Top 10 Romantic Destinations In Europe To Book For Your Valentines Weekend
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14th February is creeping up on us quick, so it's best to book your romantic getaway sooner rather than later to get the best deals on flights and hotels. Discover the Octer round-up of the top European destinations (and their hidden secrets!) to visit with your partner to make this Valentines the best one yet!
January may have only just started but that's right, it's already time to start thinking about Valentine’s day. Whether your partner is into grand romantic gestures or not, going on a little sejours away over the 14th will always be a well-appreciated move. But, because it's one of the most popular periods of the year to book something, make sure you're early to beat the rush!
The ideal romantic location will mean different things for different people. Some people love walks on sandy beaches to the soothing crash of the waves, others will love the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether it's for the Art Nouveau architecture or to try out all the best coffees in town, there's a European city for everyone.
When booking, it's good to bear in mind prices and the weather. February is Europe's chilliest month so even going somewhere stereotypically warm such as Italy it won't be bikini and sunglasses weather we're afraid. Although Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world it's a popular time to go over Valentines so expect travel and accommodation to be slightly pricier than usual. Pick a destination whose food you can't wait to try, sights you can't wait to see and language you can't wait to learn.
To help you choose where to go and what to do there, take a lil' look at our list of recommendations...
Image by: Klaus Stebani
Santorini is a volcanic island in the Aegean sea off the coast of Greece and is renowned as one of Greece's most scenic destinations. It's known for it's crystal clear seas, pristine beaches, romantic sunsets and beautiful landscapes.
How to get there: The best way to get there is by flying via Athens or if you happen to be in the area, hop on a ferry. Once you're there, busses and hop on hop and off ferries are the best way to travel around and see the island.
Where to stay: If you want the best of the best stay on the Caldera edge for stunning views and infinity pools such as in the Oia hotel (the perfect spot to propose). However, it is rather pricey so if you're looking to go on a lower budget then stay in Kerissa or Kamari which won't have many crowds in February.
What to do: Feel like you're in a Greek myth and get lost in the Rhodes old town. If you're an active type walk around the Samaria gorge (it's a long walk but definitely worth it for the views). If you're craving the sand beneath your feet then head to Monolithos or Perissa beach - the ideal spot for a romantic picnic.
What to eat & drink: Saganaki - fried Greek cheese in filo pastry and covered in honey. Tomato Gefthedes - a tomato based fritter , greek salad - feta, red onions, black olives and more! Don't forget to try Greek wine, it's taken very seriously in Santorini so make sure you order it with your food. Our favourite restaurants are Selene if you're feeling high brow or Anogi for something a little more mid-range.
High Season: May-Aug. So expect may-aug high season expect hotel prices to be £70-170 for 2 people and flights around £240 return. The weather will be mild around 14°.
Image by: Kevin Phillips
The most romantic city in the world? Probably. Paris has everything you need for a romantic getaway, from scenic strolls along the Seine, the world's finest cuisine and the most prized art both old and new. There's something for everyone and no matter how long you're there you'll never run out of things to do.
How to get there: The Eurostar (there's a sale on right now!) is a train that goes from London/Ebsfleet/Ashford straight to the city centre of Gard du Norde, it only takes 2.5 hours and is quick and easy. Alternatively you can fly, the airport nearest to the centre is Charles de Gaulle so we'd recommend that as the other 'Parisian airports' are a far away from the center. Get around the city by metro, electric scooter or uber.
Where to stay: The magical thing about Paris is that every arrondisment has it's own unique character and atmosphere so there is no 'best' place to stay. The Marais is best if you're into modern art and fashion as it's close to the iconic Pomidou gallery as well as the Picasso and is where you'll be able to find Paris's trendiest shops. If you're more into the main attractions the 16th arrondisment is where you'll find the Eiffel Tower and is also close to the Arc de Triomphe so you'll be able to go to bed with the glittering landmark in sight. Favourite hotels include Hotel Amour in Paris's up and coming district, Le Pigalle for the Moulin Rouge effect and The Hoxton which is famous for their brunch.
