If you’re lucky enough to have a date this Valentine’s Day, you might want to forego a reservation at your local restaurant and consider booking a quick getaway to somewhere new. There’s nothing more romantic than being spontaneous and paying a visit to a place you’ve never been before.
On my travels there are five cities that really stand out as the most romantic, and would make for the perfect couples break.
Venice, to me, is the epitome of romance. The whole city is built on water, providing a magical setting for your Valentine’s Day getaway. For the ultimate romantic experience, take a gondola ride just before sundown along the Grand Canal. To make the whole thing that bit more special, consider buying a bottle of prosecco before negotiating your gondola, so that you can make a toast along the way. Italian’s take their cuisine very seriously, so you won’t have trouble finding a restaurant for the evening. You could choose an eatery with a view of the Rialto Bridge or Piazza San Marco, or visit an intimate hidden gem such as Osteria Alle Testiere, which only has nine tables.
“New York… concrete jungle where dreams are made of” goes that famous Alicia Keys song, and it really does feel like all your dreams will come true when you touch down in the Big Apple. This is a city that never sleeps, and where there is always something to do day or night. New York has been the setting for countless movies, so don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re starring in a romantic film all of your own.
If it’s your first time in New York you can’t beat a horse and carriage ride around Central Park and afternoon tea at The Plaza hotel. Gaze into the windows of Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue and watch the crowds rush by in Grand Central Terminal. The Empire State building is an iconic landmark that has featured in epic love stories such as Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair To Remember, so make sure you take the life up to the top for spectacular views over the city.
Sip on skillfully made cocktails at the elegant King Cole Bar at the St. Regis, or head to the rooftop bar at The Standard for drinks with a view. There are so many restaurants popping up in New York you’ll be spoiled for choice, but try One if By Land, Two if By Sea, which is considered to be one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC.
If you’ve ever seen the cult movie In Bruges then you’ll recognize the line, “It’s a fairytale town, isn’t it?” Bruges certainly is a fairytale town, with carriage rides, quaint cobbled streets, colourful medieval buildings, picturesque canals and pretty squares. They say chocolate is the way to a girl’s heart, and Bruges certainly has lots of chocolate shops! Do some window shopping, go for a craft Belgian beer at Brewery de Halve Maan, and then take a boat ride down the canals. To end the day, climb the 366 steps to the top of the belfry for a panoramic view of Bruges.
With so many luxurious skyscraper hotels and rooftop bars, there is something quite magical about Bangkok. Stay in a gorgeous hotel suite, book yourself into a spa for a relaxing couple’s treatment and plan a romantic rendezvous for two. The Vertigo Bar on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree is a fantastic place to enjoy dinner with an uninterrupted view of the city. Alternatively Sky Bar at lebua is one of the most popular rooftop bars in Bangkok thanks to its appearance in the Hangover Part II. Standing 820 feet over the Bangkok skyline, the Sky Bar is the highest bar of its kind in the world.
With the best gelato and mouthwatering food, Rome is the perfect place for lots of candlelit dinners for two. Throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, sit on the Spanish Steps, and take a romantic stroll through the Villa Borghese gardens for a beautiful view of the city. For the ultimate Valentine’s dinner, book a table at Antica Pesa – a famous restaurant in the Trastevere District. You can see how popular it is from all the celebrity photos on the walls, and the food certainly doesn’t disappoint. The restaurant has a romantic (dimly lit) ambience with frescos by famous artists on the walls, along with an extensive wine list that is biblical in proportion!