Why give chocolates and wilting flowers from the local garage, when you can eat Caviar and sleep on a bed of rose petals? Take your loved one on a trip to remember with APH.com’s guide to alternative Valentine’s Day breaks from Gatwick Airport.Don’t forget to pre book your Gatwick airport parking with APH, or add a touch of luxury to your trip with our range of Gatwick airport hotels and parking packages.
From alternative destinations to quirky, romantic hotels, we’ve got everything you need to impress your partner as February 14 dawns. Don’t worry, if you don’t know where to take them – just take a look at their car… read on to find out more.
Valentine’s Day destinations without the cheese
From Paris to Rome and Vienna, couples will be packing their bags and heading off to these clichéd cities of love, but we think there’s so much more excitement and romance to be found in less obvious destinations. Forget token gestures, make your Valentine’s Day trip a true and individual declaration of love.
While the chocolate and flower-bearing hordes will be flocking to nearby Venice, you’ll be enjoying relaxed romancing in this sophisticated, laid back city of love. Its Roman architecture and winter sun will provide the perfect backdrop for hopeless romantics everywhere. Lest not forget, either, Verona is, of course, the setting for Romeo and Juliet’s legendary passion – with a visit to the city’s House of Juliet providing a perfect kissing opportunity on ‘that’ very balcony… From here, lovers can while away the evening in hand-held bliss exploring the city’s cobbled streets and stylish piazzas.
Two nights and flights for two: £548 (approx)
With temperatures of -30C, Northern Finland might not be the most obvious of Valentine’s Day destinations, but a date with the enigmatic and eerie beauty of the northern lights will certainly provide all the fireworks you’ll need. For the most romantic Aurora viewing, why not head to the heated glass igloos of Kakslauttanen, where you can lie back together and (hopefully) watch the sky illuminate in a stunning, personal light display to celebrate your love. February is great time to see the lights, too, so even more reason to book this unique Valentine’s Day experience.
Two nights and flights for two: £929 (approx)
Where better to let romance fill the air than the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love? Gaze into the very same Mediterranean sea from where Aphrodite rose on a giant scallop shell, before coming ashore to a life of unimaginable ardor with gods and locals, alike. Follow her footsteps and enjoy a weekend of passionate romance on this lively upmarket island with its back drop of ancient ruins and glorious sandy beaches.
Two nights and flights for two: £478 (approx)
While it might lack the glamorous image and tourist hotspots of other Italian cities, Milan also escapes the hordes of visitors that can so easily impede on your intimate weekend. Escape the crowds and become ‘one of the locals’ as you shop for gifts in the Quadrilatero d’Oro’s designer district, or take a relaxed stroll beside the city’s canals. A must-do highlight for any couple in love, is a sunset clinch on the roof of Milan’s imposing Gothic cathedral… true romance, indeed.
Two nights and flights for two: £425 (approx)
Take a look at the view from the roof of Milan Cathedral, below.
Again, swerve the chocolates and flowers brigade, by heading for a weekend of sophisticated loving in one of Spain’s most romantic cities. Stroll hand-in-hand through the stunning orange-scented gardens of the Alcazar, or wander care-free through the twisty, atmospheric alleyways of Santa Cruz and along the banks of Seville’s Guadalquivir river. Then, find out if your love is true, by heading to Ayuntamiento and passing under the arch that joins Plaza San Francisco and Plaza Nueva. Local legend says you’ll marry the person with which you pass beneath the arch. Then, with your marital prospects settled, why not celebrate with a nightcap in the Hotel Doña Maria’s roof-top bar? With its stunning views of the city’s cathedral, it offers one of Seville’s most romantic vistas.
One night and flights for two: £486
There are few places that can offer lovers a more passionate experience than a trip to the ‘Pink City’ – not to mention its average February temperature of 20C. Wander together through the Medina with its atmospheric narrow passageways of souks and cafes, where you can swap gifts of silk, jewellery, leather and silver, before resting to sip cooling cups of mint teas. You can also keep your cool and heat up the romance with a horse-drawn carriage trip across the city. Then, when the sun goes down, head to the Kechmara restaurant, where you can drink cocktails and enjoy the cool evening air on its beautiful rooftop terrace… just don’t drown in each other’s eyes.
