It’s the perfect time to take your sweetheart one away on an amazing trip for two. Have you nothing booked yet? Don’t be afraid: from awesome cottages to luxurious hotels, here are 10 best hideaways that are still available on St. Valentine’s Day.
It’s snowing on the Charles Bridge, music plays in candlelight churches, underground bars, best restaurants serving large plates of delicious food and fine red wines… How could your sweetheart fail to be won over? Don’t think of ramping stag parties – Prague with its thousand-year history has withstood far worse and its charms keep the same. Drink cocktails among the cute people at Tretters (V Kolkovne 3), or order the tasty wine at Monarch (Na Perstyne 15), before eating a dinner at Nostress (Dusni 10), an elegant fusion restaurant.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor often escaped to this marvelous Croatian city for a bit of a weekend loving, and it still has the perfect atmosphere for a glamorous romantic date. The center of the compact walled city has lots of nice boutiques and original jewelry stores (if gifts are in order), awesome cafes with flower-filled gardens (should the Mediterranean sun appear) and tiny bars with lots of private nooks and crannies.
Exotic, unique and frenetic Istanbul is European Capital of Culture in 2010, which means that as well as the beautiful mosques and bazaars, there’s a plenty of new exhibitions, galleries and shows to visit. This city can be hectic, so to slow things down and get a romantic feel, stay on Heybeliada, one of the Prince’s Islands that is located in just a short ride from the center of Istanbul. There is no traffic on the island so the best way to investigate the awesome Byzantine monasteries and Greek Orthodox churches is in a horse-drawn carriage or by bike. And you can also visit the Karamanyan, a mansion converted into 4 stylish apartments.
There is something extremely romantic about disappearing through the imagined door in the medina into an elegant hotel or tiled café. Lots of the riads in Marrakesh have roof terraces where you can laze with your sweetheart, drink a glass of wine, watch the sun set over the rooftops, while the hustle and bustle carries on in the streets below. Book a room in the elegant RiadKniza. Its owner, Mohammed Bouskri, has 50 years of guiding experience and tons of tales to tell.
Coffee and cake, more coffee and cake – there are lots of chances to spend time looking into each other’s eyes in Vienna’s elegant coffee houses. Going for St. Valentine’s Day weekend means you’ll have a nice chance of snow, but that will just make the whole thing even more romantic. If you’re a couple who likes an intellectual discussion, visit Café Central (Herrengasse 14), the place where Lenin and Trotsky liked to hang out in their pre-revolution days, or for more basic stimulation taste a hot Buchtel (jam-filled bun) at Café Hawelka (Dorotheergasse 6).
Medieval Bruges is one of the most romantic and awesome European cities, just made for slow strolls with your sweetheart along canals and cobbled streets, and with lots of lovely cozy restaurants for several hours of Belgian beer-fuelled hanging out. It’s impossible to visit Bruges without having a plate of moulesmarinière, follow it up with chocolates and drinking a cup of hot chocolate at De Proeverie(Katelijnestraat 6) and tasting one or a few of the many beers at ‘t BrugsBeertje (Kemelstraat 5).
Italians are fond of food, and in case you’re after a foodie break on a budget, choose Turin – the country’s capital of the aperitivo- the ultimate treat. Beginning at around 6 p.m. the grand old cafes and bars in the center lay on sumptuous buffets to accompany early-evening drinks…and best of all, they’re free. Make sure you taste the famous breadsticks – grissini. Visit Caffè Roberto at Via Po 5 and Caffè San Carlo on Piazza San Carlo to mingle with the locals, then if you’re still interested go for a dinner at one of the city’s best world restaurants, serving Piedmonte’sspecialities, such as white truffles (when in season) and porcini mushrooms.
If there’s one thing that makes the romance out of a stay in Tuscany, it’s falling over other holidaying Brits. Head to the hills on St. Valentine’s Day, nevertheless, you may have this awesome countryside all to yourself. Book a room at Il Ruscello, a marvelously restored watermill for a couple, with terracotta floors, beamed ceilings, exposed stone and French doors leading to a terrace. The picturesque village of Comano is nearby and the surrounding area of Lunigiana is known for its castles and the ancient Roman city of Luni.
British snow is fine, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the gleaming white mountains of the Tyrol. To have an unforgettable Valentine’s weekend, curl up in your own igloo in the Alp village in the heart of the Kitzbuehler Alps. You two can ride up the mountain on the Hochbrixen gondola and then take a torchlit stroll through the forest and enjoy a candlelit dinner in the igloo dining room before snuggling up in comfortable sleeping bags on an ice bed for two swathed in fur. Have a breakfast while watching the sun rise over the empty pistes – then skin down before crowds come.
If you really want to make something special on St. Valentine’s Day, there is only one place to go to – the small town of Camogli on Italy’s Ligurian coast. On the eve of the holiday, the town celebrates its own festival of love: local people submit love poems to the municipal authority, which chooses 20 to display as posters along the streets of Camogli. There is also an annual art competition to look for an official picture of the “Lovers in Camogli” festival – with all the drawings displayed in an exhibition.