As Love Actually once stated, “love, really is all around us” or, if not, the competition to book a restaurant for the infamous ‘V-Day’ definitely is. Valentine’s Day is one of the most diversely celebrated events around the world, but where are the most romantic places to travel in Europe.
The setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona boasts artistic heritage, opera and has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site due to its impressive architecture. Head to Verona for unforgettable scenes, including the famous balcony from Romeo and Juliet, bridges filled with love locks where you can promise eternal love, throwing the key into one of Verona’s many winding canals, before finishing with Aperol Spritz and spaghetti on the cobbled streets of the squares while catching notes of the opera from the Verona Arena. However, pickpockets operate in the square so make sure you know where to stay safe and leave your belongings.
Nicknamed as the ‘City of Love’ Paris is famous as a romantic getaway. Sip morning coffee at old fashioned cafés off the quieter streets of Montmartre, or buy your loved one a rose under the Eiffel Tower. Head off the beaten path and witness the beauty of the sculpture gardens at Musée Rodin, or experience digital art at L’Atelier des Lumières, recently opened in 2018 and now boasts some of Europe’s most upcoming, contemporary digital art. Finish by eating French cheese from a deli along the banks of the Seine, enjoying the peaceful Parisian chatter. Pick up a few souvenirs to remind you of your trip, but make sure you’re getting them from reputable sources, as some vendors are notorious for inflated prices.
Not only infamous for the red-light district, Amsterdam boasts many attractions. Introduce yourself to locals in the bakeries to nab a free sample of macaroons or fresh bread, but make sure you check the rules on bringing goods home, as you can face a high fine. Hidden away in Amsterdam are several up and coming global exhibitions, the World Photography Competition based in the centre of Amsterdam is worth a visit (but bring your tissues – hard hitting content from current crises often means graphic images) as well as a visit to the Van Gogh museum to immerse yourself in the original works of art.
The city of luxury chocolate is also renowned for a romantic vacation. The Jet d’Eau fountain promises incredible views, and is often home to fairgrounds and carnivals in the summer, as well as public beaches and ice cream trucks. The cobbled Old Town provides high-end Swiss watches and beautiful chocolate shops to cosy cafés tucked into the backstreets. Check out the hour-long firework displays at the Fête de Genève every summer, one of the most world-renowned displays.
Make sure you brush up on your knowledge of local culture on the FCO’s Travel Aware website before you travel, as well as making sure you fully explore the romantic history of each – however you celebrate the period of love, happy travelling!