are usually small, thus any smell inside becomes X times stronger than outside.

Moreover, in AC rooms, all the smells are stuck in the closed space.

Bedrooms are mainly meant for sleeping, so it’s best to keep neutral/fresh scent there.

That means eating spicy food or any types of snacks is not appropriate.

There is a kitchen in any hostel, where you are more than welcomed to eat!

It’s also time to control your favourite perfume. Some people tend to apply more perfume since it becomes lighter outside because of the weather and wind.

The air is still in the room, so all the sprays from all the guests will mix and stay.

If you are a smoker, hang-out outside for a while till the strong smell of cigarettes will reduce to the minimum.

Many non-smokers are susceptible to cigarette scent and, most probably, they would not like it spread in the bedroom.

By Natalia | Mytriphack

Sandwich Rome food Trastevere

Dorm Rooms Are Not Laundromats

Long-term travel can’t be non-stop awesome travel experiences.

At some point, everyone needs to do their laundry.

Many hostels have washing machines that travellers can pay to use. Unfortunately, some travellers decide to save money and hang their wet clothes around the dorm to dry.

Some string a line from one bed to another. Others merely drape their wet clothes and towel over their bed and sometimes over other bunks.

This is not OK; having to navigate around someone else’s laundry is unpleasant.

Rather than hanging or draping their wet laundry around the dorm to dry, people staying in hostels should always use the dryer or hang their clothes outside on a washing line if there is one provided. Hostel staff can always advise what laundry facilities they have available.

By James Ian | Travel Collecting

Bunk beds in Flying Dog, Arequipa

Don’t Leave Your Sh*t In Communal Bathrooms

Hostels are normally associated with youth, freedom and a laid-back life, but that is not to be confused with lack of respect and common sense.

On the contrary, sharing space with others implies, or should imply, respecting one another and following unwritten rules of a certain kind of common sense which, unfortunately, not for everybody is “common”.

One of those rules concerns shared bathroom space.

“Shared bathrooms” means that the bathroom is shared among many people and therefore it’s not wise nor respectful to leave one’s toiletries in the little space available, be it a chair, a shelf or whatever that is available.

That space is temporary for the person using the facilities at that time.

Your toiletry bag is your storage, not the communal bathroom space.

It’s easy to understand, there is simply no room for everybody’s stuff.

By Isabella Biava | Boundless Roads

Eco Friendly Products  lined up on shelf

Don’t Steal My Sh*t

Don’t steal other people’s stuff. You might think that this is obvious, but the amount of times things go missing in hostels it is ridiculous.

From mobile phones and other valuables to dirty clothes, shoes and food from the fridge, why do some people think its ok to take other people’s stuff? It is never OK to take things that don’t belong to you.

Even if you’re drunk, eating someone else’s pizza is not cool.

Backpackers usually have a tight budget, which certainly won’t stretch to providing someone they don’t know with free food or anything else which takes their fancy!

Buy your own stuff, or just go without.

By Claire Sturzaker | Tales of a Backpacker

Scialla The Original Street Food. St.Peter's Basilica Vatican at Rome pizza food

You Can’t Sit With Us, Well Me (Name That Film)

For many travellers, staying at a hostel provides a built-in community on the road and potential new friends, which can be great – if you want that from your travel experience.

However, for travellers who are a bit more introverted or shy (or simply prefer solitude and travelling alone), hostels can quickly become overwhelming environments when others approach them constantly to try and make plans together.

When you’re staying at a hostel, be mindful of people’s personal space and aware of the cues they may be giving you.

If you sense that someone is enjoying being alone and isn’t looking for a new travel companion, respect their wishes.

Don’t insist that you eat together, hang out constantly, or travel together to the next destination. Travelling is an inherently overstimulating and often overwhelming experience, and lots of people are seeking solitude and reflection time (or need to work while travelling), not necessarily looking for a crew of new pals to hang out with on the road.

That being said, there are plenty of hostellers who are happy to make new friends and pick up a travel buddy – look out for them and don’t hesitate to reach out when people seem receptive.

By Sierra Dehmler | Passport Voyager

Backpackers on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua

Get A Room

I get it. You’re on holiday. You’ve found THE ONE.

Or maybe it’s the beer talking.

Anyway. Things get heavy. It’s time to take this somewhere… more intimate.

That towel you’ve put up hanging from the bunk above will act as the perfect sound and light barrier, right?

