Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s a good excuse to plan a weekend away with your significant other. Forget about crowded mountain resorts, trendy city-centre restaurants and expensive exotic holidays. It’s easy to enjoy a quick getaway from everyday life in the company of your loved one without blowing the budget. Take a romantic Valentine’s Day city break in one of many appealing and peaceful destinations, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and San Marino.
Polish Jurassic Highland
Also known as the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland and the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests, this beautiful and rugged region has plenty of excellent hotels offering special Valentine’s Day deals in February. This is a particularly good destination for a relaxing break due to its numerous elegant-yet-inexpensive spa hotels, famous for their stunning natural location and accessibility by car from Krakow. Those arriving by public transport can also use MPK buses (lines 248 and 268) from Krakow towards the Kobylańska, Będkowska or Bolechowicka Valleys. Another option is to travel by regional train to Zabierzów, Rudawa or Krzeszowice and walk to the villages of Bolechowice or Kobylany.
February is a picturesque time to visit and you will be delighted by the area’s towering limestone rocks surrounded by snow-covered fields, meadows and woodland. You can admire these distinctive rock formations during walks in Rzędkowice, Kroczyce and Podlesice, or in the Będkowska or Bolechowicka Valleys. You can also take a trip along the Jurassic castle trail to Mirów, Bobolice, Ogrodzieniec, Pieskowa Skała, Rabsztyn or Ojców. Many of these ancient buildings are now hotels with luxury restaurants, perfect for a Valentine’s date night. Due to its location, Jura is also an ideal jumping-off point for a 1-day visit to the fairytale city of Krakow.
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Known for good reason as the Czech Republic’s most beautiful town, Český Krumlov is also known as the pearl of Bohemia and Venice on the Vltava River. To get here, you schould fly to Prague that has easy, direct transport links by bus or train to Cesky Krumlov for under €10. Everything here is reminiscent of a fairy tale – from the riverside location to the greenery, historic red-tiled buildings and wonderful restaurants serving local cuisine. Český Krumlov delights at any time of the year and competes with Prague for the most romantic city atmosphere.
Book a hotel near the spectacular medieval castle and enjoy the old town’s quiet, traffic-free and atmospheric streets with Náměstí Svornosti at their forefront. We also recommend visiting the island opposite the castle, the stone Coat Bridge, the Budziejowicka Gate and the church of St. Hello. You can enjoy wonderful panoramic views of the town and the majestic Vltava flowing lazily below from the so-called Lower Castle. Want to surprise your loved one? Head to one of the surrounding vineyards for a romantic dinner and wine tasting.
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Triglavski Narodni Park
For Valentine’s Day without the crowds, head to Slovenia and the Triglav National Park in the eastern Alps. Located at the foot of the impressively rugged Triglav Peak, which towers overhead at 2864 metres above sea level, this is a perfect destination for active nature lovers. The easiest way to get here is to fly to Ljubljana before taking the bus to Triglav Park (€6) or the train to Bled. The journey takes around an hour by road.
Highlights of your stay include walks along the azure shores of Lakes Bled, Bohijn and Krn; the Soča rivers, Savica and Peričnik waterfalls and the Vintgar Gorge. You can also work up a sweat on the Julian Alps’ hiking trails with your other half. Do you prefer a slower pace? The tourist-friendly but peaceful Bled has a famous castle atop a rock along with a picturesque church on its island. Meanwhile, the medieval Radovlijca and its charming Linhart Market is home to a quaint museum of gingerbread and beekeeping. Aside from its delicious honey and gingerbread, the area is also home to a number of artisanal food producers, specialising in delicious cheeses, Bled cream cakes and strong alcohol.
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San Marino Nature Park
Located atop a mountain nestled in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, San Marino is the perfect choice for Valentine’s Day. To get there, fly to Bologna or Rimini before taking a short bus or train journey. Alternatively, the drive from Rimini to San Marino takes about 40-50 minutes. Unlike during the holiday months, you’re likely to have many of the best attractions to yourself in winter, with lower prices to match. The world’s oldest republic offers great attractions in February. Soak up the atmosphere by strolling among the historic buildings of the old town in Piazza della Liberta, including the beautiful Cathedral of San Marino. You can also enjoy breathtaking views of the countryside from the tower or walls of the La Rocca o Guaita Castle.
If you love nature and are looking for a quick and relaxing break, head to San Marino Nature Park. February offers perfect trekking conditions – try taking the cable car from Borgo Maggiore before hiking to Mount Titano. There are also plenty of climbing, horse riding and cycling trails in the area and local tourist offices can help you organise your activities. There are plenty of easier routes for novice hikers, however they offer plenty of diversity – a short hike will show you pine forests, meadows, rocks, rivers and even a waterfall!