Looking for an alternative plan to escape Valentine’s Day?
Here are seven cities around the world where you can avoid Valentine’s Day altogether.
Whether you’re in a relationship and don’t want to fall “victim” to the commercialization of the holiday, or you are single and don’t want to suffer the influx of heart-shaped balloons that flood the establishments of most cities, here are seven destinations where February 14 is just another day on the calendar. Far from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the canals of Amsterdam, and the London Eye, an emblem of the English capital, there are perfect non-romantic places to visit solo and forget about Valentine’s Day.
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Brazil, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on June 12 because, in this South American country, the celebration is linked to Saint Anthony instead of Saint Valentine. On top of avoiding the day of love, going to Rio de Janeiro in February will allow you to benefit from other things as well; you will escape winter for a few days and best of all is that you will have one of the best travel experiences in the world—Brazilian Carnival. Parades, floats, dances, costumes, and samba mix together into a unique show that you should see at least once in a lifetime. Due to the pandemic, many Brazilian cities have been forced to cancel or postpone their celebrations this year.
2. Helsinki, Finland
Finland is another great place to avoid the forced romance of Valentine’s Day. In this Scandinavian country, February 14 is a date for celebrating friendship more so than romantic love. One of the most popular destinations is the Finnish capital. Helsinki is famous for having countless design studios, art galleries, and excellent restaurants where you can enjoy the best Nordic cuisine. If you have spare time, get away from the city and enjoy Finland’s spectacular nature. Take shelter from the cold and enjoy a typical cabin next to a lake—with a sauna included of course.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
The Czech Republic celebrates Valentine’s Day on May 1, a tradition that announces the arrival of spring and with it, the blossoming of love. Legend has it that on this date, women should be kissed under a cherry tree so that their beauty doesn’t wither away the rest of the year. Therefore, February 14 is not the date to avoid. Enjoy a visit to Prague’s majestic old town without seeing Cupids or lovey-dovey couples on every corner. And the best is that, with the cold temperatures of the Czech capital in February, you will have the perfect excuse to take refuge in the bars and restaurants and try their abundant selection of typical food and the vast selection of beers.
4. Bucharest, Romania
Romania is another country that has not succumbed to Valentine’s Day traditions. The Romanian day of love falls ten days later on February 24, a pagan celebration called Dragobete. Just like in the Czech Republic, it was originally intended to celebrate the arrival of spring. Bucharest is one of the more popular destinations in Romania. Known as “Little Paris,” a trip here is worth it to discover its marvelous architecture, including the Palace of Parliament. This city is also a good starting point to visit Dracula’s castle.
5. Cardiff, Wales
Surprisingly, the most romantic day of the year in Wales is not February 14 but January 25. This date celebrates when St. Dwynwen became a nun after her father forbade her from marrying the man she loved. This seems to be the perfect excuse for spending a few days in Cardiff and its surroundings in mid-February when you will be able to enjoy its nature without hordes of tourists or couples celebrating love. From the Isle of Anglesey to the Lleyn Peninsula, the number of outdoor activities that Wales offers is unparalleled. It’s not so surprising considering that 25% of its territory is categorized as a National Park. But beyond the wild landscapes through which you can hike and participate in water sports, Wales is famous for its fairy-tale castles such as the Conwy and Beaumaris Castles.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
Denmark is another perfect destination where you can avoid the stress of Valentine’s Day. In general, February 14 is quite diluted in Nordic countries thanks to the simplicity that characterizes Scandinavians. Copenhagen has many great things to do that are sheltered from the cold. The Danish capital has a long list of museums and art galleries, such as the National Museum and the National Gallery. Other major attractions include the old factories that were turned into trendy bars and restaurants where you can experience the Nordic way of life.
7. Beijing, China
If you don’t want to go to Europe for Valentine’s Day, China could be a good destination because the Asian giant celebrates the day of love in August. Fly to Beijing, its cultural hub, where you will learn about the centuries-old culture of the most populated country in the world and explore its grand historical legacy. Although the Great Wall is the highlight, don’t forget other gems such as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Tiananmen Square. Of course, foodies in Beijing will take delight in the endless exotic dishes waiting for them.