With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s time to plan that romantic getaway with your favorite loved one. Although the weather may be chilly, an escape to one of these European spots is the perfect way to celebrate the Hallmark holiday. Plus, cooler temps mean you can snuggle up with your partner by the fireplace or at the spa. Even better, it’s low season, so you may find a solid deal on airfare or hotel. Here are some of the most idyllic spots in Europe to celebrate this Valentine’s Day.
While everyone pictures Italian romance as a gondola ride through a quaint Venice canal, we can do you one better. The Northern Italian town of Verona is home to the famous Shakespearean love story “Romeo and Juliet.” You can actually head to the house that inspired the masterpiece. Is there anything more romantic than standing on Juliet’s balcony? If that’s just a bit too cheesy for you, don’t worry. Verona will be prepping for their Carnival celebration, meaning you’ll spot hints of elaborate costumes and sparkling theater masks in hidden corners around the city. Plan to wander hand-in-hand with your honey through the most preserved Roman Amphitheater in the world, the Arena, followed by a glass of Prosecco in a cozy bar like San Nicolo or Symposio.
One of the most romantic spots in all of Switzerland, the snow-capped picturesque town of Bern was made for lovers. After a chilly day exploring the city’s charming architecture, (deemed an UNESCO World Heritage site), warm up with some wine. Considering only 1% of Swiss wines are exported (and mostly to Germany), it’s the perfect excuse to taste as many varieties as possible at a cellar bar like Marta, or a wine spot like Zsa Zsa. Don’t forget to cross the famous Bern Bridge, and then head to the nearby hills around sunset to snap the snowy rooftops throughout the city.
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Seville is stunning by day, especially the blooming flowers and orange trees of the famous Alcazar Palace gardens. But when the sun sets, the romance comes out. You’ll fall in love all over again while soaking in the pinkish hues of the Seville sunset from the city’s most magnificent square: the Plaza de España. The square, scattered with colorful geographic tiles, has endless columns and inviting bridges set inside a park. Then, take a stroll along the Gualalquivir River, followed by tapas and wine at Brunhilda. End out the evening with the passionate stomps and claps of an authentic Andalusian flamenco show.
This list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most romantic destinations in Europe: Paris, the city of light. Start with a quiet stroll through the Trocadéro gardens, admiring the views of the Eiffel Tower. Then, cross the bridges of the Seine, covered in locks from couples madly in love. If the February temps get a little chilly, peruse the Impressionist art at the Museo D’Orsay, which was once a train station, or sip natural wines paired with French cheese and foie gras at wine bar Le Garde-Robe. If that’s not enough, just listen to the locals babble on in French — according to a Hotels.com survey, people it’s the sexiest language in the world.
Embrace the cold and ice skate through Salzburg at the Mozartplatz outdoor rink. Next, tour the picturesque Mirabell Palace, where the Von Trapp children sang “Do,Re, Mi” in The Sound of Music. Salzburg is the spot to indulge in sweet treats with your partner, too. In fact, it’s a dream city for couples with a sweet tooth, its most famous Original Salzburger Mozartkugel. The sugary treat consists of dark chocolate,marzipan, pistachio and nougat. Sample it (and buy some to take home) at the Cafe Konditorei Furst.
Cross the Ljubljanica River via the Lover’s Bridge, also known as the Butcher’s Bridge. Similar to Parisian fashion, couples have put padlocks on the bridge and dropped the key into the river as a symbol of their passion. Riding the funicular up to the beautiful castle offers picturesque views of the city, which stills seems bright even on the most grey and wintery day. You can even have a romantic five-course traditional Slovenian dinner at the castle’s restaurant Gostilna na Gradu. A sunset boat tour along the river, complete with wine and music is the perfect end to a perfect day.
Quite possibly the most romantic city in Wales, this town actually looks like a traditional Italian village. Located on Wales Northern coast, the town’s colorful, romantic charm will lure you in, even in winter. Meander around, arm-in-arm to see the interesting architecture and gardens. It really feels as if you’re in a magical town on the Italian Riviera — except everyone is speaking in English (or Welsh). The town caters to couples wanting romantic getaways, with many restaurants for fine dining and luxury hotels. The exquisite spas in town have a number of treatments geared towards couples wishing to relax, too.