For the first time ever I had a romantic city break this year – Mr littleStuff whisked me off on a surprise 3-day trip to Paris.
And even though I was with the man I spend practically every waking moment with, and who I’ve been married to for 21 years, it was a monumentally special and enormously romantic few days.
We did the normal tourist things – we walked for miles through the busiest parts of the city, we ate at restaurants, we saw the sights, we saw a show at the Moulin Rouge… Really nothing extraordinary for most people visiting Paris.
We didn’t really see the ‘real’ Paris as we stayed on the tourist trail, it rained on us (a LOT), we got lost in the Montmartre, we ate in a restaurant near our hotel that clearly catered to the tourist market, and where all the clientele spoke English, not French…
And yet; it felt magical, and special… and ours.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of a romantic city break. There was just something about exploring this whole new place together. The two of us, sharing this experience of a whole new city together. It didn’t matter that a gazillion other people do it every year – it was new to us, and we shared it together.
It was something I’ll never forget.
Now look, I know it’s about Christmas right now. I get it, I really do… *eyes ever-increasing List-Of-Things-Still-To-Do with growing prickles of panic*.
But… if you can manage to think ahead just a little bit, you can snap yourself up a bargain, and give yourself a little treat to look forward to as you get tired of the cold grey winter of the UK. Plus, Fly with Flybe to these great destinations for a seriously fabulous romantic getaway early in 2015.
Oh there’s so much to see in Salzburg! And it’s not just about the winter snow either (though I admit the Salzburg Christmas Market, or Christkindlmarkt, is on my Bucket List). This baroque city north of the Alps is so beautiful that it is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most of the sights can be seen on a stroll through Salzburg’s historic city center: the Residence, the Carillon, the Cathedral, the Franciscan Church, Mozart Square, the Horse Pond, Hofstallgasse, Hohensalzburg Fortress, St. Peter’s Monastery. As in most European cities, the history seeps out of the walls around you, infecting the pavement under your feet.
But don’t forget this is a romantic break – so do NOT miss out on a horse drawn carriage ride.
As Portugal’s second largest city, Porto has one of Europe’s oldest centres. With its Cathedral, churches, gardens of the Crystal Palace and a labyrinth of streets and shops to explore, a weekend in Porto could be the ideal destination for you and your partner.
We suggest a stroll through the historic Ribeira district admiring the neoclassic architecture or pick up some flowers and giftsfrom the huge array of shopping districts. After a dleicious meal, finish up the night with a walk by the moonlit river – no city break is complete without, after all.
Don’t miss the Duomo (be sure to go all the way to the roof), and book ahead if you want to see Da Vinci’s Last Supper (or book yourself onto a guided tour which gets priority entrance). I know it doesn’t sound terribly romantic, and visiting a graveyard during your trip may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but the Cimitero Monumentale is a kind of open-air museum of Italian sculpture, in which some of the best works of all major Italian sculptors of the 19th and 20th century can be admired.
And of course – eat. Eat eat eat. You’re in Italy, for goodness sake. Avoid the tourist traps, and head down the back streets to find the locals go to enjoy good food. Or, as this is your romantic break, maybe you should skip the restaurant and try the ATMosfera restaurant tram: dining in a classical tram while riding through the city. Book at the ATM website.