Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day that both singles and, ironically, couples lament for the ostentatious displays of affection.
Whether you are partnered up or not, there is no doubt that people around the office will be getting flowers and chocolates – so why not get away for a mid-week trip?
This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday, so grab your significant other/best friend/mother/favourite cousin or anyone you love and use it as an excuse to go on a mini-break.
While many couples flock to Paris to celebrate their love in the city of, well, love we’ve come up with a few alternatives to try below.
1. Try something new with a visit to old-timey Estonia
Often overlooked, Estonia is bordered by Latvia, Russia, the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland – meaning it is steeped in history.
The capital Tallinn is known for its preserved Old Town and museums – and has a distinctly romantic vibe. If you have time to take a day trip from the capital, the country – which was once part of the Soviet Union – is dotted with castles, churches and hilltop fortresses. You will also find a number of lakes, forests and rocky beaches among the diverse terrain.
2. Take a trip to Finland’s Lapland to see the Northern lights
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region and is bordered by Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. It is known for its vast, subarctic wilderness and is home to a number of ski resorts and natural phenomena like the midnight sun and the northern lights. Why not stay in a glass-topped igloo for the ideal setting to watch the aurora borealis.
3. Visit the windswept West coast of Ireland
Our friendly neighbour across the Irish Sea is the perfect place to take your other half if you’re looking for lush landscapes and romantic scenery. Particularly the west coast of Ireland where you will find the charming towns of Galway and Limerick – and the must-see Cliffs of Moher.
4. Stay in a retreat in the Scottish highlands
Retreats are popping up all over the Scottish Highlands and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time visit to one of them. Whether they be a spa, wellness or luxury retreat, a bit of fresh Scottish air and scenery will do you a world of good.
5. Take a stroll through Ljubljana’s Tivoli Park
The expansive Tivoli Park is located in Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana. One of Europe’s greenest and most peaceful cities, Ljubljana is often overlooked for the nearby Lake Bled, but the city offers many delights. From the park, to the castle and central market, this city is perfect for a romantic city break.
6. Visit Annecy, the ‘French Venice’
Walking through Annecy is like taking a stroll through Venice, although much less crowded and with a gorgeous lake and towering Alps as the backdrop. Known for its Vielle Ville (old town), cobbled streets and winding canals, this is the perfect romantic alternative to Paris.
While there, treat you and your loved one to delicious raclette at Le Lilas Rose just off the main canal. Oh, and if you fancy going to Switzerland while you’re there Geneva is just 45 minutes away on the bus.
7. Take a train down to Arundel
If your wallet is still feeling a bit battered and bruised after the festive season, take a trip closer to home. Arundel is just an hour away from London by train. The gorgeous town sits on the edge of the Southdowns National Park and is home to the breath-taking Arundel Castle. The market town is filled with Tudor-style houses and delicious coffee shops.
8. Boat through the fjords in Norway
The fjords of western Norway were granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2005 – and for good reason. Nærøyfjord, the Sognefjord, the Lysefjord the Geirangerfjord are just some of the thousand fjords in Norway – and are all postcard-perfect. Take a boat through the fjords to see majestic waterfalls and stunning scenery.