With February just around the corner are you wondering where to spend Valentine’s Day this year? A quiet evening in, or a full-on show of affection with a trip planned to somewhere romantic? For us, Valentine’s Day falls (again) in the middle of the school half-term, so who knows where we’ll end up celebrating … last year it was San Francisco (on Alcatraz island!), the year before it was Baltimore! Wherever you’re celebrating, we hope it’s lovely … but if in need of some inspiration here’s 14 romantic city ideas, as suggested by our Trips100 travel bloggers.
Although often overshadowed by Paris, Lisbon is one of the world’s most romantic cities. It’s made up of narrow cobbled streets that wind up eight hills, and many of these streets lead to beautiful “miradouros” or viewpoints. These miradourous offer fantastic views of the city, and perfect for snapping those all-important selfies of your romantic trip away.
There are plenty of fantastic hotels and apartments to choose from as well. From budget getaways in Alfama to luxury hotels in Baixa, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.
Then there’s the food in Lisbon. As well as the pastéis de nata, which are enough of a reason to visit Lisbon alone, Lisbon is home to some fantastic seafood restaurants or “marisqueiras” that serve fresh oysters, lobsters, tiger prawns, and all of the other romantic fruits of the sea, along with delicious bottles of Vinho Verde wine.
James from Portugalist
One of our favourite romantic cities to spend Valentine’s Day is in Cartagena, specifically in its beautiful UNESCO listed old town. Cartagena is a coastal city in Colombia filled with pretty cobblestone alleys, colourful colonial style buildings and many romantic things to do for couples.
We got engaged in Cartagena and celebrated with a romantic meal at one of the many highly rated restaurants like Carmen. Other romantic activities include taking a horse and carriage ride through the city, chartering a yacht to one of the many secluded island beaches, or simply enjoying the stunning sunsets by the ancient city walls. The best spot is from the Café del Mar, located on the Santo Domingo bastion.
In terms of romantic boutique hotels to stay, Cartagena has many options like Hotel Quadrifolio, the Bastion, Casa Pestagua and the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. To find out more, read this gay guide to Cartagena.
Stefan and Sebastien from Nomadic Boys
New York, USA
New York City is an incredibly romantic city and the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day. Start the day with breakfast at Balthazar in Soho – a classic restaurant from a bygone era. The bread basket is enormous – perfect to share. Walk along the highline and enjoy the views from an old elevated railway that has been turned into a park. Go shopping for gifts for each other on Fifth Avenue or, if you prefer museums, head to the Met, where you can spend hours together exploring an Egyptian temple, having a snack in one of the cafes, or even relaxing in a Chinese garden courtyard. For romantic views of Manhattan and the Chrysler building, head to the top of the Empire State Building. Or relax with a cocktail together at The Aviary bar on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel with views of Midtown that will make you feel like you are in a movie. Head downtown for a cozy dinner in the garden courtyard at La Lanterna in Greenwich village or catch a Broadway show. The romantic possibilities are endless in NYC.
James Ian at Travel Collecting
For Italians, Lecce has been in the last 10 years a top destination, but for people from the rest of the world, mainly from overseas, it’s still an exotic and almost unknown… surprise.
There are many things that make this small southern city a special Valentine destination; among these, the tiny labyrinth like streets and alleys filled with pink and purple bougainvillea, the small and cozy (and very cheap) pubs and restaurants of Lecce where you can enjoy typical local Mediterranean food (among the healthiest in the world). And finally, there are the small “gifts” the city will make you, such as the sudden opera song you’ll listen in the air in the main square (Piazza Sant’Oronzo) every day at noon, that will be the soundtrack of your special, lazy brunch.
What makes this city particularly suitable for a romantic night walk is, together with a mild Mediterranean climate, the peculiar lights from below in most of the historic old town, quite rare kind of street design all over the world.
Sabrina from In My Suitcase
Muscat the capital of Oman is one of the most naturally and culturally rich capitals in the Middle East. For golden sand beaches and mountains to monuments reflecting the Arabesque architecture, Muscat has everything to offer to a traveler. Muscat is also a great destination to spend a lovely honeymoon or Valentine’s Day as the city is very serene, peaceful and calm. Near the main center of Muscat is a beachfront street called the ‘Lovers Road’. It has a wide walkway right in front of the Arabian Ocean where couples usually take a stroll in the evening. There are also four restaurants on the street which makes a perfect spot for Valentine’s Day dinner day with a view of the sea. The laidback vibe of Muscat and extremely picturesque landscape of the city makes it an apt choice to spend Valentine’s Day.
Rahma from The Sane Adventurer
Sydney, which is home to a couple of world’s iconic landmarks, is a perfect destination for timeless romance. When half of the world is having cold winter season, it’s peak summer time down under in Australia. If you want a warm tropical adventure for a romantic vacation, Sydney is the place to go.
There are many options to celebrate this most passionate day of the year here. The pristine beaches, awesome stretch of white sand, swimming, snorkeling and diving are the cool things that people find most enticing. The Blue Mountains nestled in the heart of nature, Manly beach tucked away from the hustle-bustle of the city and an awesome harbor-side city Newcastle makes the perfect destinations for a romantic day trip from Sydney.
Hop on a helicopter tour to get sweeping views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge; or take a scenic flight in a seaplane to a picture-perfect postcard beach destination. Go for a romantic picnic in the luscious landscapes of the Royal Botanical Garden or enjoy an outdoor movie under the stars at Darling Harbor. In Sydney, you’ve got plenty of choices to have a great day with your partner.
