Valentine’s Day is traditionally the most romantic day of the year, and couples across the globe are preparing to spoil their loved one with candlelit meals, fragrant roses and heart-shaped chocolates. While this is great for anyone lucky enough to have that special someone, it can leave singletons feeling a bit left out. If you don’t have a date this Sunday, why not spend the holiday doing something a little different? Check out our favourite cities to discover solo or with friends, and fall in love with a new destination this Valentine’s Day.
The charming canals and bicycle culture of Amsterdam might seem like a recipe for a romantic escape, but it has lots to offer for those without a partner too. Learn the fascinating history of the Netherlands at the Rijksmuseum, or visit the Van Gogh Museum for the world’s largest collection of paintings by the Dutch master.
If you prefer something a little offbeat, why not visit Electric Ladyland, which is the world’s first gallery dedicated to fluorescent art, or learn about the history of Dutch gin (genever) at the House of Bols? Enjoy a brisk walk in the fresh spring air in Vondelpark, the largest green space in the city and a favourite spot for locals. Stroll around the glistening lake and find a quiet spot for peaceful reflection – it doesn’t get much better than this.
The Loire Valley
To avoid swooning couples, skip Paris in favour of the Loire Valley, often referred to as the ‘Garden of France’. This fabulous landscape of castles and greenery makes for perfect road trip material. Whether exploring by yourself or with friends, you don’t need to be part of a couple to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the French countryside.
The region is of course famous for its high quality wines, while renaissance architecture enthusiasts will appreciate the chance to find magnificent fortresses hidden away in deep woodland. Book a rural villa, or gîte, to get away from it all and spend your time on long walks, reading or trying your hand at French cooking.
Brussels is a fantastic city for the free and single, and a beer connoisseur’s paradise. Drag a few friends over to the Belgian capital to taste some of the best crafted continental lagers and ales, with each style typically served in its own uniquely shaped glass.
If pints aren’t your thing, soothe yourself with some retail therapy at Galeries Royales St Hubert; a masterpiece of 19th architecture. At this covered shopping arcade you can wander around luxury boutiques, chocolate shops and clock makers to your heart’s content.
Situated in the emerald Irish countryside, Dublin‘s abundance of attractions and friendly population make it an ideal escape for the single traveller. Spend your day exploring the National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery before heading out to experience the nightlife scene – making sure to sample a pint of Guinness, Ireland’s national drink.
For a real adventure, step out of the city explore the enchanting green landscape of the surrounding area. The spiritual Wicklow Mountains are a short distance from the city and home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland, Glendalough. Another top rural escape is Powerscourt, one of the country’s most famous estates; and Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest waterfall.
If this has sparked some inspiration, why not check out our Adventure page for more info?