Surely no-one will hear you?

The answer, I’m sad to say, is no. Everyone will hear you.

No-one wants to.

Please, do everyone a favour and don’t have sex in a hostel dorm.

Unless you are: a) The only person in the hostel dorm or b)… to be honest, there is no B.

Just don’t do it.

If sex is something you find yourself doing, get a private room, or find a private place that doesn’t have a bunch of other strangers lying in the dark listening to your magnificent sounds.

However quiet you think you are being, and however fluffy that towel… they can definitely hear you.

And no-one wants that.

This also applies to tents incidentally.

By Laurence Norah | Finding the Universe

Huts in Costeno Beach Surf Camp Ecolodge, Colombia

Final Words

Over 10+ tips later from avid travellers, I think we can all agree on this hostel etiquette advice and move forward in our quest to travel carefree and happily into the sun.

Like it? Pin it!

Tips on how to survive hostels | Hostel dorms | Backpacking | Hostel dorm tips | Budget travel

What really grinds your gears in hostels?

18 Most Romantic Places in Europe: Ideas For Couples

Most Romantic Places in Europe-

Looking for the most romantic places in Europe for a Valentine’s Day trip, potential engagement proposal or time away from the daily grind?

This guide details some luxury but mostly affordable romantic cities in Europe as well as a few cute towns and villages where you can spend quality time with your loved one.

We also asked our social media followers what their top recommendations for romantic getaways in Europe are; keep reading to find out which made it to the list. 

The Most Romantic Places in Europe

1. Amalfi Coast, Italy 

Every Instagrammer’s wet dream is the rugged Amalfi Coast and Sorrento is the perfect base according to my best friend who went on her honeymoon here.

Opt for a hotel on the hill to feel like you are staying in the middle of nowhere with the choice to saunter into the busy town in 15 minutes.From Sorrento, do a road trip along the coastline and take a boat trip to the lush Positano or visit Pompeii by train.

Alternatively, make Ischia off the coast of Naples your base for beaches, hot springs and castles which is a short ferry ride from Sorrento. 

Since Sorrento is expensive, it is often said to be one of the best anniversary destinations in Europe.

Avoid high season.

A same-sex union is recognised in Italy but not marriage. 

2. Barcelona, Spain

If you like palm trees with your passion and architecture on your adventure then Barcelona in Spain is a great option for mini-honeymoon breaks.

Spend a day bronzing at the beach then enjoy sundown drinks with views of the Gothic Quarter Barcelona Cathedral from Hotel Colon (image below).

Drink chilled sangria close to but not on busy Las Rambla and dine on tapas at the El Born area.

Hotel Ayre has a lovely rooftop terrace with views of Sagrada Familia.

Steal a kiss in front of the Kiss street art mural on Plaça d’Isidre Nonell.

This mural is a large image of two lips embraced in a sensual kiss, but when you look closely, it’s not quite what it first seems.

Take a couple of shots in front of the Palau Nacional. Its noisy water feature lights up at weekend nights.

The World Begins With a Kiss Kiss of Freedom Barcelona Mural_

Feel the passion of love at a flamenco show tucked away in El Born then seek out the Speakeasy.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005 and we saw lots of same-sex couples holding hands during our most recent trip to Barcelona. 

Barcelona proposal location: a rooftop bar at sunset. 

Our Barcelona guides include 1-day in Barcelona itinerary, 2-day Barcelona itinerary, 3-day Barcelona itinerary, 10 things I wish I knew before visiting Sagrada Familia, how to reserve tickets for La Sagrada Familia, things to do in Barcelona at night, things to do in Barcelona in winter, Barcelona’s best day trips, dreamiest viewpoints in the city,

Barcelona Cathedral Gemma Craig

3. Berlin, Germany

Romance doesn’t have to mean roses and champagne.

For couples who prefer beer, gigs and art, Berlin is an obvious Valentine’s day getaway.

Head to the top of the Berlin TV Tower for 360 views of the city and a romantic dinner at Alexanderplatz.

Take a walk through Tiergarten Park and enjoy an ice-cold beer at Café am Neuen See.

Couples that spray together, stay together so check out this graffiti class and tour combo.

Visiting in December?

A trip to a traditional Christmas market is a must. Check out Gendarmenmarkt.

Berlin’s LGBT+ experience is world-renowned with the city being instantly recognisable as a gay-friendly destination.

Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2017. 

Berlin proposal location: in winter, Gendarmenmarkt. In summer, the TV Tower.

4. Bled, Slovenia

I’d argue that Bled is just as romantic, even more so! Bled is Europe’s fairytale town.

It has a castle on a cliff and a church in the middle of a lake. It really is a scene from a fairytale.

Hire a boat and row to Bled Church, The Church of the Assumption. Walk up the 99 steps to ring the church bell. It’s customary for the groom to carry his bride up the stairs!

In summer, you can sunbathe by the lake at Grajsko Kopališče.

Don’t leave without trying the delightful custard Bled cake.

Bled proposal location: any spot around the lake or viewing point.

Check out our guide things to do in Bled and Bled in winter for more.

Lake Bled Boats

5. Budpaest, Hungary

Soak up the city while bubbling away in 38 degrees baths one of Budapest’s many spas.

The most popular is Széchenyi but other options include The Gellert and Rudus.

Take cute couple’s pics at Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, and Fisherman’s Bastion.

Szechenyi Baths Budapest

At might hop aboard a Budapest night river cruise, or party at the infamous ruin bars.

A nice proposal spot in Budapest is Fisherman’s Bastion for the views.

Check out our Budapest guides for more, 3 Days in Budapest itinerary, festive Things to do in Budapest this winter, where to stay in Budapest, what and where to eat in Budapest, Budapest food and history tour.

Hungarian Parliament Building and Cruise Budapest_

6. Corralejo, Fuerteventura 

If you’re looking for a sunny romantic break with a bit of a breeze filtering through the heat, consider the popular Corralejo in Fuerteventura.

This busy nook of the island has a stunning coastal path with beach access which feature golden sands and also a unique rocky enclave called Popcorn Beach.

There’s a cluster of pubs and restaurants which look onto the sea such as Uga, La Vela, and La Terrara – perfect for lazy brunches, afternoon drinks, and sunset sessions. 

Live music fills the squares where bars offer al fresco dining – check out La Placita, La Tahona, Los Monos Sabios, and Rebelde. 

The latter isn’t on a plaza but but it is a cool bar with a tapas menu located down a cute street. 

Blue skies over Popcorn Beach Corralejo Fuerteventura

If your partner likes to belt their lungs out, you can’t go wrong with karaoke at Flicks.

Then if you plan to dance the night into the wee hours, Waikiki is the busiest club option. 

Stores can be found along the Av Nuestra Señora del Carmen, as well as some bars and restaurants such as Spices, and Coco Banana. 

Couples who seek out adventure can do dune buggy rides, surf, windsurf, and hike the sand dunes.

For a day trip, consider the Isla Del Lobos cruise or a boat trip the neighbouring Lanzarote. 

Barraquito coffee in Corralejo Fuerteventura

7. Edinburgh, Scotland 

Cobbled streets of the Old Town, upmarket restaurants on George Street and the views from Calton Hill, Edinburgh is a firm contender for the best European trips for couples. 

From Princes Street Gardens, be in awe of Edinburgh Castle as it sits on top of an extinct volcano.

Meander down the Royal Mile, taking a detour down the cute Victoria Street and into Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. 

Enjoy a day at the beach!

There are two to choose from; Portobello and Cramand.

Bar hop and brunch at the village in the city, Leith, and then walk the Waters of Leith through the very photogenic Dean’s Village ending in the city centre.

The most popular gay club is CC Blooms which makes up the Pink Triangle with the Regent Bar (food/bar) and Planet Bar. 

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since 2014. 

People drinking at Port o Leith pub in Leith Edinburgh

Nurse the hangover during a lazy afternoon in Stockbridge, popping into the shops and restaurants while ahhing at the cute local dogs.

Join a walking tour! Such as the crazily popular Harry Potter tour. Other notable TV and  Notable filming locations include those from the romantic One Day.

Watch the sunset from Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat or with a drink at Juniper across from the Waverley Station on Princes Street, or reserve a sofa at The Dominion cinema and enjoy a wine or beer while watching a movie.

I highly recommend Norton House for a spa day. It’s not in the city centre but worth the journey.

For the perfect proposal spot, consider Dean Village, The Vennel, or Arthur’s Seat – find out more in our Edinburgh proposal location on our sister site, Everything Edinburgh.

