Lovers looking for romance take note. Our guide to 11 traditional Valentine's Day destinations is full of romantic attractions, picturesque scenery and intimate inspiration, perfect for being loved-up.
Paris, FranceThere's no place in the world that speaks romance quite like Paris. The French capital is the perfect Valentine's Day getaway with its pretty flower gardens, quaint cobbled streets and cosy street cafes. Steal a kiss from your loved one on top of the Eiffel Tower, take a stroll up Montmarte Hill to watch the sunset or relax at one of the many snug brasseries to be found in all corners of this welcoming city.
Rome, ItalyIt's simply one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one with the most significance to Valentine's Day. It is said that Valentine was a bishop in Rome who, according to tales, was the reason behind this lovers tradition. Valentine helped a fighting couple to make peace with a rose and some wise words as well as secretly celebrating new marriages at a time when men were being forced to leave their city and join the war. Valentine became a saint after he was sentenced to death on February 14, 270 AD.
Today, lovers can spend their time visiting the city's charming historical and romantic hotspots such as the impressive Trevi Fountain, which is also a dating spot for many locals; the many stunning squares such as Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and Piazza Campo dei Fiori, and, most famous of all, the Coliseum.
London, EnglandThis may be the perfect time for a weekend in the English capital as the chilly winter weather will mean snuggling up to your loved one. You can opt for a real tourist approach and spend the day visiting the cities many magnificent attractions. Sneak a cosy hug on the London Eye, stroll hand-in-hand around the fountains at Buckingham Palace, and onto Hyde Park, or keep each other warm while watching a show in the West End.
For those who want to get their hands dirty or sauce things up, there are a number of chocolate-making classes as well as burlesque shows, around the city. You can finish the day off with a romantic river cruise down the Thames.
Venice, ItalyThe city that's built on water is a place of complete beauty and seduction. Its narrow entwining streets and beautiful buildings and bridges make walking through Venice simply captivating. Get close to your loved one on an intimate gondola ride, and if you can, head to the Bridge of Sighs, which passes over Rio di Palazzo. Local legend says that lovers who kiss on a gondola at sunset, under the bridge, will be granted eternal love and bliss.
New York, USAValentine's Day is truly special in New York City and NYC still remains one of the most popular cities for couples to visit in February. Romance seeps through the bright lights on Broadway to the stunning Manhattan skyline and the breathtaking scenery in Central Park. Go ice-skating in Rockefeller Centre, enjoy an intimate show on broadway or get close and comfortable on a carriage ride through central park.
The best thing about Valentine's Day in New York is that tons of hotels offer specially tailored packages combining luxury and love. Share a glass of bubbly on the balcony or simply enjoy each other's company and the view from your hotel window. Don't forget to book yourself that convenient late check-out the next day.
Vienna, AustriaThere is no place more elegant to spend Valentine's Day than Austria's capital city, Vienna. Gaze into each other's eyes over a cup of hot chocolate, tea or coffee at one of the cities exquisite cafes, embrace Austrian culture and charm with a visit to a classical concert or get your dancing shoes on and bring out your smooth moves at one of the many balls around the city. Horse-drawn carriages are a romantic choice for getting back to your hotel in the February chill, or if it's snowing, opt for a leisurely walk through the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace gardens or take a moonlight stroll around your hotel grounds and the local area.
Florence, ItalyA quintessential Italian city, Florence is the perfect place to gaze into your loved one’s eyes whilst sauntering around the cities beautiful winding streets and its many romantic sites. Visit the 19th century Piazza Michelangelo, scattered with copies of Michelangelo's sculptures and where you can admire stunning views of the city.
For culture vultures and creative couples, Florence’s alluring architecture and must-visit art museums and exhibitions will be a welcomed treat. If you want to try something fun and flirty, and to impress your other half, book yourselves a pizza-making class and afterwards venture to a treasured Florence monument, Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) and look around the dazzling jeweller’s shops that line the streets, or take a pit stop on the bridge and admire the spectacular views.
Prague, Czech RepublicIt’s all about romantic restaurants, elegant entertainment and relaxing by the Vltava River in Prague. No trip to the Czech city is complete without a visit to some of the best fine-dining eateries by the river, an evening at the opera and a walk around its splendid sites, such as Wenceslas Square in New Town, the equally charming Old Town area and the magnificent Prague Castle. As a destination that is still paving its way with tourism, Prague is a relatively affordable yet extravagant, peaceful yet pretty and friendly city. Just the grandeur of this place is guaranteed to make couples fall deeper in love.
Edinburgh, ScotlandOne of the friendliest cities in the UK, Edinburgh has an old-world charm about it that draws visitors to the city. Romantic hotels are abundant here, with luxurious B&Bs nestled on quiet, cobbled streets; refurbished Edwardian and Georgian-style guesthouses minutes from the centre; and trendy modern hotels in the city. Couples have the choice of going boutique and intimate or lavish and loud with their choice of where to stay and things to see and do.
An ideal day could involve a visit to Edinburgh Castle, a peek at festival activities, or a stroll around the Royal Botanic Garden. The best thing about Edinburgh is that the city infuses urban setting with home comforts and a cosy atmosphere.
Lausanne, Lake Geneva, SwitzerlandCandle-lit dinners, soothing spas and rose petal turndowns, the Swiss Riviera is simply the most passionate and awe-inspiring of places to spend Valentine’s Day. Lausanne, in particular, is located on the glittering shores of Lake Geneva in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
Get ready to romance Swiss-style in this idyllic lakeside city with its beautiful restaurants, neat vineyards and tucked-away villages. Hotels offer nothing short of pure relaxation with spas, treatments, pools and saunas to help couples forget about stresses and enjoy each other’s company. The Michelin star Le Pont de Brent is recommended for superb food and equally stunning views.
Barcelona, SpainCouples looking for a balance between lively and romantic should head to Barcelona. Though the city is famous for nightlife, there is also another side to Barcelona waiting to be discovered. Start your day getting snug on the beach and watching the sunrise, relax in the Born district where the city’s renowned masseuses’ give the best couples massage and aromatherapy treatments, and after lunch, take a cable car up to Castell de Montjuic for the finest views over the harbour.
If it’s warm enough, set up an intimate picnic-for-two on the beach or for something less touristy pay a visit to Laberint Horta Park, the city’s oldest park which has a neo-classic garden from the XVIIIth century. If world-class architecture is what you love then don’t miss out on a photo opportunity at the La Sagrada Familia.
What are your favourite traditional Valentine's Day destinations? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK
tagged in Barcelona Rome England Travel romance Valentine's Day Spain New York Paris travel tips France London Scotland Europe travel trends USA Travel Advice Romantic Getaway Edinburgh Travel Style Prague