11 unforgettable Valentine's Day destinations in Europe
January 29, 2024
Where is the best place to experience Valentine’s Day in Europe?
Maybe it’s the charming medieval town that helped inspire the world’s longest love poem, written over 100 years ago. Or perhaps it’s a busy city street, where travelers can duck into cozy cafes and art galleries. Or in the middle of the northern Scandinavian wilderness, with electric green auroras dancing across the sky.
A few weeks ago, we posed this question to our Instagram followers. Out of all the answers, we picked a few of our favorites to share in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a solo adventure, you can experience these places – and 33,000 other European destinations – with a Eurail Global Pass.
Traveler recommendation: “Kiruna to have a kiss under the aurora borealis”
From early September to late March, people travel from far and wide in the hopes of witnessing the aurora borealis in northern Sweden. Kiruna, a small city 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, is a good home base for adventurers seeking out the legendary natural phenomena.
But amid all of the excitement up north, don’t forget to slow down and take in the delicate pinks and blues of sunrise in Kiruna. We promise it’s a sight you won’t soon forget.
Traveler recommendation: “Sperlonga in the south of Italy, beautiful scenery and the best ice cream”
Swap a heart-shaped box of chocolate for a cup of chocolate gelato with a visit to Sperlonga this Valentine’s Day.
In this seaside town, take a romantic beach walk on the Spiaggia di Ponente and then explore the Grotta di Tiberio, a large sea cave near ruins of what is believed to be the former villa of Emperor Tiberius.
Per our traveler’s recommendation, save some time to wander the avenues of Sperlonga’s old town, stopping at gelato shops to your heart’s content. Note: To visit Sperlonga with public transit, you will take a train to the Fondi-Sperlonga station and then a bus to the town.
Traveler recommendation: “Krakow, the Kazimierz area was so cool and romantic”
Some travelers seek out the quiet of nature – while others find the energy and life of cities inherently romantic, falling in love with a metropolis’ sights and sounds.
Travelers can easily spend a weekend wandering around Krakow’s Kazimierz area, drifting among the district’s many cafes, shops, and galleries. Kazimierz, Kraków’s historic Jewish district, is also home to several synagogues, churches, and museums, which offer a deeper look into the area’s history and culture.
The Bernina Express
Traveler recommendation: “The Bernina train…it’s super romantic!”
Many couples go out for a fancy dinner or see a film on Valentine’s Day – while others hop on a train in Tirano and spend four hours weaving in and out of the snow-capped Swiss Alps on the way to Chur.
The phrase “romance of the rails” perfectly suits the legendary Bernina Express train, which offers travelers awe-inspiring views of the region’s glaciers and frozen lakes.
Last year, a Eurailer named Tom decided to propose to his longtime partner, Facu, on the Bernina Express. “I thought it would be so romantic to do it there,” Tom explained, as he shared his engagement story with us. “It's beautiful, the speed, how things go by, how colours change…it's just so poetic.”
Ride the Bernina Express with the Eurail Global Pass.
Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Traveler recommendation: Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia. Andrej Sládkovič’s ‘Marina’ is the longest love poem in the world.
In the mid-1840s, Slovakian poet Andrej Sládkovič wrote ‘Marína,’ a 2,900-verse-long ode to the woman he loved, who was forced to marry another man. Today, the emotional tribute – which includes many mentions of Banská Štiavnica – is said to be the longest love poem in the world.
Travelers to Banská Štiavnica can explore the charming town with a self-guided walking tour of places referenced in the poem. Highlights include a stop at the New Castle as well as two graves dedicated to Marína in an evangelical cemetery. The first, older grave is where she was buried; the other tombstone was added later to memorialize the love between Andrej and Marína.
Traveler recommendation: “Nothing beats a romantic stroll by the frozen Aura River in Turku, Finland – from experience”
Walking paths along Turku’s Aura River are part of a 700-year-old pilgrimage route. Yet travelers don’t need to be a pilgrim to enjoy the woods and waterside views.
Begin at Turku’s cathedral and complete as much of the 8.5-kilometer "Way of Helena" pilgrimage as you wish. When night falls, keep a close eye on the sky; while it’s unlikely you’ll catch a glimpse of the auroras while in Turku, it’s not impossible. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland’s south coast, where Turku is located, experiences the northern lights about once per month.
Traveler recommendation: “Bled, Slovenia – long walks around the lake. Time for deep talks about life and future”
Sure, you probably won’t want to take a dip in Lake Bled the same way travelers do in the summer – but you will experience a quieter version of the popular Slovenian destination on a Valentine’s Day visit. .
It takes about an hour to walk the circumference of Lake Bled – leaving you and your partner plenty of time to unwind amid the beauty of the Julian Alps. Don’t forget to strike a pose at the Heart of Bled – a giant red heart on the lakeshore, perfect for a Valentine’s Day photo.
After admiring the church that sits in the middle of the lake from the shore, take a boat to Bled Island, climb the church’s 99-step staircase, and ring its wishing bell – with some luck, perhaps your wish will come true.
Traveler recommendation: “Manifested someone when I saw Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ and met my partner a week later”
Who are the embracing figures in Klimt’s ”The Kiss”? Their identities are debated even today, with thousands of people visiting the Art Nouveau masterpiece each year.
You can see “The Kiss” for yourself this Valentine’s Day in the Upper Belvedere Palace, a Baroque landmark in Vienna, Austria. Designed in the 1700s as a summer residence for the Austrian general Prince Eugene of Savoy, Empress Maria Theresa later turned the palace into one of the world’s first public museums, showcasing the crown’s collections.
After marveling at “The Kiss” and other artworks around the museum, cozy up with a coffee and pastry at Belvedere’s Schlosscafé.
Traveler recommendation: “My fave will always be Bratislava Castle”
Life has been unfolding at the site of Bratislava Castle since the late Stone Age – and with a visit to this landmark, you too can be part of its story.
In addition to serving as a home for the Slovak National Museum – including its glittering collection of gold and silver pieces – castle grounds include a Baroque garden ideal for a Valentine’s Day stroll.
Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and perched above the city, Bratislava Castle’s grounds are well-situated for taking in sunrise or sunset. Look out for the Austrian Alps in the distance – on a clear day, you may be able to see them from 100 kilometers away.
Lake Maggiore, Italy
Traveler recommendation: “Lago Maggiore, I was there with my boyfriend, and it was magical”
Experience the quiet side of Lake Maggiore, a holiday hotspot for summer travelers, with a visit this Valentine’s Day.
After a day spent skiing at one of the nearby resorts or hiking along the many trails around the lake, those in need of some warmth may pay a visit to one of thermal baths near the lake. For example, the Cadarese spring feeds water over 40° C into the Premia thermal baths, where it drops to about 28° for visitors to enjoy.
Traveler recommendation: “Watch the world go by in the Torvehallerne food halls”
Getting a last-minute dinner reservation can be difficult on Valentine’s Day. But if you’re spending the holiday in Copenhagen, never fear – just make a beeline to Torvehallerne.
Torvehallerne, located in central Copenhagen between two of the city’s most beautiful parks, is home to food bars, produce stalls, pastry shops, seafood sellers, and beyond. Take time strolling Torvehallerne’s two market halls before making your pick – you and your dinner date will have your pick of high-quality, mouth-watering cuisine from across the globe.
Take time to linger after finishing your meal, people-watching and absorbing Torvehallerne’s intoxicating sights and sounds.
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