Enjoy the romantic solitude of the Lofoten Islands

Planning a last minute getaway to celebrate Valentine’s Day next month? We round up some of the best romantic boltholes guaranteed to set sparks flying, from passion-fuelled Paris to seductive seclusion in Norway.

Lake District

Imagine mist-shrouded hills, snow-capped fells, shimmering lakes and cosy pubs; take a romantic break this Valentine’s with a trip to the Lake District. Spend a long weekend in Windermere; go for walks around isolated lakes and forests and then unwind in one of the region’s gorgeous spa hotels. Alternatively, there is a huge choice of romantic cottage accommodation.

Wintry windermereWinter morning at Windermere
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The area boasts a plethora of excellent restaurants too, such as the award-winning Punch Bowl Inn in Crosthwaithe, specialising in hearty local cuisine including venison, steak and pheasant, served in front of a beautiful stone fireplace.


Swathed in red-tiled roofs and cobbled streets, Florence offers an elegant backdrop for a romantic break. Toast your other half with a bottle of Tuscan wine, stroll hand in hand across the Ponte Vecchio and admire stunning views of the Arno River. Visit the legendary Uffizi Gallery and swoon over Renaissance and modern art, paintings, tapestries and sculptures.

Florence MichelangeloFlorence at night
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Sample the city’s delicious gelato and then visit the beautiful Piazza del Michelangelo in the early evening and enjoy views of the river and the spectacular Duomo lit up. Stay in the charming Relais Sante Croce Hotel, Via Ghibellina 87, a 17th-century palazzo combining classic, period-style furnishings with contemporary comforts such as flatscreen TVs and iPod docking stations. Dine in the hotel’s restaurant, the wonderful Guelfi e Ghibellini, where its superb Tuscan menu is updated every three months.


February may not seem a bright idea to head north to a remote island in wintry Norway but snow enhances the dramatic, jagged peaks that crown Hamnøy Island, part of the Lofoten archipelago, anchored above the Arctic Circle. Here, you can truly escape the crowds with your loved one and enjoy wild weather, scenery and romantic seclusion.

Boat lofoten Unspoilt seclusion in the Lofoten Isles
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Renowned for its cliffside seabird colonies and its picturesque architecture, Hamnøy is the perfect choice for couples seeking an alternative Valentine's break. Stay in one of the island’s cosy, 19th-century fisherman’s cabins, known as rorbu, in Eliassen Rorbuer, offering simple, rustic accommodation but with fantastic views of fjords and mountains. By day, enjoy a spot of skiing or take it easy in one of the island's restaurants; sample tasty Norwegian fish delicacies at Hamnøy Mat-Og Vinbu overlooking the pretty harbour. By night, cuddle up and keep an eye out for the beautiful Northern Lights, one’s of the world’s most incredible natural phenomenon.


Escape to beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland’s vibrant capital city, where you can wine and dine your other half in memorable style. Head to one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants; The Kitchin, 78 Commercial Quay, for French inspired food; Number One, 1 Princes Street, where opulent Scottish dishes await; or Restaurant Martin Wishart, The Shore, Leith, renowned for its seafood.

Balmoral HotelEdinburgh's grand Balmoral Hotel
Creative Commons / Ronnie Macdonald

End your night with a few cocktails at some of the sophisticated bars that line George Street such as Tigerlily or The Living Room. After a night on the tiles, sleep off your hangover at the 5-star Balmoral Hotel and then recharge your batteries in the hotel’s spa featuring a candle-lit, scented Relaxation Suite and a 15m (50ft) pool.


The quintessential city of romance, Paris, may be a tried-and-tested destination for couples seeking a Valentine’s break but this is because the French capital ticks all the right boxes for romance, from glorious cuisine and wines to breathtaking sights.

Paris cruise Enjoy a Paris river cruise with someone special
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Unmissable is a river boat cruise; glide along the Seine and take in the city’s key landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera Square, Town Hall and the Louvre, before alighting at the Eiffel Tower, where you can have lunch at the first-floor restaurant, 58 Tour Eiffel, or a glass of bubbly at the Champagne Bar at the top.

Cap off your mini-break by staying at the stylishly chic Hôtel Molière, 1 rue Molière, where a spacious suite will set you back €350 per night.

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