Where are you thinking of going for Valentine's Day? Paris? Boring...Check these destinations out and venture somewhere different this year.
Bruges, BelgiumIt’s common knowledge that chocolate is an aphrodisiac and the Belgians produce some the finest in the world. Bruges has the charms that most people look for in a European city, with architecture and museums galore.
Choco Story, Bruges' chocolate museum, couldn’t be any more central in the city and is great fun for those looking for a museum that’s a little quirkier. Belgium is also famous for its beer, so enjoy a few drinks and try the traditional chips and mayonnaise dish.
There are plenty of places to eat, but be picky with where you go and make sure to check prices, because it’s easy to get ripped off. Also, take a brolly, because Bruges' weather isn’t so good. Still, it’s a chance to have a nice relaxing bath and get warm and cosy in your hotel after a wet day out.
Sticking with the labido foods, Oysters are another popular dish to help you get in the mood. You don’t have to travel too far from the UK to sample some of the world’s best however. The island of Jersey, just north of France, is world renowned for producing oysters.
The Oyster Box restaurant is said to be one of the best places to sample the goods and would provide a perfect evening as you dine right on the south coast. If you’re not keen on seafood, then not to worry, Jersey has a whole collection of great places to eat. The tiny island actually holds three Michelin-starred restaurants.This would make a perfect short trip and wouldn't cost the world.
Zagreb, CroatiaZagreb is probably somewhere that doesn’t pop into your mind when you think of a romantic European city. It’s very similar to the more popular cities of Budapest and Prague, but for those with alternative interests, Zagreb has the Museum of Broken Relationships up its sleeve.
The museum has a simple concept. People who have recently left a relationship donate a sentimental item to the museum, with a short description of their break up story. The museum has collected hundreds of pieces and has received very positive media attention since its opening in 2010. With stories ranging from comical to heartbreaking, a museum tour can be a whirlwind of emotions and would provide a loved up couple a sure fire alternative for a romantic date.
Oswiecim, PolandA romantic trip to a Nazi death camp is about as alternative as it gets. Oswiecim - Auschwitz in German - is the place of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum - The site of World War Two’s most infamous concentration camp.
Although the camp is situated in Auschwitz, you are better staying in nearby Krakow, which has great number of restaurants, bars and pubs. Many common packages will also include the Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp in your visit.
Llangollen, WalesQuieten down your inner travel snob and hear this one out. Yes, going to Wales for Valentine’s Day doesn’t exactly sound glamorous, but the country can provide some breathtaking views and charming little towns. Push the images of those childhood car excursions to Rhyl out of your mind and give the prettier side of the country a chance.
The small town of Llangollen is a great place for romance, with local shops, pubs and restaurants. You can try a horse drawn boat trip along the canal or walk along the famous chirk aqueduct at dizzying heights.
Finance situations are grim and Christmas has just passed, so money is tight. If you’re looking to spend less, but enjoy the company of your spouse, try the valleys - you may be surprised.
The increasingly popular, not-so-alternative Valentine’s Day spot is Amsterdam. If you’re looking for something that is actually alternative, try out a different European city of seedy debauchery. While Amsterdam’s Red Light District may be the most famous, Hamburg’s is certainly a challenging contender.
Whether you’re a kinky couple looking to realise some guilty pleasures or a sophisticated pair with an aim of simply understanding the culture of it all, Hamburg will provide you with a no-holds-barred look into the world of sin, while offering a different experience to the played out streets of Holland’s capital. And not leaving the more innocent readers, you can simply avoid the night time shenanigans all together and appreciate the cuisine, culture and atmosphere that this classic German maritime city has to offer.
While the main downtown districts of China’s third major city aren’t particularly romantic, you can appreciate your loved one in the city’s major wedding photography spot, Shamian Island. In Chinese tradition, wedding photos are taken before the actual wedding and presented as an album on the day. This beautiful and small island is where the majority of local nearly-weds take their snaps. The island has a selection of posh restaurants and cafes and would be perfect for a nice stroll.
A visit to Xiaozhou Village will provide both a romantic and cultural experience, as you wander through the small winding paths and drop in and out of trinket shops. The village also has ancient ruins and historical buildings to enjoy. Xiaouzhou is still an active home for many local Chinese families, but some parts are a little rundown and worse for wear. Don’t be put off though, the village is certainly safe and this is simply a way of life.
Rio De Janeiro, BrazilRio’s national carnival falls in their summer month of February and the world’s sexiest city comes alive with music, colour and raw passion. February 8 - February 12 sees one of the most famous celebrations in the world and would provide the perfect experience for those couples looking to appreciate some good old fashioned lust. Learn to samba and dance long into the night, while the live music blares and the drinks flow. Lose your inhibitions and appreciate the human body with the beautiful men and women of Brazil - curves and all.
Lancaster, LancashireEdinburgh is a beautiful place to visit and would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for something alternative though, try Lancaster. Admittedly, it is very small, but the eclectic mix of the town’s architecture will provide a beautiful backdrop for a romantic weekend getaway.
A selection of locally owned shops and cafes will keep you entertained and satisfied during the day and local produce markets will provide that organic, rural-esque feel to your visit. Lancaster Castle will also provide you with a day out and a good mix of restaurants will keep your belly full in the evenings. A personal recommendation would be Marco’s Italian restaurant on the edge of the town centre.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USAImage courtesy of James Mellan
For those looking for an American experience, you could easily be tempted to opt for New York. The option is a lazy one and you could find somewhere else to enjoy your romance. While New York is certainly a wonderful place, despite what the movies may tell you, the busy, tourist filled streets are far from romantic.
Philadelphia, however, has a slower pace, but enough attractions to keep you entertained, including museums, zoos and a big selection of restaurants. For a real romantic memory, you can get your photo taken with the famous ‘LOVE’ sculpture in the city’s LOVE Park.
Juneau, Alaska, USAFor those looking for fast paced adventures rather than whimsy twilight walks and candlelit dinners, try Alaska’s capital for some seriously snowy activities. February is Alaska’s peak time for sunlight, meaning that you can get the most of your adventures. Don’t be fooled however, it may be sunny, but it certainly won’t be warm. With temperatures at around one degrees celsius, you will have to make sure to pack your thick socks. After a fun day of skiing and whale watching, you can hang around and stargaze in the clear night skies - how romantic.
Are you planning to go anywhere different this year? Tell us by commenting below or tweeting @FemaleFirst_UK
James Mellan @jamesmellan1