The Portuguese city of Sintra with its castles, palaces, and manor estates is one of the most romantic places in Europe.
Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year and there are plenty of places you can take your beloved to show them how much they mean to you.
But skip the clichés in Paris or Venice — here are some alternative ideas to spend time with that special someone.
Stay in a French château
Château de Mercuès dates from the 13th century and commands spectacular views across the Lot Valley in south west France, still relatively undiscovered by British tourists. The hotel’s restaurant has won plaudits for its use of local produce and the owner, Georges Vigouroux, has restored the cellar to its former glory.
Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through a Danish wood
Dyrehaven, an area around 15 minutes north of Copenhagen, is renowned for its natural beauty and large population of wild deer. Hire a carriage driver from the nearby train station and ride through the atmospheric ancient woods wrapped in cosy blankets, then head back to the city for a hot chocolate in one of its many cosy cafes as you soak up some of the famous Danish hygge.
Row across Lake Bled
Backed by the high peaks of the Julian Alps, Slovenia's emerald-green Lake Bled — and its picture-perfect church on an islet in the middle of it — is steeped in romance. Traditional 16th-century pletna boats are on hand to shuttle passengers from shore to the church, but if you want to get out on your own it is best to rent a rowing boat by the hour, park it on the islet, and explore the lake's 358 acres in peace.
Get swept off your feet by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow
Nothing says romance like a night at the ballet. Let yourself be taken in by the beautiful music and graceful dancers in the historic imperial theatre in the centre of the Russian capital. Be warned: tickets sell out quickly so this is less of a spontaneous night of romance, and more one that needs planning in advance.
Stand on the edge of Europe in Sintra
The Portuguese city of Sintra has to be one of the most romantic places in Europe, chock full of castles, palaces, and manor estates. It's easy to spend days wandering its historic streets. A short journey from the city, Cabo da Roca is the most western point of continental Europe with an amazing view over the Atlantic Ocean. Standing on the cliff edge in windswept conditions is the perfect excuse to cling to each other’s hands...
Learn to Tango in Buenos Aires
Tango and its accompanying music was born in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, and the city still claims its spot as the number one place in the world to learn the dance. Spend an afternoon getting to grips with the steps, and bring the passion with your partner through one of the most sensual dances in the world.
Ride in a hot air balloon over Bagan temples
The best way to see the hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu temples that spread across the landscape in Bagan, Myanmar, is from the air. Splurge on a hot air balloon ride at sunrise and watch the light dawn over the spires for miles around.
Cruise around Alaska
Pack your bags and board one of the many cruise ships sailing around Alaska for the ultimate romantic getaway. You can enjoy incomparable scenery, local wildlife and the general serenity of being off the grid, all while being pampered on the ship.
Sleep in a tree house on a South African game reserve
If it’s alone time you’re looking for, this could be just the ticket. Book a night in a luxury tree house at the Lion Sands Game Reserve in Kruger National Park and spend the night staring at the stars or listening to the animals below you. Guests are taken to the tree house at sunset, where drinks and a picnic dinner await, and then it’s just you and the night sky until morning.
Sip beverages with a view of Manhattan
Skip the queues to the Rockefeller Centre’s viewing platform and head to the 65th floor instead, where you will find the Rainbow Room, an elegant bar and restaurant with panoramic views over the Big Apple. The space epitomises quintessential New York glamour, and there are plenty of drinks on the extensive menu to keep even the fussiest person happy.
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