Finding the perfect Valentine’s Day destination might be a complicated task, especially when you’re in quest for a picturesque spot away from the crowds. Believe it or not, there’s romance outside Paris, as well. So, what are you waiting for, take the plunge and try something different this year. Maybe a scenic town crisscrossed by canals or a delightful medieval settlement somewhere in Eastern Europe? Whatever your preferences, you can’t go wrong with an idyllic mid-size European town full of culture and old-fashioned charm.
Bruges is the kind of city that everyone falls in love with. Majestic medieval buildings, cobbled-stone streets, lovely canals and charming cafes – they all blend beautifully to frame this Flemish postcard-perfect town in the northwest of Belgium.
Bruges is ideal for many things, including culture, food and sightseeing, but most of all it’s a smart choice for an exquisite romantic break. You can take a boat ride along its canals; explore its wonderful UNESCO-listed old center from an old-fashioned carriage or a hot air balloon; indulge your passion for chocolate in its refined chocolate shops; or you can simply wander its idyllic pedestrian streets. Whatever you do, you’ll almost certainly fall under the spell of Bruges.
Annecy is another Venice-like city, but with a completely different background. It lies in the Rhône-Alpes region, only 35 km south of Geneva, and it’s almost entirely enclosed by the grandiose Alps. Dramatic buildings that date back to medieval times, quaint canals crossed by small flowered bridges, and a stunning crystal clear lake complement the charm of Annecy. Everywhere you go, romance fills the air, but nothing can beat its most picturesque spot – Pont des Amoreaux (Lover’s Bridge). Take a walk and admire the fairytale-like landscape that rises before your eyes, and just go with the flow.
With some of Italy’s finest medieval architecture hidden between its spectacular walls, Lucca embodies all the charms of a perfect Tuscan town. Cozy, romantic and laid-back, this city is small enough to feel friendly and welcoming, yet large enough to have everything you need within its gorgeously preserved historic center.
You can climb the impressive Guinigi Tower for breathtaking views over the city, watch the world go by from a stylish café in Piazza dell Anfiteatro, or stroll around the maze of narrow streets in search of little oddities. In the end, that’s what Italy is all about – astonishing decors, heavenly food and the pleasure of doing nothing.
Ronda, the Roman town in the heart of Andalusia, is an excellent choice for a romantic escape. Blessed with an awe-inspiring setting on the edge of El Tajo canyon, the city offers incredible views over the nearby valleys and access to three natural parks.
Probably the most spectacular of Spain’s pueblos blancos, Ronda shares its charm between its remarkable cultural legacy, scenic allure and the serene atmosphere that dominates the city. According to Hemingway, “The entire town and as far as you can see in any direct is romantic background”.
Take a hot air balloon ride over the breathtaking Andalusian countryside, get lost in La Ciudad, do some wine tasting, and definitely opt for a dinner with a view on Puente Nuevo.
Sibiu is a small medieval town in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. With an impressive variety of museums, stirring architectural buildings and pretty plazas dotted with cozy cafes, Sibiu is the country’s cultural hub and its most romantic and esoteric corner.
Don’t miss the fascinating historic center, the Liars’ Bridge – an emblematic spot full of legends and mystery, the Passage of Stairs which connects the upper town with the lower town, or the secrets that the locals and these lovely places will try to reveal. Let yourself carried away by the beauty of its past, by the serenity of its locals, by the uniqueness of the moment.