What to do: Aside from the obvious sites good things to do are visit the Rodin Museum, go up the Montparnasse tower (for the best view of Paris), visit Les Jardins du Palais Royale, walk along the Canals St Martin, find legends in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, get lost in Montmartre or visit the flea market in Saint-Ouen there is plenty to do and see!
What to eat & drink: French onion soup - perfect for a winter day with grilled cheese on top available at most french bistros, cheese fondue (go to la refuge de fondues for a wacky and delicious experience), duck confit, steak, chips, and plenty of wine. Other restaurants to try are Les Grands Bains, Chartier, L'As du Falafel, Pizza Populare and Les Pates Vivantes. (Look them up to reserve or to find out how to avoid queues.
High season: June - August although Valentine's day weekend will also be popular. Travel should be around £150 return (although you can get cheaper going at more awkward times) and hotel prices from £60+ for a decent hotel. Expect weather to be as cold as the UK around 9° and be prepared for rain.
Image by: David Mark
If you want to see an authentic version of Spain free from gaggles of tourists, Seville is the place to go. A city full of history, gorgeous architecture and romantic nights it's a great couple's destination in the south of Spain.
How to get there: Simply fly to Seville airport - simples. Get around the town by cycling, taxi, bus or simply walking.
Where to stay: For a boho chic location try Alameda surrounded by authentic restaurants and live music. For something a little more upmarket then Arenal is the one to watch where you'll be able to find the best tapas. Alfalfa is another trendy area with sweet shopping spots and lovely little eateries. The cities best hotels include Casa del Poeta (a stunning building in itself) and Legado Alcazar where most rooms come with a terrace for you to have your morning coffee on.
What to do: Visit the city's exceptional architecture including the cathedral, go up La Giralda and visit the famous Plaza de Espana. Other beautiful scenes include the botanical gardens and the UNESCO listed Alcazar. A great way to see the city is by renting bicycles (or rollerblades/skateboards if you're feeling confident) and roll down the river - it's the best way to take it all in without having to walk everywhere. Another quirky walk is las setas - the mushrooms a modern architectural walkway above the city. Spend your evenings entertained at a Flamenco show - one of Spain's greatest traditions and totally romantic.
What to eat and drink: Spain have fantastic food to eat and drinks to drink. Their speciality is tapas which is great as you get to try a bit of everything! Their creme de la creme is secreto iberico - cut of pork which simply melts in your mouth. Espinacas con Garbanzos - a spinach dish with chickpeas and croutons, simple but delicious. Another traditional dish is their sandwich serranito de lomo with pork, parma ham, peppers and cheese. Drinks - obviously sangria, sangria and more sangria. Our top recommendations for restaurants include Mamarracha, La Brunilda and Eslava.
High season: Feb-June. As Seville is a cultural city people visit to avoid the Spanish heat which is why it's a popular month however flights start from £100 return and hotels from £75+. Be prepared for light jacket weather with highs of 16°.
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If you're a culture vulture then visiting Florence is essential as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Full of romantic strolls, gorgeous architecture and one of the world's most beautiful languages it is undoubtedly a romantic place to visit. A go-to if you love food, wine and art!
How to get there: Again, flying is your best bet to Firenze- Peretola airport. It's a very walkable city so going by foot is the best way to get around or hail a cab if you're feeling tired.
Where to stay: If you're into markets, authentic restaurants and indie boutiques then Santa Croce and the trendy East is where you should stay. If you want to be in the centre of the hustle and bustle then the Duomo and the Pizza Della Signoria, close to the touristic hotspots and the citiy's designer shops it's a top spot if you don't want to be walking around too much! The Centro Storico is another indie location with medieval architecture, also home to quirky boutiques and cheap cafes it's Florence's best kept secret. Our recs for hotels include the Soprano Suites for a retro vibe or if you want to splash the cash go for the luxurious Villa Cora.
