The best romantic weekend breaks in Europe

While many will already be dreaming of their sun, sea and sand in a faraway exotic location, taking a break from it all doesn't have to mean long-haul flights and bulging suitcase - the romantics among us would do well to look a little closer to home.

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A weekend break in one Europe's many beautiful cities is perfect for lovers and needn't break the bank. Here are some of the most romantic destinations across the Channel.

Though it has recently become a popular tourist spot, Prague remains a fairytale setting for couples. Winding cobbled streets, the castle rising over the Vltava, cosy bars and restaurants and, of course, the famous Wenceslas Square. The city is small enough to wander from one famous building to another and the view from the Charles Bridge as the city lights up at night provides the perfect end to the evening.

Just a short trip on the Eurostar takes you to Bruges. Again, it's ideal for exploring on foot and the ancient cobbled streets, canals and architecture will make it feel as though you've stepped back in time. And you'll find plenty of that Belgian speciality (and aphrodisiac)... chocolate.

Fancy something a little different? The Icelandic capital makes a refreshing change from mainland cities, with its timber dwellings and central lake. Ideal for younger couples, the café culture is perfectly complemented by the vibrant, welcoming nightlife and a wander down to the sea the following morning provides an antidote to your evening's partying.

The birthplace of Mozart is a tourist trap in summer but Saltzburg can be magical during the winter months. Situated beside a rushing blue-green river and amidst snow-capped mountains, the narrow streets (almost all of which are pedestrianised), stunning palaces and churches, and fabulous gardens make it a wonderful place to wrap up warm and wander hand in hand.

Those who have seen Roman Holiday will know plenty about the romance of Rome. From the Spanish Steps to the legendary lover's lie-detector, the Bocca della Verita or "Mouth of Truth", the Italian capital is regularly filled with canoodling couples. After a day of roaming, head to the Trevi Fountain as the tourists disperse and make that all-important wish.

It's not called the "City of Love" for no reason - Paris is the ultimate lover's destination. From Montmartre, home of the Moulin Rouge, to the Left Bank, the city is dripping with romance. Don't make the mistake of attempting to cram in all the usual tourist spots - instead visit the morning market at Rue Mouffetard, take a stroll along the Seine and, if you aren't on too tight a budget, splash out on some famous Parisian gastronomy.

Which city would top your list of the most romantic destinations? Leave your comments below...