The best places for a sybaritic break
It’s the perfect present to give a loved one: whether it’s a weekend in a boutique Parisian hotel, or a month on safari in Kenya, it doesn’t get more romantic than a holiday for two. But with everywhere in the world on offer, where is the best place to take your loved one? Follow these tips to find the ideal destination.
Plan your time
Can you take a quick weekend break only or fit in a full fortnight of amorous travelling? However much time you’ve got to spare, plan your holiday accordingly. If it’s to be a Friday to Sunday break, then don’t try and go too far. Choose destinations with flight times of less than two hours so that you spend less time travelling and more time on holiday. This still leaves a huge amount of choice – from the more obvious cities in Western Europe, such as Paris, Rome, Brussels or Amsterdam, to the newly-popular destinations in Central and Eastern Europe, such as Tallinn,Warsaw or Vilnius.
Avoid the obvious
Yes, Paris may be the city of love, but you won’t be getting brownie points for originality if you go there on Valentine’s Day. Many other European cities have just as much opportunity for walks along the riverfront, long coffees at a café or steak and red wine suppers. For somewhere arguably more romantic, consider Venice instead. The birthplace of Casanova has had a lot to show the world about the art of seduction… If you’ve got time to go further afield, and sentimentality gives you the creeps, then romance doesn’t get more fun than brazen Las Vegas.
What to do?
Is your idea of heaven lazing about ordering room service in a boutique hotel, visiting all the cultural monuments a city has to offer, or shacking up in front of a log fire in a cottage in the hills? It might sound obvious, but match your destination to the activities you want to do. It’s always been easy to fly to the big cities, which are undoubtedly the best places for a special Valentine’s menu in a nice restaurant and then back to a luxury hotel for the evening… But with many of the low-cost airlines opening routes to increasingly “off-the-beaten track” airports, it is now almost as simple to pop to a log cabin somewhere remote for the weekend.
Something old? Something new?
You want your destination to have a special meaning – but what meaning should you go for? Good advice is to plump for either end of a spectrum: either revisit an old haunt that has a special significance for the pair of you, or go somewhere completely new that you have always dreamed of exploring. It’s best to avoid places that one, but not both of you has previously visited. There’s nothing more tedious than one person always knowing the way, and chuckling to themselves about how much fun they had when they went to this “great coffee shop” with their ex.
Feel the heat
The only problem with Valentine’s Day is that it falls right in the middle of February. This can mean shivering your way through your romantic break, wishing you were just allowed to stay in bed. If you’ve got the time to go somewhere hot, then get out of Europe to feel your passion sizzle. Places that are enjoying a bit of winter sun right now include Thailand, Australiaand the Caribbean.
Do your research
So you made it all the way to Paris, but once you’d got there you spent the night wandering around looking for a restaurant. Read up on your chosen destination before you go – at least enough to have some idea of where to eat, where to go for a drink and what romantic events you can see. Check out Cheapflights’ destination guides for everything you could want to know before you get there. Additionally, many places have special Valentine’s Day events that you can take part in. In Paris, for example, the best texts will be published free of charge on the nearly 200 display panels throughout the city. In New York, 14 couples get married on the top of the Empire State Building every Valentine’s Day.
Stick within your budget
Yes, we know you want to go all out and impress, but it won’t be fun for anyone if you break the bank on the tickets out there or worry all holiday about spending money on food. A romantic break is the time when it’s most tempting to spend more than you can actually afford – nobody wants to seem like a cheapskate in front of their loved one. But before you go overboard, have a look at Romance on a Shoestring for ideas about how to save money and still have a great holiday. Sign-up to the Cheapflights weekly newsletter for all the latest flight deals and bargains, straight to your inbox.