February 14th this year falls mid-week, which isn’t great for those hoping to save their precious leave days. Thankfully there is good news for anyone planning to steal their loved one away this year, as you can actually enjoy cheaper holidays after Valentine’s rush is over.
‘Off-peak’ season in Europe runs from November – March each year (during Winter/Spring) and it’s during this time that you’re likely to get a steal on everything from flights to all-inclusive packages. Sites like Skyscanner.net allow you to search for flights to ‘any destination’ and give you an overview of the most cost-effective holiday destinations to suit any budget. If you’re quick off the mark you can even book return flights to Europe (from the U.S.) for less than $400 on sites like Lastminute.com!
Europe is overflowing with romantic destinations, so much so, that close to 60% of Nat Geo’s ‘Most Romantic Destinations’ in the world 2017 are located there. From the unspoilt and jarring beauty of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to the undying elegance of Venice’s waterways, there is plenty to choose from, to (re)ignite the spark in your romance.
Here is our pick of the 7 best romantic holiday getaways in Europe for 2017:
7. Bruges, Belgium
If the way to your lover’s heart is through chocolate then Bruges is a must. Known as one of the best places to delight your taste buds in the finest cocoa-based products, Bruges is also filled with fun activities that are perfect for two. If you want to get your hands dirty why not try making some chocolate at The Chocolate Museum or if you’d like a dynamic romantic setting to spend the evening with your beau, a hot air balloon ride over the impressive Bruges skyline is highly recommended.
6. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Scotland is renowned worldwide for many things, single malt whiskies, haggis and bagpipes to name but a few of the stereotypes. But unbeknown to most, Scotland hides some stunning locations for the ultimate romantic countryside hideaway. Skye, located on the north-western coast of Scotland is “a 50-mile-long patchwork of velvet moors, jagged mountains, sparkling lochs and towering sea cliffs” and is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you and your partner are big on long walks, visiting medieval castles, dining in cozy pubs and cuddling up next to an open fire with a glass of wine (or whisky) then Skye is the place to go.
5. Sintra, Portugal
Sintra is a fairytale town set amongst rolling hills and majestic palaces and is a getaway fit for royalty. Also known as the ‘Capital of Romanticism’ in Portugal, Sintra is exploding with inspiring architecture, breathtaking botanical gardens and World Heritage sites. The Royal Palaces of Pena, Queluz, Sintra and Regaleira are architectural triumphs that once housed Portuguese kings and queens, and are amongst the top romantic attractions in Sintra. In keeping with the regal vibe, we would recommend trying a wine tasting for two with the region’s unique Ramisco grape variety.
4. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Geographically blessed with impeccable Mediterranean coastlines, dramatic crags, picturesque fishing villages and impressive mountains, the Amalfi Coast doesn’t disappoint. In fact, there are so many picture perfect spots that there is an entire blog post dedicated to all the places you can propose. The vertical seaside towns of Positano and Amalfi are our favorite picks, where you’ll be guaranteed first-class dining (especially seafood), beautiful Moorish architecture and uninterrupted views of the sea.
3. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is an extraordinary European city and a match made in heaven for couples looking for a holiday that features romantic scenery, architecture, great food and plenty of spas. It’s arguably one of the most romantic cities in Europe and for very good reason! Straddling the Danube River, the two hearts of Budapest are both charming and infinitely explorable. You can tantalize your taste buds in the delightful cuisine, travel the river on a cruise for two, take a dip in one of the many thermal baths, or enjoy the artistic side of the city with a live concert at the Budapest Palace of Arts.
2. Santorini, Greece
The ‘supermodel’ of the Greek Islands, Santorini, exudes a rugged beauty that is sure to encapsulate you and your partner, no matter the time of year. Packed with endless panoramic views of the Mediterranean (and the famous caldera), multi-colored volcanic terrain and whitewashed cliff side villages, the island packs all the right ingredients to help you relax, unwind and fall in love all over again. Our top picks for couples visiting Santorini include taking a dip in the hot springs and sulfur-rich mud baths of Palaia Kameni island, staying in your very own ‘cave hotel’, swimming at Red beach and exploring Santorini’s vineyards (with a bottle of wine for two).
1. Venice, Italy
Venice has a timeless elegance that continues to attract thousands of lovebirds every year – which is why it’s listed as our number one romantic getaway. The iconic waterways, lined with gondolas and stunning Venetian architecture (and hotels that look like they just might sink), are the ultimate place to take your loved one. There’s a reason celebrity couples choose Venice as their go-to wedding venue, with attractions such as St. Mark’s Basilica, Piazza San Marco, Laguna di Venezia and Doges’ Palace, the Kodak moments are endless. Our top picks for the ideal Venetian holiday include, sipping wine at the Do Spade bar (where Casanova is said to have frequented), watching the sunset in St. Mark’s square, exploring the delights of Venetian cuisine at a local bacaro, exploring the narrow streets of Dorsoduro and of course a quintessential gondola ride!
When planning your romantic escape to Europe don’t forget to look into the basics. You’ll need to buy travel money, comprehensive insurance and also ensure you’ve switched both your mobiles off data roaming in advance – to avoid a phone bill that could cause shockwaves in your home.
For the perfect, worry-free romantic break, invest in a Tep portable wifi device. The device gives you unlimited access to the internet on-the-go and costs just $9.95 per day. Plus, you and your loved one can use it at the same time (you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously) and both be browsing the internet, reading reviews or even streaming movies for a quiet night in after a long day of sightseeing! To buy or rent a Tep portable device visit us here.