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11 unforgettable Valentine's Day destinations in Europe

Rachel Schnalzer

Senior Writer

29 January 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 travellers can duck into cosy 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 favourites 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 an Interrail Global Pass

Lake Maggiore

Kiruna, Sweden

 

Traveller 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 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, is a good home base for adventurers seeking out the legendary natural phenomena. 

 

In addition to joining an aurora borealis safari, travellers to Kiruna can take part in winter hiking, skiing and snowboarding, and even book a stay at an ice hotel

 

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. 

 

Reach Kiruna with the Interrail Global Pass or Sweden Pass

Auroras near Kiruna

Sperlonga, Italy

 

Traveller 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 traveller’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.  

 

Reach the Fondi-Sperlonga train station with the Interrail Global Pass or Italy Pass

A landscape of Sperlonga's town and beach

Krakow, Poland

 

Traveller recommendation: “Krakow, the Kazimierz area was so cool and romantic”

 

Some travellers 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. 

 

Travellers 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. 

 

Reach Krakow with the Interrail Global Pass or Poland Pass.

A quiet street in Kazimierz, Krakow

The Bernina Express 

 

Traveller 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 travellers 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 Interrail Global Pass

Bernina Express in Switzerland

Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

 

Traveller 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. 

 

Travellers 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 memorialise the love between Andrej and Marína.  

 

Reach Banská Štiavnica with the Interrail Global Pass or the Slovakia Pass.

A dramatic mountain landscape near Banska Stiavnica

Turku, Finland

 

Traveller 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 travellers 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-kilometre "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 Northern Lights 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.

 

Reach Turku with the Interrail Global Pass or Finland Pass

The frozen Aura River in Turku

Bled, Slovenia

 

Traveller 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 travellers 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. 

 

Reach Bled with the Interrail Global Pass or Slovenia Pass.

A landscape of Lake Bled with snow on the shores

Vienna, Austria

 

Traveller 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 marvelling at “The Kiss” and other artworks around the museum, cosy up with a coffee and pastry at Belvedere’s Schlosscafé. 

 

Reach Vienna with the Interrail Global Pass or the Austria Pass

Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna

Bratislava, Slovakia

 

Traveller 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 perfect for a Valentine’s Day walk. 

 

Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and perched above the city, Bratislava Castle’s grounds are an ideal place to take 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 kilometres away. 

 

Reach Bratislava with the Interrail Global Pass or Slovakia Pass

Bratislava Castle

Lake Maggiore, Italy 

 

Traveller 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 travellers, 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, travellers 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.

 

Reach Lake Maggiore with the Interrail Global Pass, Italy Pass, or Switzerland Pass.  

A landscpae of Lago Maggiore with mountains in the distance

Copenhagen, Denmark

 

Traveller 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. 

 

Reach Copenhagen with the Interrail Global Pass or Denmark Pass

Close-up of a bakery in Torvehallerne in Copenhagen

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