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3 Romantic European Getaways for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and in lieu of exchanging gifts with your significant other this year, consider a romantic weekend getaway.

Travel compatibility is HUGE and can bring you two closer than any gift ever will. You’ll have to learn to trust and rely on each other in new and stressful situations. Those uncomfortable moments will draw out the deepest of emotions leaving you feeling raw and exposed — exactly the parts you want to see and embrace.

So yes, we are Marie Kondo-ing your Valentine’s Day — but for good reason! Five years from now will you even remember (or still own, thanks to Mrs. Kondo) that Valentine’s Day gift your beau gave you?

Wouldn’t you rather have the memories of cuddling in a gondola down the Grand Canal? What about driving through the Douro Valley on one of the most scenic drives in the world sampling all the port and vinho verde your heart desires?

Now that sounds like a memorable Valentine’s Day!

There are plenty of romantic cities around the world, but here are three uber romantic weekend trips to some famous destinations in Europe where you can enjoy the offseason deals — sans the massive crowds!

These cities are practically oozing with L.O.V.E. AND you can check off another bucket list worthy city while you’re at it.

Double duty holiday, our favorite kind!


VENICE, ITALY

For the hopelessly romantic couples

Venice might literally be the most romantic city on earth — Who’s read Venice for Lovers?

If you two aren’t already in love, you might be after this weekend getaway. The only unromantic thing about Venice is the insane crowds of tourists BUT February is the perfect time to experience the Grand Canal without the crowds.

Due to winter temperatures still lingering around the usual hectic streets of Venice are rather quiet, so cuddle up nice and tight while taking a romantic stroll.

Another added bonus: Venice is not a cheap city so enjoy off peak prices at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world.


WHERE TO CUDDLE:

Aman Venice – $$$$

There is no shortage of world-class elegant hotels to pick from in Venice but the Aman Venice will have you feeling like old Hollywood royalty. If it’s good enough for the Clooney’s, it’s good enough for us.

Cima Rosa – $$

If shelling out all that cash for the Aman is not in your Valentine’s Day budget, then Cima Rosa is a great budget alternative. This beautifully decorated and intimate five-room B&B is the perfect weekend escape for lovebirds.


THE PERFECT DATE:

Get up early and head over to San Giorgio to take in the panoramic views from the bell tower. It’s a romantic spot for sneaking in a few smooches while taking in the views.

Forget your map and itinerary for the day — the beauty of Venice is getting lost in the back alleys and discovering new gems.

Wander around Rialto Market and grab lunch at a bacari, a traditional bar serving drinks and small snacks called cicchetti. Bar hop and sample whatever you fancy from meatballs to crab claws. Cantina do Spade is a personal favorite.

After your lazy lunch, cuddle up and take a romantic gondola ride thru the Grand Canal. If your gondolier allows, bring along a bottle of wine & blanket to keep you nice and toasty on the hour-long scenic ride.

Continue the post ride buzz with an aperitivo and watch the famous Venetian sunset. There are plenty of rooftop terraces for this but it’s more intimate and a bit quieter from the lagoon side on via Garibaldi. The 1 vaporetto will get you there.


ROMANTIC DINNER:

With fierce competition to woo lovers, the options are endless for a romantic dinner in Venice. Osteria Antico Giardinetto is a little hidden gem in Campo San Cassinao that will have you feeling like a local. The amazing food, dimly lit dining area, and rustic Italian vibes are the perfect backdrop for a romantico dinner.

Last but not least, grab a gelato and take a little stroll from Campo San Cassiano over to the Rialto Bridge on your way home.

Venice is even more breathtaking at night so take it all in as you savor the last bit of sweetness from your grand Valentine’s Day getaway.


DOURO VALLEY, PORTUGAL

For the oenophile couples

Endless vineyards, lush rolling green hills, six-star retreat resorts and world-class dining — all the makings one needs for an intimate getaway.

Douro Valley is home to vineyards that have produced some of the oldest, most expensive and finest ports in the world.

Port not your jam? Try Vinho Verde, no not green wine, as the translations would lead you to believe. It’s not a grape or a blend either. It means “young wine” released 3-6 months after harvest which yields a light, crisp white with a slight effervesce from the malolactic fermentation. I don’t usually like white wines but I discovered Vinho Verde in Portugal last year and became obsessed with it.


