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Escape: The most romantic European cities to visit for Valentine’s Day

SEVILLE

With much of central Seville pedestrianised, arm-in-arm strolls are a cinch — and its wide, orange-tree boulevards and flower-filled, pin-drop-quiet lanes are ideal for lovers. This is also the home of flamenco, that most impassioned of dance forms, and the Alcázar (above), a Moorish palace complex whose opulent interior squabbles for attention with extensive gardens. It also doubled as Dorne, home of the sexy, smouldering sand snakes in Game Of Thrones.

Walk

The prettiest lanes are in cathedral-bordering barrio Santa Cruz: all artsy tiles, jasmine scents and tapas bars.

Eat

If it’s warm — likely this far south — try for a table at Abades Triana, whose modern Andalusian cuisine is served beside the Rio Guadalquivir (three courses for £34, abadestriana.com).

Stay

The remarkable Las Casas de la Judería consists of 27 traditional, wood-beamed houses linked by some 40 pot plant-happy patios and passageways. Also present: a two-pool spa and the odd Roman statue. Doubles from £81 (lascasasdelajuderiasevilla.com).

VENICE

Nowhere does it better. The palatial architecture, atmospheric alleys, canals, gondolas and marvellous madness of a city built on water mean Venice oozes fairy-tale romance despite its crowds. As well as the Rialto Bridge, couples should visit two outer islands: Murano for its glass-blowers, and Burano for the multicoloured former fishermen’s houses.

Walk

Amble eastwards along bustling Strada Nova, past bacari (bars). Weave your way south towards Piazza San Marco, crossing canals and gawping at grand churches, before riding the vaporetto (waterbus) home.

Eat

Just north of the Jewish ghetto, Al Bacco’s seafood plates are served in a handsome wood-panelled dining room and shady garden (mains from £14, facebook.com/osterialbacco).

Stay

Overlooking the Cannaregio Canal, Hotel Ca’ Dogaressa promises 18th-century furniture, frilly fabrics and marble bathrooms in classic Venetian style. Doubles from as little as £36 (cadogaressa.com).

BATH

Bath combines its good looks, born of leafy Georgian streets and classical terraces, with a pleasingly bijou, almost villagey feel. And, of course, there’s the Thermae Spa and its steamy rooftop pool (pictured).

Walk

Many fabulous vistas are covered by the six-mile Bath Skyline circular (visitbath.co.uk).

Eat

At cave-like Italian joint Sotto Sotto, the options include pistachio-crusted lamb rumps and limoncello profiteroles (mains from £10, sottosotto.co.uk).

Stay

Brooks Guesthouse has 22 stylish rooms, metallic wallpaper and arty print lampshades behind its Victorian facade. Doubles from £69 (brooksguesthouse.com).

PARIS

Ah, the original City of Love! Such a moniker is merited by the charming shopping arcades around the Grands Boulevards, by those chugging Seine cruises and by every beckoning boutique in the quaint Marais. Throw in regular doses of rosé and chocolat chaud, and who could possibly resist?

Walk

From north-eastern Paris’s Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (pictured), ascend stone staircases into the Butte Bergeyre quartier to find a rosé vineyard, ivy-snagged houses and wondrous views of Sacré-Coeur.

Eat

It must be a bistro: the kind with sun-dappled light, rich food, plentiful plonk and a general air of bonhomie. Try Montmartre’s crimson-walled Chez Toinette (mains from £16, 20 Rue Germain Pilon).

Stay

A courtyard hotel with chic, theatrical and rather sexy decor — leopard-skin curtains here, scarlet walls there — the Alba Opera is close to Rue des Martyrs’ high-end patisseries. Doubles from £95 (albaoperahotel.com).

UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS

Along the cobbled towpaths of Utrecht’s canals, former wharf cellars are now cafés and breweries. Inland are handsome courtyards, and towering above it all is the 112m-high Dom Tower, whose 465 steps can only be climbed on tours (£8, domtoren.nl). Should roses be needed, try Saturday’s flower market on Janskerkhof.

Walk

At night, colourful lights illuminate lanes, bridges and churches courtesy of the Trajectum Lumen art project trail (trajectumlumen.nl).

Eat

‘Greentonomy’ is the USP of Le Jardin Utrecht, a low-lit, leafy restaurant and adjacent florist, which favours home-grown vegetables above all else. There are quiet corners for voicing sweet nothings (three-course lunches for £25, lejardinutrecht.nl).

Stay

Fusing exposed brick with grey, silvery and black shades, Mother Goose’s rooms (pictured) are simultaneously chic and snuggly. Doubles from £93 (mothergoosehotel.com).