Scottish National Gallery Edinburgh landscape shot

8. Glasgow, Scotland 

Not all romantic breaks in Europe have to follow romance according to Hallmark and Scotland’s largest city definitely bucks this trend.

Glasgow is rugged and raw.

It very much feels like a working city. It’s honest and its people are among the friendliest in the world.

Ideas include bar hopping, lunch stops and shopping on Great Western Road and Byres Road using the subway, getting off at Hillhead in the West End. 

From here, don’t miss the gorgeous cloisters at Glasgow University, filming location for the Netflix TV show, Outlaw King and most importantly, Outlander! Browse the art at Kelvingrove Museum; go at 1pm on Saturday to listen to the free organ recital.

Glasgow Cathedral from Necropolis with blue skies

When dark falls, dine on Ashton Lane, the cobbled street under twinkling fairy lights.

See a movie at the comfortable and modern Grosvenor Cinema or have a laugh at the intimate comedy club, The Stand.

In the City Centre, connect with your partner through dance at Sloan’s ceilidh every Friday on Argyle Street.

See the best views of the city from The Lighthouse museum and do the street art mural tour taking you to the East End.

Climb the hill to Glasgow’s Necropolis for epic views and stroll through Glasgow Green to the People’s Palace. Go for drinks at the hip BAaD then see a show at the vintage Barrowlands.

Glasgow is gay-friendly. Popular clubs include Speakeasy and Polo Lounge. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since 2014. 

Glasgow proposal location: Botanic Gardens

You may also like our guide – how to spend one day in Glasgow

Statue of Wellington on horse with cone on head in Glasgow

9. Krakow, Poland

Krakow in Poland is a cute town with a lot going on.

Cloth Hall in the main square is a striking Renaissance-era style building often pictured with a romantic horse-drawn cart. The upper hall, Sukiennice, is a museum.

Diamonds are out and amber is in at Krakow. Pick up an amber gift at the market in Cloth Hall where you can find everything from amber necklaces to broaches.

Wawel Castle sits by a lake, providing a lovely reflection.

Krakow is so cheap for drinks so enjoy cheap vodka in the Jewish Quarter bars. This is another budget romantic holiday destination in Europe. 

Krakow’s gay scene is modest; same-sex marriage is not legal but there have been over a decade of Pride marches. 

Krakow proposal location: Wawel Castle in the evening or Sukennice rooftop during the day.

You may also like our Krakow travel guide and advice on how to get to Auschwitz.

Pretzel Krakow

10. Lapland, Finland 

Want to feel like a kid again during a romantic winter trip?

Visit Lapland in December to meet the big man, enjoy thrilling husky rides or a daring snowmobile trip.

Adventure fans might want to ski, ice hike or go ice fishing as well.

Warm up in a steaming sauna with your partner at the end of the day or enjoy a hot Glögi Finish mulled wine.

If you’re lucky you might just catch the dancing lights on a Northern Lights safari!

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Finland since 2017 and Rovaniemi celebrates Arctic Pride each year. Culturally, sauna experiences are often split by gender and done so naked, something I’ve had to get over being a prude Brit! 

I’ve not been to Lapland myself but my family are just back and said it’s expensive but you forget the price tag when you touchdown because Lapland in winter is pure magic. I would really, truly love to do this trip. Hint, hint. 

Lapland proposal idea: during a festive sleigh ride.

11. London, United Kingdom

Is London romantic?

With a nickname like the Big Smoke, connotations of passion and love don’t spring to mind but there are definitely areas and things to do in London which make it on to our list.

Take a boat ride on the Thames, see the city from up high on the London Eye or enjoy a champagne afternoon tea on a double-decker bus.

Snuggle up on the sofa while watching a movie at the luxury Electric cinema or catch a show at one of the many theatres.

Is your other half a Potterhead?

Then add this walking tour to your romantic itinerary for the Muggle in your life.

Time for a day trip? Here’s how to get to the Harry Potter studios from London, check out our guide for more

In the warmer months take a stroll along the canal at Little Venice or pick up a picnic at one of the markets such as Covent Gardens and enjoy it at Hyde Park.

Soho in the West End is the where you will find a collection of gay bars and clubs.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in England since 2014. 

London proposal location: at St Katharine Docks with the landmark Tower Bridge in the background.  

Our London guides include, London on a budget tips, how to get to Harry Potter Studios, our Tower of London guide, and London souvenirs you can buy online.

