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10 Valentine’s Day destinations for all romantics

Image courtesy: ©Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock

Chocolates, petal-strewn suites, sandy beaches – yawn. Your love is unique, so dodge the cliches with a V-day break that caters to the quirks of your coupledom.

Tromsø, Norway
For animal lovers

If your furniture is accessorised with animal hair and you knew it was love when your dog leashes intertwined, your Valentine’s break needs fur factor. Husky dog farms abound in Norway, and the Villmarkssenter in Tromsø is the perfect place to cuddle up to friendly pups (and your beloved, of course). You can also zoom across the starkly beautiful Lyngen Alps aboard a husky sled.

Feline fanatics, we haven’t forgotten you. The perfect romantic break might just involve Hello Kitty and the infamous cat cafes of Tokyo, Japan.

Venice, Italy 
For swingers

For lovers who like to mix things up, nothing can match the frisson of a masked ball. The world’s most decadent carnival takes place every February among the gilded domes and canal-lined piazzas of Venice. Don a Venetian mask, dress to the nines and submit to the hedonistic atmosphere: you’ll see gondola processions, elegant period costumes and outdoor theatre, leading up to the unmissable Grand Masked Ball (Gran Ballo delle Maschere).

Global set-jetting 
For TV addicts

Do you nurture your love over Netflix, rather than nail-biting adventure? Unfurl yourselves from the sofa and go set-jetting. Your future square-eyed nights in will have an extra piquancy, knowing you gazed up at the scowling castles of Northern Ireland that featured in Game of Thrones, or strode the same Washington, DC streets as the Machiavellian movers and shakers in House of Cards.

Carcassonne, France
For medieval romantics

Would you and your lover have been better born in another era, when corsets were tight, armour was polished, and likelihood of death by bubonic plague was… never mind. Step over a drawbridge and back in time to fairytale Carcassonne in southern France. In summer armies of tourists storm this fortified city; explore it out of high season to free your imagination as you and your beloved roam its medieval turrets. Carcassonne sprawls well beyond the old town, so choose your hotel location carefully – luxurious Hotel du Chateau is just at the entrance of the medieval city, and sure to fit the exacting standards of knights and princesses.

Also Read: Going local, for the locals

Also Read: 12 beautiful places to visit in February

Hawaii, USA
For stargazers


Canada-France-Hawaii and Gemini Telescope on Mauna Kea (Hawaii, Big Island) illuminated by the setting sun.
Image courtesy: ©Canada-France-Hawaii and Gemini Telescope on Mauna Kea (Hawaii, Big Island) illuminated by the setting sun./500px

The universe is vast, but somehow you found each other. Hawaii’s clear skies are ideal for contemplating your place in the cosmos, whether you’re dreamers or devoted astronomers. The free nightly star-gazing programme on Mauna Kea will see you pointing out constellations under the advice of experts, in the shadow of the world’s largest (and most suggestively shaped) telescope.

Portland, Oregon
For craft beeraholics

Image courtesy: ©Shutterstock/Master1305

If roses and red wine leave you cold, head to Portland, the heartland of amber nectar. Proudly eccentric Portland has been a craft-brew capital for decades, and with the highest concentration of breweries in the world you won’t be short of choice. Take a brewery tour if you want to sip a whole bunch – try Brewvana ( or Brewbus ( But if boozy bus rides take the fizz out of your couple’s getaway, Portland’s haunts are easily discovered on foot: start with local favourite Hair of the Dog.

Krabi, Thailand
For adrenaline junkies

Railay beach in Krabi Thailand
Image courtesy: ©Anek S/500px

If the thought of a candlelit meal or spa treatment has you tapping your sportswear with boredom, bond over a shared challenge this Valentine’s Day. Krabi on southern Thailand’s west coast has adventure rippling through its every limestone cliff. In the space of a few days you can scale caves, zipline through forests, go canoeing, trek jungles and try quad biking.

For escapists

Many of us would gladly lace up our hiking boots to escape the Valentine’s frou-frou. Isolationists should seek out the rugged wilderness of Cradle Mountain National Park in Australia’s island state. Even a half-day hike allows a glimpse of Tasmania’s remote beauty but if you’re experienced hikers, take on the challenging Overland Track. Against Cradle Mountain’s forbidding silhouette, with nothing around you but miles of brushland and mirror lakes, you’ll feel like the only two people on Earth.

Cambridge, England
For bookworms

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom - June 24, 2006: Tourists on punt trip (sightseeing with boat) along River Cam near Kings College in the city of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Image courtesy: ©Premier Photo/Shutterstock

If your love bloomed over torrid prose and pub philosophy, then you need a break with intellectual clout. Where better, then, than one of England’s most historic university cities? Cambridge nurtured intellectuals like John Milton, Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking over its 800-year history, and scholarly debates continue to echo off the walls of every pub. Snuggle up in a punt for a guided boat tour past university icons like King’s College chapel and under the Bridge of Sighs, with a commentary by one of Cambridge’s modern brainiacs (many of the guides are current students).

AUTHOR'S BIO: Far-roaming editor and writer with a love of budget breaks, chilly Nordic adventures and volcanoes. More on: