Valentine’s Day, a popular time for romantically inclined couples to get away, is just around the corner. The big question, as ever, is where to go? We offer a few ideas to get you thinking of your next romantic holiday for Valentine’s Day.
Venice has to be one of the most romantic cities in the world and its canals make it a very special place. Splash out on a gondola trip if you are feeling flush, or alternatively take a water taxi from the airport which is cheaper and a very romantic way to arrive in the city.
The Grand Canal with its majestic palazzos, St Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doges Palace, the Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are of course must-sees, but a stroll through some of the lesser-known medieval alleys and across beautiful bridges can be equally romantic.
Flights to Venice leave from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.
Bruges is one of the most charming cities in Europe, and in February you should avoid the worst of the tourist crowds.
A good thing to do first is to take a canal trip or horse-and-carriage ride to get your bearings. Alternatively just enjoy a wander through the cobbled streets and over the bridges across the Djiver River to soak up the romantic atmosphere. Bruges is a compact town so it is hard to get lost.
The heart of the city is The Markt (Market) Square, home to the 12th century belfry. If you have the energy, climb the 366 steps for a great view across the city.
The closest airport for UK passengers is Brussels, served by flights from London Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester.
What could be more romantic than seeing Vienna looking its prettiest in the snow? The Hapsburg palaces in particular look like something out of a winter fairy-tale. When you have had enough of the cold, why not snuggle up next to your other half in one of the chandelier-lit coffee houses with a hot chocolate and a piece of Sacher Torte?
The old centre is another romantic area: cobble-stoned streets, the Gothic Cathedral of St Stephen and the Hofburg Palace are all worth a visit.
Possibly the world’s most famous painting of a couple kissing is Klimt’s The Kiss which can be seen at the Belvedere, and at this time of year you may well have it to yourselves.
You can fly to Vienna from London Heathrow and Gatwick.
Ernest Hemingway described Ronda as the most romantic town in Spain, and it is easy to see why. One of the most attractive white towns of Andalucía, it perches on the edge of the El Tajo gorge some 100 metres deep.
The main sights in Ronda are the three bridges crossing the River Guadelevin, the bullring, which is the oldest in Spain, and the Arab baths. Some would say that the best of all though, especially for romantics, is the sunset across the gorge.
Ronda is in a mountainous area, but although the temperatures are lower than down on the coast, you may still be lucky and have blue skies and sunshine in February.
Perhaps the most romantic monument to love is the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by the Moghal emperor Shah Jahan for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The white marble mausoleum is recognised as the jewel in India’s crown and the apex of Islamic art in India. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO heritage sight. Despite the fact that the monument is visited by two million people a year, the romantic atmosphere is nevertheless hard to beat.
Not many people would contemplate flying there from the UK for a Valentine’s week-end but, if budget allows and you are planning a holiday to India, why not make sure that you are in Agra for Feb 14th? Conveniently, February is one of the most comfortable months to visit the Taj Mahal.
As the 14th of February falls on a Friday this year, it’s an ideal opportunity to turn it into a long weekend. Happy travels!