WHERE TO CUDDLE:

Six Senses Douro Valley – $$$

This 19th-century manor house spa resort hotel is set high on a hill overlooking the stunning rolling hills of the Douro Valley. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic getaway.

Quinta do Vallado – $$

It’s the oldest “Quinta” in the Douro Valley with charming rooms at reasonable prices, a great budget option.  


THE PERFECT DATE:

After a lazy breakfast in bed at your hotel, head out for one of the worlds most scenic drives.

The N222 between Pinhao and Regua was voted as one of The World’s Best Drives and we are sure you’ll agree. Be sure to stop at major viewpoints (miradouros) that provide spectacular views of the rolling hills and sample a few tastings along the way.

View points to visit: Miradouro de Assumadouro, Casal de Loivos and Miradouro de Sao Leonardo da Galafura.

Vineyards to visit: Quinta da Pacheca, Quinta das Carvalhas, Quinta do Crasto, Quinta do Seixo, Quinta do Bomfim.

**Caution, the roads are windy, narrow and dark so do drink responsibly or consider hiring a driver for the day.

Return to your hotel and enjoy a couple’s massage or have a sundowner cocktail with views over the lush vineyards. The wine library at the Six Senses Douro Valley boasts picturesque sunset views with outdoor heaters to keep you nice and warm.


ROMANTIC DINNER:

Book a table at the most buzzed about restaurant in the valley — D.O.C. It has a terrace overlooking the river with heat lamps should you want to dine outside.


CINQUE TERRE, ITALY

For the active couples

If you and your partner in crime are the active type and love to spend time in the outdoors, you’ll love Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre is the southernmost part of the Liguria region (one of my favorite regions in Italy) and comprised of five beautiful seaside-fishing villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.


WHERE TO CUDDLE:

Porto Roca – $$$

Monterosso is the biggest town in Cinque Terre and offers more accommodations than the other four villages. It has a beautiful beach with picturesque colorful beach lounge chairs. Most hotels and B&B’s are small, quaint and barebones. Porto Roca is the most luxurious hotel you will find on the coast with panoramic views.

Agriturismo – $

If you are on a budget, consider staying at an Agriturismo in Monterosso. An Agriturismo is a farmhouse or vineyard that is partially used for accommodation purposes. They are a unique way to immerse yourself into local culture at the most affordable prices. The cozy accommodations feel as if you were visiting family. They also serve an amazing breakfast and sometimes dinner from their farm and of course, homemade wine.


THE PERFECT DATE:

You can fly into Genoa or Milan and take a train down to Monterosso. No car needed, as cars are not allowed inside the five villages. It’s very easy to get around by the intercity local trains and ferries that go between all five little villages.

Enjoy a hearty hotel breakfast to fuel up for the day’s hike. All the routes are quite steep and intense so wear proper shoes, attire and bring plenty of water.

**Note, even the blue route is difficult so only attempt the red if you are experienced hikers and do come well prepared with enough water.

Hike from Monterosso all the way to Corniglia and enjoy epic coastal views. You will pass through the small village of Vernazza where you can stop and explore. Grab a gelato to reward yourself for a hike well done and walk around town. It’s a one street village and do be sure to visit the “beach” where locals take a dip in the hot summer months.

Continue the hike to Corniglia and have lunch at Ristorante Cecio, which you’ll see just as you exit the hike and prior to entering the village. Be sure to make a reservation. Cecio has the BEST trofie pesto (a famous Ligurian dish) and sardines with lemon.

Take the intercity train or boat down to Manarola and Riomaggiore. Manarola is probably the most photographed village in Cinque Terre. Go to Nessum Dorma for drinks and get that banger shot of Manarola.

End the day over at Riomaggiore and walk down Via dell’Amore (the pathway to love) hand in hand with your beau. Does anything sound more romantic on Valentine’s Day?

Via dell’Amore is a 1km trail that was originally built as a lover’s rendezvous spot from the two neighboring towns (Riomaggiore and Manarola). Today it is one of the most famous sites in Cinque Terre. Unfortunately, you can’t cross it anymore as it’s been closed since 2012 due to a landslide but there is a very small portion of the pathway you can still visit. It’s still worth seeing as the views will leave you saying “Ti Amo”.  


ROMANTIC DINNER:

Book a table at Ristorante Miky at the two Michelin star restaurant back in Monterosso. Pesto originates from Liguera, specifically Genoa and it’s nothing like you’ve ever had before so be sure to try any pasta with pesto, especially trofie.

Happy traveling love birds!

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