With Valentine's Day around the corner, now is the time to be thinking about taking a romantic trip with a special someone. But where is best to go? We've created a list of the top 6 destinations this year...
A lesser-known romantic getaway destination; Sintra is a jewel set between mountains and the sea. Discover the historical heritage and luxuriant nature combined with cosmopolitan culture and opulent cuisine. What makes this the ideal Valentine’s getaway? This Portuguese town exudes a romantic atmosphere that has inspired poets, writers and artists for hundreds of years. It left a deep mark on 18th Century Portuguese writer, Eça de Queirós, who captured the romantic spirit in some of his most important works – he evokes moonlit walks around Seteais, long quiet rests at Penedo da Saudade and evenings in the village of Várzea de Colares. Sintra is truly the undiscovered capital of Romanticism, and one that must be experienced!
And how do you get there, we hear you ask? Catch a flight to Lisbon (Gatwick and Stansted have regular direct routes) and then catch a train from there. The train takes under 1 hour and will cost just €4.40 return.
The Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is the name given to this small part of Linquria in Italy made up of 5 villages; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – which have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage for 20 years now. Aside from the spectacular scenery, teal green water and mouth-watering delicacies, this area exudes a romantic aura which lends itself to a Valentine’s getaway. Stroll between the villages, occasionally stopping to indulge in wine made from locally-grown grapes, fresh seafood and handmade olive oil. You’ll find activities for all tastes – from scoping out secret beaches, to exploring the coastline in a kayak for two. The Via dell’Amore (‘The Way of Love’) is a footpath overlooking the sea that connects Riomaggiore and Manarola – it’s a little over 1km and can be covered in around 20 minutes at a gentle pace.
The Cinque Terre is best accessed from Pisa or Genoa airports; which both have train routes to get you there in around 1-2 hours, or alternatively you can hire a car if you are comfortable driving. Gatwick, Stansted and Bristol airports all have regular direct flights to Pisa, and Stansted has direct flights to Genoa – all of which take around 2 ½ hours.
It wouldn’t be right to have a Valentine’s getaway list without including Venice! Every inch of this city oozes romance – which makes it a firm favourite for loved up couples, and it’s not hard to see why. Although the romance may be disrupted from time-to-time (as you push your way across the Rialto Bridge or join the queue to enter St Mark’s Basilica) there are still plenty of opportunities to find total silence in the labyrinth of alleyways. Cruise the canals by water taxi or take it slow on a quintessential gondola past the Bridge of Signs, sample one of the oldest hot chocolate recipes at Caffe Florian, and watch the pastel reflections as the sun sets over the city.
Direct flights are available from Bristol, Gatwick and Stansted airports, which will get to Venice in around 2hrs 15mins. The airport is on the mainland, but just 12km from the city centre, so taking a taxi is a very viable option. Water buses are also available, for a more unique airport transfer – these take around 1hr 15mins and cost €25 return, and private water taxis are also available for those looking to travel in style!
Equally, what is a Valentine’s destinations list without the City of Love?! Paris is an old classic but one that rarely disappoints. Take long walks along the Seine, enjoy a café au lait on a café pavement terrace, dine in a candlelit bistro and gaze out from the light-spangled Eiffel Tower. Need we say much more?
Flights take under 1 ½ hours and are available direct from Gatwick, Bristol, Southend and Southampton airports.
There’s a reason this compact Renaissance gem is one of Italy’s most popular wedding destinations. Surrounded on three sides by the timeless landscape of hills decorated with villas, cypresses and olive groves, Florence delivers some of the world’s greatest scenery. Accompanied with art, shopping and food – this city is not one to be missed. Enjoy a scoop of gelato with two spoons as you watch the Tuscan sunset, or float down the Arno with a bottle of bubbly. Wander around the city at your own pace, and make sure to climb to the top of Giotto’s Campanile bell tower to share the view of the dreamy terracotta-topped cityscape.
You can find regular flights from Gatwick and Stansted, which will take you there direct in just over 2 hours. The airport is only 4km from the city centre, so taxis take around 15-20 minutes, or buses are available every 30 minutes and cost €10 for a round-trip.
Located near Germany and Switzerland between the Vosges and the Rhine, this charming little town lends itself to a romantic getaway. Colmar is home to just 67,000 inhabitants, which contributes to its quaint ‘country town’ atmosphere. Walking its streets is like visiting a movie set featuring century-old timbered houses of every colour, beautiful canals and a flourished pedestrianised town centre – it even has its own ‘Little Venice’. It resembles a condensed version of the Alsace region, nestled at the foot of a vineyard which produces the most delicious wine.
Being nestled away in the countryside makes this a slightly more remote option for a romantic getaway. It can still be accessed in reasonable time by public transport – such as trains from Paris in just under 3 hours. Alternative routes include direct flights from Gatwick or Bristol to Basel, with a 1hr train to Colmar, or direct flights from Southend or Southampton to Geneva with a 4hr onward train journey. Whichever route you take, we guarantee it’s worth the travel time!
One last tip, regardless of where you’re planning to jet off to, always make sure you pre-order your Euros before you go. Our Reserve & Collect service allows you lock in our best rates as little as 24hrs in advance, allowing your chocolate and flowers funds to go that bit further. Whether you’ve been seduced by Sintra or allured by Alsace, let us take care of the travel money so you can enjoy a romantic Valentines getaway.