So… Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and romance is in the air. Imagine yourself strolling the streets of Paris or Rome, canoodling, wining, and dining with your special someone under the sunset. They’re both beautiful locations that exude romance, but how about some lesser-known romantic options? Global Debauchery gives you its top unique European romance destinations to daydream about. (And hopefully visit one day.)
1. Furnas, Sao Miguel
Located right in the middle of Sao Miguel island in the Portugese Azores is the charming village of Furnas. Famous for its hot springs and Terra Nostra gardens, it makes for the perfect romantic getaway. A small chapel sits on Lagoa das Furnas, the town lake in the middle of a protected forest. The Chapel of Our Lady of Victories was built in honor of a local landowners’ wife after she fell tragically ill, and it looks like something out of a fairytale. Behind the chapel, you can take a leisurely walk through the forest, where you’ll find a picturesque waterfall.
Okay, okay. So, Monaco might be an obvious romantic location choice to the experienced traveler, but lots of people are so focused on the French Riviera or mainland Italy that they completely forget about this little enclave wedged right between the two. Enjoy sherbert-colored homes stacked on the Monaco cliffside, all the way from the water’s edge to the very top of the town. Admire the glitzy cars and yachts and spend some time at the famed Monte Carlo Casino for a fun night out.
3. Sozopol, Bulgaria
Bulgaria, you say? Yes. Bulgaria. Specifically, the medieval village of Sozopol. I fell in love with the Black Sea coastline after staying here a couple years ago. Deep, teal waters with your choice of sandy or rocky beaches. Ancient wooden churches and homes and quaint marketplaces. Bulgaria’s coastline is the hottest new vacation destination for native Europeans that Americans have no idea about. Their little secret… until now. … And did I mention how cost-effective this town is? Mm hmm. For a ritzier Bulgarian experience, head north up the coast to Varna.
4. Capri, Italy
Forget Rome and Venice! Head to Capri. (Okay, don’t forget them, just go to Capri while you’re visiting.) Aside from its obvious beauty, there’s much to do on this small Italian island. Eat, take a boat tour, eat, visit the famous Blue Grotto. Eat, and visit Villa Jovis (the Roman palace built by Emperor Tiberius) or Castello Barbarossa (an archaeological ruin). Eat some more. Spend some time at the beach and definitely go shopping. Then eat. Capri is a short ferry ride out of Naples, but you can also catch a ferry there directly from Rome for a little more of a time investment. If you’re with a cruise, Capri is a perfect day trip option!
5. Islay, Scottish Isles
Oh, Islay. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Islay is one of the main scotch hotspots in the Scottish Isles boasting multiple deliciously peaty scotch distilleries. It’s also just a gorgeous, green little island gem. Take some time and bike to the beach, tour a distillery, or visit the peaceful Kildalton church and cemetery. If you really want to soak up the Islay experience, pour a touch of Laphraoig in your porridge like the locals do… supposedly. (That’s what they told us, anyway…)
6. Avignon, France
Awe, Avignon. Filled with the fragrance of lavender. Lined with pretty little churches and gardens. Have a French meal at the main square and enjoy a carousel ride just like they do in the movies. Take a stroll along the Rhone and watch the sun set with your significant other. Whatever you do, though, don’t let Paris and the Riviera outshine this lovely romantic getaway town.
7. Kotor, Montenegro
Everyone’s in love with Croatia right now. And why wouldn’t they be? It’s tiny neighbor Montenegro, however, is on the up-and-up, so it’s imperative you visit this beauty ASAP. Kotor, a UNESCO heritage Old Town, is nestled in the middle of the mountains on the Kotor Bay. Take a bus (via twenty-five treacherous switchbacks!) up to an impressive overlook or make the hike up to San Giovanni Castle. However you decide to spend your time there, you’ll find Kotor is the perfect setting for a little romance.
When considering an ideal Valentine’s destination, don’t forget the little guys. You’ll collect a lifetime of memories and all the romance your heart desires. What are your favorite lesser-known romantic European destinations? Comment away so I can add them to my to-visits. See ideas for romantic stateside getaways, too!
Today’s featured photo: Picturesque arches in Avignon’s Square Agricol Perdiguier.
© 2019 Jordan Campbell. All rights reserved.