Big Ben through window of London Eye

12. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina 

Mostar is another enchanting town in Europe.

Located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, close enough to Croatia to do as a day trip, Mostar has cobbled streets and a bridge over turquoise waters.

During summer, locals dive off the bridge if paid a handsome fee!  

Mostar proposal location: Bottom viewing point, the closest to the bridge is a bit pongy so avoid.

Blue sky and water at Mostar Stari Most Bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina

13. Paris, France


Most romantic cities in Europe cliché I hear you say but honestly there is a reason it’s the city of love.

Paris’s messy relationship with romance is steeped in literature and art and portrayed in TV and film.

Paris is world-renowned.

From Hemingway’s first two marriages to Blair and the new Bass’s fleeting moment, the raucous Moulin Rouge print by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to Owen Wilson going back in time to Paris 1920s.

You can’t escape romance in Paris. 

Paris’s story of love is featured in lyrics and music videos by the likes of Camera Obscura (French Navy), Pete Doherty (For Lovers) and Taylor Swift (Begin Again).

La Refuge Paris

Like Paris on the screen, everyone holds hands and steals a kiss so you won’t feel out of place embracing in the streets.

River Seine strolls, Montmartre wanders and people watching from outside seating at cafes, it doesn’t get more romantic!

Although off-season is quieter than summer, it is likely that you will still see a number of engagement proposals at Trocadero which is the best spot for photos of the Eiffel Tower.

I did in December anyway.

Find out all the best things to do in Paris in winter.

Dotted around the city you will spot vintage photo booths which print off four different stills.

A cute couple’s souvenir just like in the film Amelie.

In Marsai, you will find gay-friendly bars and restaurants and rainbow crossings.

Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2013.

Paris proposal location: by the River Seine with a bottle of wine and picnic like my friend Joe did!

Paris views from Arch de Triumph

14. Prague, Czech Republic 

If castles, cathedrals and beer says romance to you and your partner then Prague in Czechia/Czech Republic may be a great option for you.

Enjoy a cruise along the Vltava River and take in the Prague attractions from the panoramic windows or see the city’s twinkling lights reflect on the river on a night cruise.

Hike up Petrin Hill for city views of the City of a Thousand Spires. Spot Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral keeping company with the hundreds of cute orange topped buildings.

While Poland’s popular precious stone is amber, Prague’s is garnet, my birthstone!

Although the most popular worldwide, Czech garnet doesn’t just come in deep red, you can purchase green too.

Just make sure you trust the source and get a certificate to go with the stone or piece.

Book over May 1st to share Love Day with the locals.

There’s no denying that Prague is one of the busiest cities in Eastern Europe so if you plan to propose on the popular Charles Bridge do so very early in the morning and/or during low season.

The bridge is open 24/7.

Beer plays a massive part in Czech culture and it is very affordable! 

While same-sex marriage is not legal in the Czech Republic yet, registered partnership is and the country is said to be one of the most liberal in Central Europe. 

Prague proposal idea: Charles Bridge like my cousin or a quiet spot on the castle gardens. 

Prague Scenic view on bridges over Vltava river in Prague city. Charles bridge (Karluv Most) and old historical buildings, Czech Republic

15. Rome, Italy

Bohemian streets, magical piazzas and street art murals for the edgier couple.

Rome is one of Europe’s most romantic getaways and often one of the first city breaks a couple will take. 

Visit the open museums of the Coliseum and the Forum, enjoy wine and pasta at the hip district of Monti and party in the night away to live music and cocktails at Trastevere. 

Trastevere restaurant bar Rome food

Watch the sun set from one of Rome’s seven hills such as Aventine Hill. 

Read our guide things to do at night in Rome for more.

Also, here’s our one day in Rome itinerary and where to stay in Rome.

Trevi Fountain Rome with water and blue skies

16. South Iceland 

Beaches, geysers and waterfalls; the south of Iceland is an obvious romantic location.

Hire a car from Keflavik Airport and kick start your couple’s Iceland road trip.

Drive to Jökulsárlón Glacier aka Diamond Beach for a dreamy sunset then work your way back over four days stopping at the abandoned DC plane wreck hike, Seljalandsfoss waterfall and Reynisfjara aka Black Sand Beach, then join the Golden Route to see the more popular Iceland tourist attractions.

