5 romantic bank holiday breaks

5 romantic bank holiday breaks

Thinking of popping off on a romantic weekend this bank holiday? Here are our top 5 short breaks to inspire you

1. Cologne, Germany

A historical city with one of the most romantic bridges in the world - grab a lock and key, you'll need it!

Why? Cologne's Hohenzollern Bridge isn't just known for it's striking structure - it also has a rather romantic value. Since 2008, people have been leaving 'love locks' on the bridge's fence, carved with their names, and throwing the key into the Rhine River below. There are hundreds of padlocks now adorning the bridge. A perfect opportunity to surprise your sweetheart with a romantic love lock of your own. When you're done, wander further down the river to the chocolate museum for a naughty treat. Cologne's Gothic cathedral is of course a must-see for it's striking beauty, and the Old Town is also a fascinating wander.

Eat & Drink: The place to eat and drink in Cologne is Früh am Dom just opposite the cathedral, serving the city's famousKölschbeer beneath a beautiful golden stained glass ceiling or amongst the rustic, early 1900's décor. The three-course set menus start from £15.

Fly: Easyjet fly London Gatwick to Cologne/Bonn for around £290 return this weekend, or Lufthansa from Stansted and Heathrow also around £290 return this weekend.

2. Edinburgh, Scotland

If you're thinking of staying local, how about catching the end of Edinburgh's renowned Fringe Festival?

Why? Edinburgh isn't just a beautiful city - every August theatre groups, comedians, musicians ans writers congregate in the Scottish capital for the biggest arts festival in the world. With 273 venues and around 2,871 performances, you're bound to find something special. The city itself is a winding, rolling, jumbled up mish-mash of cobbles, tiered streets and old architecture; a city that has as much personality as its landscape. Arthur's Seat yawns over the city, inviting you to step forth into its grassy tussocks, and Edinburgh's famous castle perches atop Castle Rock. The city is a fantastic bank holiday option for couples looking for somewhere that offers adventure, romance and something a bit quirky.

Eat & Drink: Edinburgh's The Kitchin is well renowned for its fresh, seasonal produce, commitment to local producers and suppliers and French elegance - meaning that the menu is ever changing. Or, David Bann's global menu will also satisfy anyone looking for meatless meals in the city.

Fly: From around £186 return, Easyjet fly to and from Gatwick. British Airways return from London Gatwick for around £186 this weekend.

3. Florence, Italy

For rustic, Renaissance beauty, nothing beats a warm weekend in Florence

Why? Live the Italian dream skipping between Michelangelo's David, the Duomo cathedral, the galleries and the gelato for a weekend. It doesn't get much more romantic than looking out over the red Tuscan rooftops from the top of the Duomo, seeing the rippling David in the Galleria dell'Accademia and laying eyes on some of the world's most famous artistic masterpieces in the stunning elegance of the Uffizi gallery. Join in with the locals and jostle the local crowds on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge for the sparkling wonders displayed on the jewellery stands. Where better to inspire romance than one of the most beautiful, romantic cities in one of the most passionate countries in the world?

Eat & Drink: Relax amidst the romantic, dimmed golden light of Il Santo Bevitore and enjoy the excellent wine selection, the understated elegance and the new takes on old, seasonal classics.

Fly: Vueling are flying direct to Florence from London Heathrow from £430.

4. Riga, Latvia

Set to be Europe's Capital of Culture in 2014, the Latvian capital has a rich history and a striking Art Nouveau aesthetic beauty all it's own

Why? The beautiful Old Town, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and the relaxing atmosphere of the new cultural capital is a great draw for a couple looking for a long weekend somewhere a bit different. It's the opera that this city is famous for; the breathtaking Latvian National Opera House is a must-book. Like many Latvian cities, the architecture in Riga is charming and sweet, but on street-level has a vibrant energy. Riga is a melting pot of Latvian and Russian cultural influence, has a flourishing market, a quaint history and a thriving food scene that will sate any couple looking for a gastronomic gambol.

Eat & Drink: Just a short walk from the Old Town, Vincent's is one of Latvia's most well-known restaurants. Expect fresh, organic dishes bursting with flavour and created with lots of care. Mains from around £12.

Fly: Wizz Air are flying from London Luton to Riga return from around £360 this weekend.

5. Budapest, Hungary

Spend a weekend sinking into the geothermal springs of Budapest

Why? A stunning city of thermal springs, gothic spires and impressive architecture, Budapest is also a great budget bank holiday break. Full of history, romance and warm bubbles, take your pick from Turkish, modern or Art nouveau-styled bathhouses (or try a new style each day) and explore the scars of Budapest's sad past before digging into some contemporary Hungarian cuisine - one of the most sophisticated in the world. The Baroque, the Neoclassical, the Art nouveau, the eclectic - Budapest has a hundred different faces and a hundred different corners to explores. Or, if it's a relaxing jaunt you're after, simply enjoy the entire weekend relaxing in the thermal baths and return to work refreshed on Tuesday.

Eat & Drink: Menza is nothing like the name suggests (it's Hungarian for canteen) - rather, it's an elegant blend of downtown comfort and Budapest's 1960s café culture - modern, but not intimidating. Simple, classic Hungarian food at its finest.

Fly: Ryanair are flying London Stansted to Budapest return from £319 this weekend.


Image: Riga, Dreamstime

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