Two nights and flights for two: £396 (approx)
Get a room…
If you want to show someone just how special they are, then why not splash out on a Valentine’s Day room in one of these amazing, quirky hotels.
What is it: A room above an industrial tower
Where: Nantes, France
How much: £80 per night
Built as an art project by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, this is a classic 1970s French gite built atop a 15-metre-high stack that’s styled on a power station chimney. Juxtaposition is the name of the game here – and it’ll certainly impress the culture-loving lover in your life. Find out more Villa Cheminee details here
Sala Silvermine Underground suite
What is it: A room without a view that’s 155m underground
Where: Sala, Sweden
How much: £280 per night
Show just how deep your love is, with this underground room located 155 metres below the surface in a preserved silver mine. Wander hand-in-hand through winding galleries, vast caverns and past magical subterranean lakes. Find out more Sala Mine information here
Jumbo Jet Hotel
What is it: A real-life Boeing 747 converted to a hotel
Where: Arlanda, Sweden
How much: £100 per night
A first class hotel, where you can join the jet set with a Valentine’s Day break that’s guaranteed to be turbulence free. This 1976 Jumbo might have retired from the skies, but you can still check in and choose from a couple of en-suite rooms, or go first class with a luxury suite in the converted cockpit with its panoramic views of the airport.Find out more Jumbo Jet booking here
Luxury tree house
What is it: Luxury tree house in Italy
Where: Merano, Italy
How much: £170 per night
Combine your love of nature with the luxury your loved one deserves – 15 metres above the ground in the pine trees of Merano, Italy. Then, if you ever decide to leave your luxury tree house and return to terra firma, there’s a gourmet restaurant and health spa just minutes away. Find out more Tree House information here
Kolarbyn Eco Lodge, Sweden
What is it: Back-to-basics eco-friendly lodges
Where: Kolarbyn, Sweden
How much: £130 per night
Kolarbyn Eco Lodge slashes its environmental impact by becoming part of nature. The cabins and huts are fitted with simple but comfortable furniture and appliances. Perfect Valentine’s fayre for loved-up eco warriors. Find out more Eco Lodge details here
Need some help?
Want to take your partner away for a Valentine’s Day treat, but not sure where they’d like to go? Well, we look after your cars, so we know that what you drive says a lot about you. Take a look at your loved one’s choice of colour for their car and you might just be able to book a trip that’s perfect for them.
Silver: This is someone who’s cool, calm and confident on the road, so perhaps a weekend trip to the slopes would be perfect. Take a flight to Grenoble in France, hire a car and head to one of the many nearby Alpine resorts.
Blue: Deep-thinking, cautious drivers, so take an easy-going break mooching around one of Europe’s easy-to-reach capitals. We’d recommend Milan… see our review above.
Black: This person could well be an ‘enthusiastic’ driver, so this should be reflected in your choice of Valentine’s Day destination. We’d recommend winter sports, again, but head higher in the Alps for a spot of adrenaline-fueled glacier skiing. Black also suggests elegance and sophistication, so head for the fashionable resort of Tignes, France.
Red: Energy and sex appeal… perfect for a Valentine’s trip to the heady, seething atmosphere of Marrakech, we’d say.
Grey: This might suggest a more sober personality, so why not consider a weekend in Geneva. It’s a great destination for a relaxed and sophisticated city break. It’s perfect for romantic evening strolls by the lake, too.
White: Someone that likes to be noticed, so don’t hide your love away – book a trip to Paris or Rome, now.
Green: This colour suggests a quirky character, so take a look at our list of unusual hotel breaks above?
Yellow: Bright and optimistic… relax, they’ll make the best of wherever you choose and love you for it, too.
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day…