Ready for the most romantic day of the year? If you’re celebrating with someone – whether that’s a lover, friend, family member or other – these 20 tips on enjoying Valentine’s Day in Europe are bound to take the holiday to the next level. From things you can do at home to the best activities for two, there’s a suggestion here for everyone and every budget.
1. At home: Wow them with flowers
Let’s start with one of the world’s most tried and tested Valentine’s Day ideas: buying them flowers! This practice is cliche for a reason. Nothing brightens up a room quite like a bouquet of beautiful blooms, and there are a million and one ways to find and deliver them, from picking them yourself to deliver by hand or sending a bunch through the mail. A lovely, simple and heartfelt treat.
2. Enjoy a romantic night for two in Palermo
One of our gorgeous hstoric hotels, Villa del Gattopardo Suits & Spa, is offering a special stay for romance-minded folks this year. Between February 10 – 15, guests who book in for a Valentine’s Day getaway will be treated to a ‘romantic room’ of their choice, bottle of bubbly, chocolates, heart-shaped balloons and more. The city of Palermo is perfect for lovers, too: packed with stunning panoramas, cultural activities and enough stylish places to wine and dine for a lifetime.
3. Head to Vienna for carriage dining
We’ve mentioned it before, but we simply have to mention it again – Vienna’s Riding Dinner experience is… well, quite the experience! Combining the best in Viennese delicacies with sightseeing, all from the comfort of a plush horse-drawn carriage, it’s one of the most unique and memorable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Europe. Don’t forget to cap off your visit with a stay at Hotel Stefanie, the oldest hotel in the city or in alternative, at the Erzherzog Rainer Hotel.
4. Pop the question in paradise
Thinking of proposing? Or perhaps you already have, and you’re on the hunt for the perfect place in which to say ‘I do’? Our historic wedding venues tick every box you and your partner could possibly dream up for your wedding day, and include everything from the most exquisite views to be found in Europe to gorgeous historic settings and verdant gardens to the finest gastronomic delights. We haven’t forgotten about helping you prepare for your honeymoon, either… get ready for inspiration galore.
5. Visit Slovakia’s ‘LOVE BANK’ Museum
Head to ‘the only love vault in the world’ within Slovakia’s LOVE BANK: a museum made to commemorate the longest love poem in the world, MARÍNA. See the original manuscript up close, walk under the ‘sky of love’ and pass through the LOVE VAULT, where you can leave your own romantic notes, musings and letters. (You can even try and write the new longest love poem, if you’d like, though we wouldn’t recommend it. MARÍNA is 2,900 verses long!)
Afterwards, cosy up at Hotel Royal Palace for an elegant stay that’ll take your breath away.
6. At home: Cook up a European breakfast in bed
Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to spend Valentine’s Day in Europe, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fill our homes with continental vibes instead. Add a twist to the classic concept of breakfast in bed by making it European. Pile you and your lover’s plates high with homemade croissants, whip up some Swiss rösti with a topping of your choice (traditionally, fried eggs and bacon) or go UK-style with a full English breakfast. Time to start that Pinterest recipe board…
7. Head to the dazzling Dolomites
Athletic duos need look no further for their February 14 plans than the Italian Dolomites. The ‘Pale Mountains’ have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site for their extraordinary beauty with the entire, icy grey range covered in a fresco of pinnacles, crags and dramatic ravines. Hike, ski and paraglide your way down them on glorious sports-filled days coupled with relaxing nights at Hotel Alte Goste, which has been greeting guests since the 1100s. You’ll especially love their Gostner Cellar, which stocks delicious red and white wines.
8. Visit Bruges for chocolate heaven
Some countries are synonymous with particular experiences and sights. For Belgium, that’s chocolate. Confection lovers will be in a state of endless bliss, here, with dozens of chocolatiers and chocolate shops around the city making it easy to cram your itinerary full of sweet-centric visits. Make sure The Chocolate Line, Chocolate Museum and The Old Chocolate House all make it onto your list. The four-star Hotel Flanders is an amazing place to (sugar) crash after a long day, too: named a TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice hotel between 2013 – 2018.
9. Ski under the stars in Switzerland
The Corvatsch ski area in Switzerland offers some remarkable experiences, our favourite among them being its ‘snow nights’. Each Friday between February to April, enjoy zipping down 4.2 kilometres of illuminated slope under a blanket of stars – escapism at its finest. What’s more, the unmissable forest lodge Hotel Waldhaus Sils is an amazing place to spend Valentine’s Day in Europe. Dabble in luxury spa treatments, savour local gastronomy and more during your alpine stay. You’re bound to be back for another visit.
10. Experience the celebration, ‘Strasbourg mon amour’
It just wouldn’t be right to talk about celebrating Valentine’s Day in Europe without mentioning France. The stunning country has long-been considered the love capital of the world, and the city of Strasbourg has been happy to lean into the role. The yearly event ‘Strasbourg mon amour’ celebrates love through art, culture and events, with 2022’s offering focused around photography. Based in the picturesque La Petite-France, you’ll enjoy atmosphere aplenty at Hotel Le Bouclier d’Or as well, which nods to 16th century influences while catering to contemporary comforts.
