Adventure, City breaks, Europe

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day in the calendar for women, although to be fair blokes do their best to get into the mood as well, or at least make damn sure they don’t forget the flowers and chocolates. It’s traditional to exchange gifts and cards, of course, and romantic dinners are sure to be much appreciated, but there are fewer better ways of enjoying Valentine’s Day than to head out to a romantic European city. To help with this ultimate act of ingratiation that will see blokes safely in the good books for several weeks or even months afterwards, here are a few suggestions on where to go for Valentines.

Pisa

Pisa in Tuscany, Italy is a rather small and quaint city that positively oozes period charm and has a rustic atmosphere that visitors quickly fall in love with. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is Pisa’s most famous tourist attraction. It’s actually the bell tower of the city’s cathedral, and in the square below there are numerous small eateries that are great for stopping off for a light lunch.

The city is full of romantic restaurants to enjoy evening candlelit meals for two, and there’s a good choice of quality hotels as well. Don’t risk ruining an otherwise magical atmosphere by going for B&B or hostel accommodation, fine as they may be under other circumstances.

The area surrounding Pisa is full of places to enjoy romantic drives and walks in the hills. The Tuscany countryside is stunning, and the small country churches and abbey’s are fun to explore. In neighbouring Petriolo there are natural hot springs, ideal for sharing a tub and a bottle of bubbly.

Paris

Paris is recognised internationally as the city of love, and this is never truer than on Valentine’s Day. The city wholeheartedly embraces the holiday, with restaurants offering special Valentine’s Day meals in a perfect romantic setting. Find a cosy little restaurant overlooking the River Seine or with a view of the Eiffel Tower and you just can’t go wrong.

Finding romantic things to do in Paris is a breeze. The city is full of incredible tourist attractions, including the likes of the Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysses. Romantic walks through the city, a cruise down the river or an afternoon whiled away in a pavement cafe with croissants and cappuccinos for two are just a few of the numerous other things you can get up to.

Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain’s second biggest city, is also one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean. As the capital of Catalonia it’s packed with historic monuments and other cultural attractions and is a showpiece for Modernism. It fairly sizzles with activity and bubbles with creativity, and its bars and restaurants serve up some of Spain’s most delicious regional cuisine. The tapas and paella here make the perfect accompaniment to a romantic dinner in one of the city’s many fine restaurants.

There are plenty of things to do in this exciting city other than stare into one another’s eyes over a bottle of wine and a guttering candle flame, however. Visit Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia cathedral, which is a world away from its brooding northern Gothic counterparts, or take a stroll through Park Guell – one of the most beautiful parks in the country.

For other Spanish destinations on Valentine’s Day check out the rest of the beautiful region of Catalunya.

Video sponsored by Catalunya Tourism.

Bruges

Bruges, or Brugge, in Belgium makes a great Valentine’s Day destination. Belgium tends to be underrated as a place to take a holiday break, generally and erroneously considered flat and boring. But although it is indisputably flat it’s certainly far from dull and in fact has a great many attractions. There are neat little towns and cities here that have barely changed since medieval times, complete with their tidy walls and half-timbered buildings, quiet canals and little gift shops.

A city like Bruges is perfect for a romantic break for two in charming surroundings. Its canal boats, picture-perfect medieval buildings and quaint restaurants combine to make Bruges a fun city to explore, and its small size means that it’s easy to get around on romantic walks

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