Girl at Jokulsarlon Diamond Beach

Spend half a day enjoying a couple’s trip to a lagoon-like the popular Blue Lagoon or more affordable Secret Lagoon. 

Visit during winter for the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights. 

Have you heard of glamping?

These luxury tents are a unique option for couples in the south. 

Iceland is expensive but if you need your clubbing fix, spend some time in the capital, Reykjavik.

Iceland as a country doesn’t just tolerate its LGBTQ+ community, it celebrates them. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010. 

Iceland proposal location: Diamond Beach at sunset or Seljalandsfoss waterfall at sunrise

Read next: How to plan your Iceland road trip or Iceland honeymoon.

Couple at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Iceland sunset

17. Vienna, Austria

Before I visited Vienna I assumed it was going to be vanilla but I was so wrong.

Austria’s capital is packed with pretty historical buildings like Schönbrunn Palace, a handful of rooftop bars for sundown drinks and a vintage fairground with a working Ferris wheel.

Polaroid Tour in Vienna

Romantic ideas include taking cute pictures around the vintage buildings, visiting ‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt and the daring ‘Judith’ at the Belvedere then closing the day with a cruise on the River Danube. 

Coffee culture is huge in Vienna so drink the hangover away at a traditional cafe like Cafe Hawelka.

Art and opera make Vienna.

If you are into either, consider purchasing a ticket for the Wiener Staatsoper/State Opera House or visiting Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier.

Check out the bars and cute same-sex couple pedestrian crossing lights while you are in the cool District 7th.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Austria since 2019.

Karlsplatz Vienna

If your loved one likes Christmas, Vienna is the city to visit in December.

There are 20 Christmas markets spread over a variety of districts.

Christmas doesn’t feel forced or like a cash cow in Vienna as it does in other European cities; its glistening lights, cute huts and festive cheer is genuinely entrenched in cultural history. \Find out more in our Christmas guide.

Read more about how to spend your time in the city in our three days in Vienna itinerary.

Vienna proposal location? On the River Danube or on the Prater Ferris wheel.

Couple cuddling at Christmas Markets Vienna Austria

18. Bonus – Cappadocia, Turkey

Not quite Europe but so close and no guide to romantic destinations would be complete without a nod to the magical Cappadocia.

Home to hot air balloon rides and fairy chimneys, Cappadocia has increased in popularity since the introduction of Instagram as a planning tool for travel.

With a number of romantic hotels with terraces to watch the balloons rise with the sun and luxurious swimming pools it’s easy to see why so many couples use Cappadocia as a backdrop for their wedding pictures. 

Sunrise hot air balloon rides Turkey

Turkey does not recognise same-sex marriage and Pride in the capital, Ankara has been banned for security reasons. 

Cappadocia proposal location: before a hot air balloon ride. In the balloon would be too tight space-wise.

Read next, everything you need to know about Cappadocia and how to choose the best cave hotels.

Hot air balloons Cappadocia

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Final Words

Whether you are splurging or saving, looking for something subtle or extravagant, this guide has detailed the best European cities to visit in February and beyond.

Let us know which you opt for in the comments below.

Winter Travel Tips

Christmas Markets Vienna Austria

Whether you are looking for a romantic city break, an adrenaline-fuelled ski trip or winter sun vacay, our winter travel itineraries will provide destination inspiration and support during the planning.

Winter Travel Itineraries


Paris in December Winter Christmas_

The USA + Canada

Gemma with Christmas mug at Vancouver Christmas Market_

Winter Sun Destinations

Dubai in December. Christmas tree in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

Winter Destination Inspiration

Not sure where to go yet? Here are our inspiration guides:

Vienna in Winter December Christmas World on Rathausplatz

Winter Packing Lists

Salomon Quest Women Lightweight Waterproof Boot

Planning to hit the slopes this winter? Here’s everything you need from skis to sunscreen.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We use True Traveller which is a company for Europeans. Many others use World Nomads.

Couple with skis on mountain

Fall Travel Destinations

Autumn Leaves

Whether you are looking for a leaf-peeping road trip or things to do this autumn, our fall travel guides are full of foliage and Halloween treats!


Queens View in Scotland


Michigan Tahquamenon falls with fall leaves on trees

Look The Part

You might also be interested in some of our recommended travel gear which includes items that keep you dry, safe and comfortable from head to toe.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We use True Traveller, which is a company for Europeans. Many others use World Nomads.

You can read our comparison guide here.

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