In total Valentine's spirit I've invited a few fellow bloggers to choose a city of their preference and present a city spot and one or more activities for a great romantic experience. The lovely ladies from Doro Henrietta, Got the Travel Bug Too and Atlas Adrift joined me in this sweet task and here you have four Valentine's Day suggestions that not even the most romantic soul could refuse. Amsterdam, Rome, Venice and Sintra are overloaded with romance and just waiting for you to drop by.
AMSTERDAM by Doro Henrietta
There’s nothing more romantic than a walk along Amsterdam’s canals with your loved one. Being such a popular destination among tourists, Amsterdam tends to get pretty crowded though – not necessarily what you’re looking for on Valentine’s Day.
To escape the crowds, I’d suggest taking a walk through the “Westelijke Eilanden”, the “Western Islands”. These three manmade islands were built in the 17th century, as part of the third enlargement of Amsterdam. Nowadays, the area which has a village like feel to it, is a popular place of residence among Amsterdam’s creative souls.
The Western Islands are just a short walk south-west of the Central Station. Despite their central location, it is a very peaceful and quiet area, and probably my favorite hidden gem in Amsterdam. With its narrow street, beautifully restored 17th century canal houses and wooden draw bridges, the waterfront neighborhood is just perfect for getting lost!
If you fancy a drink or a bite to eat after your walk, you can head over to Jordaan District. The area is full of nice restaurants and little “terraces” and easy to reach from Amsterdam’s Centrum.
ROME by Got the Travel Bug Too
Rome is a magical city that could easily spark romance! I believe that Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck really brought out the romantic vibe of the “Eternal City” in their movie, “Roman Holiday”. It was filmed entirely in Rome and the story centers around Princess Ann (played by Hepburn), who sneaks out of the embassy and explores Rome without her security guards. She meets an American reporter, Joe Bradley (played by Peck) who finds her sleeping on a park bench near the Roman Forum. Later, Joe decides to take Ann on a tour of Rome all while getting a juicy story for the newspaper (unknowing to Ann.)
At Piazza di Spagna, halfway up the Spanish Steps - Audrey Hepburn’s character sat and ate a gelato with her new friend, Joe. The Spanish Steps is the perfect spot for a romantic outing day or night. There is something magical about sitting on those steps with the one you love! In the piazza, there are many opportunities for a romantic carriage ride, including roses!
VENICE by Atlas Adrift
Ah Venice, the eternal city of romance! Pastel houses reflected onto calm waters make for the perfect getaway with that special someone. Honeymoon, anniversary, or just because.
Try to hide the blush as you lock lips with your sweetheart over a quintessential gondola ride through the twists and turns of the quiet canals. Take the scenic route from Barcino Orseolo to arrive at the Grand Canal. Touristy or not – this is an experience which can’t be missed!
Next, indulge in a gelato tasting together. I highly reccomed La Boutique del Gelato, where there are 100’s of delicious flavors to choose from!
Laugh and play together as you feed the pigeons swooping by in St Mark’s Square. Skip the long line at the bell tower of St Mark's, and take in the view from the San Giorgio Maggiore instead.
Enjoy dinner at Cantina Do Spade, the historic where the famous lover Casanova laid the pathway for romantic gestures. He was rumored to wine and dine women here in hopes they would fall for him. Sip red Italian wine at Do Spade bar on Calle de Spade, near the Rialto Bridge, where most of the love locks have sadly since been removed - a reminder of love and commitment around the world.
After dinner, swoon over a ballet or opera performance amidst the gold balconies of Theatre La Fenice opera house.
SINTRA by The Wanderer's Chronicles
Choose some of the attractions so you can enjoy them calmly and take a picnic for lunch. Do not forget to buy some sweet travesseiros on arrival at Sintra. You can find this pastries at Piriquita in the town center. Head to the palace (by buss or more romantically by coach) and make the tour. Than you can walk trough the park and visit the Chalet of the Countess of Edla, the romantic hideaway of D. Fernando and Elise Hensler.
Have your picnic at Monserrate park. The Park and Palace of Monserrate are some of the most beautiful architectural and landscape Romantic creations in Portugal. The gardens have received species from all corners of the world, and a walk trough its grounds after lunch will surely be an enjoyable moment.
You are not that far from the town, and you're just on time to have your afternoon tea at Lawrence's (the oldest hotel in Portugal) before return to Lisbon. For extra romance, you can stay for dinner or even for the night, as the hotel has the most romantic suites with stunning views to the park.