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1st February 2023
Now that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, it’s time to plan that romantic getaway for you and your other half. And where better than at one of Europe's many romantic cities, towns, villages or even islands?
You can choose from staying at a heart-shaped island in Croatia, hiking to a heart-shaped lake in Switzerland or driving around a heart-shaped road amongst vineyards in Slovenia. And if that’s not romantic enough for you both well, there are always the old classics, such as dining in Paris overlooking the Seine, a gondola ride in Venice or enjoying an evening of fiery, passionate Flamenco in Madrid. Read on to learn about these romantic things to do in Europe and more…
Galesnjak Island, Croatia
What could be more romantic than spending Valentine’s Day on a heart-shaped island in Croatia? Certainly, it’s the perfect spot on which to propose. Just saying… It’s possible to get here by boat or plane from Zadar. And while you’re in Zadar, check out the sunset – director Alfred Hitchcock described it as ‘the most beautiful in the world.’ Now, that’s quite a claim. Was he right? Go and find out for yourselves.
Shaped Heart Route, Slovenia
Another perfect Valentine’s Day getaway is a drive around the heart-shaped road surrounded by vineyards in Slovenia’s Štajerska region. The area is well-known for its lovely wines, so remember to take a bottle or two home with you. You can fly into the capital Ljubiana then take a rental car around Stajerska. It takes one hour and 20 minutes to get there – a pretty drive in itself.
Lagh de Calvaresc Lake, Switzerland
If the pair of you are pretty fit, then a hike up the Swiss Alps to the heart shaped Lagh de Calvaresc Lake is a romantic showstopper. Nestling in the mountains at Rossa in the Grisons municipality, it’s a lovely surprise when you get there. The hike – on the 2nd stage of route no. 712 “Sentiero Alpino Calanca” from Wanderland Schweiz - is estimated to take around three hours, so plan for your day out well. A bottle of fizz and some salmon sandwiches in your rucksacks would be ideal.
Preveli Beach at Rethymno, Crete
And if that’s not enough heart-shaped wonders for you to enjoy, how about a heart-shaped rock to gaze at? It’s all very romantic, considering the rock is on a lovely beach on the gorgeous island of Crete. This sunny island also offers some foodie delights, as well as spectacular sunsets. Preveli beach itself sits in a nature reserve, so you already know it’s going to be beautiful, let alone romantic.
Strasbourg in Alsace, France
A Valentine’s Day Europe special, head for Strasbourg and join in with celebrations for the Festival of Lovers. Sounds perfect for Valentine’s Day, non? Certainly, it’s one of the most romantic things to do in Europe at this time of year. The "Strasbourg mon amour" is all about dancing slow to beautiful concert music. This musical extravaganza, dedicated to love, is something no set of lovers worth their salt should miss.
Lake Como, Italy
A beautiful and romantic location at any time of the year, Lake Como is ideal for a proposal. And talking of weddings, the gorgeous George Clooney got married here. And if it’s good enough for arguably the most handsome and sought-after man in the world, well…. Come to this lover’s spot in Italy and enjoy some soothing spa treatments, gourmet food and the odd boat trip. Enjoy!
And now for one of the classics. Venice, along with Paris, is regarded as one of the most romantic destinations in the world, never mind Europe. A beautiful city, full of lovely arched bridges, canals and stunning Gothic and Baroque architecture. Yes, it will be busy – even in February – but there’s a reason for that. Lovers can’t resist wandering around this enchanted location – the birthplace of the legendary Casanova himself. Dine on seafood and champagne, then take a gondola ride down the canals while being serenaded with a lovely Italian love song. Afterwards, wander around hand in hand, just enjoying the sheer exuberance of the city. Do remember to have a smooch on the Bridge of Sighs.
Famously referred to as The City of Love itself, Paris is about cruising along the River Seine while sipping champagne with a loved one, dining at one of the city’s top-notch Michelin-starred restaurants, and checking out the independent boutiques along the Champs-Elysee. Climb the Eiffel Tower for selfies and views across this wonderful city and see a show at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Visit the Louvre and wander around the artist's quarters in Montmartre.
If you’re looking for romantic drama for Valentine’s Day, then Iceland and its capital Reykjavik, in particular, is the place to come. Indulge in an outdoor spa in a geyser, thanks to the island’s volcanic geothermal layers. Better still, take a thermal bath together in hot mud at the famous Blue Lagoon. There’s trekking in the National Parks to be done, tours of the island to be had, and, ultimately, cuddling to be done as you both stand outdoors watching the stunning Northern Lights.
A city of passion in itself, feel the real emotion by booking a Flamenco show at one of the city’s many venues. Another Valentine’s Day Europe special, watch the angry stamping of the spurned lover, listen to the wailing of the heartbroken solo guitarist and simply enjoy the whole colourful spectacle. You’ll both be exhausted afterwards – and that’s just by sitting watching in the audience. Try a few Flamenco steps out for yourselves by taking in a few lessons while you’re there. Spend the rest of the time dining on tapas and checking out wonderful tourist sites like the Royal Palace and Temple of Debod.
It may be a tad cold in February, but Edinburgh is undoubtedly a beautiful city, and when it comes to romantic things to do in Europe, a visit here should definitely be on the cards. The city’s cobbled lanes, castle, Holyrood Palace, charming old pubs and its many art galleries can all leave lovers overwhelmed and overawed on a mini break. With some of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland, there’s no shortage of places to choose for a romantic meal (try the Witchery just down from the castle or the Oyster Bar in the Café Royale if you’re feeling a bit spendy).
Whether you’re after a romantic stroll around the best of Europe’s old cities or a minibreak close to the beach, you really are spoiled for choice in Europe. Hopefully, this list of romantic cities will inspire you for your next romantic getaway.