The Student’s guide to visiting the cities of love this Valentine’s

Despite the weather mood swings and unavoidable deadlines, I do love life in Edinburgh. Sometimes though, especially around this time of the year, we all want a little escape. It’s not just about getting away, it’s about discovering new places with the people that mean the most to you. With Valentine’s Day and the February break fast approaching, why not choose a location that evokes love in all forms?

Before embarking on your journey, do some research about places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to do. Are you into art, or is history more your style? Do you enjoy walking around, or would a more metropolitan environment suit you better? Are you looking for a proper romantic get-away, or just somewhere to explore with some mates? These questions, along with logistics, weather, and budget, all need consideration when planning your trip. Here are two European spots that could melt even the coldest of hearts.

Paris, France: Paris has long been hailed as the love capital of the world. Being the closest and most stereotypically romantic of the two locations, it is a prime option for a romantic weekend with your partner. Hop on a plane or grab the train from London and make your way down to the City of Love. The weather’s pretty comparable to Edinburgh so pull on your boots, remember your favourite woolly jumper and make sure you pack an umbrella just in case.

The most iconic monument in Paris is without a doubt the Eiffel Tower. If you’re willing to wait in the massive queue, a €9.50 ticket to the top won’t break the bank. I also definitely recommend popping into the Notre-Dame. Don’t let the queue deter you, it’s well worth the wait.

If you’re into literature too, just turn the corner and you’ll find yourself at Shakespeare and Company, a beautiful little bookshop that’s piled high with books of all genres. Be careful though, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside.

Venice, Italy: Venice is known for its art and culture. This city is perfect for group explorations and museum photoshoots. Venice may be a historical and architectural hotspot, but it’s definitely not for the weak. Being completely surrounded by water, most of your day-to-day movement will be done on foot, so wear something with good arch support.

This city is well-known for its many bridges. One that should be at the top of your list is the Rialto bridge. The whole city is bound to be incredibly crowded, especially considering it’s nearly Carnevale time, so plan ahead if you have any anxiety about issues that may arise. Don’t be afraid to get lost strolling down Venice’s many little winding roads. Just make sure you’ve got a map or some data on your phone to help guide you back as directional signs are only posted in the tourist areas of the city. If it’s just you and your boo, don’t bother going on a gondola, the €80 price tag is not worth it (that’s €2 per minute!). If there’s a group of you, it might be a more feasible option. Don’t forget to venture into Piazza San Marco and the Peggy Guggenheim museum. They are staples of any Venetian experience.

February is known as the month of love. It’s also known, at least in Edinburgh, as the month of grey skies and students’ sighs. Anyone would be itching for an escape. Following these tips should hopefully ease some of the pain of relentlessly sifting through travel websites searching for the best destination.

image: Nikasucha via Pixabay

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