What to do: The obvious must do is visit all the epic art Florence has to offer: the Uffizi where you'll find The Birth of Venus - Botticelli's finest piece. The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is another stunning must-see and if you're happy to climb up 463 steps you'll get the highest view point of Florence - but it's definitely worth all the panting. Finally, the Galleria Dell'Accademia is the gallery where you'll be able to find Michael Angelo's best work, the statue of David.
What to eat and drink: What isn't there to eat in Italy? Pizza, pasta, gelato mmmm we want it all. Vivoli Gelato has the best coffee and ice cream in town, or go to Piazza Santo Spirito where you can pick and choose from a number of stalls to eat what you fancy. Best restos to eat out in include La Giostra, Leoni and La Menagere.
High season: June-Sept. Flights start from £115 and double rooms in hotels from £44+. Expect highs of 12° so bring your winter jacket!
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Prague has become a hot spot for tourists in the last 5 years and is frequently listed as one of the top 5 European cities. There's plenty to do and it's very walkable which makes it a fab destination for a weekend away. If you want to avoid the stag do's and stereotypical brits abroad then Valentines weekend will be the best time to avoid them.
How to get there: Again, flying to Vaclav Havel airport is your best option which takes roughly 2 hours from the UK. It's a very walkable city so get around by foot, otherwise the metro system is easy to use and very reasonable.
Where to stay: The romantic area is the Mala Strana full of cobbled streets, history and and stunning views of the river. Vinohrady is a good spot if you want to live in a more local area - it also has the towns best LGBTQ+ bars and it's a good spot for nightlife. Stay in the Golden Well Hotel at the foot of Prague's castle with classy interiors and Prague's best restaurant (book at least a week in advance), it has a private entrance to the royal gardens so you can live like royalty for the weekend. For something a little more bohemian try U Raka which is arguably Prague's most romantic hotel - perfect for V day.
What to do: We'd recommend to simply get lost in the city centre around the Old Town square, wander past the Astronomical clock at the hour and you'll be in for a mini spectacle. Visit the Kafka museum if you want some literary inspo or learn about Communism at the KGB museum. Other gorgeous places to stroll round include the castle, the parks or simply by the waterfront. There really is something for everyone.
What to eat and drink: Although Prague may not be famous for their foods, they definitely have some secret gems you've got to check out! If you like your meats then you're in luck, try some Czech weiners, goulash or their snitchel and potato salad dish is a delight (go to Katyna for the best ones in town). For veggies, their fried cheese is a naughty but nice treat that'll warm you up when it's cold outside. Drinks wise, the Czech Republic is famous for their beers being the home of budweiser and pilsners, if you fancy something sweeter then they do a killer mulled wine which will be just what you want after a long day of walking. For restos we recommend Mincovna, KATR and Cafe Savoy.
High season: June-August. Flights start from £115 and hotels from £45. It can be quite cold as it is Eastern Europe so bring lots of layers and expect highs of 5°.
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If you're into the finer things in life then Vienna is a must-see. Famous for their opera, classical music and imperial architecture there is plenty to do for a weekend away.
How to get there: Either fly to Vienna international airport, or if you fancy something different take the train for views of Europe and change at Brussels and Frankfurt. The centre is easy to walk around but if you're staying somewhere further out then use the subway or tram system to get around.
Where to stay: The centre will be the most convenient place to stay (Innere Stadt-Wien Mitte) you'll be 'round the corner from all the best attractions which is great for a weekend away. Otherwise the 6th and 7th district is a young and hip area if you don't want to be right in the centre. Best hotels include Motel One Wien Straatsoper, The Guesthouse and Hotel Imperial.
What to do: Take a romantic ride round the Viennese ferris wheel, a more rustic version of the London Eye. Hofburg palace was once the space where all balls and festivities where held but nowadays it houses Vienna's top museums, galleries and attractions. If you're interested in philosophy then visit the Sigmund Freud museum and see how the mind of a professional thinker works. If you want to see a masterpiece then go see Klimt's 'The Kiss' in the Belvedere Palace.
