Just because it's nearly Valentines Day (14th February), and the annual day of love and couples doesn't mean that we can't celebrate a romantic getaway as solos. I know that not everyone that travels solo is necessarily single but for the ones of us who are (yes, that's me!) then here's a list of my favourite destinations that are just as romantic for one.
I know what you're thinking. Isn't Paris full of couples and lovers who snatch a Parisian weekend away? Maybe it is, but I hardly saw any during my five nights here. Instead, I saw romantic architecture, stunning museums, and… a nightclub. Being solo here actually means that you can dine in a Parisian cafe and watch the world go by, imagining yourself in an old French movie.
Do you need to be part of a couple to watch a live performance of Moulin Rouge? Definitely not. Do you need to be loved up to look around a museum? Um… no. And do you need to be with the love of your life up the Eiffel Tower? No. In fact is there anyone better to share the memories of Paris with, than just you?
If you've ever wanted to feel as though you've stepped onto a Star Wars movie set (which was nearly filmed there), you have to go to Cappadocia. I have honestly never experienced a landscape like it. It has fairy chimneys, colourful valleys and the strangest landscape that has been called ‘a miraculous wonder of nature.' It's easy to see why the Cappadocia region is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Cappadocia is just an overnight bus away from Istanbul but you seriously have to stay for a few nights. There's a reason that so many hot air balloons fly above it. If you fancy a romantic cave hotel for your stay, I recommend Taskonaklar Rocky Palace. It Is stunning and you can sit and meditate as the sunrises over Pigeon Valley. Romantic just isn't the word.
Is there really anywhere more romantic in Belgium than Bruges? (just trust me on this one). As the capital of the Flemish region, it has medieval buildings, cobbled streets and canals that you can just glide through whilst taking in the gorgeous architecture and listening to the ‘clip clop' sounds of horses feet in the distance.
This city just oozes charm and you can see it in all its romantic glory from the top of the 13th century belfry tower. Where else can you treat yourself to scrumptious waffles, chocolate and beer in one day?
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
When I arrived in the Bay of Kotor, I seriously fell in love. In fact I loved it so much that I spent a whole week here, alone. There is something magical and special about this area that is often referred to as ‘Europe's most southern fjord.' Kotor's old town is just a short walk away and you could easily lose hours wandering around the atmospheric lanes.
To jog along the bay as the sun rises in the morning just rejuvenated me. There's a special energy about the mountain backdrop and the blue waters. I stayed a short walk from the Old Town and woke up every day with a view of the bay. I ran along its calm waters in the morning, and sat in my favourite restaurant in the afternoon and just felt present in every moment. The scenery will honestly take your breath away.
Dublin is a city with the cheeky Irish charm and it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with it. Bookworms will find tours around the city’s small cobbled streets, ancient bell-towers, and Georgian townhouses, where writers such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and Bram Stoker once lived. Breathe in the fresh air in one of the many Dublin parks, like the Phoenix Park, home to wild deer.
You won't stay solo for long here either as the Irish are a nation known for their cheerful character. Just go to a traditional Irish bar, take a seat, and you’ll soon be drinking Guinness in the company of your new best friends.
If there’s a Caribbean island that has it all, it has to be Cuba. Whether you love to relax in its turquoise waters and picture-perfect sand, dance salsa in the colourful town of Trinidad, or explore the derelict-chic pastel-coloured buildings of Havana, Cuba has plenty for you to love doing alone. Land of the Cuban cigar and Cuban salsa, Cuba also has an unlikely spa town where you can cover yourself in healing mud and be treated like a princess for a few hours.
But a trip to Cuba can’t be called complete without a leisurely stroll along the Malecon seafront in Havana to view those famous American vintage cars and colonial buildings. If you really want to get acquainted with locals, put on some comfortable shoes, grab a bottle of wine, and spend a tropical evening dancing salsa at the seafront. Who needs a partner
If it’s a date in paradise that you’re after, then consider Fiji. Although it can be synonymous with couples there are plenty of islands to choose from (more than 330!) so you’re guaranteed to find a more secluded place, away from the crowds of newlyweds. And when you’re done with one beach, you can go and explore another before diving into the azure water to be at one with soft corals and exotic fish. Just half an hour drive from the capital of Suva is the Kolo-i-Suva reserve where you can hike to your heart’s content before sampling some kokoda, Fiji’s version of ceviche. With sun, sea and sand you can’t get more romantic. Beach hut anyone?
This country does require a bit of planning so you can’t just fly here on a whim as you need a tour and Letter of Invitation to visit. But once you arrive in this Buddhist country set in the Himalayas, you step foot into one of the most peaceful Kingdoms you can ever visit.
Untouched by the Western world, Bhutan has preserved its sacred heritage and identity, What makes it romantic is the architecture and the feeling of peace you get as soon as you arrive. Lush hillsides lined with fluttering prayer flags, and white stupas dotted around the countryside just add to this country’s charm. Explore the 17th century dzongs with their traditional beams and coloured patterns adorning the walls, whilst observing the monks as they go about their daily lives. It even has one of the prettiest airports in the world.
Spiritual, magical and romantic, you will eave Bhutan feeling fascinated, enlightened, and full of self-love.
There's something romantic about a city with bridges and Gothenburg may not be a destination that you had ever considered. Friendly Gothenburg is famous for its culture and Scandinavian style and is much cheaper than Stockholm to visit and stay.
Lose yourself amongst the aromas in Gothenburg botanical garden, one of the largest plant nurseries in Europe. Dine with yourself at the Saluhallen market, then see this romantic city along its XVII century water channels with 20 bridges to navigate through.
But Gothenburg is not only channels, old fortresses, and a port. It’s also the birthplace of many young designers so make sure to see the Röhsska museum, and walk along the boutiques of the fashionable Magasinsgatan Street. You may even feel inspired to get creative.
A city known for its picturesque bridges and Art Nouveau and Baroque architecture. Ljubljana is just as romantic as the sound of its name, and many couples have sealed their love in a fated padlock along the city's bridges. You can listen to poets and musicians in the main square or just sit in one of the outdoor cafes at Resljeva Cesta and watch the world go by. And if you're lucky, you may even get to hear a brass band as it passes on a boat under one of the city's many bridges. or watch a performance in the castle grounds.
What's not so romantic is staying in a former prison (which is now a hostel), but this is such a unique experience that I definitely recommend it. If you prefer not to have the experience of being ‘banged up' for a night then I recommend staying in the old town instead.
So this Valentine's Day show yourself some self-love and treat yourself to a romantic break for one. Your inner travel goddess will thank you.
What's your favourite romantic destination for one?