In a just a couple of weeks, you will be romancing your partner with a great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Tesco, your signature dish of chicken stuffed with cheese and wrapped in parma ham, and a smushy card that let's them know you still love them, all in the name of St Valentine, and all for the one you love.
With its rich history, beautiful scenery and vibrant city life, Edinburgh is a great alternative to Paris. What’s best is you don’t even have to leave the country. No frantic hunting for your passport at the last minute, only to find it in the first place you looked. No terrible currency exchange. No language barriers to embarrass yourself with. Yet it still offers fine dining, lively nightlife, luxurious hotels and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to explore.
It might not seem as glamorous as the Parisian streets, but with Michelin star restaurants like ‘The Kitchin’, and historic attractions like Edinburgh Castle, you’ll still have a memorable weekend with your loved on. Be sure to take a walking tour of the Old Town to discover the city’s dark history too.
For a place to stay, the five-star Waldorf Astoria is a beautifully romantic hotel if you can push the budget. Or why not try one of lastminute.com’s famous Top Secret™ hotels? Hurry, though, rooms are going quickly for Valentine’s weekend. To find out more, visit our Edinburgh city breaks page.
If you are still after that wonderful French culture, Valentine’s Day in Lyon is a great alternative to Paris. Situated on the banks of the River Rhône, Lyon is over 2,000 years old, with its Old Town, or Vieux Lyon, now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon offers an exciting mix of quaint cafes, guided walks, luxury spas, historical monuments and boutique shopping, and really has that ‘wow’ factor.
Make sure you take the funicular railway to the top of Fourvière Hill for stunning views across the Vieux Lyon and the rest of the city. For those with an active streak, discover the city by bike and enjoy the sights along the riverside.
The welcoming Grand Hotel de la Paix, a modern, three-star hotel in the heart of the city, is just minutes from the Place Bellecour and an ideal hotel for a city break stay.
If you’ve seen the film In Bruges, you’ll know how stunning this city is. Best accessed by Eurostar to Brussels and then an onward train to Bruges, the city’s architecture and lifestyle is clearly that traditional Flemish style. Its winding canals and beautiful buildings offer stunning scenery, whilst the small but characterful bars on the various city squares make for a fun afternoon of relaxing and people watching.
Horse-drawn carriage rides offer a romantic sightseeing trip of the city, but make sure to stop at the Town Hall (or Burg as it's called here), to discover the city’s rich history. And no trip to Belgium should be without a purchase from one of the many exquisite chocolate shops that line the narrow streets.
One night city breaks in Bruges start from £112.50pp at non-peak travel periods, however our hotel recommendation would be the beautiful Pand Hotel, winner of the Luxury Romantic Hotel award at the Luxury Hotel Awards 2014.
With over 170 canals lined with beautiful architecture to romantically stroll along, Venice truly is a city for lovers. It’s easy to get lost in the colourful back streets before stumbling upon a little café, serving the best of authentic Italian cuisine. By day, the city’s history is abundant, with the Piazza San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale in the heart of it all. By night, the city’s classical music scene will amaze and amuse. Enjoy Musica A Palazzo for some impressive evening entertainment.
A gondola ride whilst on a Valentine’s break in Venice should, of course, not be forgotten. Cue singing gondolier. Nothing could be more romantic than gazing up at the incredible architecture, with your arm around your loved one, as you float gently along the canals.
Hotels here are designed with typical Venetian grandeur and the four-star Hotel Papadopoli Venezia is no exception. Close to Constitution Bridge and the Grand Canal, it is a wonderfully elegant hotel and ideal for a romantic alternative to Paris.
This one is by far my favourite option but, whilst at mybudgetbreak we love to find short breaks on a budget, Lapland isn’t one of the cheapest destinations around. That said, it is an incredibly magical place and if you’ve had to delay your Valentine’s Day, it could be a great option as prices start to drop. Wrapping up warm, playing in the snow, going dog-sledding, gazing up at the northern lights, all with the one you love is an amazing experience. It’s one of those places that dream proposals should take place in too…
If you do happen to be able to splash the cash, the ice hotel is an experience you will never forget, however, for those with a limited budget, log cabins in these winter wonderlands are just as romantic. Who needs to sleep on ice when you can cozy up in front of the log fire anyway?
For these and more Valentine’s Day gift ideas, visit lastminute.com.
Paul is a budding travel writer and entrepreneur. When he's not at his desk, he's either gallivanting off around the world, running along the Thames, working hard in the gym, or enjoying the outdoors. Why not follow his adventures on Instagram @paolopants.