What to eat and drink: Similar to Prague, Goulash is one of their best dishes to try. Also wurstel sausages are available in markets that make a warming snack and come in an array of flavours. For something a little sweeter try a traditional apple strudel - our mouths are watering at the sound of it. Top tips for where to eat include Neni Am Naschmarkt a fantastic food market with plenty to choose from. Also make sure you check out Ulrich, Cafe central and The Palmenhaus.
High season: April-Oct. Get flights from £86 return and hotels go up from £50. Again, bring your winter layers as temperatures will be low, with a maximum of 6°.
Image by: Kristian Aleksandrov
Go to Madeira before anyone else does. It's slowly becoming one of Europe's trendiest locations as it has good food, unique culture and stunning scenery + there's lot's of new beaches for you to visit.
How to get there: Fly to Madeira airport or get the boat from Porto if you happen to be on mainland Portugal (yes Madeira is an island off the coast of Portugal). Get around by bus, taxi or rent a car as it's a hilly island it's hard to walk around everywhere.
Where to stay: The terrain is very different around Madeira so pick where you want to stay depending on what sort of holiday you desire. Bearing in mind it is winter so you won't be able to have a sun soaked beach holiday but the environment is still refreshing with stunning views. The south coast is the warmest part of the island and houses luxury villas and hotels. Its beaches are stunning and it's the best place to go if you want to take time out to relax. If you fancy some activity, the north coast is a good place to base yourself as it's by the beaches and near the mountains if you fancy a walk. If you're craving activity and the freshest of airs then head to the mountains where there are plenty of walks and hikes to choose from. Our top 3 hotels include the Savoy, Estalagem do Mar and Eira do Serrado.
What to do: There's something for everyone in Madeira, since it's a mountainous island it's nature is probably the highlight. Go on a hike or do the Levado walk, take a boat trip round the island, rent some clubs and play some golf, visit the unique botanic gardens or simply relax on the beach. The fresh air will do you wonders.
What to eat and drink: As an island, fish is a good dish to opt for in a restaurant. They are particularly famous for espada (scabbard) and you can get a tasty breaded espada sandwich from Os Aliados Cafe Quinta do Furão near the Levada trails. Other dishes to try are lapas (limpets), steak sandwiches, trout and cozido (famous Madeiran stew). Try Bar Dos Socios or Preia Mar for some tasty food or go for michelin star restaurant Il Gallo D’Oro for a real treat.
High season: June-Aug. Flights start from £150 and hotels from £55 a night. Expect highs of 12° and don't forget to pack appropriate walking gear if you're planning on hitting the mountains.
Image by: Paul Bates
Iceland is only semi part of Europe as it's closer to America in distance, however as part of the EU we've included Reykjavik in our Romantic destinations guide. If you want to cosy up with your partner and see scenery like no other then Iceland is for you.
How to get there: A flight will take you just over 3 hours to get there from the UK. Rental cars are a good way to go and explore more of the island but are expensive, otherwise use taxis or the bus to get around.
Where to stay: Our top three recommendations to stay are Midborg (the city centre) which is close to all the attractions and where their buzziest restaurants, cafes and boutiques are located. Vesturbaer is downtown, a more residential area. It's more upscale and is surrounded by the sea which means stunning views and lovely harbour walks. Laugardalur is in the valley area of Reykjavik with lots of popular restaurants and cafes near by. There are also lot's of hot springs in the city for you to dip in and out of. Our favourite hotels include the award winning 101 hotel, the Hilton or Reykjavik Lights for something a little cheaper.
What to do: Visit the quirkiest church you've ever seen Hallgrimskirkja, take a ferry to Videy and visit Yoko Ono's Imagine Tower, take a dip in the sea at Nautholsvik's geothermal beach. Go on a lil' trip out of Reykjavik and visit the hot springs for some de-stressing or head to Grotta to try and catch the northern lights for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
What to eat and drink: Try a legendary Icelandic hot dog where the sausage is a blend of beef, lamb and pork (get with all the toppings from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur), eat Skyr like a local (dairy meal that tastes a little like Greek yoghurt, add sugar if you've got a sweet tooth), lamb is another classic dish which is particularly delicious thanks to the sheep's diet of plants and berries. Top restaurants to give a go include The Coocoo's Nest, Matur og Drykkur and for pricier fine dining, OX.
