Alternative City Breaks for Valentine’s Day
With Paris, the city of love, currently seeing a drop in visitors after recent events, many couples are finding themselves searching for an alternative city break this Valentine’s Day. We shine a spotlight 5 destinations not instantly synonymous with romance, but which hold charm and character in abundance…
Why go? Just a two hours flight from the UK, Scandinavia is merely a hop away. Wrap up warm, rent a bicycle and explore the city on two wheels making use of the city’s comprehensive dedicated bike lines, ticking off the sites (Amalienborg Palace, The Little Mermaid) as you go. Park up and wander the Nyhavn, stopping for lunch at one of the many harbour-side eateries for a traditional smorgasbord and beer. Retail therapy can be found around Strøget in the heart of the city, offering endless café’s emanating the irresistible scent of freshly-baked cinnamon buns – perfect spots for escaping the chill.
With an average temperature of 18 degrees Centigrade, February is a very pleasant (and crowd-free) month to explore Mallorca’s Capital. The boutique hotel scene has exploded in recent years, offering stylish bases from which to explore the palm tree-lined promenades and handsome palacios the city is famed for. Top attractions include the gothic masterpiece that is the Palma de Mallorca Cathedral and its surrounding citadel, the Es Baluard contemporary art museum, and the medieval mansions and courtyards of the old Jewish qaurter. Alternatively, jump on a bike and pedal to the café-line seafront of Portixol.
Why go? What could be more romantic than discovering an off-the-grid travel destination with your sweetheart? A growing number of travellers are beginning to discover the charms of Slovenia’s Capital which, just this year, has been awarded the Green Capital of Europe title. The emerald-green Ljubljana River snakes through the city and acts as its heart and soul, with waterside cafes and bars abounding. Take in the immaculate white-façade, red-roofed architecture as you stroll through the pedestrianised Old Town, stopping at the main square (Prešernov Trg), and making a trip to the magnificent Ljubljana Castle. Come nightfall, take a river cruise and pass under the spectacular series of illuminated bridges.
Why go? Often overlooked in favour of nearby Milan, Turin is a majestic city with much to offer. Kick off your trip with a saunter around the imposing Piazza Castello, whose 17th century porticos house designer boutiques and characterful cafés in which to enjoy the city’s signature drink, bicerin (a velvety blend of coffee, cream and chocolate). A visit to UNESCO heritage site-listed La Venaria Reale – a former royal residence and Turin’s equivalent of Versailles – is a must, as is a browse around the The Museo Egizio, home to the second largest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world.
Why go? Not just for package holiday tourists and water sports addicts, this island offers a peaceful mini sun break. Stay at one of the many slick five star spa resorts and alternate between relaxing by the pool, pampering treatments and leisurely walks along the blissfully empty beaches. Why not hire a sand buggy and navigate the golden dunes of Masplamos at the southernmost tip of the Island before enjoying a sun-dappled lunch, surrounded by palm trees.