Valentine Weekend Breaks - Destination Ideas

Valentine’s Day – for a day that’s meant to be all about love, it can be pretty divisive. You either love it and embrace it with roses, chocolates, stuffed teddy bears and cards with badly written declarations of love. Or, you hate it and just want to sit at home and sneer at the gullibility of the rest of the population. But love it or hate it, nothing says ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ like two tickets to a romantic city – and here are just some of them.

1) Paris: The original city of love – Paris has it all – take a romantic cruise along the Seine, admire priceless works of art at the Louvre and enjoy some French cuisine – just don’t go overboard on the garlic (or take some mints).

2) Venice: Giving Paris a run for its money, what’s not to like about Venice – city of history, culture and all against a backdrop of fabulous food. Plus, if you want a rest from all those carbs then you can always grab a Cornetto whilst on a gondola and sing into the sunset.

3) Amsterdam: Famous for (ahem) lots of things, there’s something for everyone in Amsterdam. But the city isn’t just about bars, red lights and hedonism, there’s a cultural side too – there are the 400-year-old canals and waterways that meander through the city; the Van Gogh museum and of course – tulips; and you can find lots of them at the Bloemenmarkt (flower market).

4) Prague: Not just for stag weekends you know, it’s also where ‘Good King Wenceslas’ came from. Prague, is a city of ancient culture, with the first permanent communities settling in 4000BC. So, take the time to stroll along the medieval Charles Bridge (named after Charles IV and constructed in 1357) and enjoy the unique architecture of the Old Town.

5) Vienna: With 110 free museums, you can’t ever say you’re bored in Vienna but if you want to take a break from highbrow, then why not bag a bargain at the flea market, open on Saturdays. Or if its food that gets your heart racing, indulge in the Naschmarkt – the largest open air food market in the city. And if you’ve got a head for heights, take in the city from above on the Riesenrad (giant ferris wheel); built in 1896 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph’s coronation by the same bloke that built the one in Blackpool (Walter Bassett).

6) London: Let’s not forget our own capital city; London has just as much to offer as her European cousins. Shop till you drop, visit one of the numerous free museums or take a turn on the London Eye. But if you want to head off the beaten track and try something that’ll make your loved one hold your hand even tighter; then head to The Clink Museum built on the site of the Clink Prison, where you can find out all about the gory past of Britain’s oldest jail dating back to 1144.

7) Edinburgh: It’s been Scotland’s capital since 1437 and there are lots of things to see and do (even better, a lot of them are free). Visit the 72 acre Royal Botanic Gardens – because nothing says ‘love’ like strolling through blossom trees. Or if romantic walks are just too much of an eye-rolling cliché, then try one of the numerous cycle rides around the city. You can also visit the seaside along the Edinburgh coastline (although we can’t promise how romantic you’ll feel in your thermals on a Scottish beach in February).

8) Oxford: If you want to see where clever people go to study then where better than Oxford (or Cambridge – we’re not taking sides). Oxford’s the place to go to see lots of old, beautiful churches. It’s also home to the famous Bodleian Library, which houses every book officially registered and published in England and now has more than 9 million of them.

9) Barcelona: With average highs of 14° and 7 hours of sunshine a day, Barcelona is your best bet if you want to escape a cold February in the UK. Take a leisurely meander along the famous La Rambla (although watch out – like any major tourist attraction, there are pick pockets aplenty). If you love art but want to stay away from the classics, then the city is dotted with modernist creations. And of course, what better way to enjoy your loved one’s company than with some tapas and sangria?

10) Ljubljana: The capital of Slovenia (not to be mixed up with Slovakia) won the title ‘Green capital of Europe’ in 2016 and it’s not hard to see why. Traffic is only allowed in certain areas letting cyclists and pedestrians explore its lush green space freely. Relatively new to the tourist scene, Ljubljana is a genuine hidden gem – the people are friendly, the food’s good and if you’re not great with a phrasebook, then most of the population speaks English. Attractions such as museums are close together so there’s not too much messing around getting from place to place, making it ideal for a couple of days’ break. Oh and by the way – it’s next to Austria and Croatia if your geography’s a bit rusty (or non-existent).

Packing the essentials

It’s not just about remembering to pack your toothbrush and socks, make sure you’ve got your travel insurance sorted too. We know it’s neither romantic nor exciting but having cover means that if your flights get cancelled or your bags don’t make it your Valentine’s destination, then at least you could be compensated. Plus, travel insurance could cover you for medical expenses that crop up; it may also sort you out if you need to get home in an emergency.

You can choose from single trip insurance, or if you’ve got more visa stamps than a cargo ship then annual cover might prove better value for money. Whatever you do on your romantic weekend (we’re not judging) make sure your policy reflects that, such as if you’re planning some sporty activities.

So, golden rule – don’t forget the insurance, because it’s better than the alternative which is a very frosty cold shoulder from your loved one when they discover your lack of cover means no trip and no compensation. Trust us – that’ll knock out any chance of romance quicker than a bout of traveller’s tummy, so go on, get it sorted – start comparing

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