High season: June-Aug. Expect hotel prices to be £50+ and flights around £200. Remember to wrap in your warmest gear as temperatures are likely to be below 0°.
Image by: Iva Balk
Europe's most up and coming city is the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. If you and your partner like being alternative then the less-tourist Ljubljana is the spot for you. It's also known as one of Europe's greenest cities so if you want to be more environmentally friendly it's a good place to go and get inspired.
How to get there: Fly to Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. Get around the city by foot, hire a bike or take the bus or a cab.
Where to stay: The Old Town is full of history and a great place to stay if it's your first time as it's medieval architecture is very instagramable. The city centre is the most practical place to stay as it's where all the main galleries, museums, bars and restaurants are, however, it can be a little noisy at night. Trnovo is the most budget area where a lot of students hang out, home to some of the town's best bars. Metelkova is often described as the coolest neighbourhood and attracts artists from all over Europe, it also has great nightlife including live music and rooftop bars. Best places to stay include Hotel Cubo, Celica hostel (an ex prison believe it or not), and Vander Urbani hotel.
What to do: Take in the medieval sites of the old town, climb to the top of the castle for fab views, take a hike to Smarna Gora, go and see some contemporary art in the museum of modern art, or hit up the Sunday flea markets. It'll be a cultural weekend with stunning views of Slovenia.
What to eat and drink: Like most European cities, meat is a main dish in Ljubljana. Their carniolan sausage is a must-try. It's a protected meat (yes, protected!) meaning it's recipe must strictly consist of 68% of pork, 12% of beef, and no more than 20% of bacon. For something sweet try a layer cake (also protected) which consists of walnuts, cottage cheese and various other ingredients. Jota is another winter warming dish that will be perfect for February made of wholesome root vegetables. If you're experimental with food then you're in for a treat in Slovenia. Try Strelec for fancy dining or for something a little more casual, Gostilna Dela - a cafe that help those from disadvantaged backgrounds integrated into communities.
High season: Dec-Feb. The winter period is a popular time to go as if you're lucky to have snow, Slovenia is even more magical. Flights will cost £134+ and hotels from a bargain £30 per night for a double room. Temperatures reach around 6° max, so bring your winter jacket.
Image by: Dimitris Vetsikas
How to get there: Flying takes around an hour from UK airports however most people prefer to take the Eurostar. There is a sale on tickets and trips to Brussels cost less than tickets to Paris. Alternatively, if you're on a tighter budget then you can take a coach which takes 6 hours but can cost as little as £10. Get around the city by metro, tram electric bike or foot.
Where to stay: The centre is quite small so you'll be able to walk around easily. Saint Gery and Sablon are very central which is perfect for late night drinks in town or if you don't fancy walking around too much. Les Marolles is slightly further out but home to the arty part of town where the you'll find Brussels' best flea market and antique shops. Hotels we recommend include Hygge for some nordic serenity, Jardin Secret and Maison Flagey.
What to do: The city centre is very walkable so it's a great place to spend the day where you can gaze at the Grand Place, take a beer tour and taste some of the world's finest beers, visit the Mannekin Piss (an absolute must see), take a look at the comic book museum, go up the Atomium or visit the instrument museum (the mim) which is located in one of Brussel's finest buildings.
What to eat and drink: Brussels is famous for mussels, chips, waffles, chocolate and beer. Possibly some of the world's most popular foods? For the best waffles hit up any waffle van for the gooiest waffles you never knew existed. Leon is Belgium's world famous mussels and chips restaurant and visit Pierre Marcolini for la creme de la creme of the world's chocolates. Other good restaurants include Comme Chez Soi and Restaurant le Rabassier and Delirium is their world famous pub which has over 2000 beers.
High season: Brussels has no high season as it is a relatively popular destination all year round. Expect weather to be similar to England with highs of about 7°. Hotels should cost £50+ and flights and the Eurostar should cost a very reasonable £60+ (or even less on a good day).
January 07 2020 by Jemima Compton