Every year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, most people turn to their significant others for that loving feeling. We, however, turn to 6 incredible cities (beyond Paris and Venice!) where love is definitely in the air. These are the surprising, the secretive, the mysterious and the comforting other cities that inspire love!
If you haven’t already heard of Cesky Krumlov, now is the time to start investigating. Many people have referred to it as a pocket sized Prague and they’re not wrong. It has all the charm of the bigger city but captures it all in compact streets and charming outlooks. Picture this: winding streets, the Vltava river snaking around the old town, a beautiful coloured castle and plenty of viewpoints to look out over the terracotta rooftops. Make sure to share a trdelnik – a coiled pastry cooked on a spit and sprinkled in sugar. For extra treats with your S.O. just add chocolate!
If your love is a little more Game of Thrones than Midnight in Paris, Split is your city. It’s got the darker history of being entirely founded in a Roman palace. Diocletian’s Palace is still very much part of the heartbeat of Split so grab hold of your partner in crime and wander down white stone passageways, into dungeons that have held dragons, across squares where Emperors stood and down waterfront promenades. There’s also Bacvice Beach to soak in crystal clear waters and Marjan hill to climb for spectacular views of the city and harbour.
With villages haphazardly sprawled over cliffs and valleys, ready to plummet into the sea, this seems like something out of a fairytale. The Mediterranean pink, green, yellow and orange colours paint the houses that cling to these cliffs. To wander the streets of each of the 5 villages is like falling in lust with 5 different lovers. Each has its own personality, its own flavour. Riomaggiore is quieter, a little shy. Manarola demands your attention with punchy, delicious seafood. Corniglia is high above the sea, making you work for her beautiful cobbled streets and incredible pesto. Vernazza is like an old Italian mama, welcoming everyone in for a gelato and a piece of sunshine by the harbour. Lastly, Monterosso is the most popular kid in school because she offers a sandy beach to get out into the water.
If the incredible architecture and impressive churches don’t do it for you, make sure you reach maximum #couplegoals while exploring this city. Pick up a local drink, horchata and get your walking feet on to take in the Instagram worthy street art of the El Carmen district. Drop down into one of the most well used parts of the city, Jardin del Turia or simply, ‘the river’ which has been made into a 9km long public space since the river was diverted. Stroll through green spaces, hire a bike and head down to the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences or stop by at the skate parks or many of the festivals and events held in this vibrant space. Everything from lagoons, activities, sports games or just a patch of grass in the sun. Treat yourself to a nap after all this walking!
Get your geek on and head to the most beautiful bookstore in the world! Said to be one of J.K Rowling’s inspirations for Harry Potter and it’s easy to see why. Livraria Lello has sweeping staircases, ornate wooden panels and stain glass windows to dream an afternoon away. Purchase a book and take it down to the waterfront, Cais da Ribeira. Park yourselves at a café and take in the sweep of pastel Lego houses and traditional flat bottomed boats. To get away from the bustle of the city, take a romantic walk in the Serralves Gardens.
My first love: one that has always been good to me, never complained; food. Bruges knows how to excel. Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries and chocolate dripping from the edges, fries with homemade beer gravy, then we get started on the chocolate shops! Take a canal ride, jump onto a horse drawn carriage, visit the Lake of Love or take a cycle tour in the countryside… but mostly, make sure to take a selfie (or four) in this kitschy medieval town.