11. At home: Send a heartfelt card
If you can’t be close to your favourite people this year but are keen to send them a token of your love, we’ve got you covered. Our selection of eCards are the perfect way to show someone you care when you can’t be there in person. Simply choose from one of twelve designs and then speak (/type) from the heart. You can even choose the date you want the card to be delivered to their inbox, if you’d like to organise this digital gesture in advance.
12. At home: Do something that’s purely for them
As Paula Abdul’s 1988 hit ‘Opposites Attract’ suggests, you can be perfectly in love without being perfectly in-tune! Some people love Hollywood romances while their partners gravitate towards three-hour fantasy epics. Others prefer pizzas that are hot straight from the takeaway box over a candlelit dinner for two at a Michelin restaurant. Honour the ways in which your partner is ‘opposite’ from you by doing something they love that you don’t – it’s a surefire way to show you care.
13. Wine and dine like royalty in Milan
Italy is stellar for foodies, particularly if you’d like a bit of cosmopolitan glamour thrown into the (cocktail) mix. Treat you and your travel partner’s tastebuds to the trip of a lifetime by drinking and dining in Milan’s hottest spots, including the vibrant and classically-furnished Casa Matilda and astounding Identità Golose, where acclaimed Michelin star-winning chefs gather to dish up delights for their lucky dinner guests. If you’re more about coffee and pastries, hit up Pasticceria Castelnuovo: a locally-loved cake shop that first opened its doors in 1945. Regarding where to stay, you’ll be hard-pressed to find somewhere better than Grand Hotel et de Milan – just a stone’s throw away from spots like the Fashion District and Duomo Cathedral.
14. Embark on a road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is a thrilling place to spend Valentine’s Day in Europe… or should we say, days. There’s no way you could get all of the coastline’s sights and activities into 24 hours – after all, the 1,400km route is the longest coastal driving route in the world! We’ve broken your trip down into five epic stages so that you can make the most out of this corner of the world with your favourite person. Read up, book a car and get going.
15. Find Gothic romance in Connemara
Renvyle House Hotel – another Irish gem – has been destroyed and rebuilt several times since it was first constructed. It’s a good thing it kept bouncing back. Named one of the 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland and a favourite among names including Yeats and Churchill, this country house has been beloved by everyone who’s walked through its doors. Better yet, it’s close to Kylemore Abbey: an iconic Gothic castle that we’d be willing to bet has been the base of many romantic gestures over the years. Ready to create your own magic moment?
16. At home: Make an album of your adventures together
It’s a safe guess that, if you’ve made it to this point in this article, you and your partner are big on adventures. Lean into that love (and your crafting skills) by putting together an album of your best travel snaps taken over the years. The recipient will cherish reliving the moments you’ve shared, and it might provide you with some inspiration on where to go together next (our newsletter also does a good job of that, FYI).
17. Romance – pah! Head to Estonia with friends instead
Though Valentine’s Day is traditionally for lovers, it’s also a great opportunity to celebrate whoever you love in your life… which is the exact belief that Estonia (and Finland) has built its February 14 traditions around. Rather than promoting romance, ‘Friends Day’ honours platonic love, and it’s customary to spend the holiday with your friends and family instead of your partner. If you’re in this part of Europe, we’d recommend pampering your pals at Saka Manor: ‘the pearl of the Northern-Estonian coastal cliffs’.
18. Savour spa perfection in the Czech Republic
If a spa trip is your idea of the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day in Europe, Chateau Liblice should be your next stop. Set apart by its Baroque architecture and top-tier restaurant, which serves dishes made with ingredients from local farmers, this historic hotel is also home to an excellent array of spa facilities and treatments. From whirlpool spas to a saunarium and herbal wraps to massages (including an intriguing-sounding ‘chocolate massage’), there’s a variety of ways to reconnect with your body, mind and partner here.
19. At home: Plan the perfect movie night
Not able to get on a plane? Let your imagination take flight this Valentine’s Day by planning a relaxed movie night at home instead. There are some brilliant works of European cinema for your film fest for two, like the French flick Amélie (2001), Samba (2014), Parlami d’amore (2008) and the heartwarming Irish tale, The Matchmaker (1997). All you need is some popcorn, your pyjamas and your partner to perfect your sofa-based plans.
20. At home: Treat them to something to look forward to
Move over, sunsets. This February 14, we only want to see our next escape on the horizon. Buy your partner a Historic Hotels of Europe gift travel voucher to make this year’s Valentine’s Day celebrations one for the books. Valid for five years from the date of purchase and redeemable at any of our participating properties, this gift is a fantastic, flexible and futureproof way to access the best of Europe. Trust us – your loved one will be delighted.
these suggestions on how to spend Valentine’s Day in Europe? Here are some other ideas that we shared last year, and you can stay updated with more inspiration over on Facebook and Instagram, too. Hope to see you there!