Forget Venice and Paris – there are plenty of romantic destinations within a few hours of the UK that will make the ideal trip for Valentine’s Day whilst providing you with something a bit different at the same time.
Here are five slightly more unusual destinations for you to treat your other half to something a bit special this Valentine’s Day.
The beautiful capital of Latvia is fast becoming a popular romantic European getaway. Riga is a mix of cobbled streets, narrow lanes, beautiful parks and cosy bars, and at only two-and-a-half hours from London it makes for a very accessible romantic break.
The Old Town dates back to the 13th century, and it’s here where the city is at its most atmospheric. There are plenty of things to see and do, including climbing to the top of St Peter’s Church for amazing views across the city. With tall spires, attractive squares, picturesque canals and beautiful bridges over the Daugava River, Riga is the ultimate romantic destination.
Ljubljana in Slovenia is another romantic highlight of Europe, and although it is growing in popularity, it has nowhere near the crowds of other popular romantic destinations. With the castle towering above from a nearby hill, and the large number of churches, bridges and picturesque squares, Ljubljana is incredibly beautiful and has a certain fairytale quality to it.
Take a stroll over Dragon Bridge, relax in Prešeren Square, buy some fresh croissants at the marketplace, tuck into some goulasch and dumplings at one of the cosy restaurants and enjoy some hot chocolate in a café. Although there are few real tourist attractions, the city itself is the attraction here. Ljubljana is designed for strolling around and taking in the ambience, and this is the best way to appreciate the city.
The capital of Tunisia sounds a long way away, but it’s actually only a two-and-a-half-hour flight from London. However, in that short flight you will be transported to another continent and another world. This cultural and historical city has an air of the exotic about it, with the chaotic maze of the medina (Old Town) and its many ancient mosques, including the 8th century Zitouna Mosque, the biggest in the country.
Explore the souks of Tunis, visit the highlights such as the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul and the Bardo Museum, test your haggling skills with the stall owners and eat out at restaurants specialising in local and North African cuisine. There are also some truly wonderful luxury hotels in the city to make your romantic break into something really special. Tunisia may not be as well-known as its neighbour Morocco, but it has the same exotic charm, and it makes for a truly different romantic getaway.
Iceland may be more well known for its holiday-ruining volcanoes that its romantic destinations, but a trip to the capital city, Reykjavik, is a romantic experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
Reykjavik is a city in harmony with nature, and most of the romantic highlights of the city are often related to its natural beauty. With stunning views, geothermal pools in which you can swim, scenic cycling trails and stunning sunsets from the harbour, this is a city that brings you right back to the heart of nature.
Other highlights include the excellent nightlife, the fresh seafood served up in the restaurants and, if you get lucky, the mystical and beautiful Northern Lights, which are often visible any time between November and February.
Istanbul in Turkey is a fascinating city, and its reputation as an alternative romantic getaway is growing fast. This exotic location is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, and will make for an excellent short break.
Highlights of a romantic break in Istanbul include checking out the local hamams (Turkish baths) for some serious pampering, getting lost in the Old Grand Bazaar with its thousands of shops and labyrinthine layout, making a trip to the hugely popular Blue Mosque and crossing the Galata Bridge at sunset. With great entertainment, delicious food and an incredible atmosphere, Istanbul will provide you with a romantic break to remember.