Nitha from The Trailing Mom
Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA
Colorado has several ski towns that make for perfect romantic destinations. I recommend Steamboat Springs as my top choice for a winter getaway in February. For an extra special and romantic trip, Vista Verde Ranch is located a short drive away. You can enjoy time relaxing in your cabin and in your private Jacuzzi or enjoying fun activities together like skiing, snowshoeing, massages, fishing, and horseback riding. The ranch is all-inclusive with a chef and kitchen staff that create amazing meals for you during your stay. You have nothing to worry about while you are there, allowing you to relax and spend meaningful time together.
In town, you will find cozy lodges walking distance from the slopes like Steamboat Resorts by Wyndham. You can spend your day on the slopes or in the natural hot springs together and end your day snuggling up by the in-room fireplace sipping hot chocolate.
Dan from Honeymoon Always
Havana wouldn’t normally come to mind when thinking of romantic cities, but in the realm of Caribbean cities, it can in fact be considered a great place to spend some time with your loved one. The city has a very good selection of bars, cafés and restaurants – or better, “paladares” as they are called locally – to spend some quality couple time. The live salsa music that is played everywhere in town makes it perfect for dancing. Among other things to do in Havana that are great for couples, a walk on the Malecon is a must. The waterfront is where the locals gather every day after work, to catch some fresh air, to watch the waves as they break to the shore, to admire the sunset. It’s their go to place for romance – so it’s good for travelers too.
Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
If you’re looking for the most romantic spot to spend Valentine’s Day, then in my opinion you have to choose Rome! Of all the cities we’ve been to around the world, nowhere has the same atmosphere. And best of all, Rome is perfect for all budgets. By day, you spend your time exploring the many ancient temples and monuments located all across the city. My favourites being The Pantheon and the Colosseum.
Enjoy lunch by the Spanish Steps and indulge on handmade gelato for dessert. Then go for an incredibly romantic boat ride around Borghese Lake. Come night time, I recommend heading over to the Trevi Fountain and enjoying dinner and live Italian music. Then how about an after dinner opera show to really finish off the experience?
Cazzy from Dream Big Travel Far
At the heart of the romantic Ljubljana (whose name sounds like the word for ‘the beloved’ in Slovenian), you will find the Ljubljanica river which gives the city all its charm. The vibe of this capital has something special that is difficult to describe. You just feel relaxed. Its architecture and the pedestrian only center are ideal to walk around hand in hand.
A perfect valentine’s day getaway in Ljubljana would include saying hello to the famous dragons, eating ice-cream while strolling the streets of the old town, relaxing on a river cruise and climbing to the top of the castle’s tower to admire the views.
Claire from ZigZag On Earth
Over the last few years I visited Tbilisi twice, once with my husband and once on my own. When I went there with my husband, I couldn’t stop thinking what a romantic city it was, with its picturesque Old Town, full of little streets and cute courtyards, with excellent restaurants and picture opportunities around every other corner. There are so many Tbilisi attractions that are perfect to discover on a romantic break – places like Narikala Fortress, from where you can enjoy a fantastic view over the town, or the Botanical Gardens, with their waterfalls and secluded corners, and above all the Abanotubani district, where you can visit traditional sulphur baths which are open 24 hours. Another wonderful reason to visit Tbilisi is tasting delicious Georgian cuisine – my favourite restaurant is Bina 37, hidden in an apartment building and offering a real ‘home restaurant’ atmosphere. To make matters even more special… it’s also home to Tbilisi’s only ‘rooftop winery’!
Margherita from The Crowded Planet
I never thought of cities as romantic until I visited Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains of Morocco. The small city is a beauty, not only because of its mountain sceneries, but also because of its old center that is a maze of small alleys where most buildings are painted blue. It’s a mix of traditional homes, artisanal shops, lovely boutique hotels and cozy restaurants.
It’s a great place for couples to simply wander around and soak up the romantic atmosphere. The city is also a great starting place for some short hikes into the mountains. There is a very short trail to a church from where you have a beautiful view. It is the most romantic place to watch the sun set over the blue city below where a candle light dinner for two is waiting for you.
Ellis from Backpack Adventures
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
The South Pacific islands are some of the most romantic spots on earth, and Cook Islands is the perfect place to spend some time with your loved one for Valentine’s Day.
While the main island of Rarotonga is laid back and exciting to explore, you will need to spend some time in Aitutaki. Known as one of the most beautiful places on earth, Aitutaki is simply breathtaking. This tiny island is packed with a turquoise blue lagoon, gently swaying palm trees, warm and clear waters, and a laid back attitude.
The best way to explore this place is by joining the Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise. On the Vaka Cruise, you can sample some of the Cook Islands traditional food, such as Ika Mata or Poke. This will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys
Last, but not least …
Paris is the most romantic city in Europe so we cannot think about a better place to spend Saint Valentine’s this year. It is true that February is not the best time to visit Paris: the weather is cold and it rains quite often but this does not seem to be an issue for couples celebrating Saint Valentine’s in Paris. It’s not hard to find a reason to fall in love with Paris, the city has a special atmosphere and just one glance at the imposing Eiffel Tower can make you believe in love. You don’t need to spend much money to spend Saint Valentine’s in Paris. A night stroll along the Seine, a last glass of wine in late night café or a night Seine cruise with the historical monuments dotted along the route can do the job. However, if you have the budget, we recommend booking your hotel in Paris with Eiffel Tower views, a unique experience which is especially beautiful during the Tower’s night show.
Elisa from World in Paris
Where are you spending February 14th this year? We’d love to know x